20200323

Performing the Fringe exhibition at Konsthall C was rewarding to setup. Most of the artists in our group came to Stockholm, where we were warmly welcomed by Erik Annerborn & staff. On site we had the pleasure to work with Kaisa Sööt who had designed the exhibition architecture. She had build wavy-benches based on a park seating design spotted in Hökarängen. A localized furniture architecture development effort (reminded me of NCD-C swingers club designs).

I arrived a day before my performance to extract samples from stone architecture using kitchenware from Ikea. A meat-hammer served as a mallet and a regular table knife as a chisel. I pulverized the rocks using a Ikea stone mortar & pestle. The powder was gray and dissolved (seemingly) well into the water (0,3 mg per liter). Polukord noted that granite ore contains metals which caused some concerns (I wonder if it’s possible to separate metals from ore using a magnet?).

My portable CO2 regulator worked well and produced ~5,5 bars of pressure inside standard 1,5 liter plastic bottles, which I used for water-to-gas agitation and serving. The gas was from a local shop which stocks consumer grade 475g CO2 tanks (CGA320 treads). Interestingly the plastic bottles stretched when I added pressure and when shaked the plastics retraction would add to the pressure, causing the content to retreat back towards the regulator. In my first rehearsals this counter pressure caused the valves to come loose.

The next day I performed for a private family which lives in the district. The family connection was facilitated by Annerborn, who introduced me to them in person before the show. I executed my performance in the family’s kitchen. I had some trouble with my sound system, the shape of the space caused a feedback loop, which was hard to resolve. I attempted to do the talk bits in Swedish (my Swedish language skills are fringy, which works well with the project theme) but turned to English midway and the kids lost interest soon after. My statuesque warm-up dance moves were constantly commented by kids, which made pacing difficult. The performance was a delightful mess.

The family was very concentrated on the presentation. I had some minor problems maintaining cohesion, the event challenged the artistic integrity of the piece in a good way. A beneficial learning opportunity and I think the family enjoyed the chamber performance too. We chatted a bit after the performance and they showed their backyard. I was donated a piece of rock from their garden and prompted to make mineral water from it.

The coronavirus didn’t change the performance much. At the time there was no social distancing etiquette guidelines in place in Stockholm (a week an a half ago). We did maintain a little more distance then normally and I executed extra caution in the water preparation. If the family would have wanted I could have made the performance outdoors, in which case it would have been a typical lecture-performance.

Our exhibition opening was cancelled, even so there were some 10 visitors at the space for the opening. This was just enough for setting the mood and actually made the social situation more dense than normal openings. The fewer people there are the more focus they demand. Performances for big audiences are more relaxed because the crowd behavior is more easy to react to than individual gazes. I prepared different waters for the guests and people were exited to drink them (particularly the gravestone water).

Katarina Frifarare had a parallel opening in the Konsthall C Centrifug space. The Centrifug can be booked for exhibitions by anyone and the dates of the show are set randomly. We should have something like this in Helsinki too, in the Taidehalli space? Frifarare’ exhibition was a leftist analysis of women’s textile work and made a good match with our exhibition.

20200306

The racist and fear mongering Finns Party is normalizing a process were people in power use linguistic loopholes to embed racial slurs and toxic opinions into public statements. Its an infantile method for seeking attention. Like when a parent says “Don’t walk indoors with your muddy shoes” and a rebellious child responds by jumping around while shouting “But dad I’m not walking!”. Instead of saying what they mean, they say imply what they mean and if they are called out, they engage in pedantic shenanigans to normalize slurs. This toxic jargon is now used by the UROS company as a response over critique of the naming process of a controversial sports arena in Tampere.

The company name UROS stands for MALE in Finnish and its staff consists of 26 males and two women. They are the main sponsor of the arena and have decided to name it UROS LIVE. As a response to critique over naming a gigantic urban development project as MALE, the company representative claims that the name “does not have anything to do with gender”. The spokeperson-manchild insists the name is a mere abbreviation of their English name “Universal ROaming Solutions” (which they chose for the company). This process is a good example of what happens when rich people extend their economical dominance to infrastructure.

If I keep drinking mineral water made from Finlandia Hall marble I’ll replace the calcium in my bones with the building and effectively become a building myself. If I read wikipedia correctly it’ll take 10 years for my bone minerals to be swapped. Currently my weight is ~2mg Finlandia Hall. Not all of the calcium I’ve drank will absorb to my bones but still… An interesting side-effect worth exploring. Eventually I might start hosting seminars in my body.

Preparing for Konsthall C gig and exhibition. Using kitchenware bought from Ikea for rock & mineral sample extraction tools, modified a speaker to play rock extraction sounds periodically. Made the speaker interface pretty using a novel silicone-molding technique. Worked with it like plaster and dyed it green (diy orthopedic skills were deployed). Had a pleasant chat with Moa Tunström who gave us a really thorough introduction to the Hökarängen district during our visit there. I’m still processing the interview material. Her input feels valuable for a performance architectural analysis of the district.

Saw Grâce by Anna Torkkel at Kiasma. The piece was a celebration of the diversity of movement and worked well for inspiration. I laughed trough the show and the sound design was great. But driving back home I felt puzzled. The contemporary dance I see in Helsinki feels a praxis were people take turns in watching each others move in freely.

20200214

The Mazizone local network archive I’ve been setting up for my Raspi3+ is stable and working well. I have occasional problems connecting to it and I need to “forget” the network to reset certificates. But this only happens when I’m login in and out intensively for tweaks & edits. The device reboots daily to prevent these kinds of clogs. I haven’t gotten Gammu (to produce daily status updates via sms) working but with the reboot cycle enabled I’m confident that the device will run well enough.

I build the sound archive using wordpress and it looks fresh. Using wordpress in Mazi causes issues with the network url but this is manageable (it redirects visitors to portal.mazizone.eu which is ok for me). I’m now planning to build a funky case for the device and to make an inviting sign which will guide visitors to the network and archive. While making the website I got the idea of using ornamental patterns as illustrations. I also used ornaments in the eurorack case I build for the trip. When I was designing the case I tough the Byzantine style decorations as a reference to early natural sciences (which my work on mineral waters touches). This spawned the idea to add ornamental figures to the thumbnails of the sound files in the archive.

Each sound file (53) has a unique photo assigned to it. The photos set a mood for the content and give a hint of the sound. Photos were shot during our train trip by Iona Roisin, Elina Vainio and Miina Hujala. On top of each photo is a layer of different ornamental shapes. They twirl around the thumbnail corners and interact with things and people in the images. I’ve used Kid3 to add the images to the .wav files. If I’ve understood correctly .wav’s don’t have thumbnails but Kid3 manages to embed the data anyway. The default wordpress media playlist widget can source the images from the files and display them next to the track info.

Now there are ornaments everywhere!

I like over the top ornaments which have an abundance of detail. In Russia I can spot them everywhere. They are used in architecture (Corinthian pedestals and window frames), street lamps, fonts, advertisements, jewelry and clothes. Sometimes the patterns look familiar. Shapes I’ve seen in Russia appear to fuse Byzantine style decorations with folk ornaments I worked with during my carpentry studies. I can recognize a patterns being identical to a traditional woodcarving I’ve seen in Finland. Pirtanauhat and kauluslaudat are good examples.

I guess ornaments appeal to me because they link traditional Finnish crafts with Byzantine history and even contemporary Islamic and Arabic cultures. We visited a folk culture museum in Kazan and many of the Islamic artifacts in the collection looked similar stuff I’ve seen in Finnish folk culture museums (particularly the wooden objects). Some of the clothes looked like something my mother would want to wear. Styles I link to Bedouin folk gowns that are decorated with coins, felt really similar to Russian military uniforms which are decorated with medallions.

The ornaments I’m using for the archive and the thumbnails remind me of weeds. I think they link the archive to “ruins” which Miina is interested in. I think ornaments should be read as celebration of decay. They simulate nonhuman futures by imagening how plant life will take over architecture. They feel like archaic glitch art! Sometimes ornaments in clothes look like roots or blood vessels. I think Scandinavian design aesthetic read ornaments as a vanity but if we approach them as a celebration of decay there is nothing vane in embracing them. I hate Scandinavian design because it makes me feel ashamed of my appetite for details.

Using ornaments to decorate a sound archive, which is difficult to access – Feels right and embedding weed-like ornaments inside metadata makes sense. Here is a low-resolution sample of what the archive looks like when browsed using a mobile phone.

20200113

Had the pleasure to meet Kaisa Luukkonen by chance and got a rundown on the Göteborg performance art and independent gallery scene. One of the biggest differences is that in Göteborg artist run gallery boards are formed trough invitations, which makes it difficult for the newly arrived to enter the scene. The arrangement is said to forster commitment but by Kaisas account the board member activity level is the same as in Finland. The more secluded system produces exhibition-venues-as-scenes and their curatorial programs feel repetitive. Joined Kaisa for the Gathering of Fables exhibition opening by Marja Patrikainen at Oksasenkatu 11. After learning about Göteborg I appreciate Oksasenkatu even more. Kaisa had made a interesting observation, many of her dyslexic friends are fascinated by open reel-to-reel tape recorders. This makes sense for some reason.

Learning everything I can, as fast as I can about the Raspberry Pi. Got a nice script running Raspberry Pi – Auto WiFi Hotspot Switch Internet (2017-) which scans if there is a home-wlan available and if it fails to find one, starts the device as a wireless access point. Works well and makes me confident to imagine using the device in field conditions (leaning about sensors in hopes of building a wild water analysis kit). Also tested RaspAP but couldn’t get it to work. Nethood – DIY Networking (links) feels like a good resource for building networking systems on the device.

I need to share files locally and I’m planning to use Piratebox for that. I’ve used it in the past, when sharing documents to students and even translated the Finnish localization of the android app (Reveal: I translated “Sininen” [Blue] into “Uusi musta” [New black] as a hommage of Paula Lehtonen #0000FF is the new #000000 exhibition). An other option for a localized network is MAZI Zone. I’m really digging Networks Of Ones Own too:

Networks Of Ones Own is a para-nodal periodic publication that is itself collectively written in a network. Each of the episodes is thought of as the ‘release’ of a specific software stack, contextualised in its specific practice. The series aims to document a set of tools, experiences, ways of working that are diverse in terms of their temporality, granularity and persistence.

Build an audio amplifier using a pre-assembled pam8403 unit. On start up it draws so much power from the Raspi that I get a throttled=0x500005 error message. I’ll attempt to use a regulator circuit to limit the temporary voltage drop. Used a 3Ω resistors as a “inrush current limiter” on the +5v rail which supplies power to the amp. I tested various values starting from 10Ω but 3Ω seemed to work well enough.

Got Conky working using these tips (made my own config for it) and build a PWM Regulated Fan Based on CPU Temperature to keep the device healthy while on for long. Also revived a 2012 tablet battery using these tips (and flashed a new rom to use it for VNC). Patchbox OS by Blokas.io should support Raspi 4 soon and I’m hoping to install it in a dualboot arrangement (using PINN). For now I’m satisfied with fiddling in Pure Data Sunvox (which feels responsive and fun to use).

Managed to grind Finlandia Hall marble or Chalk stone from Porvoo to a fine powder, to corrode it into tap water it my high pressure carbonator. Tastes chalky. Salvaged the stones from an environmental artwork on the Malminkartano hill called The Winds and The Points of the compass (1998) Hanna Vainio. I was under the impression that all of the white stones on the hill were marble leftovers from the previous Finlandia Hall outer shell conservation effort. But apparently the marbles have been mixed with chalk stone pebbles. I think the darker samples are marble as they should be more sensitive to the elements. I should get some confirmed Finlandia hall marble to run some experiments.

Experimenting with DIY orthopedics. Made arch support shoe insoils using 100% silicone and cornstarch (for fast curing). Not perfect yet, I’ll have to make new casts to confirm my findings. I’m trying to combat anti-bodybuilding effects of precarisation (mentioned earlier) by emerging as a plastic-bodyborg.

20191215

Buchla – Electronic Music as Performance Art (2019) Under the Big Tree. A near hour long lecture on the history of the Buchla (Bemi) design company. The talk isn’t analytical, it does not excavate what it meant for Buchla to interface with a synthesizer or what motivated Buchlas dissentient and anti-government attitudes. But it offers some interesting historical details and explains the heterogeneity of his layouts (Save a click: Users don’t need to see a module to recognize it, they can identify it by feeling the knobs!).

Designing the Make Noise Erbe-Verb (2019) Tom Erbe/Soundhack (a video by mylar melodies). A very detailed history of reverbs and a thorough look on Erbes design process. He shares his insights openly and offers concrete tools for reverb design.

Heading to Buchla and Serge territory myself. Swapped my Monotribe for a Variable Slope VCF by Random*Source. I’ll have to build an inverter to help it resonate. Also got a Sense module from Bastl, to develop my mineral water audio analysis toolkit.

Visited Mental Alaska back2baSICs PARTY in Kannelmäki yesterday. Heard Viktor Toikkanen, who played a live programming gig using Tidal. This was the first time I’ve seen live programming (other then our Masku Movement sessions in ~2008) and it was great. I could identify some terms in the score (it was projected on the wall) and anticipate changes, which made the performance feel analytical. Bought a cassette from him too. Actually… There weren’t that many live coding moments. Toikkanen mainly triggered events he had programmed for the record. Some triggers pushed his computer to the limits and we could hear soundcard buffer overload crashes and glitches. I think this digi-materiality was an important part of the presentation. Glitches felt like real grains pushing trough the code. It echoed hardcore rock moments when artists push their amps to max.

The Internet’s Mid-Life Crisis (2019) The Agenda. Cory Doctorow argues that the internet is not broken, everything bad we see happening to it, such as facebook etc., corporate control of the infra and espionage of citizen, is a result or symptom of capitalism. After some weighing all guests seem to agree that some kind of legislation of the internet is needed to move forward (I think this would make the internet a part of the democratic domain).

Our exhibition opening at Oksasenkatu 11 was nice. A lot more people then I expected and mainly new faces. I’ll be on site to meet visitors for some glögi, sound lounging and fun. Dates: 18.-20.12 (12-18:00), 27.12 (12-18:00). Crossroads launch & seminar at SOLU went well too. Had the pleasure to meet Leena Valkeapää, she felt like a wild thinker. There were around 20 people at the event, which was just enough the make the space to feel crowded (at times). I got a lot of nice compliments on my talk on Earth Art Conservation.