I became a sole trader in 2011 when I was working regularly for Outi Heiskanen. She didn’t want to be defined as “an employer” in her tax reports (which is very costly in Finland) and at the time becoming an entrepreneur felt like fun idea… I was active in building exhibitions for various parties and involved in serious art transportation ventures. We even talked about buying a van with a friend. Becoming an entrepreneur was a serious joke. The status has enabled me to discuss economics more convincingly. As an entrepreneur I’m a subject in economics and my critique of capitalism is more founded and more personal. Becoming an entrepreneur was an accelerationist effort, which culminated my involvement with Ore.e Refineries.
Sending bills is still fun but every year I regret not setting up a co-operative instead. Today my grief is related to sole trader taxation regulations when billing cities and municipalities.
As a sole trader I’m responsible for organizing my own pension. If earn more than 8000€ a year as an entrepreneur, I’m legally obligated to join a pension trust and to pay around 100€ a month in pension insurance premiums. The minimum “YEL-insurance” I’d have to pay a year is 1200€, which is too much for me (and many other sole traders working in the culture sector). This is why I don’t send more than 8000€ worth of bills a year. There are various very simple and legal tricks to do this. During the fall I negotiate that I can send my bill the next year and for bigger gigs I setup an temporary employer statuses with the organizations that hire me. For the past four years I’ve only send out bills for small 200-400€ odd jobs.
As a result I haven’t payed any pension fees. This is not because I wouldn’t want to… It’s just too expensive and as a part of my income comes from artist grants I dream that I’ll personally get an artist pension for myself (If I manage to survive as an artist for the next 33 years).
The government needs new forms of income, so that it can afford for the baby boom generation’s pensions. There are various aggressive schemes at work which skim funds for pensions from every possible monetary transaction. Legislation for small scale business is quite unfair. “By law, entrepreneurs under the age of 53 are required to pay 23.7 percent of their earnings in pension insurance, while salaried workers contribute just over five percent.” YLE explains in a 2015 article.
I wrote about the Record Singers group for an Artsi-museum related book. The writing fee was decent but as the museum is run by the municipality there is a cunning scheme in legislation, which the government will use to deduct a “pension” from my writer’s fee (More on the scheme in Finnish). This is saddening. I made the text almost for free. I don’t regret making it. I did a good job.
I’m not bitter about anything but I think that the baby boomers generation should have spend their salaries more smartly. Additional funds for pensions should be harvested by disallowing (and re-distributing) pensions that are over 2 300€/month (Statistics on pensions in Finland found here). I hate the feeling that a petitioner makes more money than I do and that young forced-entrepreneurs are paying for their second cars, their trips to Thailand and the renovation of their summer houses (which remain empty most of the year and none from my generation will be able to visit as we can’t afford the gas money).
What if we have learned to perceive animals as “individuals” only through zoos? All other relations with animals are collaborations, where we have personalised knowledge about a particular animals history and see it as a member of its group or resource oriented relations, where we approach animals as tools or food. The primary motive of the zoo is to present animals as individuals, lonely and out of context creatures (as we are). The isolation of animals is a performance we come to witness at the zoos. Through their loneliness and isolation we can find ease in our struggles.
The zoo is a vitally important public institution for building human-animal relations… Particularly for people who moved into cities in the beginning of the 20th century. When we were living in the forest, every animal we didn’t see posed a threat. The woods we filled with traces and smells of invisible enemies. The zoo presents the most threatening animals we can imagine in a human controlled habitat. The zoo makes animals visible. Only after we see the wolf in a controlled environment, we can begin to see it as something else then a hostile adversary fighting for the same resources we are. The individuals that suffer in the zoos protect their species.
Zoos provide us an opportunity to approach animals rationally. They are remnants of the enlightenment era, public sites which offer access to animal-relation-contemplation for all citizens. The zoo is not showing animals, this would be impossible because animals become something else when they are moved out of their habitat (context). The zoo is a non-site, which refers to actual habitats and portrays individual animals as representatives of their species. The zoo produces non-animals and it presents a collections of possible human-animal relations (This idea was addressed by Katrin Caspar during our Grey Cube Gallery interviews)! The generations of animals which have been born to the zoos consider it to be their natural habitat. They are more accustomed to representations of “habitats associated to their species” than wild nature.
The hours I’ve spend in my life syncing audio to video. This indicates something about the natively fragmented nature of media. All editorial decisions are about molding coherence out of abstract experiences.
Can a new generation appropriate the culture of their parents? The war-generations traumas have been taken on by the children of the war generation. They claim the same victim status.
Reading Jason Hribals: “Animals are Part of the Working Class Reviewed” (2012). A clear text which is useful for our group for investigating horses relation to emotional labor (hobbyist and leisure riders approach horses as if it was a therapists) and to understand it’s value in relation to hierarchies of visual culture (being seen next to a horse makes you appear rich and noble). We’ve argued that the horse has successfully converted from a manual labor force to a cultural labor force and that it’s a role-model for the new-work precariat. It’s hull sets a venue, around which people gather to gossip, reflect their animal relations and skills – The contemporary work horse are professionals in facilitating this exchange.
The text offers the possibility to see anthropomorphism as an critical approach: “Marx called his book Capital, and not Working Class, because Marx wanted to show workers how capital looks on its own terms, from its structural characteristics, and we had to wait for the subsequent non-orthodox practitioners of historical materialism to invert it from below to see the other side of the struggle. The problem occurs when scholars do not recognize this. When there is no inversion, capital becomes all- powerful. Agency does not exist. The subject itself disappears. This is the fundamental problem with the discipline of animal studies.”
Found a gem of an artwork which I had uploaded 2012 and forgotten. Added subtitles to it: Prototyping Augmented Reality (2012).
“EU should learn from Brexit and not repeat it’s mistakes” they say. I can’t teach people who don’t want to learn. I can’t help, if the dream to make EU an egalitarian welfare state is too much for you. (Bla bla bla)
Slavoj Žižek on Brexit, the crisis of the Left, and the future of Europe on Brexit, the crisis of the Left, and the future of Europe: “The British attitude, of leaving the EU to its fate, is the logic of the wrong era in an age of global problems: ecology, biotechnology, intellectual property. Britain all alone will be even more vulnerable, exposed to the pressure of international capital without any of the protections. I don’t see any strength gained in standing alone.”
Tumblr, reddit, twitter, facebook, google docs… All forms of cloud-based computing are contemporary consumerism. It’s difficult to remember you’ve paid for the materials and the design of the screen you look at. And that what you experience is being measured and sold further. You are not using software – The engineers who made it are using you. The development of software is fuelled by a need to capitalize all untainted resources and who ever enters the consumer’s mind first will yield the greatest profits. We are granted access to operating systems, because corporations have convinced investors that they quantize our minds (This is also why corporations present modern art in their office lobbies – These paintings are evidence of the conquest of the unconscious).
Assisted in a Mad in Finland movie project over the weekend.
10 years ago I was angry with performers who have backgrounds in circus defining themselves as contemporary artists (This was around the time when Cirque du Soleil became popular in Finland). My anger was silly. I had not seen many circus acts and my opinion 0n the artform was based on clichés. I was just establishing myself as a professional and felt threatened with this change. When looking at the fine people from Mad in Finland working on their movie together with a professional film crew, I suddenly remembered those silly angsts.
As skilled and gifted performers enter the contemporary art sphere, unskilled and ungifted performers might lose their ground. Artist who perform out of a compulsion to change the world and show their dirty bodies out of necessity (their bodies are the only hulls they can reach, touch and motivate to move) will be reduced into “content creators”. Skill factor will squat the contemporary art sphere (This was also discussed with Esa Nickle). I have to rethink how I make art. I won’t be able to maintain my praxis for long by showing how the artist’s body adapts, fails and is being broken in laborious tasks, conditions of labor, through media technologies, elements of nature, animals etc. The standards are changing.
We talked about this with some Mad in Finland artists. One had backgrounds in gymnastics and she had migrated towards the circus, so that she could express herself creatively and collaborate, instead of having her individual performance judged according to the rules of gymnastics. This story echoes how economics have changed. Creativity beats conformity. Skills of creativity are more needed than ever and collaboration is more important than personal commitment. I’ve clinged on to artworks and projects which require an extensive amount of commitment, because I’m afraid that I’m bad in collaborating. I’m a fucking mika-myllylä. I have to learn how to collaborate better in order to work more efficiently.
The Mad in Finland movie will be worked on at the Kone Foundation Residency.