20191108

Knowledge-speculation During Climate Crises ­- ”When You Say We Belong To The Light We Belong To The Thunder” at EKKM (2019) Jussi Koitela.

[A]ddressing the climate crisis and crises caused by human agency and western thought, there is a need for exhibition methodology which handles much more complex and intersectional approaches than the current representational and politically reductive modes of presenting artworks, research, or critical discourses. In many cases, these models reduce the meanings of artworks and artistic research (which contain complex processes of experimentation and exploration, references to multidisciplinary theoretical conversations, and multivocal political debates) to discourses which highlight the most straightforward, and populistic aspects of the works.

What becomes evident after experiencing the exhibition is that it’s crucial for contemporary art institutions to support and foster long-term projects of curators, institutions, artistic researchers, and practitioners which manage to create new forms of knowledges regarding complex urgencies such as contemporary colonialism, climate chaos, and nationalism.

He seems very impressed by the exhibition curated by Heidi Ballet and hopes that it will serve as a point-of-departure for future exhibition making processes. I wish I’d share his optimism. I fear the process of “exhibiting” is categorically self-affirming. Exhibition architecture, so very rarely, allows people to discover themselves forming disruptive assemblies. They emphasize professional-flâneuring, which echoes work or more accurately faking working (which is faking knowing whats what). Exhibitions allow people to discard disruptive inputs. With “disruptive” I don’t mean violent.. More like, disruptive as in discovering how to be a parent. Every learning experience is disruptive and I think learning by doing is most effective (workshops are key).

We had our first exhibition building and sound-session with Johannes yesterday. We also visited Oksasenkatu 11 for the MEMExhibition by HYPERREAALIYAH. The artist has written an intriguing paranoia-inducing text kuinka lakkasin olemasta ja opin rakastamaan meemejä* (2018). We discussed how (or if) browsing internet has taught us to desensitized ourselves. Shared an anecdote from Outi Heiskanen, who recalled playing with severed horse testicles in her youth (her father was a vet). The balls bounced like we presently know plastics to behave.

Visited Timo Bredenbergs Without Friction exhibition at Muu gallery. I enjoyed his video, it felt like a an archeological excavation of present day financial capitalism executed from the future. We were presented with broken 3d renderings of New York City landmarks, important for the recent history of global economics. The architectural views were followed with text snippets, which felt like a future archeologist field notes and glimpses of shaky virtual hands, which attempted to interface with the information. The hand gestures echoed signs stock traders used in the past to signify transactions. I think the archeology of hand gestures in itself would be a really interesting exploration.

Digital Frictions: Where Code Meets Concrete (2019) Shannon Mattern. The article uses a still of Bredenbergs video as an illustration and explores the frictionlessness nature of economic-cities. As a reply for the text we could argue that creating patterns and shapes which refuse to align with contemporary spaces (both digital and tangible) is important, because odd designs cause friction, which is need for developing energy.

Every engine needs friction. I guess an analogy for accelerationisms would be “to purposely oil a machine until it looses friction”.

As an exercise for exploring friction: The hands of partisipants could be oiled (with olive oil) and they would be guided to touch each others hands, so that the frictionlessness, would cause the participants to loose awareness of the other persons touch.

20191104

Returning from a teaching gig at Villa Arttu youth art school in Hyvinkää. I had the opportunity to spend a weekend with 28, 12-17 year olds, teaching “Performance Architecture” (as defined by Schweder) by using various movement, body awareness and voice based exercises. Participants came from Rovaniemi, Hämeenlinna and Hyvinkää. The group was divided in two batches which alternated each day between my workshop and a sound/media sessions taught by Simi Ruotsalainen.

The “Performance Architecture” workshops started with fake-laugh yoga and an exploration on how voices resonate inside bodies. Voice-making was framed as an internal-organ sculpturing exercise. Participants massaged the insides of their mouths using their tongues and attempted to identify where different tones resonate from. The idea of sound-making as an internal-organ sculpture practice was inspired by әṾӨȻΔ𐐉 -exhibition by Jenna Sutela & Lars TCF Holdhus at Sinne (2015). After the warm up we begun massaging your imaginations in a “What if…” session, in which participants only communicate by asking “What if…”. This exercise is something I picked up from a seminar called “Performative Utopias” organized by Reality Research Center in 2013 (for Baltic Circle).

Then we continued doing echo-izings: Each group member was expected to utter a word or tone, which others repeated. The word or tone had to relate to the space we were in. The exercise continued until everyone had shared their voice. The idea that everyone has to speak out for an exercise to end, was motivated by Peggy Pierrots community talk-shop guidelines from 2017. We practiced deep breathing, standing and walking in a confined space. These exercises were based on basic contact improvisation teaching techniques: The group begun by moving in a rigid grid pattern (90° turns, slow and fast walking). After a while they were allowed to stop their movements when they felt like it. The act of stopping was framed as a personal political strike, which offered an opportunity to reflect the situation. Striking as an action comes from an idea by Jussi Koitela: Activism becomes political, when people stop being “active” and reflect their situation.

After the trust within the group was founded, they begun to use the space more freely and we combined echo-izings to the movement. When people spotted motivating objects, shapes or things in the space, they were advised to stop, to point at the thing and voice their observation. Group members then followed the action: Stopped, pointed at the same thing and repeated what was said about it. This method of reading a space collectively was inspired by Patterns of Life by Julien Prévieux (2015). Participant were then advised to use the same technique for reflecting the joined movements and actions, that were emerging from within the group. Then the group spend a long silent session moving and exploring each others clothes, garments and jewelries. This lead into a very nice session, were people touched each others softly and recognized each others. Each phase of the exercise was discussed collectively before progressing.

Then we performed a repetitive minimalistic stepping dance choreography, which I saw executed as a part of the “Monstera” performance by Essi Kausalainen. I consulted Kausalainen about using her pattern in teaching and got some insight on it. The movement was framed as something intrinsic to living things and when setting it up for the participants I compared the dance to the movement of plants when they are seeking light. People associated the movement with something they do while “idling”, when waiting for a buss etc. We then performed very long sessions following the choreography and discussed what it felt like. People experienced the movement as soothing and enjoyed performing it collectively. We executed it in a large circle and the size of circle alternated during each session. It felt like we were breathing. I recorded the rhythm of our feet and we listened to the recordings, discussing how movement can be documented and how we can hear movement articulated. People seemed to really like listening and spend up to 10 minutes in silence, returning to the rhythmic noise they had produced earlier.

The group was then divided into 3-4 sub-groups, which were tasked to invent their own movement patterns. I presented the authoring of these patterns as a process were we write shapes inside our brains and recall them using muscle memory. We contemplated the ethics of writing inside an other persons brain and tried to visualize how our brains were altered by this experience. Reading was presented as a method of writing into oneself. The sub-groups then developed their own patterns in semi-privacy. After a while we returned to the collective circle, groups taught their pattern to others and performed them for as long as it took for everyone to incorporate them. After this we performed all of the different dances, so that they followed each other with out any forced direction. These sessions were recorded and we listened to them reflecting the experience. Here is a clip from the first session (12 students moving).

The event ended in a soft-lecture, trough which I attempted to explain what “performativity” and “post-structuralism” are. These sessions were more like chats as participants could ask questions and share their ideas during the presentation. The lecture was loosely based on Richard Schechners Performance Studies book from 2013 and the group was tasked to contemplate how repetition inscribes attitudes to our bodies. The workshop was a continuation of the “Post-Structuralism for Kids” sessions I taught in the same school in 2017. There is a short text about it in Finnish: Kehittäkää itsellenne lukihäiriö ja istukaa lattialla [Develop Dyslexia and Sit on the Floor] (2019).

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.

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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.