20180221

Call for Action: Key Moments in Estonian Performance seminar at Kiasma by Anu Allas (Kumu) and Maria Arusoo (Center for Cont. Art Estonia) was a tad unbalanced. The presentation felt like a marketing event and suffered from technical difficulties.

Allas opened the event by explaining that Estonia was “The West of the Soviet Union” and that artists generally enjoyed the protection of the state and their experimentations (influenced by John Cage and the Fluxus-movement) were condoned and encouraged. She presented Pirita beach as an important venue and explained how the artists of the 70ies were influenced by Western art: “They just heard what artists in the West had done and tried to do something similar”.

The humorous nature of early performance art was underlined but unfortunately the political nature of this humourness was not identified as a method for organizing soviet underground art (Crusaders’ School of Pure Humour Without Joke in Prague is one example, Natalia Lach-Lachowicz from Poland an other). Allas claimed that there was no underground arts in Estonia. She mentioned artists Jüri Okas (Water Man, 1971), Siim-Tanel Annus and Raoul Kurvitz. The last two were presented as key figures of the post-soviet performance scene: “The Western art world expected that after the collapse of the soviet union these kinds of physical artist, manifesting raw creativity would emerge. They thought that this kind of expression had been suppressed by the soviet regime and wanted to witness it being liberated”.

Jaan Toomik (my guru from 2007) was mentioned as a god-father figure of Estonian contemporary art. He was framed as an “export artist”, a male hero of his time. We saw extracts from “Dancing Home” (1995) and “Dancing with Dad” (2003). I like both works (A lot of Estonian classic performance art can be found online). His work was presented as “responsive”, in comparison to feminist artist of today whos practice was presented as “reflective”. Valie Export Society was referred to but unfortunately the presentation didn’t cover their work in detail.

It occurred to me that “location sensitive art” made in post-soviet / peripheral-west countries is a perverse form of nationalism. Artist utilize western proven styles to exhibit their personal freedoms (which is often framed as creative violence against status quo). In this process their audiences can identify how these styles differ from the local culture and values and feel different (from the west) but the same (as the westerners). Post-soviet artists are celebrate for their creative independence but their value is judged based on how they received by western audiences.

Note: “Location sensitive art” came about as a concept in a discussion with Kristian. He told me about his trip to Ahmedabad and explained that locals navigate the city (and their lives) following a contextual map. Their caste, profession and religious prophecies determine what is possible for them, where, how and at what time of the day they can move. Kristian explained that westerners are “not location sensitive”, they believe that they have the responsibility to test the world.

The rest of the presentation was off balanced. Arusoo referred to Ene-Liis Semper, Flo Kasearu, Kris Lamsalu and Maria Metsalu but their work were presented in a form of a sales pitch: “She has refused to perform this work many times […] you at Kiasma are very lucky to have her here…” etc.

The history of Estonian performance art came off as a narrative on how a fringe ex-soviet society became an incubator for generic western aesthetics and styles: “Now we are equal to every other european country, many artists who work locally feel left out.. This is why there is now interest to developing collaborations with other ex-soviet countries”. Non Grata was not mentioned (as a member of the Estonian performance art family) and for some reason events between 1970-1990 were not discussed.

20180124

Response for the Berlin Wall Distortion has been great! The demo video has received over 1000 views in under 24h and the response on Reddit has been warm. Rasmus Hedlund shared the video on his Facebook and Kristian said he’d show it to students at the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) where he’s teaching.

20170322

Submitted the terms deep time Marxism and the institutional horizon to the Bureau of Linguistical Reality database.

Work on the SOW: Blacksmith ed1 metadata is progressing steadily. I’m currently authoring a .csv table with descriptions, filenames, tags etc. for freesound.org. The work is very tedious. The table has 324 rows (each with eight columns). Also added ID3v2.3.0 & RIFF INFO metadata to the files. Unfortunately I couldn’t sync the data automatically so the details are a bit different between the .csv and the metadata embedded into the files. Got the Sound of Work: Blacksmith edition 1 webpage on Ore.e Ref. site ready. Prepared a collection of one shot sounds for Kristian, so that we can start rehearsing with them.

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.

20160306

Experimenting with Inoareader. I’m disappointed with Feedly‘s curatorial algorithms. Apparently the free version only fetched posts from 100 sites! Inoareader’s UI is buggy (adding new feeds work better online) but it has more features and fever limitations.

Working out with Kristian in preparation for Kontula Electronic gig. As a day job I’m busy with SOW: Blacksmith. Develloped a straightforward sample editing workflow on Logic X (trim, chop to bars/beats, [quantize], EQ, fix peaks, bounce in place, export as .wav, repeat). Also learning how to clean noise with RX 5.

Adam Szetela’s short on bodybuilding The Anticapitalist Bodybuilder.

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