Heard Belorukov & Zherbin, Filter Feeders and Pasha Rotts at Akusmata gallery last night. A warm and noisy evening. Saw a Make Noise 0-Coast and a SP-303 in use. Also a brilliant electronic music gig hat (by Pasha). Petri Kuljuntausta offered some guidelines for the upcoming Ore.e Ref./Storijapan: Sound of Work exhibition/gig. He wants us to prioritize on audio. We’ll possibly also present audio pieces from the Ore.e Ref.: Meta- Collection (Record Singers, Topi Äikäs 4’33, Wuolio usb stick?). Particullary Äikäs and RS serve as solid references. Came up with the idea of making a helmet xylophone (like the one Ewoks play in Star Wars) and using the same styles of exhibition display techniques we deployed for SIC (2014).
Ore.e Ref. on a winning streak. Washington Post writes that The hottest trend in Web design is making intentionally ugly, difficult sites. Apparently web brutalism is a thing.
“Art as a de-alienating human endeavour”. Preparing for Hollo-seminars with Claire Bishop’s Participation and Spectacle: Where Are We Now?. She says that artists in countries behind the Iron-Curtain masqueraded their socially engaged art processes as formal social events (such as weddings) to avoid censorship. The Record Singers group also worked in this way.. Perhaps not against censorship but as an effort to claim normatives space to execute their non-normative actions at. She also warns us that (unpaid) audience participation is a result of audiences being subordinated to the artists will (participation can be an extension of capitalism).
“Does ‘art audience’ today really only mean people who have an (economic) interest in the art world?” asks Elvia Wilk on Spike magazine. I concur with her thinking but have to argue that she didn’t dig deep enough. Reaching vanilla-art-audiences is common for projects which reject institutional protection and work against status quo (Unfortunately result from such encounters are seldom fruitful). The text makes an interesting observation on how artist deploy non-artist friends as resources: “[…] if you hang out around art people long enough eventually you develop a taste for semi-mutually-exploitative collaboration.”. These processes are evident in the practice of artists like Outi Heiskanen and particularly her involvement with the Record Singers group and the “Bellinin akatemia”. Both group were dependent on non-artist collaborators.
Pietari shared a neat text: “Debt, neoliberalism and crisis: interview with Maurizio Lazzarato on the indebted condition” by Magnus Paulsen Hansen and Mathieu Charbonneau. In the article Maurizio Lazzarato discusses how the 2007–2008 crisis has influenced creditors and how tax-havens force debt to the working class:
“The power of debt in neoliberalism represents a highly efficient mechanism of control and capture, more efficient than the modes of resistance put in place by the workers’ movement. While the latter still focuses on dynamics located within the productive space, power is now exerted on a broader social scale. Hence, there is an asymmetry between capital and the forms of resistance.” “In reality, there is no crisis from the point of view of creditors as they are currently operating a second great appropriation by virtue of capturing the welfare state’s social wealth. […] the principle of redistribution has been preserved, but the direction of redistribution has been inverted.”
I became a sole trader in 2011 when I was working regularly for Outi Heiskanen. She didn’t want to be defined as “an employer” in her tax reports (which is very costly in Finland) and at the time becoming an entrepreneur felt like fun idea… I was active in building exhibitions for various parties and involved in serious art transportation ventures. We even talked about buying a van with a friend. Becoming an entrepreneur was a serious joke. The status has enabled me to discuss economics more convincingly. As an entrepreneur I’m a subject in economics and my critique of capitalism is more founded and more personal. Becoming an entrepreneur was an accelerationist effort, which culminated my involvement with Ore.e Refineries.
Sending bills is still fun but every year I regret not setting up a co-operative instead. Today my grief is related to sole trader taxation regulations when billing cities and municipalities.
As a sole trader I’m responsible for organizing my own pension. If earn more than 8000€ a year as an entrepreneur, I’m legally obligated to join a pension trust and to pay around 100€ a month in pension insurance premiums. The minimum “YEL-insurance” I’d have to pay a year is 1200€, which is too much for me (and many other sole traders working in the culture sector). This is why I don’t send more than 8000€ worth of bills a year. There are various very simple and legal tricks to do this. During the fall I negotiate that I can send my bill the next year and for bigger gigs I setup an temporary employer statuses with the organizations that hire me. For the past four years I’ve only send out bills for small 200-400€ odd jobs.
As a result I haven’t payed any pension fees. This is not because I wouldn’t want to… It’s just too expensive and as a part of my income comes from artist grants I dream that I’ll personally get an artist pension for myself (If I manage to survive as an artist for the next 33 years).
The government needs new forms of income, so that it can afford for the baby boom generation’s pensions. There are various aggressive schemes at work which skim funds for pensions from every possible monetary transaction. Legislation for small scale business is quite unfair. “By law, entrepreneurs under the age of 53 are required to pay 23.7 percent of their earnings in pension insurance, while salaried workers contribute just over five percent.” YLE explains in a 2015 article.
I wrote about the Record Singers group for an Artsi-museum related book. The writing fee was decent but as the museum is run by the municipality there is a cunning scheme in legislation, which the government will use to deduct a “pension” from my writer’s fee (More on the scheme in Finnish). This is saddening. I made the text almost for free. I don’t regret making it. I did a good job.
I’m not bitter about anything but I think that the baby boomers generation should have spend their salaries more smartly. Additional funds for pensions should be harvested by disallowing (and re-distributing) pensions that are over 2 300€/month (Statistics on pensions in Finland found here). I hate the feeling that a petitioner makes more money than I do and that young forced-entrepreneurs are paying for their second cars, their trips to Thailand and the renovation of their summer houses (which remain empty most of the year and none from my generation will be able to visit as we can’t afford the gas money).
Visited the ARTSI museum in Vantaa for the COVER ART – LONG LIVE VINYL exhibition opening. The mood of the opening was nice and the audience was a positive mix of musicians who were involved with the cover art and ordinary citizens from the Vantaa suburbs. By chance I also met the insect cook Topi Kairenius. I got a copy of the exhibition book in which I wrote a short text about the Record Singers group (txt in Fi).
I browsed through the exhibition and hasted to the Suomenlinna ferry to join the Helsinki art organizations joined grand party at the HIAP residency. Met with Paula Lehtonen and Jenni Pystynen and recapped my trouble with the police at last years Mänttä Art festival. Pekka Toivonen was playing techno but I had to leave for the 22:00 ferry.