Biological diversity is messy. It walks, it crawls, it swims, it swoops, it buzzes.
But extinction is silent, and it has no voice other than our own.
– Paul Hawken
Blossom is a collage with image and audio material from the internet, including Youtube and open audio archives. The work utilizes the slowed down and looped sounds of the rainforests and the cut-off and mirror-effected time lapse videos of blossoming flowers – just about the kind of cut flowers we buy for exhibition openings, birthdays and graduation parties. As I was watching those fascinating and often fairly kitsch videos of fast-moving flowers and as I discovered more and more flower videos shot in a studio environment, I did not just think of the attributes “seductive,” “beautiful,” or “delicate”. I thought of the flip side of the international flower trade: massive greenhouse production, miserable working conditions, chemicals, genetic manipulation. I was thinking of our relationship with nature as instrumental. I wondered why I wanted to stare at the flowers online and be amazed by them (as apparently so many others, judging from the amount of the video views). What does the digital image of accelerated flower liveliness and movement remind me of? Computer screensavers, those signifiers of breaks, maybe? Sensuality, physical pleasure? Instant magical experiences? Why do I want to cut, assemble and process these images of flowers, create a sphere out of them that is bobbing and twisting, or a box where the pieces do not fit and still belong together?
Decrease of biodiversity and extinction of species are the facts that global capitalism, anthroposcene and mass production are all related to – and are the consequence of human activity. When I edited Blossom I noticed that I was carrying out a kind of personal rescue work at an imaginary level, where instead of anxiety I could find something else, a space where listening and breathing could happen. I hope that my work will offer a fairway to these ideas, or alternatively, a place of rest at the end of the year, during its darkness.
Marja Viitahuhta (formerly Mikkonen, b.1979) is a media artist and filmmaker. Her works range from films, performances and installations to photography and collage. She holds a BA degree in performance art from the Turku Polytechnic Arts Academy and an MFA degree from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. She has been awarded internationally at Cannes Film Festival in Cinéfondation category, Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Mediawave and L’Alternativa film festivals. Her early film 99 Years of My Life is in the collections of both MoMA and Kiasma Contemporary Museum of Art.
A recurring theme in her work is mortality and its relation to existence and perception. Her works deconstruct notions of individual identities, memories, or the idealised imagery of nations and landscapes. Her work often speaks in an intimate and personal tone. The relation and possible hierarchy between text and imagery are playfully dealt with in Viitahuhta’s experimental language, where often something is missing: a dialogue, a soundtrack, a visible protagonist, etc. Her use of collage is repeated in many of her works, in both moving image as well as two-dimensional works. Viitahuhta often bases her projects on documentary filmmaking, archive material and found images as well as interviews.
Thank you: TAIKE