ANNETTE ARLANDER: MEETINGS WITH SPRUCES AND BIRCHES
The video works in the exhibition were recorded in April 2019 with Old Tjikko, a 9950 year old spruce tree on Fulufjället mountain in Dalarna and with some spruces and birches in September 2020 in Mustarinda residency in Paljakkavaara in Kainuu. Most of the works were made within the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees, supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The name of the project alludes to the photography book Meetings with Remarkable Trees (1996) by Thomas Pakenham and the project is in some sense forming a counterpoint to it, by questioning what is remarkable and worthy of attention and what is unremarkable. The medium is not photography, however, but rather performance for video and recorded voice.
Although we are often accused of not seeing the forest for the trees, I look at the opposite danger, not seeing the trees for the forest, and focus on individual trees. This is not to deny that trees form networks and ecosystems or symbiotic relationships not only with other trees but with fungi, bacteria and all kinds of micro-organisms, and are in a constant exchange with their environment, as humans are as well. Nor the fact that forests or woods or substantial areas of trees are needed for producing effective carbon sinks, cooler and fresher urban air, flood resistance and more. Emphasizing individualism is a risky strategy in our current neoliberal atmosphere, where the importance of individualism is often exaggerated. Focusing on singular trees can nevertheless be useful as a first step towards decolonizing our relationship with “nature”. As late ecofeminist Val Plumwood (2003) pointed out, colonial thinking tends to emphasize a very strong difference between “us” and “them”, and to see “them” as all alike, stereotypical, non-individualised. Thus, attending to particular trees can help us see trees as life forms that have much in common with humans, despite the undeniable differences.
The project blog and archive on the RC-platform, give some examples and process documentations.
Annette Kristina Arlander, born 1956 in Helsinki, where she lives and works. Artist, researcher and a pedagogue, one of the pioneers of Finnish performance art and a trailblazer of artistic research. Graduated from the department of directing at the Theatre Academy 1981, Doctor of Arts (Theatre and Drama) 1999. Professor of performance art and theory at Theatre Academy 2001-2013. Professor of artistic research at University of the Arts Helsinki 2015-16. Professor in performance, art and theory at Stockholm University of the Arts 2018-2019. AVEK, Media Art Prize 2014, State Prize for Multidisciplinary art 2018.
JAAKKO KAHILANIEMI: HUMAN INTEREST STORIES
Kahilaniemi was born in 1989 in Finland. He earned his BA in Photography from Turku Arts Academy (FI) in 2014 and his MA also in photography from Aalto University, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (FI) in 2018.
Kahilaniemi is the recipient of the ING Unseen Talent Award (NL, 2018) and the Backlight Price (FI, 2017). He also won the grand prize in Datong International Photography Culture Exhibition in 2019. He’s been finalist in various different open calls and competitions like one of the finalists for the Tokyo International Photography Competition in 2019, finalist in Hyéres Photo Festival 2018 and shortlisted as a Foam Talent and Burn Magazine’s Emerging Photographer’s fund in 2019.
Kahilaniemi has exhibited all over the world like at Denver Art Museum the US, Voies Off Arles, Benaki Museum Athens, Klompching Gallery NYC, Robert Capa Center in Hungary, Fotografisk Center Copenhagen, Tampere Art Museum, Unseen Amsterdam, Noorderlicht Photofestival, Kunsthalle Memmingen, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, the Latvian Museum of Photography, the Finnish Museum of Photography, Kunst Haus Wien and many others. His latest solo exhibitions were at Galleria Halmetoja in Helsinki, 2021 and in Persons Project in Berlin, 2021.
Kahilaniemi’s photoworks has been featured in many publications, including Fisheye Magazine, Das Magazin, Eikon Magazine, Europe Now Journal, Fotografi Norway, GUP magazine, Greenpeace Magazine, Der Greif and HANT Magazine and many others. Kahilaniemi’s recent photography projects 100 Hectares of Understanding, Nature Like Capital and Past-It and his sculpture works are his studies to understand the world around him and how humans affect the nature and environment. Currently Kahilaniemi lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.
SAKU SOUKKA: SCOPE
Scope exhibition consists of photo-based works, a readymade-based installation, and a video essay.
The photo-based works hung on the walls are my photographs from 2015–2020, which, apart from two, I have distorted with the help of artificial intelligence. I have selected some areas in my photos, after which the tool I use has filled those selected areas with new pixel combinations imitating or trying to mimic the “reality” of the photos – as if suggesting that the image in the selected area could transform into this instead of the camera´s suggestion. The results are often surreally whimsical or disturbed.
The installation of readymade objects, brings together the technical communication devices or parts of them used by modern human, as well as organic elements such as pieces of wood. Using various methods, I have manipulated the technical equipment, altering their intended functions, usually to a seemingly broken state.
The title work of the exhibition is a video essay titled Scope (2020). It consists of programmed photographs, text, and music. At the beginning, “I” and “you” merge, after which the human mind seems to be in a somewhat fickle state. It flies impulsively to different countries and wanders about, surprising even itself, performing different actions and thoughts, and receiving and sending different messages.
Screenplay, directing, photography, text and editing: Saku Soukka
Music: Tatu Rönkkö
Programming: Matti Hyvönen
Duration: 23 min. 45 sec.
The making and presentation of the work has been supported by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike), The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK), Frame Contemporary Art Finland and The Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Saku Soukka (b. 1982) lives and works in Helsinki. His works mirror the concepts of self and otherness and hybrid. The works are usually created through photography, video, and writing, sometimes ending up in the form of readymade-based installations. Encounters and dialogues between internal and external, stagnation and movement, and organic and industrial, are present. Soukka has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (subject area of time and space arts), and has held about twenty solo exhibitions in Finland, Germany and Italy, and participated in numerous group exhibitions.Mediabox