Grey Cube Gallery documentations are completed! Fixed the Italian-to-Finnish translations with Viivi yesterday and send my final invoice to the Union for Rural Culture and Education. My favorite artist presentations was by Päivi Allonen and I also enjoyed taking with the Helsinki Zoo staff. During the summer Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen collectives residency documentations were cancelled but I’m overall satisfied with the project.
A lot of interesting ideas concerning the relations of animals and public institutions came up during the Zoo staff interviews but these complex talks didn’t make the final cut. I’ve written some down under the tag “Animals in the City“. The idea that the sites primarily goal is to build awareness of animals as individuals was build up through director Sanna Hellström interview. The Bear Castles that hosted the art exhibitions and events are now left unused and if someone is interested in presenting stuff there they should contact Katri Houtbeckers from the Zoo.
Helsinki Zoo staff and festival documentations:
I’ll meet up with the Union for Rural Culture and Education on the 26th for the “Paikan tuntu” book launch at the movie theater Orion. I was interviewed for the book by Antti Möller.
Visited “Suburbia – Lähiöperformansseja” exhibition by Antti Ahonen and Katri Kainulainen over the weekend. Came too late for Siiri Nevalaises after party piece but got to hear KOELSE drone noises. Many of the exhibition pieces were faux performance documentations and there was a tad too much repetition (Some photos from the exhibition available online). The photos mimicked street fashion looks and presented a hardcore-nostalgic view to the suburbs. Katri and her friend posed semi-nude in rough concrete surroundings. Unfortunately the contemporary fashion industry produces heaps of similar (and even more disturbing) imagery and styles present in the exhibition came off as rip-off’s of Vice magazine covers.
The fashion industry has appropriated the visual cues of performance art! The disturbing documentations such as Carolee Schneemann’s “Interior Scroll” (1975) has been normalized trough Vice magazines commercial interests in the niche and the perv’s. The best way to rebel against these processes is to produce documentations which look boring!
Had an interesting chat concerning photography workflow with Antti. His archive on flickr is packed with performance art, street art etc. event documentations and artworks. The huge cultural heritage collection he has build has been made intuitively. He does not “waste time” with color correction (he’s colorblind) and he trusts the camera’s/computers automatic sensory. This approach alleviates stress and enables him to take on performance documentation gigs rapidly.
Sometimes the winning move is to renouce the fight. #ॐ
What if we have learned to perceive animals as “individuals” only through zoos? All other relations with animals are collaborations, where we have personalised knowledge about a particular animals history and see it as a member of its group or resource oriented relations, where we approach animals as tools or food. The primary motive of the zoo is to present animals as individuals, lonely and out of context creatures (as we are). The isolation of animals is a performance we come to witness at the zoos. Through their loneliness and isolation we can find ease in our struggles.
The zoo is a vitally important public institution for building human-animal relations… Particularly for people who moved into cities in the beginning of the 20th century. When we were living in the forest, every animal we didn’t see posed a threat. The woods we filled with traces and smells of invisible enemies. The zoo presents the most threatening animals we can imagine in a human controlled habitat. The zoo makes animals visible. Only after we see the wolf in a controlled environment, we can begin to see it as something else then a hostile adversary fighting for the same resources we are. The individuals that suffer in the zoos protect their species.
Zoos provide us an opportunity to approach animals rationally. They are remnants of the enlightenment era, public sites which offer access to animal-relation-contemplation for all citizens. The zoo is not showing animals, this would be impossible because animals become something else when they are moved out of their habitat (context). The zoo is a non-site, which refers to actual habitats and portrays individual animals as representatives of their species. The zoo produces non-animals and it presents a collections of possible human-animal relations (This idea was addressed by Katrin Caspar during our Grey Cube Gallery interviews)! The generations of animals which have been born to the zoos consider it to be their natural habitat. They are more accustomed to representations of “habitats associated to their species” than wild nature.
Got some Grey Cube Gallery documentation videos published. Eeva-Liisa Puhakka & Katrin Caspar is in English and Päivi Allonen in Finnish. If my computer would be faster I’d like to learn how to color grade.
Also got a nice message from the Te Uru gallery in Auckland. As a surprise their crew had edited a video of the labor bee-workcamp-performance at the Huia Road Horse Club. I’m still waiting for confirmation that I can upload it for sharing. The message got me motivated to write about the New Zealand Trans-Horse venture and I’m hoping to publish the video and a text about the trip this week. Already sorted through photos and got them on flickr.com.
In the future we can borrow clothing from the libraries.
Got a job working for the Grey Cube Galleries! I’ll be in charge of documenting their summer events at the Helsinki Zoo. Discussed the gig with Päivi Raivio and as requested I’ll make 4-6 short documentaries of various events and projects. I’ll get to interview Katrin Caspar & Eeva-Liisa Puhakka, Päivi Allonen and artist of the Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen group. These artist talks will be backed with interviews of various animal caretakers and zoo personel. I worked for the Grey Cube Galleries last summer too. I build the Zoovision reality-headset during my residency. This gig is a interesting continuation of last years work and offers a new view to the zoo institution.