20200115

Polttava taide [Burning Art] (2020) Jenni Nurmenniemi. The text is passionate and echoes a strong commitment to the development of ecologically sustainable curatorial work. Nurmenniemi wants to engage in situated and localized practices. I like the part where she underlines that environmental matters should not be addressed as a “theme” because ecologies are about relations and connections. My presentation on Land-Art Conservation at SOLU is referred, which feels nice. Towards the end of the text she brings up a Haraway-ian idea that art could serve as a compost: It returns ideas into circulation. I believe art can help in creating containers for obsolete concepts (nation state, capitalism etc.) and help in disintegrating them into less toxic models (eu, socialism etc.).

But I think the process is challenging because, actual artworks have a weird relationship to the future. Many artistic gestures are imagined as eternal – Which is why they don’t make for good compost. I’m not talking about materials (Bronze or Wood). I’m talking about concepts, which I believe can be more harmful because they refuse to degrade. Concepts are zombies. I guess this idea is derived from a weird reading of Serres: He argues that objects are made to prevent social change. I don’t know if Serres views concepts as objects but I think bad habits, like eating meat, should be understood as such. The resources needed to maintain the habit rely on and bind to particular infrastructure (fossil fuels).

A performance artwork is defiantly an object. It is used as such and can even be commissioned as a classical monument. Gestures, like walking on the moon make for great monuments, they align perfectly with neoliberal fantasies of future service economies (More specifically to the postwork without communism -utopia). More work should be done in developing ways to digest and compost concepts and the habits they are bind to. This might be a useful expansion to the popular process of decommissioning modern authorship. Paradoxically: The best way to compost a concept might be to make it into a object, so that it can be destroyed. I’ve tried to write about this before.. Exploring how documentation of live art, situates it and makes it conceptually malleable (less modern).

Interestingly, if concepts can be objects then humans (with their skills) can be infrastructure! #ॐ Makes complete sense to me.

20190907

Yesterday we saw a girl galloping from east, past the Vadim Sidur museum towards the center. The horse was a peasant breed and moved effortlessly along the tram tracks. The riders backpack had a flower pattern. Today we are drinking fermented horse milk in Kazan. We arrived in a open cabin night train, where the distance between our faces from the feet of other passengers was less then 10cm. Everyone in the train was at their peak performance, no disturbances at all. People timed their actions (packing and unpacking) perfectly and touched each other’s gently when passing.

We visited Sidurs museum to see Alexey Buldakov’s exhibition, which was organized as a part of the Mmoma artist placement project (they show contemporary art in old museums). Buldakovs exhibition offered a text citing Serres (parasites) and a shit-optical graffiti machine, in the form of a heated seating structure for pigeons. The shape of the structure invited pigeons to sit in such an arrangements, that their droppings would form words on the ground below. The shape we saw projected the text “peace”. The copper pipings, which positioned the birds to form the letters, were heated with water from a computer cooling system. The computer was mining for bitcoins (leaching on museum energy supply).

The exhibition offered snippets of everything we learned of his practice the day before. And extras like birds painted in watercolors and thermal imaging projections. For most of us, the shape of the pigeon seating machine would have been enough (without out the mining, heating etc. processes).

Our group discussed the maximalism of the exhibition as a feature of Russian art. In discussions we sympathized with Buldakov’s attempt to include everything into the display (he was “pulling all treads together”, Elina noted). I feel that opportunities to exhibit are rare, so I maximize the work to make. This maximalism could also be understood as an attempt to forge a narrative, which could account for the current, absurd state of affairs (The need to craft narratives was present in Vilnius too).

Maximalism could be the aesthetics of inclusivity. The museum displays here in Kazan (we visited National Museum of the Republic of Kazan) are jam-packed with stuff, ancient tools, gems etc. from every branch of social life and every historical phase of the territory. Something specific for every-specific-body. Maximalizing is a strategy for reaching out to diverse audiences.

Russians seem to manifest a strong believe in new construction materials and technology. Window frames are attached using blobs of sikaflex. Polyurethane is not cut into shape and covered with panels. The polyurethane blobs show progress: We have the new means, nails are for medieval times, our bonds are chemical.

20190827

(The Earth Demands) The Necropolitics of Art (2019) Rick Dolphijn for Sonic Acts. He starts of with a solid summary on what Michel Serres understands as “quasi objects”. Objects are made to prevent the passage of time, to keep things from changing and to prevent revolutions. Dolphijn argues that art is something different, is not limited by any finitude (a quality it shares with philosophy). It proposes an other history and tells us that political realities can be (must be) deterritorialized. I think he’s idealistic but it’s cool.

Art refuses to be embedded in the present. […] Art is a Necropolitics. […] Trough it we can explore what other realities are possible.

Bought boots from Töysän kenkätehdas (for Russia). Due to the trip I’ll miss the Rehearsing Hospitalities events (There is a talk on the 10th of Sept. called Rehearsing Dialogues where Dolphijn will be in dialogue with Marjolijn Dijkman and Mari Keski-Korsu). I’ll also miss the Publics Today is Our Tomorrow club.

20180918

A art-critical/pedagogical practice with teenagers: School of Performance (1995) Avdej Ter-Oganian.

Received my copy of Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution? (2011) Michel Serres. I dislike his etymological, latently nostalgic word games. He adores a reality that remains inaccessible for non-germanic folk (this statement is best exemplified by a cry on pg. 55. “Old Europe, what ignorant ruling class is killing you?”). But I like the coarse tone of the book. He argues that human cruelty is derived from the cruelty of our neighbouring animals and that a process in religious practices, which developed the concepts of afterlife and holy-land (sites that are not tainted by bodily impurities), were needed to produce a tangible, object-like earth for us to habit and study. Science is possible only through religious traditions.

Serres argues that people who seek to live without producing waste are modernity-producing-myth-reenactors. He argues that the founding myth of modernity is a story of a man who left his grave without leaving any waste behind: “[L]eaving no trace whatsoever that would allow us to infer a history”. This myth enforces the de-territorialization of localized cultures: Colonization of any-and-all terrain is possible only because there is a holy-land which lies beyond reach. “[O]ur being is not there” or even here, someone else will judge us – We are tenants of our bodies.

Current economic schemes which focus on intangible services and brands echo the same shift. This has a convenient impact on consumer culture: When we were branded clothes we get excused from the pollution these objects develop into. The objects are just on loan – This means that hiding a logo is a process of claiming responsibility over it.

Human misery marks the limit of possible life. Those who have a place have. Those who have no place have nothing, strictly speaking. Do they exist? They have fallen below the level of animals. (pg.12)’

I don’t agree with his view that “our appliances rig out the organs of our bodies”. I believe the body has the potential to change and the potential to develop into something else then flesh-defined, which has other then personal desires. For me “exo-darwinism” in development can result to altruism. Serres points out that “since the emergence of blacksmiths” we have know that, the stuff we produce taints the world and destroys habitats. Our understanding of the anthropocene is not new. We know that we are wasteful and do it anyway. He argues that we cause pollution to keep the nature at bay, to kill tigers. I wrote something similar in 2016 “Zoos provide us an opportunity to approach animals rationally”.

[…] sewers, garbage barges, factories. and loudspeakers can be thought of as orifices, pores, mouths, anuses. […] Our species wins out and becomes the master and possessor of nature. (pg.40)

The text might offer me some tools to develop a “performance architectural” / postricturalistic analysis of build environments too. Serres talks about language as a maze, which locks subjects inside it using prepositions (in, for, to, from). These spaces (made of prepositions!) pit us against each other by creating categories of subject/object. Prepositions feel like a great route for developing and understanding of text as space / space as text!

[…] this is how the walls of a dwelling or the partitions of a room function. (pg. 44)

Serres claims that e-waist is send intentionally to “the mangroves of poor countries” to cause disarray and recolonize these sites and that we should see advertisement selling e-goods as exactly the same waste. He continues that mass-media (facebook etc.) makes it impossible to talk to out neighbours (by monopolizing communications): Streams of noisy information appropriate all possible relations, everywhere.

Spatial expansion is becoming total. (pg. 52)

Pollution should be addressed simultaneously as a hard substance and a soft coercive substance. The division between hard and soft pollution (ie. e-waste and e-good advertisement) is superficial: Both manifest the same desire. He does not want to separate nature from culture? Because of pollution “We can no longer enclose a piece of land”. Pollution makes it possible for us to envision collaborations without a need for nationstates!

Consequently pollution, both hard and soft, signs its will to power, its desire to expand spatially – yes, the war of all against all. (pg.68)

Serres believes that we have reached an impasse. Wars are over because there is no space to fight over, our war against the world is at its end. He believes that humans can and will destroy every other species. He does not believe that new species will emerge from pollution.

The war against the world replaces, integrates, summons, adds . . . and terminates all the wars among men. Peace with the world requires peace between men.

Idea: Make waffles out of plastic by melting milk jug lids. #ॐ

20180806

Bought a book by Michel Serres and started working on an application for the Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. I’ve written a 12 page research proposal called “Horse & Performance” (it’s taken me two-to-three weeks and I’m currently waiting for comments/guidance from friends). The English summary is the last part (I’m having trouble with it). Apparently I want to spy on people, talk to horses and ask them what they think about our perception of them.  I can’t read the the summary without giggling – Which has to be a good sign.

The “Horse & Performance” research investigates “what do we talk about, when we talk about horses” at Finnish horse-stables. The research is rooted on an ethnographic study which analyses how horse-hobbyist and professional construct the figure of the contemporary-horse. The ethnographic part of the research will focus on situations were people explain the animals behaviour trough unintentional utterance, murmured while working with them. I will also engage in an “performance architectural” analysis of the sites, where people meet with horses, trough which I will formulate an understanding on how particular sites (and particular technologies presented in them) affect our perception of the animal. The fieldwork will be contrasted to the work of artists and theorists who have contributed to the development of the “animal-turn”.

From these sources I will develop a set of post-humanistically geared exercises and grooming techniques, through which I will direct the question to the horses themselves and ask for their feedback. These exercises will be presented as public performances, organized in urban spaces. The feedback audiences provide will be used to further develop an understanding of the contemporary-horse. Performing publicly with an animals cause conflicts through which we can access views and assumptions people project on them. Techniques developed through this research, can be used to ask animals for feedback on how build environments should be organized. The research aims to advance the wellbeing of animals and to advocate ethical environmental design.

Here is a list of texts I refer in the full proposal:

  • Barad, Karen. 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter
  • Butler, Judith. 2015. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
  • Cull, Laura. 2012. Theatres of Immanence – Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance
  • Despret, Vinciane. 2016. What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2007. When Species Meet
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2013. SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far.
  • Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene
  • Hribal, Jason. 2003. “Animals Are Part of the Working Class”: A Challenge to Labor History
  • Hribal, Jason. 2012. Animals are Part of the Working Class Reviewed
  • Ingold, Tim. 2011. The Perception of the Environment. Essays on Livelihood
  • Korhonen, Pauliina. 2014. Ratsastusreitit kaupunkialueella – Suunnitteluesimerkkinä Länsi-Vantaan ratsastusreitit
  • Leinonen, Riitta-Marja. 2013. Palvelijasta terapeutiksi – Ihmisen ja hevosen suhteen muuttuvat kulttuuriset mallit Suomessa
  • Mbembe, Achille. 2003. Necropolitics
  • Mitsuda, Tatsuya. 2007. Horse in European History 1550-1900
  • Kaimio, Tuire. 2004. Hevosen kanssa
  • Malm, Andreas. 2016. Fossil Capital – The rise of Steam-power and the Roots of Global Warming
  • Mejdell, Buvik, Jørgensen & Bøe. 2016. Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences
  • Morton, Timothy. 2017. Humankind
  • Ojanen, Karoliina. 2011. Tyttöjen toinen koti – Etnografinen tutkimus tyttökulttuurista ratsastustalleilla
  • Salminen, Antti & Vadén, Tere. 2016. Energia ja kokemus: Naftologinen essee
  • Serres, Michel. 2010. Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution?
  • Schweder, Alex. 2011. Performance Architecture
  • Urry, John. 2004. The ‘System’ of Automobility
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2015. The Roundabout Revolutions
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2017. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation
  • Wright, Stephen. 2014. Toward a Lexicon of Usership