Hevoslinja: Aalto-yliopiston ensimmäinen hevostaitopäivä (tällä vuosituhannella)

Järjestin Aalto-yliopiston opettajien Minna Suoniemen ja Anniina Suomisen pyynnöstä yliopiston ensimmäisen Hevostaito-päivän. Ohjelman tavoite oli oppia hevosesta, ajattelusta joka jäsentyy sen seurassa ja siitä miten nyky-hevosta tuotetaan infrastruktuurin ja kerronnan kautta. Hevos-toimet järjestettiin Tapiolan ratsastuskoulun tiloissa, jotka ovat viiden minuutin kävelymatkan päässä yliopiston kampukselta. Paikka on todella jännittävässä kaupunkiympäristön kehityksen katveessa; vesitornin ja moottoritien välissä.

Ohjelma alkoi luento-osuudella ja tutustumisella. Alustuspuheenvuoroni pohti kriittisesti mitä “kehityksellä” ymmärretään, jonka jälkeen osallistujat jakoivat henkilökohtaisia hevoskokemuksiaan (sekä hevoskokemusten puutetta). Puheenvuoroissa toistui hevosten liittyminen luokkakokemukseen. Monilla ei, selkeästä suuntautuneisuudesta tai vilpittömästä mielenkiinnosta huolimatta ole mahdollisuutta toimia hevosten kanssa. Ajankohdasta seuraten allergiat korostuivat, mikä sai allergian itsessään tuntumaan jonkilaiselta biologiselta luokkakokemukselta. Valtaosa oli päässyt tutustunut hevosiin polttareiden tai muiden erikoistilanteiden yhteydessä. Eräällä osallistujalla oli myös keppari-taustaa!

Yleisessä keskustelussa korostettiin hevosen koon tuottamaa vaikutusta. Yksinkertainen huomio siitä että hevonen on isompi, vaikuttaa koko suhteen kannalta keskeiseltä. Alustuksessa esiintuomani kehityksen-kritiikki sai vastalauseita. Tulokulmani käsitettiin nostalgiseksi – Pitää jatkossa painottaa että se kehitys, jota Hevoslinja vastustaa on öljypohjaisen talouden tuottama nostalginen määre, joka ohjaa tulevaisuuteen liittyviä mielikuvia (hauntologia). Harjoittamamme kehitys-kritiikki ei vastusta tulevaisuutta tai muutosta itseään. Päinvastoin, tervetuloa häiriö!

Rupattelun jälkeen siirryimme Tapiolan ratsastuskoululle. Tallin omistaja ja ratsastusopettaja Johanna Vaahtera-Ruhtinas tarjosi ryhmälle seikkaperäisen johdannon ratsastuskulttuuriin. Saimme kuulla harrastuksen ja hevosammattilaisuuden kustannuksista, talliympäristöön kuuluvista työtehtävistä ja hevosten päivä- ja vuosirutiineista. Osallistujat saivat kysyä vapaasti hevosten terveydestä, mielenkiinnoista ja luonteesta. Keskustelun jälkeen ryhmä jaettiin kahteen. Toinen osa ryhtyi tallitöihin. Kannoimme kuivikkeita ja hivennäisiä varastoihin, rupatellen samalla tallihenkilökunnan kanssa. Toinen puoli ryhmästä tutustui hevosen hoitoon naamatusten, harjaamalla, tarkastelemalla kavioita ja tutustumalla hevosen käsittelyyn tekniikoiden (kuten riimujen ja suitsien) kautta. Hevosen hoidon lomassa keskusteltiin eläimen aisteista, luonteesta ja käyttäytymisestä. Ryhmiä vaihdettiin puolessavälissä.

Talkoiden jälkeen saimme kierroksen tallin tiloihin. Piipahdimme maneesissa, jossa keskustelimme ratsastuksen opettamiseen liittyvistä haasteista ja kävimme tarhan kupeessa seuraamassa kuinka hevoset sukivat toisiaan urbaanissa maisemassa. Näkymä oli otollinen keskusteluille, jotka pohtivat hevosen ja kaupunkikehityksen jännitteitä. Päivä päättyi post-humanistista ajattelua läpikäyvään luento-osuuteen. Pyrin puheenvuoron kautta kytkemään päivän antiin kriittisen terän, eli periaatteessa yritin pilata osallistujien mukavat kokemukset, vaikuttamalla siihen miten he lukivat hevostalli-ympäristöä.

Alkuun korostin että kun ihmisten ja eläinten historiaa tarkastellaan jaettujen kokemusten näkökulmasta, raja siitä kumpi on kehittyneempi (tai vastuullisempi) muuttuu lötköksi jorpakoksi. Tämän perään kertasin mitä post-humanismilla ymmärretään (Donna Harawayn määrittelyä myötäillen) ja pohdin miten vaikea käsite “kesyttäminen” on. Toin esiin banaaleja esimerkkejä siitä miten hevosten jalostaminen liittyy eurooppalaisten yhdyskuntien kehitykseen (sotateollisuus = jalostus biologisena sodankäyntinä, työläisten oikeudet = kaivosponit, ratsuväki = kaupunkitilan hallinta). Esittelin hevoset urbaaneina eläiminä.

Luento päättyi listaukseen nyky-hevosten uusista ammatillisista tehtävistä. Esittelin hevosen modernin-identiteetin rakentajana. Kun eri ammattien työt muuttuivat samannäköisiksi harrasteet muodoistuivat keskeiseksi identiteetin-rakennustyömaiksi. Esitin harrastamisen kulutuskulttuurina (Jean Baudrillardin kulutuskriittistä ajattelua mukaillen). Sitten esittelin hevoset kokemusteollisuus-työlaisenä (hipsterit työhevosleirillä) ja terapeuttina (ratsastusharrastus läppärintakaisen minän korjaavana kokemuksena). Osuuden huipennokseksi näytin videopätkän jossa Jesse laukkaa nakuna.

Päivään osallistui alle kymmen opiskelijaa, tunnelma oli mukava mutta aikaa olisi voinut olla enemmän. Hevosista mainittakoon Herbelle, Petsi ja Gabona.

20190506

Common Cyborg (2019) Jillian Weise. A wonderful text investigating the cyborg-experience from a personal point of view.

I went looking for a word to name the Donna Haraways of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, a word inclusive of cyberfeminists and transhumanists, a word that captures the theft of cyborg identity, and mocks the thieves a bit. I call them tryborgs. They have tried to be cyborgs, but they are stuck on the attempt, like a record skipping, forever trying to borg, and forever consigned to their regular un-tech bodies. They are fake cyborgs.

tryborg concerns: The Anthropocene, Texting, Networking

cyborg concerns: Can I afford my leg? Will a stalker, a doctor or the law kill me?

20190503

Sarah Cook: “Can’t log out” | Media Art Worlds conference (2018). A thorough presentation of the history of conceptual-to-internet-to-media-art. Side note: I shot and edited the video.

Tidal Club Helsinki “is a weekly open and freeform workshop, where we practise live coding programs together”. Heard from a good source that the spirit of the event is supportive and the community is welcoming.

Visited Pêdra Costas de_colon_isation parte III: the bum bum cream at the Museum of Impossible Forms last week. Costas was a good dancer and presented their work with confidencecraftiness. For me the performance made it clear that Abrahamic Folk have an obsession with discovering inner truths.

Updated these pages. Added new (old) entries to the portfolio section and new categories for the blog: Art writing (for critiques and analysis) and True story (for creative writing).

Bought a Dewalt DCD796D2-QW hammerdrill kit in preparation of a Union for Rural Culture and Education “Booth-Workshop” project in Pyhäjoki (in two weeks).

Cultural Significance of Cyberpunk (2019) Cuck Philosophy. A good overview with some new references. Got me thinking about crafts as an enclave (like cyberspace was) from were we can criticize capitalism from because crafts remains unpenetrated by it (because you can only hire or force skilled labor to produce things, but you cannot posses skills without transforming into a craftsperson #☭). Hackers are ultimately differentiated and valued for their craftiness.

[…] science fiction started to take the place of cultural theory. The genre itself was a breakdown of categories. […] human-nature with out the concept of wholeness […] breakdown of nature and humanity […] “Argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction.” -Haraway […] When there are no boundaries the cyborg takes pleasure in the construction of new ones […] cyberpunk today is not so much alive as it is undead.

I have to write this down to remember: There is an empty room, when we put a chair inside we loose our ability to see the emptiness. It’s not a room with a chair and emptiness, it becomes a room with a chair. For Derrida this is a case study of how binaries embed hierarchies in our perception (empty=bad/full=good). The emptiness of the room is still present but it’s subjugated by the presence of the chair. I think I hear this example in an episode of Philosophize This! #119 Derrida and Words (2018) Stephen West (Spotify link).

20181113

Good stuff to listen to when fixing the socks of strangers around the world (only 5 pairs to go). We had an open studio event on the weekend at ISCP. I was in a flue for the entire event and sat in the corner darning socks. A hipster complemented my stitchwork. He told me I’d make 300$ for a pair!

Anna Tsing & Donna Haraway: Tunneling in the Chthulucene (2015) University of Idaho, Moscow. A long and loose (in good way) presentation of their thinking. Tsing reminds audiences that non-human life does not live in harmony. Symbioses develop trough violence and struggle. Haraway reminds audiences how multicellular entities form: By single cell organisms attempting to eat each others, partially devouring each others bodies, getting stuck and living together anew.

Imagining infrastructures (2017) The British Academy. A (too) detailed talk about infrastructure. Partially good for developing an understanding of infra as a social, life-supporting network. It starts with an interesting analysis of air-conditioners as colonial apparatuses! The idea that people work best in climate controlled cool environments should be re-evaluated. The negative effect that air-conditioners have on communities was addressed in a recent reading group too. Air-conditioners break communities by endorsing indoor, private comfort for closed families. Manuel Tironi’s account on how communities rebuild after catastrophes is very rewarding too. He suggest that infrastructure should be approached as a social network and a compost (as defined by Haraway).

The Facebook Economy (2018) Zero Books podcast. Douglas Lain chatting with Rob Larson. They work their best to frame Facebook (and others) as monopolies and do a good job clearing out how exactly the monopolies make their profits.

Adventures in New America (2018) an afrofuturistic buddy comedy. A fun and easygoing podcast.

WRITING ABOUT ART TODAY MEANS BEING WRITTEN ONTO (2018) Kimmo Modig. Modig is developing a socio-material analysis of contemporary art-exhibition practices. They pleas for a broader acceptance of social practices (workshops etc.) as a critical medium for artistic expression. Social practices and community-building-as-art is a vital field of practice for groups and individuals, who cannot exist alone. Art practices which center on objects & orchestrated performances, advocate exclusive infrastructures. I would like to extend their critique to problematize material & energy demands object centered & orchestrated performance aesthetics rely on. Using Modigs critique we can argue that Chris Burden was more of an antibiotic artist then a performance artist. He was more hospitalized and medicated, then shot in the arm. #ॐ

Modig offers a diagram Social Anxiety Matrix #2 which can be used for analyzing personal motivations for attending art events. They argues that “Contemporary art has never been about class revolution [the temporal and generational rotation of positions of wealth past classes people are born to], but the cementing of its horizontal power structure while adding a new coat of paint on it.” which I don’t agree with. I believe that artist networks and support structures (grants, residencies etc.) are currently the best (if not only) systems for advancing the temporal and generational rotation of wealth and power. Quotes from the text below.

Public has become the primal form of new art, and exhibition the secondary one. The word public here is a (suboptimal) placeholder for assemblies, collectives, public gatherings, non-patriarchal familial constellations and so forth. […] What was once the fringe program (talks, workshops) is now the headliner. When I look around, I can see some people having not really realized this. Others are angry, even. “Why is art about the other stuff nowadays?” This is another way of saying “I”m white and feel like I can’t get enough exposure.”

Managing a nuanced perspective on things is particularly vexing when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the extreme, life-destroying urgency of climate change, for example. Often, you can catch an artist having gone through these motions and realizing that, say, flying to biennials is bad for the environment and a grueling way to live, too. So they turn their own realization into a dictum and hold everyone up to this standard of their own making.

20180806

Bought a book by Michel Serres and started working on an application for the Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. I’ve written a 12 page research proposal called “Horse & Performance” (it’s taken me two-to-three weeks and I’m currently waiting for comments/guidance from friends). The English summary is the last part (I’m having trouble with it). Apparently I want to spy on people, talk to horses and ask them what they think about our perception of them.  I can’t read the the summary without giggling – Which has to be a good sign.

The “Horse & Performance” research investigates “what do we talk about, when we talk about horses” at Finnish horse-stables. The research is rooted on an ethnographic study which analyses how horse-hobbyist and professional construct the figure of the contemporary-horse. The ethnographic part of the research will focus on situations were people explain the animals behaviour trough unintentional utterance, murmured while working with them. I will also engage in an “performance architectural” analysis of the sites, where people meet with horses, trough which I will formulate an understanding on how particular sites (and particular technologies presented in them) affect our perception of the animal. The fieldwork will be contrasted to the work of artists and theorists who have contributed to the development of the “animal-turn”.

From these sources I will develop a set of post-humanistically geared exercises and grooming techniques, through which I will direct the question to the horses themselves and ask for their feedback. These exercises will be presented as public performances, organized in urban spaces. The feedback audiences provide will be used to further develop an understanding of the contemporary-horse. Performing publicly with an animals cause conflicts through which we can access views and assumptions people project on them. Techniques developed through this research, can be used to ask animals for feedback on how build environments should be organized. The research aims to advance the wellbeing of animals and to advocate ethical environmental design.

Here is a list of texts I refer in the full proposal:

  • Barad, Karen. 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter
  • Butler, Judith. 2015. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
  • Cull, Laura. 2012. Theatres of Immanence – Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance
  • Despret, Vinciane. 2016. What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2007. When Species Meet
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2013. SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far.
  • Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene
  • Hribal, Jason. 2003. “Animals Are Part of the Working Class”: A Challenge to Labor History
  • Hribal, Jason. 2012. Animals are Part of the Working Class Reviewed
  • Ingold, Tim. 2011. The Perception of the Environment. Essays on Livelihood
  • Korhonen, Pauliina. 2014. Ratsastusreitit kaupunkialueella – Suunnitteluesimerkkinä Länsi-Vantaan ratsastusreitit
  • Leinonen, Riitta-Marja. 2013. Palvelijasta terapeutiksi – Ihmisen ja hevosen suhteen muuttuvat kulttuuriset mallit Suomessa
  • Mbembe, Achille. 2003. Necropolitics
  • Mitsuda, Tatsuya. 2007. Horse in European History 1550-1900
  • Kaimio, Tuire. 2004. Hevosen kanssa
  • Malm, Andreas. 2016. Fossil Capital – The rise of Steam-power and the Roots of Global Warming
  • Mejdell, Buvik, Jørgensen & Bøe. 2016. Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences
  • Morton, Timothy. 2017. Humankind
  • Ojanen, Karoliina. 2011. Tyttöjen toinen koti – Etnografinen tutkimus tyttökulttuurista ratsastustalleilla
  • Salminen, Antti & Vadén, Tere. 2016. Energia ja kokemus: Naftologinen essee
  • Serres, Michel. 2010. Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution?
  • Schweder, Alex. 2011. Performance Architecture
  • Urry, John. 2004. The ‘System’ of Automobility
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2015. The Roundabout Revolutions
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2017. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation
  • Wright, Stephen. 2014. Toward a Lexicon of Usership