Category: projects

Two voices of consciousness #21

Comes days when it is just plain impossible to see the light. When you question every single decision you ever made so far and ask yourself if this is really the kind of life you were expecting to be living at this stage. When you can’t see the light, the tunnel seems exhausting. Dark, moist, echoing metallically to your unsaid or even unthought of thoughts. This is not how I expected it to be, you keep telling yourself, as if it made any difference. As if anything you say or do makes any difference. Time just keeps on going. First you are relieved and happy about finally resolving your work. You take time out of the studio, time for yourself and your family perhaps. You deserve it. You worked so hard. Enjoy yourself now, there’s plenty of time. You haven’t been in the studio the whole week, a couple of weeks, a month, a few months. After a while the 30 days cycle turn into 6 months periods. Several of them. You notice you haven’t made any new work in a year. In 2 years. And there’s me. I’m the one sitting at the sandpit picking sand out of my collar after a hilarious misunderstanding. You’ll meet me there at the 2 year marking. I feel so divided. There are moments, when I would just want to end this shit and start a less stressful life. Engage with some other activity that would be less knee-breaking, nerve-stretching and hair-pulling. This is just taking beyond far more than it is giving at the moment. Then on another hand, what else can I do that makes any sense. I haven’t produced new work in 2 years and these small, innocence to begin with but paralysing and suffocating at worst, keeps asking me if I ever will again. And I don’t know what to answer them, or if I even want to, so I just keep on ignoring them until they are silent or the opposite, shouting their frustration right at me. Intellectual exhaustion is my diagnose and oblivion the cure.

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Two voices of consciousness #19

2015-04-17 16.24.15 2015-04-24 16.33.38

While pondering on some new work at the studio, I got myself something else to marvel. I just collected a package full of thesis books from undergraduate photography students I happily agreed on grading. Just looking at the books made me pretty impressed, they sure look a hell of a lot better than our books did a few years ago… The degree show opens at Tobaksmagasinet in Jakobstad on the 7th of May and runs until the 28th.

What about the new work then. Reading an article in the paper some while ago made be realise the interesting paradox between the Finnish and Swedish words for conscience; omatunto (fin.) and samvete (swe.). They both tell of the same thing, i.e a person’s moral sense of right and wrong, even though literally they describe two completely different approaches. While as the Finnish word talks about a person’s intimate, very personal feeling about right and wrong the Swedish translation is all about a shared, collective understanding of right and wrong. Quite different attitudes in my opinion. It is about the polarity that exists in, well, everything apparently. The personal vs. the shared, subjectivity vs. objectivity, feeling vs. fact, your view on yourself vs. the image other people project on you. And everything in-between.

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Two voices of consciousness #9

I feel so very much different from everyone else here. I have a practice that is well structured, organised and focused, and it seems like in this context that is not desirable. I get almost pressured to change that, and I can’t for the sake of me understand why. It might be, that I intentionally let pass of something by not getting involved in some interesting things, because I do not feel obligated to attend social events of almost any kind. But at the same time I feel like I gain a lot as well, I feel that I get something no one else gets. Lack of professional attitude and behaviour is something that really pisses me off here. People are not on time, they talk about each other behind their backs, they change hats and coats and faces and what not in matter of minutes.

After having a very fertile session with the second year students a while ago, I feel so reluctant to speak about anything else than photography. I think everything else is just so pretentious! I probably feel like this because I spend most of my time alone, without any kind of influence going on to one side or another. And these two things goes together, the lack of professionalism and pretentious art. If you are not really sure about who you are and what your place in this world is, you are more likely to get so influenced by others that you loose your own voice. And this combined with a practice that is not that well specified is a countdown for catastrophe. A lot of people are just hanging around, making work that can’t justify its own presence in any way. And this goes on in all disciplines, I must add, also in the one closest to my heart.

But isn’t the community a big part of art school, isn’t that why people decide to attend various courses on different levels, to get influenced by others? You talk about it like it was a bad thing. I recall that was one of the reasons you chose to do a postgraduate course as well. It was, but maybe because the reality in my case turned out to be very different, I started to think about this very differently as well. If you spend your time in art school hanging around with your friends, how does that prepare you for the life after art school? Christ how cynical you have become. Well, to start with, the critiques. You do not get critiques like the kind you get in art school anywhere else. You do not get that kind of direct, honest  and immediate feedback anywhere else. That is true, if critiques in art school would actually be direct, honest and immediate. All the critiques I have attended so far, have not been. Because people want to remain friends, but still they are not good enough friends which would enable them to speak honestly to each other. They are hanging somewhere in the middle, and so the critiques tend to get stuck somewhere in the middle as well, between group tutorials, everyday small talk and, sometimes something that slightly resembles critiques. Everything is just very generic, middle grey and mainstream. I thought you weren’t a big fan of contradictions and that in the matter of fact, a quite conventional art practice is what you have in mind for yourself? I was and it is, I’m just proclaiming general attitude, you know, the kind you get of just simply keeping your eyes and ears open about what is going on around you.

So your solution would be not to make any friends in art school? Well, one of the students in the student group I was working with actually suggested that and everyone else slightly laughed awkwardly. I think there lies something in that, even though being that harsh is maybe to exaggerate. I had a lot of fun dong my undergraduate degree, and I made friends for life during those years but I also feel we spoke very honestly about each others work as well. Maybe it is a cultural thing, to speak your mind and know that you can get away with that. My point is, that being over polite takes the edge out of your studies at art school. And what is wrong with crying in a critique session? The crying in itself is only a reaction to something, and is that not what the critiques are meant to do? Provoke reaction. People who cry during crits are usually the same people and of course crying is not anything that should be the purpose of the sessions, but I think that he crying is often a bigger problem for the people that do not cry, than for the person who actually is brave enough to show genuine emotion and attitude.

Indoor Forest

Aperture magazine, #213, Winter 2013

Killburn Under My Arm & Roslin #1

Trees and other stuff

Loudoun Hill

I have been thinking about battlefields, and visiting a few as well, surprisingly enough. I don’t know what to make out of this, it becomes so terrible so easily. We’ll see.