20200515

In Finland artists grants for individuals are called “apuraha”. I think a direct translation for this would be “support fund”. I like the term a lot: A fund intended to support an artist, such a beautiful idea! I imagine the name stems from an era when artists made their living primarily by selling artworks. The state and private foundations would grant their unconditional support when an artist wanted to take a break to develop their style.

Right after the covid lockdown was announced, the state and almost all Finnish art supporting foundations started developing covid relief packages. These were aimed for artists and creatives who lost their income in the first wave. Some of these arrangements were announced within two weeks after the lockdown and the first grants were given almost within a month. This was a great effort!

The covid grants which private foundations offer are also called “apuraha” (support fund) but in inspection, none of their open calls are meant to support artist unconditionally. The funds are aimed only for development and innovation. A prime example of this was a recent Kone foundation open call (mentioned earlier), which was criticized by Maria Ylikangas (among others). The fatigue caused by inventing creative responses to covid related calls has been criticized by Kim Modig (among others).

In short: Private foundations want artists to produce innovation. The are specifically looking for “digital-leaps” and ways to adjust artistic practices to new digital platforms. As pointed by Ylikangas, the foundations are looking for black swan-opportunities! And this happens without shame at a time when people most affected by the lockdown, have very little freedom and very little to offer.

I think the funding private foundations offer should not be called “apuraha”. They should be called for what they are: “Development funds” (kehistysrahoitus). The covid period will serve as a historical reminder that private foundations have very clear political aims and specific agendas. They never support artists unconditionally.

I’m fine with this but the problem is that in Finland, foundations seldom announce their political agendas directly. They are clearly after something but their programmes are unarticulated. The public is left to interpret what a foundations mission is by reading their open calls. In inspection they are seeking abstract nonsense such as “boldness” or “digital leaps”. What do these calls actually mean, what kind of a society are they working for? Their current, wittingly drafted press-releases, underline universal humanistic ideals and creative freedom. But don’t actually say anything: Which means that they are for maintaining status quo.

I think this needs to change. If private foundations do not clearly announce that they are working for social justice, equality and to maintain the welfare state, then they are not. #☭

Industrial Loneliness (noun)

/ in-ˈdə-strē-əl ˈləʊnlinəs /

  1. An anxiety caused by a glooming realization that one’s habitat consists of machine made objects produced in series, hence everyone is surrounded with the same objects and dealing with the same glooming realization.
  2. A designed expression of cynical individualism, enforced by weaponized precarisation, aimed to inhibit the working class from self-dentifying and organizing.
  3. A delight felt when strolling through an abandoned factory, which offers novel vistas to unknown machinery and interiors in various stages of ruins.
  4. First self-reflection of the first technological singularity.

20200326

As capitalists learned that access to knowledge would make charismatic organizations redundant they attempted to limit access to it. This process presented skills and people who had skills as units which could be deployed and wielded like tools. What used to be content (such as a craft) became a quantifiable product which could be traded. Production of people as stuff and stuff led to exploitation & exploitative globalization, which led to an array of catastrophes. Some catastrophes move fast and others slow.

Governments use the volume of consumption as a measure of citizen performance. Calling for consumption as a remedy is like adding poison to poison. It has nothing to do with the problem. Our only option forwards is in focusing on quality instead of quantity. We don’t need more stuff or skills, we need to hone our craft: To make life. Adding poison to poison only makes the poison more potent. If nothing else this situation proofs that rich people are good for nothing. We can see —and should forever remember— that wealth does not trickle down. We don’t need wealth, we need taxation. #☭

This catastrophe has made domestic spaces into production facilities. There is no life in this mess. Stuff is poring in through all screens as kids are taught as products. At the same time parents work desperately to shove their services trough their screens. Every second discussion I have ends up with me announcing my availability for work or a straight up pled for it. Sometimes we are working in the same room with the kids, passing in the backround of each others streams like placeholders for persons.

20200316

This virus is more about coping with the terror of a corporation controlled mediascape and the totalitarism of nation states then health. There is no post-truth, only noise paranoid businessmen utter trough the voice of precariat journalists, there is no quarantine only a performance amplifying bourgeois monocultural family values. The message this noise amplifies is their fear that Okboomer virus is a call to action. They fear people will see their fear for what it is and feel alive for the first time. #☭

20200308

Labour of the Artist, Feminist Practices and Troubles with the Infrastructure (2019) Bojana Kunst. Citing Isabell Lorey, Kunst argues that people are governed by precarity and that a constant state of self-organizing is drawing resources from our potential to organize collectively. In other words: Precarity hinders possibilities to imagine political continuity. She argues that precarity is structured or enforced by the infrastructure of our cities and states that the activities of urban feminist artists and collectives in the 70ties were a response to a collapse of welfare infrastructure (in her view infrastructure becomes visible only when it is in crisis). Kunst builds a case that many leftist artistic movements which desire to repair infrastructure end-up reproducing its problems. It’s not beneficial to cling on to good feelings which responding to symptoms of infrastructural collapse provide. More effort should be put in problematizing conditions cause its hindrance. Unfortunately struggle for a future has been replaced by a struggle of maintaining life in contemporary cities.

Visited Makamik squat but came too late for the support gigs. Felt like a warm community and I hope to visit it again. The last set had a lot of modular synth gear on stage. Feels weird to see modular synths at a squat: There is a mismatch between the affordability of the gear and the accessibility of the site. But modular synths in a squat make complete sense on a conceptually! Also I think gaining skills in diy electronics could easily be scaled to skills in working with the house electricity systems.

The state of economics can be measured from the temperature of elderly world leaders. #☭