Month: June, 2014

Two voices of consciousness #14

You had another epiphany. Call it what you want, I mean a revelation. This is as big as my realisation of the digital technique and all that it integrates, its superpowers. It just came to me. Even though this is something, I now understand, that I have been told the whole year. I enjoy working with Big questions, with issues that incorporates a lot of both political and sociological aspects. I feel that I am making a difference, only by contemplating around these questions and even to a bigger grade, when I am entwined in a photographical project that strives to address these and awoke new questions. I am a control freak when it comes to my work and I find so much pleasure in finalising pieces and putting together a whole that makes sense on every level of consciousness and even beyond common sense and knowledge. When I am engaging in an activity like this, it is unavoidable that images come up, which does not in the end completely, to a hundred precent, fit the purpose. I usually get sad to have to let that idea go. And I feel disappointed and frustrated about having lost valuable time to nonsense. I even feel stupid, because I have not been able to fully resolve an issue in the way that I wanted.

I get indecisive in front of these singulars. Because photography is all about series and bodies of work, right? No one makes singulars anymore! Why not, what is wrong with singulars, diptychs, triptychs, hiptychs, fucktyps, fuckuptycs, idowhatiwanttyks, peacemantyks. Idiotychs even, why is that not a word!

Spending the past few days painting these three different coloured rectangles on my studio wall, as part of a photographic piece, of course, it has come to my attention that I am fully allowed to do this as well. Do stuff like this, pictures that might turn out good but not really suit the Grand Narrative I am considering at that time. These are the actual work. The core. The stuff that borns out of my imagination as a form of by-product on my way to the ultimate goal. And that does not take away the value of either one, both can exist at the same time. Just doing two very different things. In the end, it is all about making pictures, no matter what the final form of the presentation will be. And to become a better picture maker one must make pictures.

In the end all these singulars and b-sides might become something. Or not. And that is just fine as well.

I feel like a I have been born again (again).

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Paint(ing)s

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Two voices of consciousness #13

I have discovered a pleasure in writing. I used to possess it even previously, before I grew up and learned that my writings are not any good. So I have actually recovered the satisfaction I get from producing text, something I lost simultaneously with starting out with photography. It has taken me 10 years to find out, that my writing and my photography can coexist. And maybe not just coexist, but function together. I used to think of them as rivals, one better than the other, something I need to choose between. I felt that I had to choose, wether I wanted to make images or produce writing, but I could not focus on them both and develop them both at the same time. And maybe I could not have, before, but now my practice has opened up slightly and there might just be a vacant spot for some words. 

I used to write poetry and lyrics when I was a teenager. They were not that bad, naive and juvenile obviously, but not too awful. I had an interest specially for Russian poetry and a man called Jevgeni Jevtušenko, who is a 20th century poet, known for his criticism towards the Stalinist legacy. I found one of his books in the local library next to my high school, it was red and old, and I quoted parts of his poems in a word document I collected poem paragraphs in. I also enjoyed reading Alekandr Puškin.

My own poetry was very dark and sad. It spoke about loss, condemnation and through that some kind of weird, approved retribution I thought I was entitled to. I saw my life as a very battled journey and everything I faced had to result in a choice. Images or words. I chose images, on the cost of loosing my words.

I wrote my first short novel when I was at the age of ten. I loved Agatha Christies detective stories, so my first story was about a private eye called Pete Jockey. I do not have any memories of where that name came from, it probably originated in some of the girly horse mags I adored… The story about the character Pete Jockey was called “Seven Souls and Four Days”. It was a terrible tale of approximately ten pages, written on an old typewriter. Every single one of my characters ended up dead. Except Pete Jockey of course, the hero who solved the crime. I wouldn’t say I was an unhappy or sad child, I was just always very aware of my dark side and very sensitive to the darkness all together. I have later, in the rush of becoming an adult, put aside a lot of that darkness but I am not sure that you ever can. You can only choose to ignore it, but sooner or later it will track you down.

What has become clear through the writing I am engaging in today, is that my identity is strongly connected with the language I use. As a multilingual person, I am constantly choosing which language to use and that choice highly depends on the form of the writing. Using one language more than another, both disables and enables the other languages. When you are in a surrounding where one language is dominant, both your mind and your tongue starts to co operate to produce the most accurate vocabulary for that specific need. It is then quite difficult to all of a sudden, change tongue and expect the physical parts of your body that are entwined in the process of producing words, to just succumb. Writing in a language that is not “your own”, places you outside of your writing and gives you a very objective view on the chosen words. I do not possess a special emotion towards the english language, other than the notion of that english has always been the language of The Popular Culture every western born child get immersed in, and therefor I can use or miss use the language very freely. Writing outside of yourself about yourself is a very empowering experience. The writing can easily get very exclusive, if you do not know the vocabulary well enough and you are depending on the OED (= Oxford English Dictionary, the english language loves its abbreviations) and a thesaurus, but who cares! It is the freedom of just simply writing, that has helped me to complete my practice.

I sometimes use unnecessary difficult words and I occasionally use them wrongly, but there is a very deliberate reason for doing that. My writing is a constant exercise I engage with, to introduce my mind and my tongue to new words, broadening my vocabulary. I’m curious about finding new ways of expressing myself and new expressions that flourishes my articulation.

When publishing my writing online, I am aware of the fact that anyone can read the texts I produce, but I am not really sure that many do. Nevertheless, I always get very happy hearing that someone actually has read them. I still consider that I am writing purely to myself and for myself, to the outer me. But by going public I give myself a reason to strive for clear articulation. I keep having these conversations with the outside me and I am happy to give the outside you a chance to take part of this ramble.

In my previous photographic work, I combined the images with the writings of an author I especially asked to contribute with a piece for the specific body of work. That worked out well and I was planning on continuing on that note now as well. But it has become clear to me during the past months, that I must provide the writing myself in order to get both the absolute freedom and the  total control that I need to posses.

I write because a lot of the thoughts and concepts that swirls around and through my conscious mind, is impossible to transcribe into pictures. I realise I contradict myself again here. It seems like I have all of a sudden revealed an interdisciplinary practice I did not expect was lying underneath all the frustration.

Two voices of consciousness #12

Most of my writing ideas and my ideas in general for that matter, comes on the bus. I love the two storey buses in Glasgow, and I usually scramble up the narrow stairs holding my bus ticket in my mouth so that both my hands can be used to grasp hold on to anything steady, because the bus rides around here are not particularly suave. I take a seat in the first row if it is vacant and I hold my bag on the other seat, very annoyingly so that no one can sit next to me. I enjoy my solitude a few meters above the traffic and the rush. Sometimes I write in my notebook, but too often I don’t, since the roads even in the city centre are so bad that I get sick if I don’t gaze out through the window towards the troposphere. And I forget about the material around me. 

What are you thinking about? That I need to settle a home. And I don’t mean a home with a  cupboard where I can place my beloved and adored designer coffee cups in (I have that!), but a home base for my practice. I realise my practice is not mature enough to be talked about in different tenses, since the core of my enterprise comprise of two bodies of work spanned throughout 5 years. During these 5 years, which can be considered the time that I have been doing what I do with a professional aim and a focused attitude, I have not done any work in Finland. Since I am very much needed on two fronts in my life, I need to find a way to combine these two elements of my existence in to one physical place. You mean your family and your studio? Yes. The battle between these two has to happen somewhere that makes sense, that is durable and continuous (since this battle is going to be relentless) and that makes me happy. If I can find a base for my studio practice and make that work, I am fine with pursuing the fight.

My work has grown because of the studio I have been lucky enough to grasp this year. I have made work inside the studio in an environment completely new to me. I think the key to my future work lies in the studio as well, if I want to make something steady something that even has a time to come, I must entwine in the studio domain. And I have actually found pleasure in producing work indoors for a change. Manipulating objects to attribute and make sense of my subject matter is new territory to me, but what an appealing territory it is!

Every new project or work I engage with, has to open up my practice slightly. Because I can’t expect to learn everything at once, to acquire some form of enlightenment all of a sudden, I must be patient and accept that there is a life long learning pattern forming here. By opening my practice one step at a time, broadens my comfort zone and maybe by the long run, makes me enjoy what I do more. Or if not that, at least makes me more comfortable in the uneasiness.

I have been away from Finland for almost a year now, and this time abroad has made me more aware of what is on stake, than I have ever been before. Gaining perspective is one thing, but realising that loosing everything you have been valuing and taking for granted, is closer than ever before, gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘gaining perspective’. I have realised that I must use my vocabulary to superimpose that new, gained perspective on my practice and make something out the result. What is the result? It remains to be seen, but there is something building up here that needs to be addressed.