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.
Visited Mikko Kuorinki’s “LEG SLEEPS DROP DEEP” exhibition at SIC last night with Topi. The presentation felt unfinished. Haven’t read the catalog texts yet. Olli Keränen presented works in the SIC main hall. His pieces felt hastily made. Their artworks appeared similar. Both artists evade simple solutions but as they presented works in the same space the combination felt like trickery. Their artworks require simple and pretty art around them – They exist in contrast. At the SIC event they couldn’t find their momentum. Had a pleasant chat with Josefiina Nelimarkka.
Visited Leena Kela’s Alphabet’s of Performance Art at Mad-house. The piece was presented as a part of the Hurraa children’s culture festival. It has a perfect. Kids age 3-10 were taken by the performance. Kela presented a critical analysis of the history of performance art and studied how its aesthetics have been standardised. Kids were laughing and commenting the show. The event proofed that conceptual art works for kids. I was reminded warmly with my ÄLÄ OLE LAPSELLINEN article from 2013.
Nice video on BASTL instruments by Cuckoo.
Visited performance by Jeremiah Day at SIC 2. The event was organized by Ruler. Day’s presentation reminded me a lot of Philipp Gehmacher’s piece for Baltic Circle. Both were big men, moving in a stuttery dance form, talking about current politics from a personal viewpoint in an plain manner. Day’s event was more uplifting than Gehmacher’s (who comes of as a diva compared to Day).
An incredibly cynical video detailing the future of urban life and warfare made by the American military complex: Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity.
A nifty text on cultural imperialism by Pilvi Porkola What is ‘esitys’ on the University of Arts “How to do things with performance?” project blog. She is critical about Richard Schechner’s “Performance Studies. Introduction” which I’ve been studying in preparation of our upcoming Art School Maa course.
I should make a kettlebell out of Snellman’s head.
Visited SIC 2 gallery spaces opening exhibition The movement that didn’t have a dog and a stick… The exhibition was curated by Mikko Kuorinki and Diego Bruno who have been working together on a project they call Ruler. My favorite work was “Joycean Society” (2013) by Dora García. In discussion with Topi Äikäs I came into the conclusion that the exhibition was fuelled with sincere trust for the arts. Topi and I had difficulty in participating in the feeling because we know that the production of such exhibitions is always messy. Messiness is the opposite of Accountability. I have trouble trusting mess (even if I know that art is at it’s best as mess).
We chatted about the 9/11 events in USA. Topi gave an honest account on how he felt after hearing about the attacks. His honesty cleansed the air and I suddenly remembered feeling suppressed delight. At the time we had been both excited about seeing the imperialists twin towers collapse and celebrated the attacks against the high standing symbols of global capitalism.
In the Finnish art yargon artist are always portrayed as underdogs of contemporary society. This status requires critical reassessment. By claiming an underdog status artists exclude themselves from the responsibility of developing more sustainable systems. I think artist are very powerful and their work has an impact in the city. Losing the underdog status will force us to make claims about the world and open our practices up for critique. We can do this together, so let’s agree on something.
Visited the Sorbus crew exhibition at SIC with Pietari. The audience of the exhibition was a positive mix of elderly folk and kids. The group presented a 30min movie which was a celebration and critique of contemporary yuppie culture. The artwork showed how a group of entrepreneurs search for inspiration from urban countercultures and utilize anti-authoritarian, horizontal organizational strategies for their personal economic gain. The movie was a subvertisement which kept the audience hooked with splatter movie tricks and clean cinematography. I enjoyed the exhibition and the afterparty.
The movie felt like a response to recent critique of Sorbus and SIC, which states that these organization (funded by the Kone foundation and Kulttuurirahasto) inadvertently advance economically liberal values and partake in gentrification processes of developing city areas. The critique presents these organizations as youthful lubrication for liberal city development (Much like the Restaurant days and other startup incubators). Jussi Koitela’s text also portrays these organizations as undemocratic and non-transparent. I think the non-transparency part is true.. I really don’t know how Sorbus or SIC curate their events. I don’t know how to befriend them or even where to meet them.
The way they function is very different from the way the older, national artist union associated art spaces are organized. These organizations elect members by voting and board members can have an significant impact in the direction the associations takes. Unfortunately the Muu Association (which serves performance and media-artists) feels corrupted as it has been run by the same small inner circle for years. But in theory I could join the ranks and work for change inside the system. I would have a better opportunity impacting the Finnish (and European) art scene through Muu Association then I have through any other artist run platform in the world!
What’s keeping me from joining the association? The 70€ yearly union fee? After paying the fee I would be entitled to legal council from the national artist association lawyers and various other benefits (like discounts from local arts and craft shops). Paying the fee would give the opportunity to expand my practice. 70€ cannot be the reason. I guess it comes down to the feel of the organization. Muu Association feels like it belongs to a different era. It feels old.
This debate resembles critique concerning the DIS collective. The question is that can artists appropriate entrepreneurial start-up business strategies (tactical media, sponsored beer & sex) for changing the world and still stay true to their cause. I think that the Burning Man festival commodification process is clear evidence that organizations which fail to establish themselves financially will be squatted by corporations. To remain independent artist organisations need to accumulate their own capital. I think union fees is the best way for doing this. After enough capital is accumulated it could be used to acquire property and to use it to benefit the community. Exhibition in this space would advance communism through an acutely curated program of events and publications. I’d call the space “International Muusicbus Space 2.0”.