Visited Performance and Feminism seminar at TeaK. I went particularly for Marina Valle Noronhas and Kim Modigs Performing professionalism: Why do we travel for art and what does it do to us? talk but stayed for Lim Paik Yins movie and Minna Harris presentation about time. The three presentations formed a loose arch, which dealt with ecology and challenges caused by development. The Performing professionalism… was a performance. The stylish duo played a prerecorded sound piece while sitting confidently in front of the crowd. I interpreted the presentation as an attempt to problematize the image of the contemporary creative (art) professional, whose relevance is measured by the amount their international flights and prestige appetites, which attempt to transcendent the limits of bourgeoisie taste (and end up being mega-bourgeoisie).
Yins movie IN[formal] INTERchange (2018) offered a good contrast to the critique. She had conducted interviews (video-voip) with various amateur(?) practitioners of performance art in the Southeast Asian region. The performers talked candidly about their relationship to performance art while engaging in various joined performances (or performance exercises) with each other and the Yin. The film was appealing because it used low-key/accessible esthetics and utilized consumer services (such as Skype) for artistic research. It reminded me that there are global alternatives and strategies that work against the performance of professionalism.
Made a short teaching gig to Hyvinkää for middle to high-school aged kids who take art classes at Willa Arttu. I continued with the “Poststructuralism for Kids” program. We talked about strikes and how the act of “striking” halts movement (which offers a good time to contemplate what to do next) and practiced halting trough contact improvisation. After this we played with doors. We explored what doors are (the kids had some really smart ideas: gates to new dimension etc.) and then we experimented with different ways of opening a doors and discussed about the experience. Used this door opening tutorial (1979) as reference. I’ll do a full write up after the last gig.
Also dabbled with electronics during the week. Scavenged smd components from a failed project and used them to make a voltage regulator for a headlight (9v-to-5v) and a assembled solder smoke removal fan.
I’m making electronics to energize my grant application process. I’ve prepared 16 pages for a five year plan. Five years is not enough. The application consists of an array of loosely linked projects and ideas, some of which are framed as development motifs for work that will be executed around 2038. I’m currently most excited about the idea to organize Smithing in Public Spaces forging workshops. I’ve written the texts so that Jesse can use them in his personal grant applications too. If everything goes as planned we’d host public forging workshops in open city spaces, during which participants would learn how to mend and make metal things. The workshops will also serve as a vessel for collecting stories partisipants tell of metal objects they hold dear.
Catching up on Critical Making. Design and the Construction of Publics (2009) Carl DiSalvo.
[…] the notion that publics are “constructed” is perhaps most salient to contemporary design because it prompts a consideration of the means by which publics are assembled; begging the question: “How does, or might, design contribute to the construction of publics?” [John Dewey]
[…] inquiry into design and the construction of publics begins with a more thorough understanding of the Deweyan public. The assertion that publics are not a priori existing masses is central to the notion of the construction of publics. The public is not something that has been and always will be. It is neither universal nor an abstraction. […] for Dewey, the public is an entity brought into being through issues for the purpose of contending with these issues in their current state and in anticipation of the future consequences of these issues.
As designers and educators, [Anthony] Dunne and [Fiona] Raby are well known for their development of “Critical Design,” which they regard as an alternative to mainstream design in that the goal is the use of design to expose and explore the conditions and trajectories of contemporary design rather than the utilitarian problem-solving or surface-styling that has historically characterized design (particularly industrial design).
By the contributions of design, will publics inherit problematic qualities of being “engineered” or “commodities”? Such concerns are legitimate and substantial. The subject of design ethics should go hand-in-hand with the construction of publics, and have a significant place in future discourse.
SOW Blacksmith ed.1 spotted in the wild as a part of a Novation Circuit Sample Set! Some new entries in the Freesound.org comment page on the collection too. Feels really good to see the pack in use!
Ordered parts for a second Lorre-Mill uTone building session (more on that later – Planning to attach the unit to a 42hp blank eurorack panel). Also got parts for a PMFoundations Clock Divider (Eurorack PCB set). I now have an elementary set of modulation tools in the works. I’ll start compiling the units next month. The uTone will likely be build at Oodi. Odered parts from Digi-Key on Friday and they are already in Helsinki!
Saw dance works at Zodiak. Mira Kautto: Station to Station to Station was a faux-one-person-techno-party, framed as a reminiscence of the traces that past performances had left in the dancers body. Laura Jantunen: Talvi was a monotonous, repetitive and pattern orientated piece. It placed human bodies and abstract electronic patterns on the same plane. I liked the experience of looking at human movement as a pattern but disliked the academic/neutral-tone of the work. For me the performance felt like a display of the concepts of repetition and patterns, rather then an exploration of them. Kimmo liked work a lot and their text on the piece is a good read THE CIRCUIT I NEED: TALVI, A CHOREOGRAPHY BY LAURA JANTUNEN (2019) Kimmo Modig.
Also saw Their Limbs Their Lungs Their Legs at TeaK. I enjoyed the views and read the piece as a post-humanism for kids sort of show. The outer forms of the dancer bodies where changed with various disguises. Some parts were very humorous but it didn’t offer new insight to dance.
Visited Aruna D’Souza’s talk Writing in the Reparative Mode (video link) at the 8th floor. The event was organized by the The New School. She offered a road-map on how she developed from an academician into an art-writer and art critic. D’Souza became disillusioned by the academia after witnessing numerous race related scandals which the organizations failed to respond to. After leaving university, she felt that Facebook helped her to develop as a writer. Posting on her wall felt like brainstorming and gave her the opportunity to pose questions instead of re-affirming what is already known (I really dislike her emphasis on Facebook and Instagram as “real venues for art writing”, because the technology is based on exclusion).
She invited the audience to think about “reparative criticism” which is an attempt to compensate for the injustices which effect the decedents of the enslaved. In the beginning she started to “write as a student”, which means she wants to understand an artwork on the artworks own terms (I’m weirdly reminded by the self-reflectionism of minimal art). Her writing is “drawing attention” to works which teach her how to be “an ethical and political citizen of this fraud moment in history” (D’Souza acknowledges this as signal-boosting). She is also constantly learning to talk about her own failures. “Our culture is weakened by peoples inability to apologize”. She refers to her writing concerning a Jimmie Durham exhibition, in which she downplayed the critique stirred up by Durham’s claims of Native Ancestry (More on the topic by Sheila Regan). After she re-freshened her opinion on Durham (after learning about the topic trough the debate), her act was seen of as opportunism (changing sides) instead of rethinking and apologizing.
In D’Souzas view art writing is primarily made for the white gaze. Art writing excludes the subjectivity of the artist (and the critic). When writing for the black-gaze, she is more sensitive when talking about race and politics. There are benefits too: Some key concepts such as “the existence of structural violence, “the consent of white fragility” and “the weaponized use of white tears” do not need explaining. She invites writers to “punch up” in their critiques and not to be afraid “name names” of people who are responsible for oppressive acts. She wants to name people so that we will not talk “around the problems of institutional racism” (I find this troubling. Naming people feels like vain punishment and I find it hard to imagine how it will help in changing structures). This process has made her friends, peers and audiences feel uneasy.
She wants to center on the voice of the protesters, instead on the “voice of analysis”. This approach has helped her to understand “the protest as a site” which gives some artists (who are excluded by institutions) the only opportunity to engage with the art world. Her starting point is that freedom of speech is not a universal value but a relationship. In her own words she is “not writing good art history” but “writing good something-else”. She points out that all art criticism is “advocacy” and the majority of contemporary art criticism is “advocacy of the supremacy of white male artists”. D’Souza is currently working on a book which is called “Against Empathy”. A critique of the individual affect, at the center of political transformation (in a manner which de-centers collective action). Her argument that “There is no aesthetic understanding, unless there is structural understanding” feels heroic but coming from a new-materialistic, Marxist point of view it feels old.
Our proposal (with Ilari) to have the publication on land- and environmental art conservation co-published by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and the Fine Art Academy of Helsinki was excepted and the book will be out this spring! I’ve been busy editing my text for it. Currently re-reading Entropy Made Visible (1973) and Entropy And The New Monuments (1966) by Robert Smithson. Revisited Dia: Beacon to make photocopies of Moira Roth’s interview of the artist found in Eugenie Tsai’s book Robert Smithson (2004). Feeling like a ghetto scholar (I’m literally stealing knowledge to make ends meet).
I got into the interview phase for the Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts at the Theater Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. I felt that I couldn’t reply adequately to the questions: Why I want to conduct my research in the framework of the Theater Academy and what its my relationship to performance studies. I mumbled something about, public craft fairs being transparent process of the production of commodity value. I wanted to say that I see performance a material deposit of located behavior, squeezed into acts by the design and affordances which places offer.
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