20200323

Performing the Fringe exhibition at Konsthall C was rewarding to setup. Most of the artists in our group came to Stockholm, where we were warmly welcomed by Erik Annerborn & staff. On site we had the pleasure to work with Kaisa Sööt who had designed the exhibition architecture. She had build wavy-benches based on a park seating design spotted in Hökarängen. A localized furniture architecture development effort (reminded me of NCD-C swingers club designs).

I arrived a day before my performance to extract samples from stone architecture using kitchenware from Ikea. A meat-hammer served as a mallet and a regular table knife as a chisel. I pulverized the rocks using a Ikea stone mortar & pestle. The powder was gray and dissolved (seemingly) well into the water (0,3 mg per liter). Polukord noted that granite ore contains metals which caused some concerns (I wonder if it’s possible to separate metals from ore using a magnet?).

My portable CO2 regulator worked well and produced ~5,5 bars of pressure inside standard 1,5 liter plastic bottles, which I used for water-to-gas agitation and serving. The gas was from a local shop which stocks consumer grade 475g CO2 tanks (CGA320 treads). Interestingly the plastic bottles stretched when I added pressure and when shaked the plastics retraction would add to the pressure, causing the content to retreat back towards the regulator. In my first rehearsals this counter pressure caused the valves to come loose.

The next day I performed for a private family which lives in the district. The family connection was facilitated by Annerborn, who introduced me to them in person before the show. I executed my performance in the family’s kitchen. I had some trouble with my sound system, the shape of the space caused a feedback loop, which was hard to resolve. I attempted to do the talk bits in Swedish (my Swedish language skills are fringy, which works well with the project theme) but turned to English midway and the kids lost interest soon after. My statuesque warm-up dance moves were constantly commented by kids, which made pacing difficult. The performance was a delightful mess.

The family was very concentrated on the presentation. I had some minor problems maintaining cohesion, the event challenged the artistic integrity of the piece in a good way. A beneficial learning opportunity and I think the family enjoyed the chamber performance too. We chatted a bit after the performance and they showed their backyard. I was donated a piece of rock from their garden and prompted to make mineral water from it.

The coronavirus didn’t change the performance much. At the time there was no social distancing etiquette guidelines in place in Stockholm (a week an a half ago). We did maintain a little more distance then normally and I executed extra caution in the water preparation. If the family would have wanted I could have made the performance outdoors, in which case it would have been a typical lecture-performance.

Our exhibition opening was cancelled, even so there were some 10 visitors at the space for the opening. This was just enough for setting the mood and actually made the social situation more dense than normal openings. The fewer people there are the more focus they demand. Performances for big audiences are more relaxed because the crowd behavior is more easy to react to than individual gazes. I prepared different waters for the guests and people were exited to drink them (particularly the gravestone water).

Katarina Frifarare had a parallel opening in the Konsthall C Centrifug space. The Centrifug can be booked for exhibitions by anyone and the dates of the show are set randomly. We should have something like this in Helsinki too, in the Taidehalli space? Frifarare’ exhibition was a leftist analysis of women’s textile work and made a good match with our exhibition.

20190808

Participated on my second Performing the Fringe walk/un-conference last weekend in Vilnius. The project is organized by curators Inga Lace & Jussi Koitela. On site we were also hosted by Ula Tornau from the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC). Hooked up with old friends I met in Stockholm (Andrej Polukord, Flo Kasearu, Jon Benjamin Tallerås) and I was introduced to new friends Lara Almarcegui and Michele Matyn. The visit was eventful and tightly scheduled. Upon arrival we gave short introductions to our work and sociologist Siarhei Liubimou presented his research. He had identified that soviet nuclear power-plant workers form tightly related groups and resemble an ethnicity. The workers are highly specialized and under the states protection. They can carry out their entire working careers in relation to different power-plants, live in semi-closed communities and their offspring often continue the work.

Liubimous talk on how people moving daily between European cities for work, can be understood as the core of the emerging pan-European population, offered an interesting framework for viewing how the temporary Performing the Fringe artist-network is organized: Our group was brought together trough synchronous movement, which was steered by abstract spatial targets (instead of articulated aims). Example. In Vilnius we attempted to reach a TV tower by foot and in the process the entire landscape we passed, merely facilitated our joined movement. Our movement made the city into an abstract surface, which I believe we read primarily in relation to our joined movement. Relationships in the group were informed by the landscape but not defined by it.

The next day Lina Albrikiene took us on an emotional walk in her childhood surroundings. Later she took us on a walk in Lazdynai, a district supposedly modeled after Tapiola (I made a video about their relationship 2012). Kipras Dubauskas took our group under the city, we walked a kilometer in old rainwater tunnels. Some parts of the tunnels were build using bricks and others were made from newer materials. It was a time-trip of sorts – The city felt like an organism. We visited Delta Mityba in the evening for the exhibition and eating. We were kindly hosted by Robertas Narkus who gave us a tour of the space and shared his experiences in combating gentrification. The next day Vitalij Cerviakov took us on a toxic-walk to the “most polluted” parts of the city. As we walked the landscape revealed itself like a narration. A notable vista opened when we approached new grave yards, which were situated between a barren wasteland and an Ikea, our movement felt like a movie. I think that the banks, national internet server facilities and parliaments are more toxic then the route we took. Our group talked non-stop during the trip (expect on the latter walk which was a silent) and we spend the nights visiting art events around the city.

Through Cerviakov’s toxic-walk, I arrived to the understanding that the contemporary art we saw in the city was trying to develop a narrative or some other reasoning, to explain the current state of affairs. Experiences of city habitats and creatives are not commonly known and people we met exhibited a strong desire to share their story or present how they had come to terms with the post-state of affairs. I could feel the weigh-of-the-west forcing people to articulate their desires (even though most desires are best left unarticulated, this does not mean unexposed). It felt like artists were defined by this forced-reasoning-process, either trough their protest against it or skills in aligning with it. Nostalgia that looks to a future, which failed to arrive is a viable form of protest: Some future communists want only wool shirts, yogurt and to share the faint heat of their shelters.

Watched Rocky VI (1986) by Aki Kaurismäki after the trip and understood better: Beating the referee and the audience is the only way to win and winning is nothing. I was very inspired by the event and I’ve scribbling notes frantically since my return. The project will continue 2020.

Performed at Lal Lal Lal: Neptunalia 2019 at Tenho two weeks ago. Got on stage with Regular Dog, Pauliina Haasjoki, Reijo Pami, Sara Milazzo, Arttu Partinen & DJ Paukku. I presented a mineral water lecture which I brightened up using live fizzy water sounds (used an amp I build earlier). Ended my talk by preparing a batch of faux s.pellegrino using chalkstone from an ammonite fossil (talk notes in Finnish). My talk resonated particularly well with Haasjokis geological-poetry. Pami used a bucked of water as a sequencer, Partinen played moody ambient using cassettes, Milazzo had an array of tech on stage which she used to probe the dynamics of space and deep water exploration. Regular Dog was cute – Bought their cassette.

20190409

Participated in the first Performing the Fringe -event or un-conference in Stockholm last weekend. The research project is organized by curators Inga Lace & Jussi Koitela and the process will continue till 2020. The project feels very similar to the Alkovi Gallery Russian-focus program and activities I’m participating in (which is convenient). We walked and talked for two days around the Hökarängen district. Our group was introduced to the area by researcher Moa Tunström and other activist/artists. We visited Kulturhuset Cyklopen, local allotment gardens which were introduced to us by Janna Holmstedt, an old (still active) graffitiwall which was introduced to us by Lina Eriksson and a horse stable where we met Svarten (horse). Activities were centered around Konsthall C, which managing director Erik Annerborn hosted us warmly. The group participating in Performing the Fringe consists of artists from the Baltic-Nordic region. I had the pleasure to meet Andrej Polukord (he also is the director of Galerie Uberall, we coined the term Easternational in a chat), Asbjørn Skou (we talked about kettlebells!), Flo Kasearu (who gave a great presentation of her house museum), Jon Benjamin Tallerås (we talked about carpentry. Tallerås shared his view that urban structures which are designed to guide our movements work because they have a “semiotic quality to them”. We could easily bypass a fence but it is intended to be read read as like a language. The fence speaks to us and says: “Don’t move from here.”) and Valentina Karga (whom I know from her work in Maunula). The group will head to Pori during the summer and my next engagement with the project will be in Vilnius.

Will Brexit break up the UK? (2019) An Other Europe Podcast. A very tight analysis of the ideological backgrounds of Brexit. Offers many useful concepts such as “structural emotion” which explains the process when politicians work to justify their feelings using rational arguments.