ELECTRIC FOREST: PART 3 || HUMANS AND ELECTRONS
ELECTRIC FOREST SCREENINGS are being organized and produced by FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange in collaboration with Avanto Festival.
‘Humans and Electrons’ concentrates on the first active decades of Finnish video art. Ranging from video art by pioneering media artists such as Erkki Kurenniemi and Mervi Kytösalmi to works made in Helsinki Film Workshop, which in the beginning of the 1990s was a popular meeting place for artists working with film, video and sound (including Sami van Ingen, Seppo Renvall, Marjatta Oja, Juha van Ingen, Denise Ziegler, Mikko Maasalo, Oliver Whitehead), it also refers to the start of the “cinematic” turn of the Finnish video art, characteristic of the works by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Ilppo Pohjola, Pekka Niskanen, Liisa Roberts, Salla Tykkä, Mika Taanila, Veli Granö, Liisa Lounila, Elena Näsänen, Anssi Kasitonni etc. The clue of the screening is in the relations between the human body, its use, expressions and experience and the new cinematic relations created in the era and age of electronic media.
Mervi Kytösalmi: 2=2+1=3 (1979, 8’)
Media art expert and coordinator Perttu Rastas has described Mervi Kytösalmi as the first Finnish video artist who created a whole body of work on video art. Kytösalmi´s works are related to the performance video tradition that explores the relationship between the body, the duration and sound of each movement and the actual image on video. Kytösalmi studied her medium at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in the end of 1970s, when Klaus Rinke and Nam June Paik were teaching there.
Mervi Kytösalmi: Marcel, (1982, 7’)
The piece 2=2+1=3 (1979) has two women (Kytösalmi and gallerist Ursula Wevers) following each others movements in a performance-like situation with a hypnotic music playing in the background. Later on the two women are accompanied by a third person (Lukas Rahm). Marcel (1983) is a work on the theme of mourning for a dead child. The pink and red balloons (some of which pop off), the artist’s slowly turning face by a mirror that resembles the surface of a pond, the black feathers touching gently the mask-like face and the Japanese shakuhachi flute music are the elements of this sad and beautiful piece.
Erkki Kurenniemi: Basic Art animations, (1981-82, 13’)
Erkki Kurenniemi´s inventions include numerous interactive instruments, among others the cursing robot Master Chaynjis and the video organ Dimi-O that created sounds from the movements of a life performer. Kurenniemi was also one of the founding members of the Finnish computer artists group DatArt. During the years of 1980 - 1985 he made several short animations using BASIC programming language, which provided wonderful personal remarks on the “discussions” between a human and the machine. Originally, these works are generative computer animations which continuously change their shape according to certain parameters, yet here they are presented in the screening form.
Marikki Hakola: The Time is Right For…(1984, 3’40’’)
Marikki Hakola is perhaps the best-known video artist of the 1980´s and 1990´s in Finland. In her early work The Time is Right For... (1984), which is a scratch-video and also part of an installation by the same name, she is deconstructing western media imagery. This continued to be one of the themes also in her later media art projects, along with such issues as distance and the representation of the body. Her later works include monitor installations, dance and opera adaptations to video, digital online performance, interactive art and the use of virtual scenography.
Matrix Mind: The Image of Disease (1988, 8’)
Image of Disease (1988) is a computer animation by the duo Matrix Mind (Otso Pakarinen & Pekka Tolonen). The soundtrack’s composition is based on the genetic code of the HIV-virus and the images are made to match the music. The bright “edginess” of the virtuous use of rapid editing and icon-like imagery make it clearly one of the Finnish video classics of the 1980s, also reflecting the influence of the MTV.
Teemu Mäki: Tapio (1990, 11’20’’)
Teemu Mäki´s early work Tapio (1990) is both an extended music video based on the song ‘Tapio’ by energetic punk band Radiopuhelimet and a harsh comment on the environmental situation of our planet as well as a philosophical statement by the artist. The name of the work refers to a Finnish pagan god of the same name.
Marjatta Oja: Membrane XI (1990, 7’)
Marjatta Oja´s performative video Membrane XI (1990) documents an event between two people behind a blurred window, behind which the sound of a Polaroid camera can be heard. One by one small Polaroid photographs depicting fragments of a woman’s body are fastened on to the surface of the window. The work is an ambiguous comment on the culture of surveillance, control and the power that humans have on one another.
Juha van Ingen: (Dis)Integrator (1992, 3’55’’)
Juha van Ingen´s (Dis)Integrator (1992) takes as its starting point two shots from the science-fiction film The Fly (1958), in which a scientist explains the principle of a tele-transportation machine to his female friend. The repeated images are slowly degenerated because of the continuous copying of the video. The sentence uttered by the woman: “Yes, But... This is different!”, has become a classic line when ever any Finnish structural videos are being shown.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Me/We, Okay, Gray (1993, 3x90’’)
Eija-Liisa Ahtila´s three short cinematic works called Me/We, Okay and Gray (1993) refer to the aesthetic of commercials, short films and music videos. The rapid rhythm of these works introduces new combinations using a variety of elements from different audiovisual languages. Within them the existential, cultural and the environmental questions meet on a personal narrative level. The temporal and spatial distances are re-organised or even erased, and the personalities within a family or a group superimposed or collided on each other.
Oliver Whitehead: Melt Down (1993, 10’41’’)
In Oliver Whitehead´s video work Melt Down (1993) small plastic toy soldiers are exposed to heat to such an extent that they start losing their shape and form. Music by Mikko Maasalo creates a strong contrast to the chthonic formlessness of the melting process. The work comments both the imagery of war - the heroic soldiers, and the technology - the destructive and horrific power of modern war craft on human body.
Curator Kari Yli-Annala
Curator Marita Muukkonen, FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
Tel. +358 (0)50 585 7504
Compiled by Kari Yli-Annala & Marita Muukkonen , Total duration: 80´