torsdag 27 januari 2011

A research trip to Helsinki - draft

Me and Susanne Ewerlöf travelled to Finland to find ways of expanding the network Vision Forum's presence in the Nordic Countries and to find new collaborations with artists living within these countries.

One of the first things we did was to stroll down the streets of Helsinki and we happened on Ouudenmankatu which was a very lucky shot for us since a gallery that Susanne had contacted before hand, was on that exact street. Later we realized that this was the gallery district of Helsinki and that we would pass by many more further down the street.

At Gallery Jangva Canadian artist Paul Langdon had a solo exhibition and Susanne had had contact with him before. His exhibition was presented like this:

This body of work was inspired by the short story, "The other," by Jorge Luis Borges. In this story, Borges meets himself in the past as a young man. He begins to wonder, if he has a recollection of this encounter when he was a young man. He wonders if the past foretold the future. This exhibition is about looking at a city, not at its past, but at the future this past might have promised.

The videos which was included in the exhibition closed up on an eternally tall building which somethimes looked as if it was not a building block but a road stretching three dimensionally...The repetitive videos were very intriguing and

We first had a meeting with Frame - Finnish Fund for Art Exchange, and Laura Könikkä told us a lot about the work they do as an expert body on Finnish visual art and culture and they also had helpful tips for both me and Susanne for our future projects. Laura also explained how funding is distributed from FRAME and that there probably are many possibilities for us to apply should we want to work with Finnish artists or exhibit Finnish artists abroad in Sweden or elsewhere.

Mona and Laura who are currently (but not for long) the only employees at FRAME (a process of hiring will begin shortly so the large office seemed rather empty when we visited)offered us past issues of the very ambitious and great magazine Framework: the Finnish art review and we had a look at their archive. Here Finnish artists can collect copies of their work into their public archive. A great and free open source if you want to know more about some specific Finnish artist:

On Saturday we were invited to a party for a re-opening of the organization Reality Research Centre by their producer Annu Kämpinen. Reality Research Centre's practice involves artistic actions in the public space and they produce shows which are then acted out or presented in a context where the audience is not aware that they are in fact taking part of an art event. This thematic is something that the Vision Forum project the Invisible Generation has examined in many different events and there for it seems a good thing to develope a collaboration with this group in Helsinki.

Hopefully we can even invite Annu to come and give a talk about their work at our vernissage for the TIG catalogue in the beginning of March. Watch out for this event!

Through Annu we also had the possibility to meet AV-arki, a non-profit artist's association which was founded in 1989. They distribute Finnish media art and also do collaborations and screenings. We met them because Annu had curated a program of some video works with the theme of genus and trans gender and it was decided that this will be screened at the Norrköping Pride Festival.

We of course also spent some time in some exhibitions and we particularly enjoyed Kiasma and their group exhibition Uppgjort i förväg/It's a set up and Saara Ekström's solo exhibition Limbus.

There were many memorable meetings and one of the last ones was with director Jaakko Rustanius who has been working with the organization for many years. They make it possible for artists to visit Helsinki and other parts of the country.

I'll stop here for now and will take up this thread another day!

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