20180419

Reached out to Persian Parade NYC and asked if they know of a Zoorkhaneh in the city.

20170314

Edits on the SOW: Blacksmith sample pack are progressing steadily and I’ll have all of the samples chopped by the end of the week. After this I’ll continue with mastering. EQ fixes are almost done but the dynamics of some loud machines and hammers pose a challenge. After the fixes I’ll export the samples and continue organizing them into folders and adding​ metadata. If everything goes as planned we can publish the pack by the end of the month. I plan to make a intro video for the collection at Jesses smithy.

Did some benchmarking and found a few companies and private artists offering blacksmith sounds and other industrial noises for sound designers and musicians. Some of these links have been collected by Paul Virostek who runs the Creative Field Recordings blog.

  • Freesound offers 134 sound tagged “blacksmith” for Free!
  • Bluezone Corporation offers the “Metal Impact Sound Effects” pack for 14,95€
  • Eiravein works offers the “Ilmarinen” Blacksmith sample pack for 16€
  • Echocollectivefx’s offers the “Lockdown” sample pack for 40€
  • Hart FX offers a massive “Hart of Steel” collection for 99€

Minttu also recommend a Finnish ​musician who is working with junkyard sounds called Pentti Dassum. He works under the title Umpio and he’s currently engaged in a sounds of craft and labor project related to textiles.

I regret we didn’t use more professional mics for our recordings. The tonality of our samples is suitable for projects that are flirting with lo-fi field recording aesthetics. If we’d invested in more advanced mics we could could have reached out to the professional foley artist community too. Our efforts will provide a great addition to the Freesound community.

Assisted Ilkka Wahala (a graduate from the Kankaanpää Art School) with his real/simulation shooting documentation. He had organized a shooting range, an instructor and guns from Osuva a range located in the center of Helsinki. He shot with a Scorpion Assault Rifle and a pistol. I got to shoot too but only with a training gun. It was fun and the staff was very welcoming. Relatively cheap too.

Meeting Kristian at the gym in preparation of the Kontula Electronic gig.

20170302

Thanks to aesthetic relativism it’s considered pointless to make formal evaluations of artworks. This is great! As a result artists are considered more important than artworks (unfortunately art institutions prefer their artists dead).

Contemporary artworks are cynical puns, which an artist is employed to present for audiences. Audiences are invited to enjoy the style the pun is presented. This condition serves craftspeople who maintain myths about the integrity of artistic work (and performance artists).

People who are serious about arts compare contemporary presentation to presentations the artist made in the past. This is why it’s important to make a lot of artworks.

When there is an exciting body of work it is easy to imagine how new pieces fit to the collection. It’s more convenient to discuss (and appreciate) artworks made by artists with long careers. Careers and collections are less risky to manage then living artists.

Interestingly many of my artist peers are working out extensively. Fitness is the new black (See article on Vogue for hints). Is fitness.art an effort to bypass cynicism which aesthetic relativism enforces upon artistic practice?

Bodybuilding and fitness appear as efforts to assume control of the cultural dynamics aesthetic relativism has shoved us into. Fit bodies are absolute and their presentation serves as evidence of labor: Fit bodies can stand to oppose capital by becoming capital in themselves! Hints for this thought are found in an article by Jon Stratton (mentioned earlier).

I’m recovering from a teaching gig at the Kankaanpää Art School, where I conducted intensive Kettlebell exercises for the students. I think the primary reason for fitness as a part of the art education was to build bodies which can resist. See “Media & Performance” study journal for details.

I believe this is also why working class communities emphasised sports back in the day. As the automation of labor and ideologies of optimization and efficiency rejects our human bodies – The value of a body is the style it is presented in.

20170126

About to Dance: Swing of Politics (2008) Pia Lindy.

Alas there is hope. I’m planning to join the Miesten kurssi contemporary dance course at Zodiak.

Useful stuff for the “Performance and Media” course at Kankaanpää Art School and upcoming Kettlebell techno art: Building a Better Body: Male Bodybuilding, Spectacle and Consumption (1999) Jon Stratton.

The worker may spend her or his workweek laboring in a factory […] but when she or he goes to the shop to buy something the commodity being bought does not remind the workers of her or his labor and does not seem to have an origin outside the shop. The consequence is that social relations in capitalist society are mediated by commodities rather then thought of as a consequence of the organization of labor in capitalism. In short, the commodity is naturalized.

At the Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition [1893] two events took place that, retrospectively, may be understood as important moments […] of the spectacularization of the female and male bodies […] One was the first performance of belly dancing […] [which] marked an important step in the development of the striptease […]

It is at this historical moment that we find a new interest in the display of the male body. [Florenz] Ziegfeld promoted [Eugen] Sandow not as the world’s strongest, but as the world’s best-developed man’ […] Sandows’ act now hardly involved any feats of strength. Rather, it consisted of a series of poses. (More on Sandow)

The key to the spectacle of Sandow […], lies in the promotional description of Sandow as the world’s best-developed man. […] the male body was associated with productive labor, men being thought of ideologically as workers. The spectacle of the bodybuilding male body condensed and narrativized a story that involves labor, the natural, the manufactured and the commodity and that may be understood through Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism […] In modern Western thought, development has utopian ring to it. It connects with the ideas of progress, of modernization brought about by building or rebuilding and , ultimately with the idea of ‘developed countries’.

The commodified world is thought of as fundamentally unnatural […] satisfaction brought by these commodities is a consequence of their connection to a regime of fantasy […]. For the satisfaction to be realized, the desire must be naturalized, which means that the fantasy must, itself, take on a natural quality. […] In this context we can understand the bodybuilding body as mythically [Q: Mythically in regards to what? Walter Benjamin’s ‘mythical violence’?] attempting to combine the natural and the unnatural. […] the developed body, the bodybuilt body, is manufactured worked on by labor.

[…] the bodybuilt body seeks to resolve the unnatural, in the sense of the manufactured, into the natural. […] it asserts its production, offering itself, like a commodity, as a spectacle to be desired; not necessarily to be ‘acquired,’ by way of emulation […] but to be consumed as a spectacular creation of labor. Here, then, we have a narrative about labor. […] the body is transformed by its own labor into a manufacture body, which is at the same time, both natural and unnatural, simply a body but also a spectacle and a commodity.

[…] the myth of the bodybuilt body is premised on the idea that bodies can be (re)made. […]

Underlying the development of bodybuilding as a spectacle is the conceptual history of the body as a machine. […] During the nineteenth century the machinic understanding of the body was modified to that of a productive engine […] which produced, conserved and used up energy.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century the body began to be thought of as a machinic product rather than a machine of production. […] Anthony Synnott, noting that the first Model T Fords were produced in 1907, argues that ‘the automobile transformed thinking about the body’. However, this gets the relation the wrong way around. The car provided the ideal metaphor for the body, thought of as machine, but now being thought of also as a product/commodity.

[…] ‘the term ‘body maintenance’ indicates the popularity of the machine metaphor of the body. Like cars and other consumer goods, bodies, require servicing, regular care and attention to preserve maximum efficacy.

Cars are a means of transport, likewise bodies transport the person –that is, the mind, the privileged portion in the Cartesian dyad– through their lives.

[…] Arnold Schwarzenegger describes his attitude towards building his body: ‘You work your body the way a sculptor would work on a piece of clay or wood or steel. You rough it out –the more carefully and thoroughly, the better– then you start to cut and define. You work it down gradually until it’s  ready to be rubbed and polished’. Here Schwarzenegger thinks of his body as an artistic product rather than a commercial product […].

[…] the connection with art was not new. When Sandow appeared in ‘Adonis’ [musical], the New York newspapers described him as ‘having the beauty of a work of art’ […] The claim that the bodybuilt body is a work of art legitimates its development for the purpose of display. Unlike art, commodities are expected to be functional, to have a purpose beyond that of spectacular display.

[…] in 1898, Sandow started a magazine titled Physical Culture. In his first editorial Sandow described the ultimate aim of physical culture as ‘to raise the average standard of the race as a whole’.

Here [at the Gym] assembly-line practices are used to rebuild the body bit by bit. If the mirrored walls of the gym allow self-inspection, film enables others to inspect. Here it is the labor process itself that is inspected […].

The new understanding of the body –in particular the male body– as a product, rather than simply a producer of products, was fundamental to the development of bodybuilding. […] the male bodybuilt body started to be generalized, something exemplified in the popularity of films starring male bodybuilders from the mid-1970s.

The bodybuilt body is alienated from the self, a product that can be worked on and examined in a mirror […]. As [Alan] Klein sums it up: ‘Alienation is, in [bodybuilding], brought to new heights. The self is distinguished from the body, the body beaten into submission. Richard Dyer puts it like this: ‘The point is that muscles are biological, hence ‘natural’ and we persist in habits of thought, especially in the area of sexuality and gender, whereby what can be show to be natural must be accepted as given and inevitable… However developed muscularity –muscles that show– is not in truth natural at all, but is rather archived’.

The naturalization of the male bodybuilt body in the twentieth-century West operates in the context of the naturalization of consumerism and of the commodities that are consumed. In this process the labor power that manufactures the product is mustified. The traditional gendering of the bodybuilt body as male is, among other things, a function of the ideological claim that the commercial labor is a male domain. […] Like the consumer who hopes that the purchase of a commodity will improve her or his life, the bodybuilder hopes that his labor will improve his body as he develops it. Here, the distinction between production and consumption is elided as the bodybuilder acquires his rebuild body.

20170124

Autochthonic Fantasy (2016) Arttu Merimaa.

Kirjastoessee (2016) Pilvi Porkola.

Preparing for “Performance and Media” course which I’ll host next month in Kankaanpää Art School. Feeling stressed.. It’s taking a lot of time to sort out practicalities and the time would be better spend making fun art stuff (like preparing the SOW: Blacksmith ed.1).

I’ve planned that we’ll… Make six intensive workouts at the Kankaanpää gym (working with kettlebells), make 3d renderings of meditation stools (later construct them) and work with sketchup to design imaginary objects (later meditating on them). It’s a fun program to conjure but stressful to organize. At the same time I’m mentoring a group of five graduating students with their thesis related artworks. So far I’ve written 12 pages of emails and spend 63 hours on mentoring tasks and travels to Kpää (I’m using a nifty work scheduling application to measure the exact working time). I don’t think they are reading my emails and on my visit there last week I learned that half of the group hasn’t started working yet.

It takes six hours to travel to Kankaanpää by bus. It would be more practical to organize my course for an academy in Berlin etc. The travel time would be more reasonable. Still.. I enjoy the idea that somewhere there is a polytechnic university which offers free art education for people who live in the middle of nowhere. Globally it doesn’t make any sense to have an art university in Helsinki either. I should make a travel video about Kpää and show it friends visiting Helsinki. The site puts contemporary art into perspective. On a map the city is at the same level as Greenland.. It’s among the most northern universities of applied sciences offering education on performance art. I guess Tromsø is the most northern – But Norway doesn’t count because they have oil money, which makes space and time are manageable.