Revisiting the Pine and other video works
Telegraph Gallery on Harakka Island 24.5. – 5.6.2022, noon to 5 pm
A selection of recent video works with pines is on display as “screening on demand”.
Welcome to the opening on Tuesday 24.5. at 5 pm
Paluu männyn luo ja muita videoteoksia
Harakan lennätingalleria 24.5. – 5.6.2022, klo 12-17
Nähtävillä on myös valikoima uudempia videoteoksia mäntyjen kanssa “tarvenäytös” periaatteella.
Tervetuloa avajaisiin tiistaina 24.5. klo 17
Återbesök hos tallen och andra videoarbeten
Telegrafgalleriet på Stora Räntan 24.5. – 5.6.2022, kl 12-17
Dessutom visas ett urval nyare videoarbeten med tallar enligt principen “visning på begäran”.
Välkommen på vernissage tisdagen 24.5. kl 17
Yhteysveneen aikataulu – Ferry schedule – Båttidtabellen
Tukijana, med stöd av, supported by:
A performance with videos on Tuesday 26 April in Myymälä2 gallery as part of the event Seven of Seven. I hope to install four ”stations” in the small space, and to invite the audience to practice after I have completed a few rounds. See images on my pine blog, here.
Performanssi videoiden kanssa tiistaina 26.4. Myymälä2 galleriassa osana Seven of Seven tapahtumaa. Toivon voivani asentaa neljä ”asemaa” pieneen tilaa , ja kutsua yleisön harjoittelemaan sen jälkeen kun olen itse tehnyt muutaman kierroksen. Katso stillkuvat mäntyblogissani, täällä.
En performance med videon tisdagen den 26 april i Myymälä2 galleriet som en del av evenemanget Seven of Seven. Jag hoppas kunna installera fyra ”stationer” i det lilla utrymmet, och bjuda in publiken att utföra övningarna efter att jag gjort några varv. Se stillbilderna på min tallblogg, här.
The title of the exhibition in Gallery Forum Box in Helsinki (11.2.-6.3.2022) alludes to the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees that it is part of. Besides the “balcony” (parvi) the exhibition comprises the small Mediabox where you can show one work, in this case Dear Deceased (6 min 26 sec), see image above, a letter to a dead spruce written in English and added as a voice-over. The work is now in the AV-archive as well, here. The main work in the exhibition is Day with Old Tjikko 1 (17 min 45 sec), performed and recorded in May 2019 with the ancient spruce tree on Fulufjället mountain in Dalarna, Sweden. All the other works, including the one in Mediaboxi, were made in September 2020 during a one month Mustarinda residency in Hyrynsalmi, northeastern Finland.
More information about the exhibition here, and later on in the archive, here. Information about the work in Mediabox here, and later in the archive here. The following images from the exhibition are photographed by Emilia Pennanen:
It’s time to begin something new, although I will be occupied with the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees for a while
– some works will for example be shown in a group exhibition in gallery Forum Box in February, and I hope there will be more possibilities to show the video works I have made together with various trees. And the new is not really new, but rather a narrowing of focus; I began with plants, zoomed in on trees and will now concentrate on pines. The project is called (at least sofar) Pondering with Pines – Miettii Mäntyjen kanssa – Tänker med Tallar. I began with the Swedish title, which was first talking with trees, which was too limited, and is now thinking with trees, which sounds a little too demanding. I guess pondering is demanding too, but I wanted to have an alliteration in all languages.
The first pine tree that I will practice with this year, ponder with but also pose in the tree pose from taiji with, is a tall and handsome pine growing in Kaivopuisto Park, in the centre of the slope which now serves as a sledding hill. The following two images I took with my phone as documentation or field notes – the two last ones are stills from the video of the very first session today.
Looking back at the year 2021, my second year working on the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees, see also Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees it is difficult to distinguish what was really important. One important turn took place already in November 2020, when I spent a month on Örö island in Öres residency. As a consequence I began working with the pine trees there and returned to the island several times during 2021. During the year I spent April in Päiväkoti residency in Hailuoto, two weeks in June in ArsBioarctica in Kilpisjärvi and July in the Post and Customs house residency on Eckerö. I could finally return to Stockholm after more than one year of covid exile, and spent quite some time there in the autumn. The final events by the research project How to Do Things With Performance (HTDTWP) in the spring were of course an important milestone, although there remains some work to be done with publications and the report. This autumn I was also teaching a little bit in Stockholm and in Helsinki, and the courses will continue in 2022: Concepts and Discussions around Artistic Research, a doctoral seminar with Mika Elo at University of the Arts Helsinki, and Developing an Artistic Research Project, a course with Synne Behrndt at Stockholm University of the Arts, online. Besides the completed performances, exhibitions, lectures and publications, which are listed below, there have been other things and some of the things that are in the making might prove important in the future.
Projects completed in 2021
How to do things with performance? – Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä?, a four-year (five year) research project funded by the Academy of Finland, with Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola (2016-2021). More info on the Uniarts website of HTDTWP with links to blog and living archive on the RC.
Residency at Eckerö Post och Tullhus in July 2021.
Ars Bioarctica residency at the biological station in Kilpisjärvi for two weeks in June, see here and here.
Residency in Kulttuuritalo Päiväkoti in Hailuoto in April 2021
Exhibitions, events and performances
On the Edge (2020) in Öres exhibition on Örö Island 19.6.-31.9.2021. See here and here
Dear Spruce – Kuusi Hyvä 1-7 (2020) and July with a Pine (2020) in the exhibition Artists’ Island on Harakka Island 9.8.-26.9.2021. See taiteilijoidensaari_tiedote_en and here
Open studio on Harakka as part of Konstrundan 4.9. and 5.9. 2021.
“Performance with a Pine” (in the barracks area near the restaurant on Örö) 2.9. 2021. See here.
The Tide in Kan Tiang (2016) in LiikKUVAT exhibition in Harjavalta hospital 18.6.-16.8.2021.
On the Edge II-IV shown in a screening of short films by Örö residency artists at Norpas festival 7.8.2021.
“Swinging in a pine”, participatory performance as part of the Öres 2021 exhibition on Örö 26.6.2021. See here
HTDTWP: epilogue, exhibition in the Research Pavillion 22-24.6.2021 with a Longtable performance 23.6.2021. See here
The Tree Calendar – Puukalenteri – Trädkalendern. Exhibition in the Telegraph gallery on Harakka Island, 19-30.5.2021. See here
Contributing a provocation to “Designing the Pluriversity”, see here .
“HTDTWP: Grande Finale”, University of the Arts Helsinki Theatre Academy (online) 6-7.5.2021 see here
“Swinging in a Pine in Hailuoto” as part of Be-coming Tree Spring Event online 24.4. 2021.
Sitting on a Birch (2006) in MIRRORED – photo performance exhibition, 10.3-16.5. 2021, MUU Helsinki Contemporary Art Centre, Cable Factory. See here and here
“Holding Hands with a Pine” in Be-Coming Tree Live Art Event, online 9.1.2021.
“Calling for Zoe as a Utopian Gesture” in Ruukku – studies in artistic research #17 Everyday Utopias and Artistic Research, see here and here
“A dialogue about performance, artistic research and trees”, interview by José Quaresma in RIACT no 3, see here and as a separate pdf AA-interview-from RIACT_3
“Dear Olive Tree.” Journal of Embodied Research, 4(2): 5 (19:40). 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16995/jer.70
“With Mountain Birches on the Tree Line”, Ars Bioarctica Blog 23 June 2021, here.
Working with the Vegetal, 16th issue of Ruukku Journal, see here.
Annette Arlander, Jerry Määttä, Malin Lobell “Engaging Vegetation in the Arts”, editorial for Ruukku #16 Working with the Vegetal, see here
“Kertaa ja koosta” eli märehtiminen menetelmänä [“Repeat and combine” or regurgitating as a method], Taide 3/2021, p 26.
Radio interview in Finnish in the series Kuusi Kuvaa [Six images] and adjacent abbreviated text, here
“With Spruce Stumps and Old Tjikko – On the Individuality of Trees” in Daniela Fargione and Carmen Concilio (eds.) Trees in Literature and the Arts: Humanarboreal Perspectives in the Anthropocene. Lexington Books, 211-228.
“Islands in Time” and “The Feather” in Paula Kramer Suomenlinna / Gropius. Two contemplations on Body, Movement and Intermateriality, Dorset UK: Triarchy Press 2021, pp 35-39 and 61.
Pre-examination statements (in Finnish) for Tuula Närhinen and Elina Saloranta, in Mika Elo and Denise Ziegler (eds.) Yhä Osuvammin / More and More to the Point. The Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, Helsinki 2021. (pp. 70-73, 75-78, 81-84, 87-89, 92-95 and 226-229, 233-235, 239-242, 247-248, 252-255, 258-260, 267-269, 280-283).
”Day with a Bog Birch – Vegetalising”, available online as theme essay on the Peripheries in Parallax website, here
“Beyond the Saturation Point – Bortom Mättnadspunkten”, VIS #5 2021, see here
“Diffraction, Mixture and Cut-ups in Performing with Plants” in Performance Research 25:5, 31-38. DOI: 10.1080/13528165.2020.1868835
“Dear Spruce – Dear Deceased”, available online as theme essay on the Peripheries in Parallax website, here
Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees in Johannesburg and Environs Arts Research Africa, The Wits School of Arts, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, downloadable here: http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/30395
Talks, papers and presentations
“Kasvidemokratia ja esitys tutkimuksena” [Vegetal democracy and performance as research] at the symposium Theatre and Democracy organised by the Finnish Association for Theatre Research 17.12.2021.
“Meetings with trees – repetition as a tool in artistic research” online lecture as part of Video and painting: parallell movements, Artistic research into the unstable condition of the image, International lectures, University of Lisbon 30.11.2021. See here
Lecture about performance studies in a series by Marja Silde at Helsinki University 10.11.2021.
“In the Disappearing Forest” online-presentation at a workshop in Saint Etienne 22.10.2021. See here.
Project presentation as part of a lecture series on ecodramaturgy by Katri Tanskanen at Helsinki University 15.10.2021
“Notes on performativity”, lecture in a seminar led by Marjaana Kella at Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts Helsinki 24.9.2021.
“Holding nature: Meetings with Trees” online talk as part of the program related to the exhibition New Nature in St. Petersburg 22.9.2021
“Planning and Sharing a Process – Some Nordic Approaches to Artistic Research” as part of the seminar Different Temporalities in Artistic Research, RESCAM, Grenoble, 16-17.9.2021 see here
“Writing to Your Chosen Tree – a Workshop” and “Writing Letters to Trees with the Trees” at CARPA 7 – Elastic Writing in Artistic Research 25.8.and 27.8.2021.(online) See here
“Meetings with Trees in Cities”, talk as part of ”Nature in the City. Nonhuman Heterotopias” (online) 6-8.8.2021 St. Petersburg, see here
”Becoming a Tree – a documented workshop” in IFTR PAR (Performance as Research) Working Group online event 12-16.7.2021.
“Examples of text on video when writing to trees” in Constellate 2021 PSi Artistic Research Working Group online event 7-9.6.2021. See here.
“Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees as Artistic Research” 16.6.2021, as part of the International lectures, Faculdade de Belas-Artes Universidade de Lisboa.
“Monday Lecture: Working with Spruces – On the Strange Individuality of Trees” at the Art Academy, Bergen (online), 26.5.2021, see here
Contribution to the fragments of the “lost” SAR conference 2020 published at the SAR conference 2021, see overview and my part
“Day with a Bog Birch – Vegetalising”, presenting the thematic essay in the context of the conference Peripheries in Parallax 9.4.2021, see here
“Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees”, online talk
Knowledge in the Arts #2: Annette Arlander, 30.3.21, see here
Opponent for Oona Tikkaoja’s doctoral dissertation “Reality Tinkering. An Artistic Approach to the Abundance of the Familiar” at Aalto University 12.3.2021.
The ARA (Arts Research Africa) publication event of Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees in Johannesburg and Environs 18.2.2021.
Opponent at Nathalie Fari’s 50% seminarium on “Situated Agencies: an embodied and documentary approach to site-oriented performance practice”, University of Gothenburg 17.2.2021.
Member of the “Prüfungskommission” for Michael Karlg’s Doktoratstudium on performative materiality, University of Applied Arts Vienna 16.2.2021
Presentation of “Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees” at Kuva Research Club 15.2.2021.
Unfold and Articulate, seminar with doctoral candidates in Norway 3-5.2.2021.
Discussing digital possibilities at Tutke post doc event 28 January 2021.
Online lecture at KISS, Colloquium on Kinetics in Sound and Space, Hamburg 27 January 2021.
Presentation of “Dear Spruce – Dear Deceased” as part of the Peripheries in Parallax event, Aalto University 22 January 2021, available online (scroll down) here
Member of the Committee for Artistic Research at the Swedish Research Council 2018-2021.
Member of the editorial board of Ruukku – Studies in Artistic Research 2012 – 2021.
Having the opportunity to spend a week, or actually ten days on Örö, I wanted to explore some new ideas, besides continuing my usual routines. These include visiting The Pine Next Door daily while I am on the island, and talking to or with the pine on the western shore at least once during each trip. This time I recorded the seventh and last Tell it to the Pine (Tala om det för tallen), in Swedish, as usual. The new thing I wanted to explore, which does not really fit into my current project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees, is not really new, but a further development of something I explored in Nida in September 2017, namely walking (see Walking in Nida). And doing that with an action camera on my forehead. The long road through the island on Örö, from south to north or north to south, covered in cobble stones and built in Russian times is called Pitkä ikävä, a Finnish name that translates as the long boredom and also the long yearning. The road is long and almost straight and uncomfortable to walk on at times, but also inviting to record on video, because it traverses the whole island. Therefore I have now recorded five walks from south to north and back, in order to combine them somehow, perhaps not in a grid as I did in Nida, but as a diptych with images inserted into each other. How that will work I do not know yet, but at least I have enough material. And because the half an hour walk is hard to time to be of equal length both ways, I quickly discovered I should begin and end each walk by standing still for a while. Here are the first and last images from my first walk from north to south.
And the first and last from south to north as well, which I actually began with, because the residency house is near the southern tip.
During my fifth walk on a sunny windy day, the same images look rather different:
I am especially happy with the end of the last walk towards the north, because the video image has the horizon almost in balance, by accident. Because the camera is on my forehead I have no idea if it is sliding to either side, or what the image looks like while I walk. Something to experiment with in the future…
Time passes quickly, faster and faster the older you get, they say. Suddenly I noticed I have not recorded anything here in August and September, nothing since my time in Eckerö residency in July. Yes, I have written something about the events and exhibitions related to the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees on the project blog, but what about everything else? Well, the most spectacular change this autumn has been the possibility to spend some time in Stockholm again, and I have decided to keep my small flat at least for one more year. If I spend two weeks a month in Stockholm, it makes sense. And yes, I have learned to travel to Stockholm the hard and relatively more climate friendly way, taking an early morning train to Turku harbour and then the day boat over to Stockholm, and vice versa. It takes a lot of time, and it is rather horrible to be mainly stationary on the ship for a whole day, but it is doable. From Stockholm I participated in CARPA 7 – elastic writing in artistic research and even held a small workshop next to a beautiful plane tree outside the Royal Library, right next to where I live. And it worked rather well, despite the rain. Speaking of conferences, I had the exciting experience of visiting Grenoble, in person or should I say in body, for a conference organised by the ResCam (Research Creation) network on the theme of temporality in artistic research. To travel again after the long Covid break seemed almost surreal, as was listening to a conference in French, where I could understand only single words, occasionally, and the references if people had Powerpoints to support their talks. The trip was nevertheless inspiring in many ways. I do hope to be able to visit Grenoble again. Besides these conferences, and an online talk in the context of the exhibition New Nature in St Petersburg, I have been teaching again, a little bit, for instance a lecture on performativity for students in photography. The two courses I am teaching, a doctoral seminar with Mika Elo at Uniarts Helsinki and a research preparatory online course with Synne Berndtson at SKH, Stockholm University of the Arts, have both begun in September and will continue all autumn. It is truly refreshing to engage in some conversations about “basics”, the things one tends to forget or take for granted after a while.
What prompts me to write an update right now, is the ending of the two summer exhibitions I have participated in. First the Artists’ Island on Harakka, which was easy to take down, because I had only to bring the TV and player from the library back to my studio downstairs. The video stills printed on aluminium shown in the Öres exhibition on Örö Island will be slightly more cumbersome to transport home. The real work, however, in terms of carrying, that I finished yesterday, was emptying the attic on Harakka (see image above). This has to be done before the end of October, and I realised I might not be in town in time before the ferry boat stops running on 24 October so better to do it now. I did it a little bit at a time, on three consecutive days, and now my whole theatrical past is back in my studio in the form of bags and suitcases filled with directing manuscripts, uhuh. I have labeled the bags so I can see which productions are where, but that does not help very much in deciding what to do with all the material. As always, the question is, should it go to the archive (for example the theatre museum) or to the dump? Right now the suitcases and bags are in a sort of limbo, waiting for their final destiny. But at least they are not abandoned and automatically destroyed when the attic is cleaned. The only thing I threw away, were synthetic textile materials that have served as some kind of curtains or the like, and I could not see why anybody would want to use them for anything, and then the wooden support structures that were built to keep the four small monitors in place under the glass table for the installation Rock Triangles 1 twenty years ago. Unfortunately the old Harakka artists webpages are gone, replaced with new and fancy ones, so the images of the old work ar gone, too. Luckily something remains on the research catalogue, here.
One more reason to write a note is my experience of joining a demonstration to support the Finnish extinction rebellion movement Elokapina, as part of a group of researchers. I ended standing in the front line with a banderol saying Researchers Rebel for Life and the same in Finnish for 90 minutes or so. When the police called for the gathering to disperse, we grown-ups quickly stepped aside, and tucked away the banderols. I was almost grateful that the police finally interrupted us, tired of standing and hurried home. The youth sitting on the street stayed to be arrested and transported away in two busses. I am still overwhelmed by the experience, how easy and natural it felt to be standing there, and how it was not at all as scary nd embarrassing as I had imagined. It seemed quite possible to contribute to the event and support the demands of the young activists without crossing the line, without breaking the law myself. Of course you could see that as a cowardice of sorts, but I prefer to congratulate myself for the courage to take the first step and to show up. Although I do not personally know what actually should be done, I trust the many environmental researchers and climate activists who say that the tools and solutions are there, they only need to be implemented by political decisions.
Now I am leaving these considerations for a week, returning to Örö to take down my images, and possibly to make new ones, as well as to visit my old pine friends on the island, the pine next door, which is not next door to the residency house but close to the house I lived in last January, and then the pine on the shore that I speak with in Swedish. All my encounters with both of them are documented as still images here. I also hope to meet some new pines for the series Wind Pines, which I began during my last visit. But that is already another story…
The first week of my one-month residency in Eckerö Post and Customs House on Åland Islands has been dominated by the Constellate event that replaces the PSi (Performance Studies international) conference this year, or rather the three day online symposium or workshop or gathering called Perform-Respond-Extend, organised by the Artistic Research Working Group. Exhausting and inspiring, and actually hard work, but, I am also very happy, because I managed to make two real videos as part of the assignments of the event. I made both of them together with the same ash tree near ”postbryggan”, the old pier.
The first video was made as a response to Danai Theodoridou’s work Languages of the Unheard, and is called On Vegetal Democracy. There I recycle parts of an old text published in Ruukku journal already in 2015, but otherwise the approach is new to me. The second video is using a familiar technique, writing a letter to the same ash tree, and was made as an extension of Göze Saner’s response to the presentation by Caitlin Main, dealing with trauma. That video is called The Ash Tree in Eckerö, and the text is written and spoken in Swedish, with English subtitles. Although both works were made as exercises or comments and as part of collaborative work, I am happy with them as independent works in their own right, especially after making an adjustment to the subtitles of the latter. And the brief mention of the material they are responding to does not prevent them from being seen independently. They are both available to watch online here. Because the two videos with the ash tree are ready to watch now, they feel much more like real accomplishments than my ongoing work. Time will show if they will feel relevant or not later on.
My main task on Eckerö, so far, are the two time lapse videos I am creating by posing daily with a maple tree in the yard and with an apple tree in front of the building. But those exercises will produce some results only at the end of my stay. These ongoing daily meetings are documented as still images, here. In any case I am enjoying my stay at the newly renovated residency and cherishing the spacious setting and the historical environment.
Returning to Kilpisjärvi for two weeks in June 2021, for an Ars Bioarctica residency, I did of course remember my first visit at the biological station in Kilpisjärvi in 2014, which was divided into two parts, one week in April and the other week in June. But I did not realize I would be here in the very same week. I noticed it because I had gathered material from that first visit as an appendix for an article called “Data, Material, Remains” on a page on the Research Catalogue, called Ars bioarctica residency 2014. There I found out the exact dates when I performed some of the works with Malla, the mountain at the western end of the lake. I also found links to the posts I wrote about my visit on this very same blog: Malla – Mountain in the North, describing the first visit in April, and Meeting Malla Again as well as Mountain Brooks Once More from my second visit in June.
Now I am here for other purposes, performing with the dawny birches or mountain birches in the area, as part of the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees (see post on the project blog, here). I could not resist the temptation to revisit the site where I performed “Looking at Malla” on 5 june 2014 as well as “Day and Night with Malla” on 7-8 June 2014 and try to recreate the images, in order to see if something had visibly changed – besides my camera. Not that much, actually. Yes, there is less snow on the slopes of Malla, and perhaps slightly less ice on the lake, as could be expected due to global warming, but surprisingly much remains the same. Wearing a black pullover rather than the dark blue scarf that I originally used makes quite a difference, though. Recreating “Looking at Malla”, or rather one of the sessions of the day-long time-lapse video, was not as easy as I thought. Here is the first image of the original work:
I made several attempts before finding approximately the right spot in front of the camera in order to be visible, and cover only part of the view.
Recreating the first image of the time-lapse video “Day and Night with Malla” was easier.
The rock was there, although I could not place the tripod as far back as I did before, perhaps because there was no ice now, or perhaps there was some sort of wooden construction before, or then I had a different objective in my camera, a different camera, too, I suppose. The one I use now I got that same year, but probably did not have with me at the residency yet.
The session today was actually closer to the one-off session “Moment with Malla” recorded on 7 June 2014. There you can really see the importance of the scarf in repeating the form of the mountain and the rock:
The most interesting thing, the real reason why I thought the revisit was worthwhile, was the birch growing next to the rock, and barely visible in the original images. Turning the camera only slightly to the right brought the birches into full view, and I thought standing next to the birch and holding on to its trunk would make a perfect pair to the image of sitting on the rock.
I did not even bother to make a test, because I thought I could easily picture my position next to the small tree. I did not realize how big I am, and that my hand would be covered by the rest of my body, so the image is not at all what I imagined.
Well, of course not, I would like to add, but it seems like I never learn…
PS. I did a new attempt, later, which is documented here.
A week in Örö after a long break – I was here last time at the end of February – is the perfect way to celebrate May and mothers’ day and to get some work done with the pines. When arriving I suddenly remembered the Pasque flowers (Anemone pulsatilla) whose only known habitat in Finland is supposed to be Örö. At least that is what a sign next to some fenced spots claimed. And yes, they were in full bloom, although bending in the chilly wind. There is some controversy whether they are extinct or not in Finland and which species of pulsatilla or anemones, “kylmänkukat”, actually have grown or grow here now.
I heard from a local man interested in photography about another type, the small pasque flower (pulsatilla pratensis) which is even rarer, and grows on the island, too, but has no official signs, at least not yet. They looked really delicate and exotic, I have to admit. There were three spots where the plants were marked with a circle of rocks, and in one spot also protected by a sign “valuable vegetation” on a fence, which prevented one to get anywhere near.