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Reading Lovecraft The Shadow Out of Time (1934). After this I’ll read The Mountain of Madness and The Call of Chulhu. Lovecraft might be good source for developing an understanding of horses (and other non-human beasts).

The story of The Shadow Out of Time is told by a man called Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee whose mind is snatched to work in an massive archive populated by drones. He is (along other drones) tasked to document the history of the world (and worlds) in the service of the Great Race. The plant like Great Race is in the process of departing our world and set to live in the future (because they fear the “elder beings”). The library is located in the past of our world (between Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods) but drones (some of who have human minds) that serve the archive come from all ages. The task of documenting everything is so enormous that Nathaniel can’t maintain a stable mind. The archive he describes feels like a data center and narrator is slowly turning into some kind of artificial intelligence. The horror of this story is in the description of the various states of self awareness this intelligence is in. The text is very tricky to read.

The text bundles psychology, archeology and geology. The narrator is on a quest to understand a personal experience (a sudden change in his person and amnesia), this leads to a quest to understand myths, which leads to a quest to understand the world that has created the myths. Perhaps Haraway has used this approach to draft her proposal on different scales that should be thought of when facing other species (biological, cultural and face-to-face). The term “post-human” is mentioned (or specifically a “posthuman beetle race”)! Other interesting concepts are “pseudo-memory”, “memory-rhythm” (a choreography for opening a lock) and “myth-born unreality”. The narrator is excavating trough layers of concealed memories (trauma) and prompted to orchestrate a archeological excavation. The researchers discover archeological and geological evidence which confirms that the narrators pseudo-memories from the distant past are real, that his trauma is based on actual events which took place before his birth. The Lovecraftian world feels very similar to the world of the enchanted, which is depicted in ME AND MINE film (2018).

Here is a description of the archives the narrator is forced to work in and his body when it’s in its virtual drone state:

And then the morbid temptation to look down at myself became greater and greater, till one night I could not resist it. At first my downward glance revealed nothing whatever. A moment later I perceived that this was because my head lay at the end of a flexible neck of enormous length. Retracting this neck and gazing down very sharply, I saw the scaly, rugose, iridescent bulk of a vast cone ten feet tall and ten feet wide at the base. That was when I waked half of Arkham with my screaming as I plunged madly up from the abyss of sleep.

Only after weeks of hideous repetition did I grow half-reconciled to these visions of myself in monstrous form. In the dreams I now moved bodily among the other unknown entities, reading terrible books from the endless shelves and writing for hours at the great tables with a stylus managed by the green tentacles that hung down from my head.

[…]

The archives were in a colossal subterranean structure near the city’s center, which I came to know well through frequent labors and consultations. Meant to last as long as the race, and to withstand the fiercest of earth’s convulsions, this titan repository surpassed all other buildings in the massive, mountain-like firmness of its construction.

The records, written or printed on great sheets of a curiously tenacious cellulose fabric were bound into books that opened from the top, and were kept in individual cases of a strange, extremely light, rustless metal of greyish hue, decorated with mathematical designs and bearing the title in the Great Race’s curvilinear hieroglyphs.

The narrator returns to the archive site in a later episode and tells about the same space when he is in human form:

One thing only was unfamiliar, and that was my own size in relation to the monstrous masonry. I felt oppressed by a sense of unwonted smallness, as if the sight of these towering walls from a mere human body was something wholly new and abnormal. Again and again I looked nervously down at myself, vaguely disturbed by the human form I possessed.

[…]

The very prints of my shoes behind me in the millennially untrodden dust made me shudder. Never before, if my mad dreams held anything of truth, had human feet pressed upon those immemorial pavements.

The way a distant creature is described reminds me of being close to a horse when it’s breathing heavily while trotting:

There was a wind, too – not merely a cool, damp draught, but a violent, purposeful blast belching savagely and frigidly from that abominable gulf whence the obscene whistling came.

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Visited an event organized by Jaana Laakkonen at Asematila space during the weekend. She read texts inside a tent structure which was constructed out of paintings. Works were also exhibited on the floor and some were stored in plastic bags (“for ease of transport”, I was told). She offered them for display on demand and flipped through canvases like a persian rug-dealer in a bazaar. Some pieces had been painted outdoors and were affected by mold. It felt like the mold was a sort of commentary on post-representationalism: The paintings study post-humanistic models of art making, while providing a habitat for non-human critters. The canvas serves as an image, a map, a diary and a Petrie Dish.

I was offered a brightly colored publication. It features close-up photos of painting materials (textures), glimpse of sites she’s worked at and partial outdoor scenes. The publication does not have any text in it and it feels like a sneak peak into an artists practice – Like peeping into a painters studio through a partially open door (intentionally opened by the artist). I also received three printed texts (folded inside the booklet). I’ve only read one: “Does Art Escape When Posthuman Performativity Enters (On [Not] Delivering it)” which is an intimate story about the artists relationship with a dog, bundled with a work journal of sorts.

The event and the texts emphasize entanglement (Referring to Karen Barad & Donna Haraway). This emphasis was present in the way that the artists mixed together intimate stories, technical depictions of the painting equipment and posthuman theory. I had difficulties in engaging with the event because of the artists the personal presence. It was as if she had constructed a zoo around herself. The intensity and intimate nature of the texts, the mold and the artists body predetermined my relation to the site. If the texts would have been read by an actor I could have roamed the stage more freely.

It was an inspirational event – It is as if she was painting with texts. Post-truth-realms have made the representational value of art weak, which is why contemporary art emphasizes on text and performance. Text, performance and bodybuilding exercises (working bodies against material weights) are essential tools to keep us grounded, to keep us in the same world or even to develop new common ground. Working with texts, weights and witnessing events require effort which is why knowledge they produce can be trusted.

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If I’ve understood “Situated Knowledges: […]” by Donna Haraway correctly, she claims provocatively that the ones oppressed by the system do not understand the system better than the oppressors (I believe she’s arguing in this manner in an effort to motivate women into engaging with “hard-sciences”).

“To see from below is neither easily learned or unproblematic, even if ‘we’ ‘naturally’ inhabit the great underground terrain of subjugated knowledges. […] The standpoints of the subjugated are not ‘innocent’ positions. […] ‘Subjugated’ standpoints are preferred because they seem to promise more adequate, sustained, objective, transforming accounts of the world. But how to see from below is a problem requiring at least as much skill with bodies and language, with the mediations of vision, as the ‘highest’ technoscientific visualizations.”

Derrida insisted that all human codes and cultural expressions are “writing” and that everything can be understood as text. This means that bodies bashing against structures and seeking affordances, are in fact “reading” our culture. From this perspective the ones that are exposed to the violence of our system have more access to to it’s structures! Do victims understand crimes better than criminals?

Interesting video Black Market International Documentary (2005).

Hevoslinja GOES WEST

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Toteutimme 2014 Turku-Helsinki ratsastusperformanssi ja 2015 esitimme projektin yhteenvedon Mäntän kuvataideviikoilla. Ratsastimme näyttelyyn Kokkomäen tallin matkassa Keuruun suunnalta. Vuonna 2016 Hevoslinja harppaa ulkomaille. Tavoitteena on löytää malleja, joiden avulla voisimme vahvistaa paikallisesta hevoskulttuuristamme tunnistettuja, kestävää kehitystä ja ei-ihmiskeskeistä ajattelua tukevia suuntauksia.

Ensimmäisen matkan kohteena on Uusi-Seelanti, jonne pääsemme New Performance Turku -festivaalin järjestämänä. Paikallisissa kontaktoinneissa avustaa Aucklandin yliopiston lehtori, taiteilija Mark Harvey. Tämän suhteilla alkaa sunnuntaina työskentely paikallisen hevostilan kanssa. Tallihommien ohella valmistaudutaan esityksiin jotka toteutuvat Te Uru Waitakere -nykytaidegalleriassa. Vast’ikään englanniksi käännetty hevoselokuva “Come Together, Leave Together” saa tuolloin kansainvälisen ensi-iltansa! Tapahtuman muita suomalaisia edustajia ovat Leena Kela, Pilvi Porkola, Oblivia ja Antti Laitinen

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Matkan tavoitteena on arvioida hevosen osuutta kolonialistisissa prosesseissa. Uuden-Seelannin alkuperäisasukkaat Maorit sekä eurooppalaiset uudisraivaat ovat eläneet rinnakkain 1700-luvun lopusta alkaen. Tätänykyä valtio kuuluu brittiläiseen kansainyhteisöön ja väestö on suurimmalta osin eurooppalaistaustaista. Maoreiden asema sekä oikeudet ovat kiistaa herättävä keskustelunaihe. Hevosten saapuminen saarelle on tallentunut Maoreiden kansantarustoon. Kun hevoset ensimmäisen kerran laskettiin laivasta saaren rantaan 200 vuotta sitten, maorit pitivät niitä legendojensa merihirviöinä. (Kiinnostavasti myös kreikkalaisen mytologioissa hevonen on yhteydessä meren jumalaan Poseidoniin). Maorien tapauksessa hirviömäisessä ensivaikutelmassa oli perää, sillä hevoset mahdollistivat vaikeakulkuisen saaren valloittamisen! Hevoset ovat olleet maoreille kuitenkin myös hyödyllinen tuttavuus. Etäällä elävät heimot ovat pystyneet pitämään niiden avulla yhteyttä, ja hevoset kuuluvat edelleen saaren asukkaiden arkeen. Koulukuljetuksia järjestetään hevospelillä vielä 2000-luvulla.

Hevosten leviäminen ympäri maailman on seurausta eri aikakausina tapahtuneesta kolonialistisesta voimapolitiikasta. Mikäli pidämme eläintä kumppanina, jonka genomin menestys on sidottu omaamme, voimme nähdä hevosen toimineen liittolaisena kolonialistisissa pyrinnöissä. Hevonen on siis myötävaikuttaja brittiläisen imperiumin kyseenalaisessa menestyksessä. Donna Harawayn ehdottama kumppanuuslajiajattelu saa eläimen näyttämään osasyylliseltä! Haastattelemalla paikallisia hevostoimijoita pyritään selvittämään, miten Maorit ovat onnistunut sovittamaan hevosen kansantarustoonsa ja kenen etua järjestely palvelee. Onko 200 vuoden aikana kehittyneessä hevoskulttuurissa kysymys hevosten approprioimisesta Maorien kulttuuriin vai miehittäjien tekniikoiden (ja maailmankuvan) yleistymisestä alkuperäisväestön keskuudessa?

Reissunpäältä toimitettaan matkapäiväkirjaa. Matkalla kuvattuja haastatteluita tullaan esittämään myöhemmin keväällä.