They want us to use our bodies as keys. Fingerprints and iris scanners open doors.
The Cruel Radiance of What Is course came to an end. My last teaching gig was on Monday but all of the students skipped class! Only 2-4 students attended the course in general so their absence didn’t feel like a protest. People who joined the kettlebell workout were really delighted of the style of teaching I’m currently into. We met with Mikko, Miina & Arttu and two students yesterday for our final joined meeting. We ended up talking chop but the event was fun.
Visited Perfo performance event in Tampere on Thursday. Saw performances by Asko Nivala (a “failed Hannibal Lecter” / meet-is-murder cabaret), Suvi Suvereeni (a very fluid collaboration with Siri the intelligent personal assistant. A low key, personal approach to the technology yielded revelations on how the technology perceives us!), Tuuli Tuikka (an anti-art & anti-capitalism manifest on how nature and creative experiences are commodified. She shredded and packaged a flower into plastic containers) and Joulumaa (a four member noise ensemble doing a faux-ritualistic, holistic noise show. The sounds were too orchestrated for my taste and their stage work came of as flamboyant. I did get to see a 16 channel mixer being used as a percussion instrument, which is a novel sight).
After the festival I chatted with Janne Rahkila about rejoining the Perfo crew for next year. I’d continue working with the streaming system.. I’m hesitant about the gig. I don’t believe in live-video streams anymore. Perhaps I should make interviews of the artists as text and brief synopses of their performances instead. Also met with Timo Bredenberg and we had the last meeting of our “In the Flow” (Groys 2016) reading circle (some ideas in the book are useful but the authors style is too tandy).
I’m now preparing for a grant award event at the Taidehalli. I got a “The Young Artist Grant” from the Finnish Art Society. Also got a techo gig (with a workout theme) for next years Kontula Electronic. I’ll likely be joined by Kristian Ekholm (and Pietari if he finds the time. I haven’t talked about this with him yet). Also got news from Antoine that our Trans-Horse proposal for Signal festival is being processed by the production crew.
Uplifting news all around.
“Today’s theory demands transformation” (or something like that) cries Groys in “In the Flow”. Last week featured many transformative experiences as we hosted the “Horse and Performance” course for students of the Theater Academy Helsinki together with Pietari. The week long contemporary-horse-culture course ended in a full day of horse-animal-human-exercises, which the eight participants had planned and conducted for our group. The day was long and I lost my bearing on which inputs and ideas were provided by the horses and which were of human origin. During one set of exercises I lost track of who was an animal. Reports and photos of the course are being processed and will be publicised on the Trans-Horse blog during the following weeks. The “Theatre and Dance” magazine will also publish a small text about the course.
Paula published the “The Bat Simulator” video last week (I’m the bat). The video got me dreaming of a new leather jacket. The one on the video was found on the street and has since been broken. Timo has published “Last Worker Standing” which casts an eerie look at the concept of “New Work”. He call it an “Dyst-ironical speculative fiction machinima”. I’m inspired to make a song to accompany the video (A Deep Time Marxistic Étude). Timo’s work would go together with Paula’s recent “Harmaja +10 länsiluode 35m/s” piece presented at Hippolyte gallery.
Got to know Esa Nickle from the Performa biannual crew thanks to a hook up by Frame Finland. She was cool and we talked about famous actors and musicians who’ve started to fiddle with performance art (she had been involved with the Jay-Z & Abramović performance etc.) and how this celebrity trend has repositioned performance artists from performers to content creators. Discussions also touched the gentrification processes in NY city, Estonian contemporary art and conceptual art in non-western cultures (Boris Groys was cited!). I tried to convince her that sharing performance documentations on youtube is a good idea because we need to educate future artist generations, so they’ll know that there is a difference in what Jay-Z is doing as performance and what we we are up to. We had a couple of beers and I’m walking home. Feels like summer.
We met with the “In the Flow” reading circle last evening. Quotes to remember: “…Russian avant-garde art was not directed against the status quo, against the dominating political and economic power structures. The Russian avant-garde of the Soviet period was not critical but affirmative…” Groys on postrevolutionary art in Russia and “Only dull and impotent artists screen their work with sincerity. In art there is a need for truth, not sincerity.” by Kazimir Malevich.
I’ve wasted another day working on the Weird Sound Generator. Replaced every capacitor, added ribbon pins to the wires and resoldered them on board. Double checked the resistor values and pulled out some resistors for testing. Eventually replaced the CD40106 chip.. This returned the voice B Osc.2 but voice A Osc.2 is still missing. I had two chips to begin with and I might have damaged both. During the resoldering session I noticed that a capacitor had been missing a connection from the beginning (because the double sided circuit board I’ve etched is missing connections between sides) and I might have short circuited both chips at some point. I’ll acquire a new chip at some point but I’ll start working on the case now. Working on the board is addictive.
Contacted the Theatre Academy of Helsinki concerning our “Horse and Performance” course which is planned for next fall. They seem excited about our course and apparently students are eager to join register.
Idea: Attach a piezo mic (with a preamp) to hammer and broadcast the audio through the Raspberry Pi radio transmitter (on FM 99.0).
Re-reading “Conceptual Art and Eastern Europe” by Zdenka Badovinac. In the text Charles Harrison talks about how “Conceptual art is the collapse of the boundary between artistic and theoretical practice, the idea that theoretical practice might be a primary artistic practice” (This sounds very similar to Boris Groys writes about in “In the Flow”). While reading a critical idea came to mind: Theory is something which validity can be tested. This indicates that the conceptual art of late 70ties was a prelude to art as a social practice which aspires to have a positive impact in the communities it addresses (aka. art utilized to build wellbeing in communities). Art & Language style conceptual art is embedded with a profit target!
A revealing part of the text is were Groys identifies how the seemingly un-political art made by soviet-artist Kabakov, Komar & Melamid, which was not against the regime (it was “non-pro, non-con, non-anti”) – Was actually an aggressive deconstructivist practice. The movement declined to build its credibility by celebrating the underdog position avantgarde is shoved into. Because the works weren’t ideologically against or with the regime they forced the audiences to interpret the works from a perspective which was outside the systems boundaries and control.
Groys says: “We were deconstructionists and didn’t want to be politically engaged, since this could somehow be a trap, when people took precisely the positions power wanted them to take—even if it is a dissident position. So we tried to escape this kind of framework—not to find a place within it as dissidents, but to question it, to escape the entire ideological framework.”.
Cristina Freire explains how the notion of an artist differs in Latin America and the West: “… idea of participation, which Hélio Oiticica was really into, meant that it was very important to not be an artist. The idea of an autonomous work of art really didn’t matter at all”. A very important point she makes is that: “When Latin American artists from this period are discussed in the West, they are assimilated into Western art history. “.