— Skills of Economy

Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), 6.8. – 11.9. 2016

Participating artists:

Zachary Formwalt, Alma Heikkilä, Barbara Knezevic, Antti Majava, Arttu Merimaa, Anu Pennanen, Asbjørn Skou, Uku Sepsivart, Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić, Jon Benjamin Tallerås, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor and Ingel Vaikla

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The exhibition project ‘City Agents’ looks into the exhibition space and the contemporary city space as sites of the accumulation of capital. It maps out current active agencies that gentrify the city and zooms in on artistic practices that expose and shape forms of social, ecological and economic activation and de-activation of urban space. The project recognises the potential of contemporary artistic practices for rethinking spatial, social and economic shifts organised by human and extra-human co-agencies in the public space.

‘City Agents’ places itself into the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), an artistic institution that is located in between Tallinn’s most rapidly gentrifying urban area, Kalamaja – an out of use Soviet era culture and leisure centre, Linnahall – a tourist packed Old Town, and the Baltic Sea. EKKM is one of the key co-agents of urban development in Tallinn, but on the other hand, it is constantly challenged by the development of the city space itself.

Currently art institutions, studio complexes and gallery spaces are seen as an addition to the neoliberal creative space within the contemporary urban network. Art-related spaces and institutions have been agents of gentrification as has the creative class, gaining ground for tourism and real estate speculation. This rhetoric of creativity, together with the booming development of creative urban areas, has turned artistic institutions into first agents in the soon to be developed and re-developed city areas.

The contemporary city is being developed through the viewing of certain areas and spaces as empty and misused. Often investors and politicians view space with what can be understood as a colonial outlook that fills “emptiness” and makes it “usable”. Gentrification can been seen as capitalizing, and as urban planning, which creates a function for something that has been seen before as non-productive; a space without a function. In the age of neoliberal economy, instrumentalised production is the process where function and knowledge are produced.

Through this engagement of capital and knowledge production, the city and creative space are experienced as flows of objects and energies, creating densities and cartographies of matter and form. Or, this is how is seems from the human perspective: Neoliberalism as the only alternative, as a basis for understanding ontological units that the city space contains. Human-driven capitalism directs and shapes the objects and energies of the public space, forming grids and geometries of control and division.

‘City Agents’ brings up artistic practice as a way of exposing those material flows, objects end densities of the city. It shows spatial, economic and ontological human-driven conditions of the urban space. It argues and rethinks city space from established divisions of function/non-function, human/extra-human, built/empty and productive/non-productive, local/global, urban/rural to more hybrid, blurred and merged notions about contemporary city space and about the agencies that are forming it.

The project is curated by Jussi Koitela in the context of the on-going curatorial research project Skills of Economy.

The project is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Culture Ireland, Mondriaan Fund, Danish Art Agency,  Kone Foundation and Draka Keila Cabels AS.

More information:

www.ekkm.ee/en

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Skills of Economy Sessions is a series of events organised in the context of the Skills of Economy project in collaboration with the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Baltic Circle Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Theatre, HIAP Helsinki International Artist Programme and Frame Visual Arts Finland. Sessions is curated by Jussi Koitela.

The events are a continuation of the Skills of Economy curatorial project addressing artists’ reactions to economic rhetorics and their understanding of their economic situations. Sessions focuses on ways of building new economic and social agencies through political, curatorial and theoretical discourses, a video programme as well as artistic and performative interventions at three different theatre spaces/contexts in Helsinki during Autumn 2015 and Winter 2016.

Session Beginning from the End  is organised in collaboration with Kiasma Theatre. It is performed through speculation on the concepts of resource, death and the hybrid. The current and future lack of resources raises questions of the position of the human race and civilisation on earth. Maybe extinction and the end of civilisation as we understand it from a human-centered world is the most socially and economically progressive image of the future. Can speculation on future life understood as hybrids of culture, nature and technology open up new economic and social agencies? Can we see death as a common nominator for a future, progressive political discourse? The event raises questions on communities and economics organised around a lack of resources and speculations of post-human conditions for forms of art, culture and politics. 

Contributors of the Session are Valentina Karga, João Laia, Ville Lähde, Katja Novitskova, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Joonas Siren, Juuso Tervo, Lauri Wuolio.

Skills of Economy Sessions are supported by Finnish Cultural Foundation, Oskar Öflund stiftelse, Palkansaajasäätiö, Avek, Visek, Swedish Art Grants Commitee and Frame Visual Art Finland.

 

Program

10.00 → Joonas Siren: Can You Hear the Grasshoppers Sing?

10.30 Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook: The Class 1

10.45 Lauri Wuolio: Six Ways to Die

11.15 Juuso Tervo: Death is all things we see awake; all we see asleep is sleep

12.00 Lunch break (Joonas Siren: Can You Hear the Grasshoppers Sing?)

13.00 Valentina Karga: 30 days in the garden/ 15 days on Mars

13.45 Ville Lähde: Conceptions of Natural Resources

14.30 coffee break (Joonas Siren: Can You Hear the Grasshoppers Sing?)

15.00 Katja Novitskova: A DAY IN A LIFE with THINGS I REGRET BUYING

15.30 João Laia: Hybridize or Disappear

16.15 Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook: The Class 2

16.30 Discussion

 

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Skills of Economy Sessions is a series of events organised in the context of the Skills of Economy project in Helsinki during autumn 2015 and spring 2016. Events focuses on ways of building new economic and social agencies through political, curatorial and theoretical discourses, a video programme as well as artistic and performative interventions at three different theatre contexts.

The second session For the Love and Fear of Welfare is organised in collaboration with Baltic Circle Festival. It looks into the situation of the late welfare state and the critical and productive possibilities of artists in this specific economic, social and political situation. In the political rhetorics, the welfare state is constantly defended by both politicians who favour austerity politics and politicians that are against it, only the arguments are different. The welfare state in Finland has offered artists possibilities to understand their work as an autonomous practice. What is the critical role of the artist and the curator when the arts are instrumentalised through welfare management? Could the welfare state and its ideals of equality and common interests of all the social classes still be the background for progressive artistic and curatorial practices? Can artistic, curatorial and institutional practices offer models for the welfare state to overcome its problematic aspects of nation state, excluding of others and believing in infinite economic growth?

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POSTE RESTANTE issues: BALTIC

BALTIC is a social choreography based on the idea of the welfare state, mediated through our freshly established currency BALTIC.

Without risking budget stability and solid finances, POSTE RESTANTE promise to cater for everyone’s basics needs: warmth, shelter, toilets and coffee. Whatever surplus is yours to spend in the various enterprises operating in BALTIC – invited speakers, exotic goods, or why not a place in the spotlight for yourself?

In return we expect participants to invest faith and compliance in the BALTIC and to uphold a high tax morale. BALTIC creates an economic environment that gives all participants the opportunity to shape their own experience and to strike a balance between freedom and security.

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Participants are researcher Päivi Uljas (FIN), activist and writer Maryan Abdulkarim (FIN), curators Anders Kreuger (SWE) and Katerina Tselou (GRE) philosopher Teppo Eskelinen (FIN), as well as artists Ane Hjort Guttu (NOR) and Nestori Syrjälä (FIN) and artist collective Poste Restante (SWE).

Supported by: Finish Cultural Foundation, Palkansaajasäätiö, Oskar Öflund Stiftelse, Swedish Art Grants Comitee and Frame Visual Art Finland

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During October and November 2015 artist and researcher Georgios Papadopoulos will stay in a recidency organised in collaboration with HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme. His residency is connected to Skills of Economy Sessions, a series of events. During the residency he will take a critical look at the series of events, questioning what those are addressing, and produce a text that is later published on the Skills of Economy website. He will also continue his own research during the residency and organise the platform Faceless Value; the New Aesthetic of Digital Exchanges in collaboration with the Artistic Technology Lab of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and the Department of Aesthetics and Communication of the University of Aarhus.  

 

The central question that motivates the research addresses the capacity of digital technologies to signify and communicate economic value and their influence on our understanding of this concept. Monetary media communicate the economic significance of social relations, and quantify them according to the uniform organizing standard of price. In a further move that affirms commodification, the meaning and the identity of social relations is employed as the rationale of their price providing an alibi of real value. In this capacity the media that materialize money can function as an integral part of interfaces of economic participation, transforming network communications into economic value and imposing the normativities of market exchange and intellectual property on digital exchanges. The other, complementary, question of the workshop investigates the digital representation of economic value in the context of the new aesthetic of digital interfaces. Money traces value by employing symbolic and iconographic elements, at the same time as it safeguards the authenticity of these representations by visible and invisible security technologies.”

Georgios Papadopoulos combines economics and philosophical analysis with an exploratory artistic practice. His research gravitates around money and its socioeconomicfunctions. He holds a Master in Philosophy of the Social Sciences from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. The title of his thesis is The Ontology of Money; Institutions, Power and Collective Intentionality, and was supervised by Prof. Dr. Arjo Klamer. Between 2008 and 2009 Papadopoulos was a researcher at the theory department of the Jan Van Eyck Academy, in Maastricht, and in 2012 he was awarded the Vilém Flusser Residency for Artistic Research by the transmediale festival and the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin. He has published in scientific journals, art reviews, and edited volumes in English, Greek and Spanish.

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Skills of Economy Sessions is a series of events organised in the context of the Skills of Economy project in Helsinki during autumn 2015 and spring 2016. Events focuses on ways of building new economic and social agencies through political, curatorial and theoretical discourses, a video programme as well as artistic and performative interventions at three different theatre contexts.

The first session Parasites in October 2015 is organised in collaboration with the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and Finnish Theatre Academy. It’s focus is to ask whether the concept of social class can be the basis of artistic practices that produce new agencies towards economic and social change. Can artistic and curatorial activities build up classed selves for subjects under the ultimate precarity and flexibility?

The second session For The Love and Fear of Welfare in November 2016 is organised in collaboration with Baltic Circle Festival. It looks into the situation of the late welfare state and the critical and productive possibilities of artists in this specific economic, social and political situation. Can artistic, curatorial and institutional practices offer models for the welfare state to overcome its problematic aspects of nation state, excluding of others and believing in infinite economic growth?

The third session Begining from the End in February 2016 is organised in collaboration with Kiasma Theatre. It is performed through speculation on the concepts of resource, death and the hybrid. The current and future lack of resources raises questions of the position of the human race and civilisation on earth. The event raises questions on communities and economics organised around a lack of resources and speculations of post-human conditions for forms of art, culture and politics. 

 

http://georgiospapadopoulos.info

http://www.hiap.fi

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Theatre Academy of University of Arts in Helsinki
9th of October 2015
from 10am to 4.30 pm.

 

Skills of Economy Sessions is a series of events organised in the context of the Skills of Economy project in Helsinki during autumn 2015 and spring 2016. Events focuses on ways of building new economic and social agencies through political, curatorial and theoretical discourses, a video programme as well as artistic and performative interventions at three different theatre contexts.

The first session Parasites is organised in collaboration with the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and Theatre Academy. It’s focus is to ask whether the concept of social class can be the basis of artistic practices that produce new agencies towards economic and social change. It has constantly been said that artists and other actors of the art field are model examples of perfect entrepreneurship and self-employment at the current phase of immaterial and cognitive capitalism. Supposedly, artists can efficiently control and capitalise their cultural properties. Are there models of counter-organisation and struggle based on the new understanding of social class? Can artistic and curatorial activities build up classed selves for subjects under the ultimate precarity and flexibility?

Session is facilitated new work Para-Site by artist Karolina Kucia. It forms a setting for bodily production of knowledge as a place for formation of the self, power relations and social divisions.

In her texts, sociologist and professor of Goldsmiths College, University of London Beverley Skeggs addresses the contemporary condition of social class and the ways in which class is currently being constructed. Lecturer in political science at University of Jyväskylä Mikko Jakonen focuses on the development of precarity and the social and political consequences of ultimate flexibility. Researcher and co-funder of ArtLeaks, Corina A. Apostol, opens up questions on artist strikes and the creating of another art world.

The second part of the event is built on a short workshop organised by artist Freja Bäckman. Precarity is here to stay so take a comfortable position and please start.

Schedule:

10.00 – 10.20 orientation to event and work by Karolina Kucia

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10.20 – 10.40 reading of the text by Beverley Skeggs

10.40 – 11.30 Talk by Mikko Jakonen + discussion

11.30 – 12.20 Talk by Corina L. Apostol + discussion

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12.20 – 13.30 Lunch (vegetarian, served on the spot)

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13.30 – 15.30 Confession of an artist and other actors of the art field workshop by Freja Bäckman

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15.30 – disorientation

Future Skills of Economy Sessions are organised on the 13th of November 2015 in collaboration with Baltic Circle festival and on the 9thof February 2016 in the Kiasma Theatre. In relation to the events, artist and researcher Georgios Papadopoulos will have artist residency at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme and artist Joakim Pusenius will produce new video work.

Skills of Economy Session is curated by Jussi Koitela

Supported by: Finish Cultural Foundation and Oskar Öflund Stiftelse

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Karolina Kucia

She graduated as Master of Arts in 2004 from Poznan Art Academy, and in 2014 again in Performance Art and Theory Studies in the Theater Academy in Helsinki. Between 2004 to 2008 she has been part of Kukkia group (Karolina Kucia and Tero Nauha). From 2007 she is part of the interdisciplinary Mollecular Organization. Between 2011 – 2012 working and co-creating Future Art Base, Art and Economy in Aalto University in Finland and Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative. Currently a fellow of Academie Schloss Solitude. As visual Artist Kucia is mostly working with performance, directing group processes, sculpting, video and animation making. Recently her main interests are lapse, automatism and parasite.

Beverley Skeggs
My research interests consolidate around the issue of value and values. How do we know what value and values are? What do they do? I only realized this was my central concern recently when I was asked to summarise my work and noticed that all my research has been framed around these issues. Hence value/s has led me through issues of respectability in class and gender formation, an exploration of symbolic value through media and cultural formations; using feminist and poststructuralist theory, Pierre Bourdieu and to the economic abstractions of Marx, to help me understand. I’m still working on this topic (it is my life’s work), currently attempting to understand how value moves on, through and with people as they live the imperatives of exchange in capitalism. But, more significantly, what remains beyond exchange? What matters to people? How do they formulate value/s beyond economic perceptions? I have been developing the idea of ‘person value’ through ‘value struggles’ to understand how different forms of de/valued personhood are lived.

Mikko Jakonen 
Mikko Jakonen is a researcher and teacher at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He has been working with questions concerning political philosophy, history of political thought, contemporary French philosophy and questions pertaining to the changes of work and precarization of the society. His Ph.D. (2013) scrutinizes the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, concentrating to the analysis of the concepts of motion and multitude. Jakonen has published several articles on political theory, world politics and sociological theory of precarization. He has also edited books Uuden työn sanakirja (The Dictionary of New Work, co-edited with Jukka Peltokoski and Jouni Tilli) and Yhteinen yliopisto (Common University, co-edited with Jouni Tilli) and most recently Talouden uudet muodot (“New Forms of Economy, co-edited with Tiina Silvasti). Jakonen teaches political theory at the University of Jyväskylä and he has been working as a research fellow at Université de Paris Ouest et Nanterre, Université de Rennes 1 and Goldsmiths College, University of London. Jakonen works also as a columnist, book reviewer and translator.

Corina L. Apostol
Corina L. Apostol is Ph.D candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University. She holds a curatorial research fellowship at the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. She is a co-founder of ArtLeaks and co-editor of the ArtLeaks Gazette.

Freja Bäckman
Freja Bäckman is born in Espoo and lives in Berlin. Her artistic practice lays on the intersection of art, education and socio-political work. She mainly works in different forms of groups and collaborations, not only as a preferred way of working but also a central topic. Sharing spaces for discussions and activities, through dialogue and negotiations, analysis of power and knowledge production. The formats often being socially engaged, varying from workshops and discussions, to text, sound, performative actions and installational work. She has been part of several groups, as WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY), Land-Institut and Megafån. She is currently doing a doctorate at the department of Arts at the Aalto University in Helsinki and graduated from the Art in Context programme at the Berlin University of the Arts.

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Day: Monday, March 9th

Time: 18:00 

Venue: Warehouse B1-Port

Recently, Keynesian tradition and political economy has offered one of the most relevant counter forces against neoliberal financial economy—reminding of a world where different areas of politics and disciplines must have a non-hierarchical position in relation to one another. Can artistic and curatorial practices understood as post humanistic hybrids go beyond politicized economy through re-imagining autonomy and instrumentalization? What could be the future artistic agency rethinking and re-practing economic subjects and objects. Jussi Koitela will focus on his curatorial project “Skills of Economy” and recent exhibition “Post Models: Ore.e Refineries” at SIC Space realized within it.

“Skills of Economy” is a curatorial concept dealing with contemporary artists’ actions towards the current economic situations and rhetorics. Economic rhetoric occupies media space in our Western world; it has become an important means to describe the world and its progress. “Skills of Economy” researches and archives contemporary artistic reactions in our societal situation.

Jussi Koitela (b.1981) is a curator / visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. As a curator, he is currently focused on artists’ reactions to economic discourses and realities. Recent selected curatorial work: “To Use As a Capital” at One Night Only Gallery / Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; “Skills of Economy” – “Post Models: Ore.e Refineries” exhibition at SIC Space, Helsinki; “Dissolving Frontiers” at Hiap / Gallery Augusta, Helsinki, “Floating Ghost” project at Manifesta 10 On Board and What is Monumental Today? Seminar at Smolny Institute, St.Petersburg. Currently Koitela is editing Finnish Art Policy Handbook published by Baltic Circle festival and Checkpoint Helsinki.

www.cact.gr/en/news/koitela

 


 

 

 

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Recent number of KUNSTforum published Beyond Politicized Economy essay written by Jussi Koitala in a relation Skills of Economy. Here you can have a sneak peek!

“Recently, one of the most popular models describing current neoliberal capitalism and the living conditions it has produced, is the capitalist realism described by cultural theorist Mark Fisher in his book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? In the book, Fisher analyses and defines the neoliberal condition as a lack of any alter- natives; capitalism does not leave room to conceive of alternative social structures.”

“Art is stuck in this autonomy/instrumentalization dichotomy. Both seem to be struggling against neoliberal developments and offer anti-neoliberal rhetoric for debating against austerity measures in free arts funding and nationalised social and welfare funding. Yet, that same rhetoric strengthens the image of a reality produced by the Enlightenment tradition, wherein the world is divided into specialized autonomous areas that can only be understood with specialized sciences.”

 

 

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You are invited to attend the 17th Foxhole meeting—a community project in collaboration with Minibar Artist Space. Foxhole meetings aspire to assist independent curators and self-organized entities; the project is interested in creating and supporting its own safe zone or “foxhole” of self-sufficiency in Stockholm. Foxhole was initiated in 2012 by Jacquelyn Davis but is now co-curated with the assistance of Kristina Lindemann.

Skills of Economy & Post Models

Recently, Keynesian tradition and political economy has offered most relevant counter forces against neoliberal financial economy—reminding of a world where different areas of politics and disciplines must have a non-hierarchical position in relation to one another. Can artistic practices understood as hybrids go beyond politicized economy through re-imagining autonomy and instrumentalization? Jussi Koitela will focus on his curatorial project “Skills of Economy” and recent exhibition “Post Models: Ore.e Refineries” at SIC Space realized within it.

“Skills of Economy” is a curatorial concept dealing with contemporary artists’ actions towards the current economic situation and concept of ‘economy’ as a whole. Economic rhetoric occupies media space in our Western world; it has become an important means to describe the world and its progress. “Skills of Economy” researches and archives contemporary artistic reactions in our societal situation.

Art & Crisis: Working as Curator in Greece

Politics as an unavoidable necessity, being inescapably occupied with the site-specific—where the ‘site’ is as abstract as the current situation, in a shrunken world where every move effects your everyday life. Being in Greece suddenly positions one in the middle of action—in a difficult, complicated way. The surrounding world’s questioning gaze looks for blunders; the Greeks’ own self-examination mixed with mass depression and unemployment, as well as an absurd domestic policy where changes and regulations occur every month, makes arts freelancing in Greece as difficult as convincing a Greek politician the value of contemporary art (impossible). While the country experiences its 6th year of recession, working conditions are almost unnecessary to point out—bad. So: how does one manage to work in these circumstances? How does anyone work in this context? What does ‘work’ in a setting like this mean? Sofia Mavroudis will share her perspective.

7-7:45 pm: Jussi Koitela’s presentation + Q&A
7:45-8:30 pm: Sofia Mavroudis’s presentation + Q&A
8:30-9 pm: WAYWO book launch + mingle

Note: All meetings are open to the general public. Refreshments await.

September’s Speakers

Jussi Koitela (b.1981) is a curator / visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. As a curator, he is currently focused on artists’ reactions to economic discourses and realities. Recent curatorial work: “To Use As a Capital” at One Night Only Gallery / Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; “Skills of Economy” – “Post Models: Ore.e Refineries” exhibition at SIC Space, Helsinki; “Dissolving Frontiers” at Hiap / Gallery Augusta, Helsinki. Upcoming selected curatorial work: “Floating Ghost” project at Manifesta 10 On Board and What is Monumental Today? Seminar at Smolny Institute, St.Petersburg and “Not Another Public Process” exhibition at Upper Art, Bergamo.
www.jussikoitela.com + www.skillsofeconomy.com

Sofia Mavroudis is manager / curator of the commercial Mare Gallery—200 square meters of contemporary Greek and international art—which she created and installed last year in Crete. Artists exhibited: Swedish Meta Isaeus-Berlin, German Simon Schubert and Greek Kostas Tsolis. She is also founder of the non-profit research and process-based organization Curare art: a platform with no geographic location and has been freelancing in Sweden, Greece and ‘cyberspace.’ A Swede with Greek roots, Mavroudis has worked between these two countries since 2008, turning her house in Athens into an exhibition space for her 1st curated show. She attended Konstfack’s CuratorLab (2011-12) and has worked with galleries, institutions and organizations in both Sweden and Greece.
www.curareart.com + www.maregallery.gr

www.valeveil.se/project/foxhole
www.minibarartistspace.com/foxhole

T-bana: Odenplan / S:t Eriksplan

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Additionally: WAYWO book launch

What are you working on? / Vad har du på gång? a popular phrase at an art-opening. What are you working on? Where one’s individual answer is the definition of one’s self-justification. I act, produce and think, therefore I am. The WAYWO project is a self-fulfilling travel through the contemporary art process. I define what I do, therefore I am. Artists Ulrika Sparre and Hanna Ljungh initiated the project Vad har du på gång? / WAYWO in 2012 through a common search. WAYWO launches a new publication edited by Jacquelyn Davis including texts from various international writers, artists and theorists who discuss and approach the concept of the new, time and our time.

WAYWO participated in Art-Athina, Athens 2013 and during August-September 2013, an exhibition took place at Husby Konsthall in Stockholm’s suburb Husby—together with invited artist Zuzanna Janin and philosopher / writer Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen. The exhibition itself and surrounding conversations prove to be complex, intricate and, at times, purposefully inconclusive to support the notion that unfixed, continuous thought in flux (and creative journeys supported by such) proves to be just as significant as singular points on the map—or any justified position worth defending.

Contributors: Harold Abramowitz, Jacob Dahlgren & Juste Kostikovaite, Alicia Eggert, Adrijana Gvozdenović & Vijai Patchineelam, Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen, Dan Karlholm, Andrey Kharitonov, Emma Kihl, Egle Kulbokaite & Carl Palm, Hanna Ljungh & Ulrika Sparre, Paulina Olszewska, Annika Pettersson, Agnieszka Rayzacher, Jan Rydén, Alberta Vengrytė, Jacquelyn Davis (Ed.)

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SIC Space

7.6. – 20.7.2014 (closed 19.6.-22.6.2014)

Skills of Economy – Post Models: Ore.e Refineries is the first in a series of exhibitions and events that will seek to understand the meaning of artistic practice at a time when the welfare state is in the process of being dismantled. This exhibition explores the work of the Ore e. Refineries organisation spanning the past eight years. The exhibition is part of curator Jussi Koitela’s Skills of Economy project.

Over the past two decades, neo-liberalism has sought to turn the state into a corporation, devoid of values other than those of financial success. This has changed, and will continue to change, the state’s relationship with art, artists and cultural institutions alike and forces the art field to justify its activities and access to funding in a completely new way.

In Finland, the post-welfare state has adopted a neo-liberal model that places prime responsibility for the individual’s welfare on the individuals themselves, alongside outsourced global and local providers. The objective of this model is to establish a service provider corps consisting of commercial enterprises tasked to operate as efficiently as possible and, ultimately, provide all public services in lieu of the state. It is, the argument goes, the only effective option currently available and, as such, the only possible means of delivering public services in the current and future demographic context.

“Post-model” is a term used to describe a time when the economy and public administrations along with politics itself will have become fully de-politicised entities, as if we were living in a time devoid of ideologies and the societal models and ideas they engender. The management of our shared public affairs through parliamentary democracy is reduced to a managerial, care taker-like activity governed by rationality, in which values must not be allowed to interfere with the business of actual decision-making.

Seen from a different perspective, the “post-model” in the title of this exhibition could also be taken to mean a time post the model described above. What forms might artistic activity take in the future and what sort of societal models might that activity open up? How can art make a critical contribution to ensuring the equal delivery of services such as transport, manufacturing, planning and archiving in the society of the future?

Ore.e Refineries was founded by artist Eero Yli-Vakkuri and blacksmith and designer Jesse Sipola and focuses on promoting craftsmanship in the digital era. It operates somewhere in the middle ground between art, design and service provision to create both artworks and services that seek at once to resolve and understand the challenges arising from the current neo-liberal, global and digital reality in the areas of precarious labour, commodities, production, consumption, environmentalism and transport.

The organisation’s activities are characterised by their highly speculative nature. Rather than creating art, design and services in keeping with the implicit demands of the current climate, their work generates meaning through an imagined set of new social, environmental and economic circumstances.

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Artists presented in the Ore.e Refineries Meta- Collection –  Artifacts from the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Jussi Koitela, Paula Lehtonen, Kalle Mustonen, Eero Nelimarkka, Pekka Ruuska, Record Singers (Heiskanen, Nevalainen, Väisänen & Airas), Iidu Tikkanen, Lauri Wuolio and Topi Äikäs

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Exhibition and the practice of Ore.e Refineries is supported by Koneen säätiö and Uudenmaan taidetoimikunta.

www.oree.storijapan.net

www.sicspace.net

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One Night Only Gallery/Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, 5. 5. 2014

Artists

Alma Heikkilä, Saara-Maria Kariranta, Iain Griffin

Curated and text written by

Jussi Koitela

Supported by Nordic Culture Point, Finnish-Norwegian Culture Foundation and The British Council

The most important mission that capital has given to itself is expansion. The history of capital is characterized by conquering one chapter after another of new physical areas and species, simultaneously capturing the human body and mind. Capital is constantly aiming for the discovery of new areas, technologies and creatures for its expansion. This expanding is the only thing that keeps capital alive and developing.

After the immaterial economy in a Post-Fordist society, artists and other actors of the art field have become the most efficient and well-suited operators for capital. In the present world capital needs labor to connect meanings to symbols, symbols to events, events to materials and materials to meanings. The artist and the curator are the perfect characters for this job. This puts them at the heart of the contemporary capitalizing process.

Here lies the paradox of present artistic work. Freedom and flexibility to connect meanings and shape the public image of oneself are no longer privileges that put the artist and curator in a position outside regular work. Instead it gives them more power and possibilities to create a counter-capitalizing process or, at the end, to occupy present capitalism.

Alma Heikkilä

Alma Heikkilä (b. 1984) lives and works in both Helsinki and Hyrynsalmi, Finland. Heikkilä’s works consist of paintings, installations, videos and photographs. The starting-point for her work is human existence on the planet of growing natural disasters. In her works Heikkilä has visually visited places where human reality happens, connecting them with the era of humans as the greatest force defining the environment. She completed an MFA at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2009. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums in Finland and other countries. Heikkilä is the co-founder of two artist run projects Oksasenkatu 11 and Mustarinda.

www.almaheikkila.net 

 

Saara-Maria Kariranta

Saara-Maria Kariranta is a Helsinki-based sculptor (b.1974). She graduated with an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2012. Kariranta combines traditional sculptural techniques with contemporary technology, often in combination with everyday objects that are found around us.In her recent work Kariranta examines human practices as a part of society. Even though her art addresses global social questions, she does not approach these issues empirically, but rather with liberty to create narrative between information that is being created by media and research-based science.

www.kariranta.com

 

Iain Griffin

Iain Griffin (b. 1989) is a visual artist currently based in Belfast. He graduated with First Class Honours in Sculpture from the National College of Art and Design Dublin in 2011. Iain has exhibited in exhibitions including trueprod2k11, PS Squared, Belfast (2012) and Alternative Histories, Ulster Hall, Belfast (2013).

Iain’s practice uses relational situations to assess commitment and to what extent it is undermined by apathy, both in a personal and societal context. In refutation of practices in which the artist decrees (what they consider to be) a truth through visual art, Iain’s practice dissects the act of expressing truth. This has taken multiple forms including hiring an Asian man to attend a protest on his behalf, hiring a tribute band to tribute another tribute band, renting out his Art College tutor, selling his best friend on the internet and creating a stage play script composed of YouTube threads.!

www.cargocollective.com/iaingriffin

 

 

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