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Visited Lau Nau: Wild/Captive at Blank Forms last weekend. Modular synth beats from multiple directions, blended with field recordings from the woods and organ-toned melodies. Many of the nature-sound-trips I’ve heard in the city (Bánh Mì Verlag/Control gigs) have been based on field recording too. They have underlined the differences of technological and natural soundscapes, moving from nature-like-sound towards machine-like-sounds (the narrative contrasts them and makes technological sounds feel disrupting). In Naukkarises’ piece the organ-toned melodies (from an accordion?) blended into nature sounds seamlessly. It was a tad romantic, but welcome. It felt hopeful.

Visited Storm King Art Center last Monday with the ISCP-crew. There were also people from other residents such as Eye Beam at the trip but unfortunately we didn’t have time to mingle (it was so cold outside). The endless display of gigantic rusty metal sculptures was depressing but there were some pretty vistas, fresh air and decent artworks on display too.

Mary Mattingly’s Along the Lines of Displacement: A Tropical Food Forest (2018) is a series of tropical trees planted to the cold New York terrain. The palm trees were intentionally displaced, as an absurd and uplifting response to global warming. They are destined to die during the winter, which makes the piece into a memento mori plant-life arrangement. Being non-native to New York I didn’t understand that the trees were unsuited to the climate (palm trees in New York pass my radar).

There was  a really nice video Wolf Nation (2018) by Alan Michelson on display inside the exhibition center. Michelson had found a remarkable stretch of footage from a disregarded wildlife film, which showed a pack of wolves observing their territory on top of a small hill for 10 minutes. They choreographed different kinds of collective arrangements, reacting to other inhabitants of the site and moved in an out the frame periodically. The wildlife film was found footage and Michelson had connected it with a soundtrack. The work referred to the New York Lenape people (Wolf Tribe).

Visited Remy Jungerman’s Based In exhibition at robert henry contemporary on Friday. I had no prior knowledge of his work and decoding its visual language took a while. Luckily Jungerman gave visitors short introduction to the works. As I understood the pieces were tools for identifying blind-spots that modern art and modernistic thinking has in relation to spirituality and otherness. The sculptures in the gallery felt like miniature models of modern cities or container ships. Each had a few iron-nails hammered into it. At first I thought that this was reference to the absence of materiality (in modern design) but the nails were possibly referring to religious practices in which nails are hammered into figurative sculptures as a sacrifice.

Participated in a Lorre-Mill uTone build workshop at Control yesterday. The uTone “uses CMOS logic, a resistor ladder, and a few other simple pieces to create audio forms. The scale inherent in this instrument is the undertone series, giving divisions of the main clock frequency”. Here is more about the design. We build our uTone units in four hours, hooked them together for a jam and chatted briefly about the topography of the circuit. I learned how to read resistor values from color codes a little better. Unfortunately the workshop was too short, we didn’t learn more about Will Schorre’s views on design and sounds (here is an interesting post on his website on prototyping). I would have also liked to learn more what the uTone is capable of. It has two inputs. I’m in the process of adding an 3,5mm TS Jack -> Banana Jack port/adapter to the device to integrate it with other gear.

We drafted a proposal with Ilari to have a publication on land- and environmental art conservation (Working title: Notes on Land and Environmental Art Conservation – Critical Approaches to Denes, Holt and Smithson) co-published by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New Yorks and the Fine Art Academy of Helsinki.

Synths and eurorack modules we proposed through the Oodi-modular initiative are currently being acquired by the library staff! We are on our way to a people’s-public-modular of Helsinki.

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Learned about Shaun Leonardo’s I Can’t Breathe workshops (a 2017 article on Hyperallergic by Seph Rodney). Leonardo’s workshops are in stark contrast to the Police Horse Care & Control workshops we organised with Pietari. Leonardo is teaching people how to survive chokeholds – We are teaching audiences what it feels like to support the weight of a police officer with your body and to have your body supported by theirs in exchange.

Finnish Cultural Institute in New York published my artist profile on their website.

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Wrote the text “JOBINTERVIEW” on my studio wall (in cat size letters) to keep me grounded. It’s written in turquoise. If I could start over I’d write “THE DANCE COMPANY”. There is ample room in my studio so I still might.

I cycled to Manhattan today to meet other residents from Finland at the Fciny offices. Crossing the Williamsburg Bridge felt like entering a new world. The skyline was thick with smoke. Someone had written cynical words on the cycling lane pavement: “Self absorbed”, “Smothered”, “Rich”… etc. The words, written in faint white spray paint formed a welcome mat for entering Manhattan. A lot of cyclists sing while they ride and some play music from their boom boxes.. They sing to make themselves noticeable on the road – Being visible makes riders more safe (the same logic applies to working with horses). Americans speak and laugh loudly. I guess this habit could be read as a safety measure: When people hear each other perform they can locate each other and set their bearings straight. Are people who talk loudly afraid of something?

My time in New York feels like an investment. I now have 177 days to yield profits from this trip. I operate on a Day-Currency which is slipping trough my fingers when I make bad investments (like wait in traffic lights). Messaged Jesse and plotted new Ore.e Ref. services:

  1. “Product photos in New York service for Artisans”
  2. “The Temporary New York Sock Repair service”

In the first service artisans could send their craft items for me in New York to have them photographed against the Manhattan skyline. The second service is self explanatory: People could send their socks to me in NYC and I’d fix them (and take photos of them against the Manhattan skyline and wash them in the East River before sending them back).

This city is teaching me about scales. I have some ideas formulating on this matter but nothing clear yet (things felt clear for a second on the bridge but I forgot everything when I returned home).

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Rasmus Hedlund Luminös Klang (2018). A good vibes summer techno track with a video by Paula. The track has a strong Maurizio vibe and the road trip music video is in baltic-style.

A Kulttuuri ykkönen episode on the power of curating. Jussi gives a good description on what culture institutions are: Factories which reproduce the past. This is why we should not expect museums, stages etc. to react to pressing political issues. They are specifically designed to keep art and life separate, which is why they cannot serve decolonial, radical identity politics (they can only create representations of these movements). He also offers an honest description of the work of curators: It’s only partly about curating.

Settling to New York City. The Fciny crew welcomed our four member family warmly. We sorted our two room apartment so that the kids have their own room. The apartment building has a gym in its basement and it’s located very close to the Grand Street in Brooklyn (Control is right next door!). Had to buy a new phone, my Oneplus3t LTE doesn’t work here. Got a Samsung 7J Prime (it’s scrappy). All of the food is coated with sugar, everyone I’ve seen has an iPhone and our apartment air-conditioner is leaking water (had to pry it open to drain it). And it’s all great! The city is more spacious then I expected.

I want a Rakit Analogue Drum Synthesizer kit.

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Finally completed a lengthy article about my experience of working as Environmental- / Land Art Conservator for the Strata project in Pinsiö 2013. I worked in a team tasked to restore Up and Under (1998) by Nancy Holt and The Tree Mountain by Agnes Denes (1996).  A big part of that text is an analysis of the controversy caused by Spiral Jetty conservation efforts. The text is currently being reviewed by Mustekala.org and if it passes I might translate parts of it into English too. I should craft it into a zine too…

I contacted Dia foundation in New York and offered to prepare a presentation about the the work we did for the environmental artworks commissioned by Strata.  They haven’t replied yet. Attempted to open a dialogue with contemporary art conservators at Kiasma too but they haven’t replied either. They must get a lot of contact requests from Environmental- / Land Art Conservator’s around the world.

Finnish Cultural Institute in New York is trying to arrange a meeting with the NYPD mounted police unit for me. We drafted a long letter together and I hope it’ll open a dialogue with them. I’ll start the visa application process tomorrow.