All posts by Annette Arlander


Lehmuksen kanssa linnanpuistossa

Osallistuin tanssikonferenssiin Saksassa, Karlsruhessa, jossa teemana oli Der Tanz der Dinge tai Things that Dance. Lukiessani kutsun ajattelin heti Lofooteilla kuvaamaani videota Rainy Day in Rekdal, jossa sadepisarat saavat pääosan. Loppujen lopuksi siellä esitettiin sekä installaatio, jossa Rainy Day in Rekdal ja Grey Day in Rekdal ovat esillä vierekkäin, samaan tapaan kuin Radical Relevances -konferenssissa kesällä, mutta pienimuotoisemmin. Sen lisäksi ohjelmaan oli merkitty “screentalk” joten esitin Rainy Day in Rekdal videon ja puhuin sen päälle introksi kirjoittamani tekstin, joka oli edelleen kehittelyä siitä mitä puhuin Radical Relevances konferenssissa. Tarkoitukseni oli esittää se vain johdantona, ja näyttää koko 15 minuutin video itsenäisesti, mutta ilta oli jo pitkällä ja minun jälkeeni oli vielä toinen esiintyjä, joten lyhensin osuuttani yhdistämällä videon ja puheen päällekkäin, mikä luultavasti oli viisasta.
Sunnuntaina konferenssin jälkeen minulla oli aikaa kuljeskella puistossa ja rentoutua vähän. Aamulla olin tehnyt pienen videon puhelinkamerallani sarjaan The City as Stage, jonka aloitin Palermossa; kevyitä luonnoksia, joissa asetan puhelimen minijalustallaan jonkun laatikon tai penkin päälle ja astun kuvaan hetkeksi. Olen kirjoittanut siitä erikseen, englanniksi, toisessa blogimerkinnässä. Pieni video, jonka kuvasin Karlsruhen linnanpuistossa yhtäkkisenä impulssina oli oikeastaan tarkoitettu samaan sarjaan, mutta editoidessani siihen alku-ja loppuhimmennyksen tajusin, että se oikeastaan on samaa sarjaa kuin hetket puiden kanssa, vaikka ne on yleensä kuvattu kunnon kameralla. Poikkeuksena Krakova, jossa Pilvi kuvasi minut istumassa puun rungolla puhelinkameralla ohimennen, hiukan kuten tässä. Tällä kertaa puhelin oli jalustalla.


Huvittavinta tietysti on, että jostakin syystä valitsin tämän näkymän, joka on täynnä nurmikolla liikkuvia ihmisiä, ja varsin nuoren ja melko yhdentekevän lehmuksen, jonka luona seistä, nimenomaan tässä vanhassa puistossa joka oli täynnä toinen toistaan kiinnostavampia puuvanhuksia. Mutta syynä oli luultavasti ajatus, että tässäkin oli kyse kaupungista näyttämönä. Niinpä lopputuloksena on jonkinlainen hybridi – sekä kuva aukiosta ja ihmisistä, että kuva hetkestä tietyn puun kanssa.

The City as Stage 1 and 2

On my last day in Palermo, visiting Manifesta 12 a few weeks ago, I walked all the way to see one work from a bridge by the sea, at the outskirts of the city. And there I also made a short video, inspired by the title of the series City on Stage, which I misread ”city as stage”. I though that could be developed into a once-a-week type of series, made with my iPhone, and my little tripod, of handbag size, which I did not have with me in Palermo, of course. The rough sketch made with the iPhone leaning on my handbag shows a blurry shadow in the lower part of the image. I liked, however, the idea of simple and quick sketches made at the outskirts of cities or in places that I happen to visit. I edited three versionS of the small work: one where my movement into and out of the image is included (1a) one with the still pose only (1b) and one with a slow crossfade between the image with the human figure and the one without, a slow disappearance (1c). Here are stills from a and b:


Today in Bergen, Norway, I made another attempt, a quick sketch while waiting for the bus to the airport, placing my phone with the tripod on top of a rubbish bin and simply walking into the image, inspired by the presentations and discussions at the Artistic Research Forum I had enjoyed. And this time the city really served as a stage, because there were some passers-by performing with me. While waiting for the plane at the airport I edited two versions of the work, one with my movement included (2a) and one without (2 b). Here are stills from both of them:


Now, when I have made two sketches, in two cities, and when I know that with the right equipment it is rather easy, I can confirm that this is something I can try to keep up as a practice, at least while visiting various cities. The first video clips are available on the RC, here. This is not at all related to my project performing with plants, but rather linked to my previous attempts at performing landscape. There is something unpretentious in this way of making improvisatory notes that I like, anyway…

The Planetary Garden

The title of this years’ Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, which changes host city every time, Manifesta 12 Palermo, is The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence. That is so directly connected to my research topic, performing with plants, that I simply had to go and see it, especially when I noticed that the garden was not only understood on a metaphoric level. One of the main venues, L’Orto Botanico, is the Botanical Garden founded in 1789. And of course the city of Palermo was seducing as well. I visited the place during Christmas 1975 and have very few memories of it, being stranded there, on my way to Tunis. I was very yong, trying to get away from Christmas celebrations and landing in the midst of the very Catholic city. I remember marveling at the amount nativity displays, which I had not seen before, and the huge bundles of Poinsettia branches, the red flowers that we had in pots and called Christmas stars. I spent Christmas Eve alone in a class z pension, burning a candle and eating dried figs, that is about all I can remember. It was about time to make acquaintance with the city, so now I spent three full days there, running around in all the rundown or abandoned palazzi that served as the venues for Manifesta, and really enjoyed the city.
The curatorial concept was divided into three strands: Garden of Flows, which “explores toxicity, plant life and culture of gardening in relation to the global commons”, Out of Control Room, which sees Palermo as “the ideal stage on which to test what space is now left for individual or collective, human or non-human political agencies”, and City on Stage, with Teatro Garibaldi as a place “to come together, start conversations, explore exhibitions and participate in live events open to the public”. Well, I did not have the chance to see any live events, only videos documenting some of them, nor did I make trips to the sites in the suburbs where some collaborations had taken place. There was plenty to see within walking distance. Many works hinted at the theme of garden, by including or referring to plants in some manner. Two works, however, I would like especially to remember.
First of all the disturbing installation by Lungiswa Gqunta “Lituation – The Gardner’s Revenge”, a mixture of litter, glass bottles, petrol, papaya trees and more, a creepy replica of what many urban gardens actually look like. According the program, in the words of the artist, I suppose: “This garden is a contested landscape, one we water with liquid that will ignite the masses because the revolution is lit”.


Another work that was disturbing in a different way, trying to be useful, experimenting with the idea of cultivation in collaboration with scientists and local food establishments, was called “What is Above is What is Below”, by Cooking Sections, a group founded in London 2013 consisting of Alon Schwabe and Daniel Fernández Pascual. I bumped into one part of the work in the form of citrus trees in the small Giardino Dei Gusti covered with yellow gauze, in an experiment to “water without water”. By the ruined Chiesa di S. Maria Dello Spasimo there was a related experiment with citrus trees enclosed by circular brick walls, a contemporary interpretation of the traditional mode of planting a tree in an enclosed yard.




More about the program and these works can be found at the manifesta 12 website.

Backantinnorna i Brunnsparken

Sommaren 1978 var speciell i Helsingfors, på många sätt, men åtminstone för den generation ungdomar som återupplivade den svenska Studentteatern och satte upp Euripides sista pjäs som ”Backantinnorna eller Sagan om dansandets möda” i Brunnsparken, med premiär 4 augusti 1978. Och i varje fall för mig, som i egenskap av första årets regielev hade möjligheten att bli en del av den kollektiva och revolutionerande anarkistiska och feministiska energin. Det är där mitt liv som konstnär inleddes, och jag brukar skryta med att jag började med en produktion där vi samarbetade i en grupp på 48 personer, för att så småningom komma fram till ett arbetssätt där jag jobbar helt på egen hand. Min tanke var att skriva mer om vad som var viktigt och värdefullt och fortfarande på något sätt relevant i vår tolkning, och att jag då faktiskt inget visste om ”Dionysos in 69” eller andra legendariska versioner av pjäsen – till exempel att backantinnorna inte följde guden Dionysos, utan tvärtom valde ut någon bland sig själva för att ikläda sig rollen som den manliga guden för att gå i dialog med matkhavare, en ny person för varje scen, eller att kung Pentheus moder Agaue inte deltar i mordet på sin son i ett rustillstånd, som hon tragiskt vaknar från på slutet, utan som i en medveten och planerad offerhandling. Men efter att ha deltagit i en picnic i Brunnsparken igår, den 25 augusti, och träffat många av dem som var med, finns det plötsligt alltför mycket att minnas, alltför mycket att skriva om… Se bilder här… Så jag ger helt enkelt upp, och låter arkivmaterialet uppträda istället, – kolla prologen! – och kanske väcka minnen hos dem som kommer ihåg en tid innan internet och alla våra nutida hjälpmedel
Recensioner och puffar:
HBL-puff 1-2
Ny tid puff-1-2
Halme 1-2
Ny tid








Revisiting the Spruce and the Rock

There is only one spruce tree growing on Harakka Island, so it makes sense to speak of revisiting the spruce. There are more rocks than one, however, so revisiting the rock sounds slightly strange. These visits are linked to my work with Animal Years, a series of yearly projects, weekly performances for camera on the island during the years 2002-2014. And they could take place now because of my sitting as a gallery guard on the island for more than a week, taking care of the small exhibition Trees in Victoria in the old Telegraph (3-12.8.2018) The specific rock in question is the one I was sitting on in 2008 while posing as something resembling the little mermaid, or her sculpture in Copenhagen, and later edited the material into the work Year of the Rat – Mermaid 1-2 as well as Day and Night of the Rat – Mermaid. That year there was no proper ice, no more than what is shown in these images:

The “re-enactment” happened on a windy day, and I sat and hold on to the tripod after it almost tumbled over on the rocks. Although I managed to recreate the image fairly well, despite the water level being quite low, I forgot that the new proportions would leave my head out of the image. Well, the feet were the important part, anyway:


The spruce has also figured in a work, Under the Spruce I-III, made in the year of the pig, 2007, and edited into a three-channel installation. There my performing for camera is really invisible; the human figure sitting under the spruce is not discernible in most of the images. The spruce is video recorded from three different perspectives.

The idea was to insert all three images into one larger image of the spruce in full size. I made one version first, but the following day, while walking around, I noticed that a full portrait of the spruce might be easier from another angle.


Besides the rock and the spruce I also recorded a long take of the cliff on the northwestern shore in order to create a base image to insert the videos of the installation Year of the Pig – Installation or perhaps rather the two parts of shorter version Year of the Pig – Sitting on a Cliff I-II (short).

The cliff is steep, and it was difficult to frame a recognizable image; I might as well have recorded only the sea, or then tried from a boat, but a moving image would be something completely different, of course. A simple and rather steep shoreline is all I got:

I am not sure if I will make all these compilations, but at least it is worth trying. Year of the rat (2008) was the last year I used a DV camera and recorded images in TV-format. The quality is fairly poor, and inserting the images in a “proper” base image makes for a clear upgrade. And perhaps my little exercise on the rock has some value, mainly due to my funny bright yellow outfit…

“Trees in Victoria” på Stora Räntan

Utställningen “Trees in Victoria” hade vernissage igår i Telegrafen på Stora Räntan och pågår 3.-12.8. 2018. Den innehåller två video-installationer (som split-screen videon) Trees in Victoria (Apollo Bay) 14 min 30 sec., och Trees in Victoria (Lorne), 13 min 40 sec., båda inspelade på respektive orter, Apollo Bay och Lorne, i Victoria i södra Australien under en vecka efter konferensen PSi #22 i Melbourne i Juli 2016 och sedan editerade under 2017.
Det finns en bloganteckning från resan I Victoria, här
Båda arbetena finns också på Research catalogue som små filer, här
Utställningen pågår bara en vecka, är öppen tisdag till söndag från klockan tolv till 18.00. Jag sitter själv som gallerivakt – det blir min semester för i år…


“Trees in Victoria” Harakan saarella

Näyttely “Trees in Victoria” avattiin eilen Harakan Lennättimessä ja jatkuu 3.-12.8. 2018. Se sisältää kaksi videoinstallaatiota (split-screen videoina) Trees in Victoria (Apollo Bay) 14 min 30 sek., ja Trees in Victoria (Lorne), 13 min 40 sek. Kummatkin on kuvattu nimensä mukaisella paikkakunnalla, Apollo Bay ja Lorne, Victorian osavaltiossa eteläisessä Australiassa viikon aikana Melbournessa järjestetyn PSi#22 konferenssin jälkeen heinäkuussa 2016 ja sitten editoitu vuoden 2017 aikana. Victorian matkalta on olemassa blogimerkintä, täällä
Molemmat työt löytyvät myös på Research Catalogue -alustalta pieninä tiedostoina, täältä
Näyttely jatkuu vain viikon ajan, ja on avoinna tiistaista sunnuntaihin klo 12-18.00. Istun itse näyttelyvahtina – siitä tulee lomani tänä vuonna…


“Trees in Victoria” on Harakka Island

The exhibition "Trees in Victoria" was opened yesterday at the Telegraph on Harakka Island and will continue 3.-12.8. 2018. It includes two video-installations (as split-screen videos) Trees in Victoria (Apollo Bay) 14 min 30 sec., and Trees in Victoria (Lorne), 13 min 40 sec., both of them recorded in respective locations, Apollo Bay och Lorne, in Victoria in southern Australia during a week after the PSi#22 conference in Melbourne in July 2016 and then edited during 2017.
There is a blog post from the trip to Victoria, here
Both works are also available on the Research Catalogue as small files, here
The exhibition will go on for a week only, and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday noon to 6 pm. I will sit as a gallery guard – that is my holiday this year…


In the Lantern Tree in Belgrade

After the very big and quite successful World Congress of the IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) in Belgrade, Serbia, (the program is available here and the book of abstracts here) and the executive committee meeting after it, I had an afternoon to spend on my own. With my camera and tripod and the same yellow outfit I wore in Daegu, I headed directly to the park next to the Museum of Contemporary Art where we had a big party on Thursday night. I remembered seeing a small tree suitable to sit in at the border of the large lawn outside the museum on the other side of river Sava, and there it was, right next to the parking lot. The tree was one of many of its kind, a species quite unknown to me. The taller trees on the shore were some sort of poplars, but these small trees covered with puffy pepper-looking fruits I had never seen before. There were quite a few of them; all the smaller, yellowish trees in these images are of the same kind, although only one of them had a trunk with a place to sit in.

After my session, on returning from the park I asked the reception sit in the hotel, googled trees in Belgrade and so on, to no avail. Finally I found an image of something similar, albeit reddish, by looking for dried flowers in Finnish and that way I came to a whole group of plants and trees called lantern trees. There are several types, The Chilean Lantern tree, the Chinese Lantern tree, a creeper of the family Solanaceae related to the tomato and the potato and so on. Most lantern trees have colorful fruits, and these were yellowish-green, but perhaps they will turn read later in the summer. And although I did not think of it at first, these trees probably had flowers earlier this summer. To put it simply: plants change their appearance over the year! And that should not come as a surprise to me, living in the north. Nevertheless I was not sure exactly what this specific tree is called, so I decided to call it a lantern tree.

The video will be uploaded on the RC here The video still is from the beginning of the 15 minute session, when the sun was burning bright, but very soon there were some clouds covering it providing a relaxing shade. Since I was not there, behind the camera to adjust the light, most of the video is rather dull and dark. Despite the image of the tree being framed as rather wide to include more of the tree, its foliage is nevertheless not included. Some snapshots of the tree and its fruits taken after the session will give a better idea of what kind of tree it is:


In Dalseong Park, Daegu

After attending the PSi #24 conference in Daegu, Korea, I had one day, or morning, to spend in Daegu before heading back to Seoul and Helsinki. Pilvi Porkola from the project How to do things with performance, with whom we made a presentation, returned home with her son a day earlier. My plan was to take a walk to Dalseong Park to see if I could find a suitable tree to sit in for a while, and I asked a colleague from the conference who stayed in the guesthouse, Megan Evans, if she would be interested in visiting the park and looking after the camera behind my back while I was sitting in the tree. And she agreed, so in relatively fresh and sunny weather we walked there and followed path around the park up on the ancient fortifications. It was actually Megan who noticed a possible tree, which I had not noticed and I immediately agreed, because most of the trees were either to old and tall or too young. At first I thought this tree might be too young as well, that is, too weak to carry my weight, but on closer examination it proved quite strong. I had my pale pink woollen scarf with me, but for some reason the yellow clothing I happened to wear seemed more appropriate for the circumstances. Megan would sit on the nearby bench, keep an eye on the camera and perhaps restart it, if for some reason it would stop unexpectedly, as it sometimes does. But this time all went well, and I sat approximately eleven minutes, listening to the birds, the traffic and the amused passersby. At the guesthouse I downloaded the images from the camera and on the train to Seoul I edited the material into a one-image video ”In Dalseong Park” (11 min), which is available on the RC: ”In Dalseong Park”. I named the video thus because I did not recognize the tree. It had some small berries, like miniature cherries, but looked otherwise unfamiliar. It would be very difficult to get its species verified, so I decided to accept that it was a stranger, albeit a rather friendly one. Here below are some stills from the beginning and  end of the naterial, where I try to get up in the tree and then to get down again. The larger image in the middle is what the actual video looks like – a bit too dark, really. The park was nice in any case.



This image, taken by Megan Evans as a still with her phone, is actually quite nicely framed: