Each one of these texts have been written in an hour. I haven't edited them after writing. This is how I express myself in 2014.

13th May 2014


Today, I'll write about the preciousness of form. A monologue I recorded yesterday seemed to fit the topic, so I put it up there as a starter.

I'm looking at a work. Let's say it's a series of ten blurred stock photographs of a lake. Each picture looks quite the same, they are of the same size, and so on. Say there's a date under each one. It seems they've been taken in consecutive years. I don't get it. I look again. 
Then I read the text. The artist (or curator or whoever) tells me that every year she hires a photographer specialized in stock images to take a picture of Lake Eerie in a way that emulates a scene from a certain Hitchock film. She has chosen Hitchcock, as her late grandfather used to work in his films as an electrician. The grandfather committed suicide in May 1977 by walking into Lake Eerie one day with rocks in his backpack. Hitchcock died one week later in a boating accident. The artist's grandmother, the electrician's wife, used to work in advertising. The grandmother was one of the first photographers to specialize in stock photography. She lost her arm in a freak accident, after which she steered away from the advertising bussiness into being an artist, something she could afford to after years of being a sought-after commercial photographer. For the artist, these stock images are a way to handle this family strategy. She commissions one image every year, always moving the camera along the lake 5 degrees clockwards, ie. to the future. The blurring is a nod to the late grandmother, reminding the artist of the change in vision the grandmother experienced after losing her hand. In 1968, she wrote: "This is peculiar. I look at the work differently, although my eyes haven't changed, nor the way I take pictures: I'm perfectly capable of using the camera with one hand only. But my viewpoint is different now."
The artist is not a photographer herself, but a multimedia artist. 


Do you think that a repetitive, formal structure somehow makes the art work mean more?

In 2010-2011, I had this performance titled Express Yourself (I'll add a link here later), where I played a sample from the Madonna song of the same name, with her singing "Express Yourself". We'd hear that, and then 10 seconds of silence, during which I spoke, quickly. So every time Madonna was silent, I would speak. The performance was just that for about 23 minutes. In the end, I was almost screaming on top of Madonna, because I felt I had so much to say & could barely wait for my turn.

It's the same with this thing here. I actually edit these texts before publishing them. Sometimes I spent more than an hour writing them. I check the text for typos. And when I record the monologues that I sometimes have along with the posts, I edit the shitty parts out of them, take multiple takes, and mix them (more gain, compression, less room tone, etc). Nowadays I actually listen to or read my stuff before I post them.

For me, concepts are tools that help me get things done. It's hard for me to concentrate, because there are always multiple projects underway. These projects require replying to e-mails, negotiating dates and materials, calculating budgets, arranging travels, going through the project with everyone involved, advertising the events, taking care of documentation and pre-/post-production, dealing with failed attempts and misgivings, applying for grants & writing reports, and so on. Just like with a lot of people in the work force today, most of my time goes to doing stuff that makes it possible to do my actual work. 

Naturally, you may begin to question this valued idea of "actual work". This questioning has been the basis of numerous art works, even careers, for at least 50 years now, or ever since we started to deal with such wildy vaying concepts as de-skilling, post-fordist economy, managerialism, mass production, post-modernism, service economy, third sector, affective labor, art workers, and so on. That list makes no sense as such, but from there one can draw the connections from artist's work to contemporary conditions of labor and skill. 


The artist in my example in the beginning of the text had a system. The camera angle moving, the minimalist-like way they were mounted in the exhibition, the repetition of the process. You use form and repetition to create sense, or meanings. Not that you have to create meanings, as it's up to the viewer to choose whether she wants to look for them or not. I mean I could watch anything and have a lot to say about it, or I could just look at it for a moment and say that I didn't really get it, and move on with my life towards other sensory experiences, whatever. 

This is of course self-evident, I think. What I really find interesting is the sometimes religious faith we have towards this process. That by repeating a thing, anything, and by presenting within an understandable form, my work will be powerful. And if I don't do it by these rules I've set for myself, the work might not be successful. What if the artist had had a picture of a laptop in her series, without no explanation? 
American composer Morton Feldman used to do this. He'd have a two-hour ultra-minimalist (in the sense of very few notes, that is) piano piece based on two or three notes repeating slowly. Suddenly, after 35 minutes, we hear a new note or a chord, but it doesn't repeat or evolve. It just comes by and leaves us.

The other thing is connections between different parts or materials of the work. The lake connects with the family legend, and with Hitchcock (who could be in a more prominent role here, my apologies for a lame example), and with, you know, taking pictures. The 5 degrees thing would be even more cohesive if the number five or five degrees had some sort of connection to, well, Hitchcock (he used to have a measurement tool so he could do just that during filming when he wasn't totally satisfied with the camera angle). Or like I use post-it notes in my artistic practice, since I deal with the aftermath of Finland's recession period in the 90's because they were used in the Finnish parliament during the day they voted for austerity measures, and the vote counting machine was broke so they had to use post-it notes, and since the 90's recession really had an effect in my life because reasons a, b, and c.

Even writing this makes me nausous. Everyone will say: that is not how art works. There's no formula. Well, they said the same thing about pop music, but KLF kinda proved them wrong (LINK HERE TO NO1 BOOK). 
Why wouldn't there be a formula for contemporary art practice? Especially when all the works, the press releases, artist statements, and the way art works are put on display, are extremely formulaic? The formal side of art seems rather conservative me, albeit the content might seem more disparate and surprising.
A strict form makes thing usually more, not less interesting. No one would follow sports if the rules and playing fields would change all the time. DJs want dance music tracks to be of a certain form, so they can be easily and intuitively mixed together in a club setting. The audience knows and feels this, and have learned to expect the breaks and build-ups (LINK HERE TO EDM ARTICLE).
Then again, if you have something to say, it would be nice to just say it in your own way, without forcing it to whatever structure and form is fashionable at a given moment. 
I can admit I really enjoy works that make little sense in this regard. There's something exciting about messy, unmediated, unharmonic, illogical etc. works that manage to mock their own standards.  

I'm beginning to realize that this one-hour format doesn't serve actual opinions that well. So tomorrow I guess I'm back at attempting to write out my fears, the situation I'm in, and the like.

Here's a radio play I did here.


12th May 2014


Why do I need to make everything like this? Why can't I just write a play, offline, and then deliver it? Do I really think that my process is interesting for other people, for you? 

Truth is, I'm lost. I'm doing things out of context. There was this open call by a new Finnish production house. They were looking for performances, workshops, second-hand sales events, whatever. Just anything that would be good to do in their premises in Helsinki. What striked me about the open call was this: they wanted to know your target audience. 

This is, of course, typical to our times. I just ate, my body craves movement, I found it hard to process this thought any further. So instead of an analysis, I'll just tell you why I found this question intriguing.

As I said, I do things out of context, but I only fully realized this after looking at that open call. But saying "I don't have an audience" reminds of people who say "there are no classes anymore". Because it's not like I'm performing to just anyone. If you would do a sociological study on my audience, I'm sure you'd notice a lot of similarities within the group, in terms of income, education, identity, just broadly speaking. '

In my previous posts, I've been trying to understand what an artist actually does. From my experiences, I've learned that as an artist I should reach out for new audiences. Doing stuff for my peers and friends is outdated, elistic, lazy, and even morally questionable. If you get funded to do your stuff, you should be able to talk to a larger set of people. But what if people who do that just have a larger group of friends? If there a statistical point..., I mean, if you have enough friends following your stuff, they will tell about it to their friends and so on, and that this snowball effect needs certain amount of mass for the ball to start rolling? 

I don't have any idea what I'm talking now.

The fact still remains. My audience is staggeringly small. It might also be bigger than I think. Every now and then I'm surprised by someone telling me how they've checked out my videos from Youtube, or heard of my works. I mean sure, in Helsinki that makes sense, that the word goes around, so it's not that surprising. And I've been doing my stuff long enough and gained some exposure for my activities. I do not mean to say I'm an underdog, I really aren't. 

I'm more or less deeply rooted in the Finnish art scene, after working with in a way or another with a host of its institutions. Still, as I said, it doesn't really mean this or that. They are the places we work in, associate with, and end up in. An EDM track is playing in my headphones, a northern Spring of 2014 is happening in front of me behind the window, and I'm doing the work, the work we all do, and the beat goes on & the drops are getting more epic.


Earlier today, I had a discussion about future careers. What do next, that is. I feel like I know now what can be done in the Finnish art world(s). I could start to aim for a more international career. So far it's been a thing or two here and there, plus collaborations with individual artists & short work/hustle trips to European cities. As a so-called international artist, I'm something like 17-27 years old. As a Finnish artist, I guess I'm 28-38.

It doesn't matter, of course, I'm just stating this as a fact, since I'm trying to figure out whether this was it, and now it's time to either change or advance. 

Bussiness world seems alluring. Money, people who might be surprisingly open-minded, sizeable projects. Naturally, it's always somewhat up to yourself what you make out of it. Do you play by the rules, etc. Sometimes it's not your decision, you can't help it. Luck plays a staggering part in our lives. So far I've been crazy lucky. But relying on that seems short-sighted.

Ah, fuck, I don't know. 

I'll repeat the questions from the beginning of this text. 
    "Why do I need to make everything like this? Why can't     I just write a play, offline, and then deliver it? Do     I really think that my process is interesting for     other people, for you?"

I do this because I believe in this. I can't just write a play because I'm interested in the given situation. I think my process, any process for that matter, can be interesting. Also, it's even more bizarre to try to guess whether something I do is interesting to other people, than to not think about it.

My problems in a nutshell: I have an uneasy relationship with audience, I don't know where this is going, I don't believe in the labor of art. The latter has been all the rage for past few years in the discourse revolving around art-making in the 21st century. (I'm writing this in offline mode, so I won't provide you with any links, as I'd have to search for them, didn't have anything ready.)


I'm imagining someone reading through all of my posts and commenting how it seems unlikely that I've wrote these posts in an hour, because there are very few misspellings (that's one!) and that some of the posts seem much more cohesive and collected than others. Well (don't you just love it when you're arguing with semi-imaginary people in yr head), and I'll start this with a "Well,", these are the works of an artist and as such they are extremely unreliable. That is not to say I am or am not unreliable as a human being. There's no "I" in "artist" oh wait yes there is. 

OK here's some dialogue.

a. without House music i've probably offed myself
b. does offing means killing oneself and why did u write house music with a capital h while having everything else in lowercase
a. god fuck you listen to this track it's amazing i need to post this somewhere anywhere now, i mean music doesn't exist if you don't share it
b. what about lonely people or people who don't know how to make friends, or people who don't feel safe getting out, or people who simply need to stay out of public, or people who are in a super shitty situation and making friends is just not possible for them atm and the only relief mechanism they have is the 10 songs on their phone?
a. what about that, this is me saying how i feel about things
b. so you think you can enjoy your priviledged music consumer position while not trampling other people's possibilities to do stuff, identify themselves, create a role for themselves in the consuming of music
a. fuckfuckfuck i love modern house music, i mean take a good listen to these cut-up vocal snippets bouncing around the track, merging with the erratic hi-hats, getting softened by classy organ stabs coming in at threes (we call them "trioli" in Finnish i don't know how to translate that look it up baby boy), then the kick drum somehow hidden and in your face at the same, thank you dear Sennheiser company for creating these amazing open-ended headphones, model HD 555, thank you whoever provided me with the means to buy these, and yes while i was talking shit the cut-up vocal track came up with a vengeance, meaning the extra dry, melancholic but straight-up functional guitar riff, completely washed out of its heavy metal macho connotations, hand in hand with eerie synth line octave lower and another octave higher, save the reverbs for those ones, keep the guitar dry as hell. And now we're in the middle of 6-minute meant-for-djs track, the song takes a steep turn into more upbeat territories, the commanding female vocals singing about "all the lonely nights I spend alone...you're always gone [a touch of delay]", then the word "gone" set to loop on the ones, snappy hand claps on the twos making sure you get it, I can't stop shaking my head in a way that's a parts learned from commercials and culture, parts my own body identifying with the ancient affects, like how music always returns and borrows from deep fundamental gestures that can be found everywhere in the nature, bounce bounce bounce, meanwhile the sine wave bass has swam in i don't know when god it's beautiful, oh 6:33 now it's gone, fuck the track is nearing it's end, we're hearing the 32 bars of the stripped beat, which are meant for the DJ to use for mixing the track smoothly into another track then another track, there was a DJ here in Tallinn from UK who had trouble with beat-matching and we the dancers had to hear those last bars clashing with synchopated-feeling beat from the next track, anyway 60 minutes is up I'm feeling fucking amazing 

This is the track a is referring to:

11th May 2014


Is it plausible that rich people buy art because they wish to elevate artists to the same economic class with them? 

I came up with this (very flimsy) theory while I was walking back to my studio from a nice Indian restaurant. I was dreaming about being rich. Not through art, but by doing something smart, like mobile apps or something. 
Then I thought, hmm, could I still do these performances & other art things I'm doing now? Is there a credibility/class issue in being rich and doing low-effort monologues in poor artist-run gallery spaces? Is it slumming? 

I'm doing good at the moment, actually, although it will most likely turn out to be rather fleeting. I got a sizeable grant for the year, and I've had some good work gigs outside art stuff. Then again, just before Christmas I was totally screwed and was desperately searching for paid work. Most likely I'm in that same situation again next year. If I won't be and be successful instead, will the situation get so kinda awkward for everyone that socio-economic gravity simply pushes me into next level? Like go there, hang out with your types. 

(I took a lot of text away from here)

I once suggested calling this one art event "Living With Money". God I still love that title. As an artist, I do know how to live without money, but I don't know what to do then when you have it. Should I save it for future? Or spend it all in my projects? What about addressing the issue and lifting the money itself to a leading role in my practice? Should I just say no out of principle? Finally, is it true what they say, will money destroy everything?

Does my art lose its ethos if I don't really have to do it, ie. I'm rich and just making art as a recreational hobby (are there hobbies of other kind btw)? I heard today that that's what San Fransisco is like. 

But I am already in that situation. Art is a hobby to me, in the sense that I don't have to do it. It doesn't really provide. Or it does now, but it's always (I'm 32) been so unreliable. I've been lucky enough to be paid to be an artist (as said, that's the situation right now, while I write this), but that's rare and quite temporary. Would I do art if I'd have to work on an entirely different job? I have and I would. Could I not do it? Sure, but this is where I end up back to the same two fundamental questions I tried to tackle in my previous posts:

Why do art? 
What counts as doing it?

OK, so I would work as a nurse. In my spare time, I would write a blog post every day and publish it. Very few people would read it. Or maybe the nurse-writing-as-an-artist viewpoint would attract readers and a crowd would materialize itself. Well, maybe not. In any case, I would still do it. 
Again, this is close what I'm doing already. I upload stuff to SoundCloud, these recordings that I sincerely consider to be my masterpieces, then six or so people take a listen to them. 
I don't mind. But then I don't need to mind since I have this career, which culminates in actual attention and recognition (grants, opportunities to present my work, invitations, collegial thumbs-ups etc). Still, all this is mainly quite marginal. 13 people came to my event today at Ptarmigan. I thought that was amazing, being Mother's Day, weird-ish concept, 2pm as event starting time, people I've met already (btw, how come artists always fetishize unknown audience members? ah more abt thatl ater), and all that. I was super happy about everything, although I regret not taking time to speak more with people, listen to what they thought about it (of course not everyone wants to do so and it's fine). 
I'm performing in these institutionalized spaces in Helsinki, for example in contemporary art museum Kiasma's theatre space in June (one night only though), but I think i've never had more than 200 people come to a thing I did, and those have been parties with booze (openings etc). Around 50 people is like a really great audience for me, 5-15 is the norm usually. 
Though it's hard to see how the audience numbers would matter as such. If there's something important, I guess it's how people, both performers and audience members, feel about it. Like what do they experience, how do they value it. Furthermore, this is stuff that's very hard to measure. You just know if an event was successful in that sense. 
Today I was feeling it was really meaningful and I was super happy I put the event together. We were both extremely pleased with our performance with Juhani Liimatainen, who I was playing electronic music with today at Ptarmigan. We had four improvised pieces, length 10 minutes for each. Titles were Slow, Fast, Loud, Quiet (not in that order). We told this to audience. I think it helped people to grasp the structure of the concert and therefore concentrate on the sounds. It was somewhat abstract (although with some reconizable samples), so-called experimental electronic music, with performartive elements (Juhani was moving in the space with mechanic birds, I wrote a message to the event's Facebook page while performing, etc). After the 45-minute gig, some people stayed and chatter with each other & with us. There was coffee, filled croissants, fruit salad, cookies. Juhani gave out copies of one of his band's latest CD. I knew or recognized most of the people, since some of them had showed up last Sunday or in art events during the last week here in Tallinn. We talked about art, food, customs, culture, sports. This is the kind of stuff that I do, with all its features, side effects, rumours, and so forth. 

Not being a full-time artist, but performing for my (non-artist, if you want) friends online (by posting stuff like music, text, videos etc), or at house parties...how would that differ from what I do now, I dunno yet. Of course I couldn't go to residencies or spend days doing whatever I feel like doing. Most of the art world opportunities like residencies are accessible only for people who seem like they're full-time artists. Naturally, there a some rare exceptions, and additionally, I could just make it seem so, like I'd be a "real" artist, in the applications. 

Anyway, this hasn't been that realistic of a comment. I'm not sure if I'm painting the full picture for you here, dear reader (or future self). 

a: what do you want
b: do I need to have wants?
a: I have them
b: like how, right now, you wanna know abt my needs?
a: i'm a blue-eyed man in his late 30's looking at you
b: why would you say that?
a: by giving you a surface to the project your, -I mean I wanted to give you a surface to project your thoughts on
b: so you think I'd be dead set on wanting something because there's a white man looking like me standing in front of me? 
a: (...)
b: Ok well actually I don't want to be in my late 30's I'm really scared of the tought, even
a: so you want to be 32 forever?
b: what would change then if i'd want that, i mean it's an unrealistic thing to want, completely pointless, daydreaming
a: i will beat it out of you
a: yeah i will beat a real, true, concrete, understandable, fully realistic want out of you
b: really is that what you want?
b: i'm at your mercy here, you came in and wanted to know about my wants or a want, you wanted me to, i dunno, name the reason for my existence
a: see, you're b, you didn't exist before I tagged along -i mean didn't tag along, i came here, made you
b: no you made me visible which is different
b: to be more precise, you activated me
a: yes i want you to be as precise as possible, please
b: (dies)


10th May 2014


I'll continue where I left off yesterday. It helps to understand that my texts are documents to what I'm thinking about in a given hour for every day in May 2014, as opposed to these being like, you know, thought-out essays.

Basically, I'm thinking about why do art. It's a bizarre conversation in many ways: I can first of all afford to have that conversation. I’ve been given time and space and resources to think about what to do with my life. 
There's a lie embedded in that idea: it's not like Finland can support me forever, who knows if the country as we know it will be around in 20 years. But instead of listening to me talk about artists' economic realities & possible future scenarios, you can read something better: 

I was reading this very interesting, long, fragmented post about being an artist. I can't remember who sent it to me or how I got my hands on it, or even who did it. Well, you'll find it here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Abhc4nJwkdtru1pEkISWuVYQvKbiob_13Ij9TwW1uIE/pub?embedded=true

So how does one be an artist? By entering spaces where there are other artists and art workers? I'm going a to finissage at Kumu museum here in Tallinn today, in just a few hours. This closing party will take the form of a picnic. Tomorrow, you might find me saying it was good to go there because of the people I met. That's a big part of being an artist, obviously. And with meeting people I mean colleagues, humans who can advance my career and vice versa. I've met people in galleries, art fairs, receptions, Christmas parties, afterparties, dinners, workshops, talks, seminars, Skype sessions, portfolio speed dates, brunches, cocktail parties, premieres, festivals, whatnot. 
I've met people who have hooked me up with job opportunities or other people. I've made people meet people because I've either thought it would be useful for both parties, or because either one, or a third party, like an institution hounding me to make the connection, was hoping me to do so. 
Here, I'm only addressing the clearly work-related, functional meetings. It means that memorable, deeply meaningful moments of dialogue with colleagues are excluded from these ruminations. I'm talking about work here, and I think work should have results. God, that sounds old-fashioned. It's like I can't figure out anything without realizing that either my take on things is way too black-and-white (see my post from yesterday about the fundamentals of theatre), or that I'm just cementing old-fashioned beliefs and conventions, which I might even oppose myself.

(What is work then?)

(I once made an event about it with Jenna Sutela)

I'll carry on regardless. 

When you meet people who do more or less the same thing that you do, the views and stories don't always differ that much. That's why the collegial discourse might seem like a code. By bringing up certain names, places, concepts etc, I make sure we share an understanding. 
Sometimes it feels somewhat forced and aggressive, dogs sniffing each other. But when you really click with someone, it's all done in ease. There's genuine interest. Or maybe you don't even talk about your work. Then again, what do you count as a topic related to work? Isn't everything related? Can two artists talk about death without a thread connecting the discussion back to the practice of art? Simply, does the nature of these meetings force all topics as work-related?
Most of my performances are just talking, not listening. Or do I first listen (ie. try to understand the situation I'm performing in) and then talk (react)?

I have a feeling I'm not tackling this issue that well here. I do think about these things when I meet people, but I also don't. Since what would be the point? People do what they want to do, or at least you should make sure they can do just that.
It seems like this isn't helping me at all, honestly. I just felt that since meeting people plays a considerable role in what I do, I should be able to draw out its relation to artistic work.  

So back to to beginning, again. How do I be an artist? The job title itself is not protected, so I can just tell people I'm an artist. It will be socially validated by, for example, receiving artist grants, getting chances to show your works in spaces meant for art, being interviewed as an artist, getting invitations to art events, etc. 
This question has been a starting point for numerous artists. Think of Bruce Nauman walking around in his studio, asking us if what he's doing is 1. a suitable use of an artist's studio, or 2. the labor of art, or 3. an art work in itself. It's not an issue that has been sorted and sealed. No one still knows how to really define art and what artists should actually do. Anything goes, we say. But of course it's not true, either. I would lose my artist status in the (an) art world if I would not produce something, create some sort of signs of my artistic practice. I think that's absolutely fair. As a friend told me recently, to be an artist means not being an artist. You're re-inventing your practice again and again. 

So should I be held accountable from what I'm doing, for example here in Tallinn? I'm writing this and I'm recording some short diary entries. I'm meeting some people. I’m inviting some people over from Helsinki. That's all. Kulturkontakt Nord is paying both me and Ptarmigan residency for this. Well, not this precisely, they're supporting Ptarmigan because someone there thought that would be a good thing to do, regardless of the individual things that take place here. I'm part of a stream of people coming here and doing things. Together with the participants/audience showing up to events here, these actions form a thing called Ptarmigan. Someone working at KK Nord looks at all this activity and thinks, let's keep that going. And so it goes.

This is a very blatant way of looking at it. I'm bypassing ideologies, philosophies, and bigger contexts. 
For example, there's the idea of a welfare society, where art is valued as such. The society wants art in it. So someone needs to support art, because the society does not want to rely solely on art market to invest in artists. KK Nord is very much part of such societal projects in the Nordic countries.
At the same time, all of these funding bodies usually have a subtext: they support the artist via residencies (places for work), working grants (money to concentrate only on art-making), travel grants (so the artist would network and advance their career), and so on, in the hope that the artist would either produce something meaningful, or build a successful career. And when you need to prove that, say, supporting media art is important, you tend to point to a successful media artist (in Finland it could be Eija-Liisa Ahtila). The other way is to talk about more general values, claiming that artists working locally are good for the local people. Or that the workforce stays inspired and healthy if they can go see some theatre or participate in street art workshops.

But why wouldn't you say such things? What's wrong with producing things, being successful, or energizing people around you? Why can't we ask for artists to be useful? Is it really important that I do whatever and then have a platform to present this? I mean, of course, we are or should be free to do what we want. If I want to spend my time writing a blog like this, then so be it, if I can just support myself somehow or if I can get a grant. 

I admit this conversation seems like a dead-end to me. I simply shouldn't start from the question of "what's enough". It would make more sense to think of it more as my own moral responsibility to create stuff that I believe in. 
If I really believe in not doing anything when given the perfect means and chances for artistic output, then that's what I need to run with, 100%. And, really, I have absolutely everything I need to express myself, to do art. Maybe this blog is bringing me back from the dead, back to productivity and the world of meanings. Maybe I needed to start from these very basic things, to look at them and realize, damn, I don't want to spend any more time passively thinking (is this passive?), let's do some eligible works instead. 
But here's the thing: I still find it extremely weird to just devote myself to writing a play, as I've said I would do (and have been doing already). So, working very hard on that, regardless of its topic etc, would make it meaningful; I can’t understand why that is. 
This way of thinking makes me connect art to sports. You just pick a thing, repeat it endlessly, and get insanely good at it. Throwing a javelin & creating a staggeringly expensive structure around javelin-throwing makes of course very little sense (why?), if sense is what you're looking for. The olympics are about what, exactly: celebration of human body and its capabilites? If that's the case, why do we regard the human body in such a simplistic way, as this instrument that does measurable performances? How is that, I don’t know, advancing humanity? Isn't it just stagnating our understanding of ourselves, of humans, especially with the normative idea of body we virtually always see in mainstream sports? 

I didn't want to sound that angry towards sports, I really should understand it better in order to carry out such hostility. I guess what I'm after here is that my current understanding of art is almost the opposite of sports (in terms of technical proveness), but at the same time very close to it (in terms of meaningless, almost comical yet extremely moving (sic) actions). Oh that was one hour cool cu 2moro i’ll write about statistics maybe then plus there’s a concert here at ptarmigan 2pm

monologue from 3.30am this morning:


9th May 2014


Let's write a play. What do we need? We need humans in a place. Let's start with the former.

Theatre is about humans watching humans. Some will perform, we'll call them performers, while the others watch, we'll call them the audience. Maybe they're all performing? Maybe no one is performing? I don't want to sound like a cold-blooded dictator, but I'll just go on and decide that this play is the kind of play where, roughly, someone will perform/be/frame, while the others will watch/listen/feel/think. 

Maybe in the future theatre will be less anthropocentric. But this is what I've learned to be true. I wouldn't necessarily want to leave animals out of it, but for the time being I will. 

You can consider using something else for your play, too, like lightning, sound, costumes, and so forth. But if you have a human being on stage, the humans in the audience will interpret everything through that being. For example, if there's white noise playing from the speakers, the audience will think it's a symbol for the chaos in the mind of the performer. Or maybe we should say in the mind of the character the human is performing.

But what kind of human(s) should we choose, both as audience members and performers? Are all humans the same? What qualities should they possess, and do we need different qualities for the audience and the performers? What if everyone in the audience is not deaf? 

We will also need a place for the play. It could happen online, in multiple locations at once, a concept happening in everyone's head, a big hall, public or private space, in or out, or whatever. In regards to the last paragraph, what kinds of humans will come to the place we select? Will the space feel the same for everyone, or does it have wildly different connotations to some? Again, does it have to have certain qualities? What if everyone doesn't feel safe in there?

One could consider randomness in the selection process. Or just choosing whatever's the easiest. So, what if we just take the humans we have around us, into a place we already have effortless access to? Will the play then be about the places we have access to, and the kinds of humans we know & want to be with? 

Are there humans we don't want there? Are there places we absolutely do not want to be in? Why am I saying we, since it's me who's doing all these decisions, I wonder. 

OK, so I am doing a play. I'm thinking about humans and I' thinking about places. This is not about me trying to teach you a lesson, no. It's about me. The play is, then, also about me. Could it be about something else? I'm rushing into things. I need to figure out the humans and the place first.

Maybe I should begin from the idea itself, and its raison d'etre, ie. its reason for existence. Why play? Sorry, I mean why a play? In the beginning, I said that, for the time being at least, theatre is about humans watching humans. I didn't say this then, but I'll say it now: I thought of "watching" as catering to all senses and modes of consuming art, not necessarily that the play is meant for people who can see, or that it has to happen under such conditions where one can see the other. 

Additionally, my description of a theatre play could be revised. It could also be humans thinking through humans. I need to be a vegan and not exploit animals, but should I also work with animals? There are animals such as blue whales and chimpanzees who are seemingly very intelligent. But is intelligence a must here? Since my thinking of interspecies activities is so basic, I feel I should not think of animals, plants or anything else than humans now. I could talk about animals in the play, I mean the characters could tackle the issues of animal rights, for example. This would force me, as a playwright, to dig deeper, I think. But for now, I would like to decide what I'm doing here, to understand at least the basic premises. This is not a joke or a lesson in language+meanings. I'm really trying to figure something out here. And I hate that I spoiled the beautiful thought structure (short, somewhat thight paragraphs) I had going here. 

Clearly, I lack a sense of urgency. I might as well not do the play. Though someone has commissioned me to do a play, or a performance, and the premiere is later this year. Could I do the play without any work beforehand? I'm sure it would suit the description of a play: for example, I could print a play by Minna Canth on the day of the premiere, and ask a human or two to go read it out loud in front of an audience. But where would they read it and to whom? It would be possible to let the commissioner (it's a theatre festival) answer these questions. The theatre festival could just inform me about the time and place of the premiere, and if there's anything I should take into account. I could give someone else the rights to act as my representative in the planning sessions for the festival & my piece. This way, I could do something else instead of putting together the play. I could do voluntary work, help other living beings (and not be stuck with humans). But this person, my representative, could also do the same instead of working on my play. And the same goes for the festival staff, too. But I can't really affect the staff, since I imagine they really want to do their festival and there's nothing I can do to change their minds. Most likely the train has already left the station, they have received grants and other funds and maybe already spent some of them on rent, salary, travel, and they've promised other humans that they will all get a chance to do their plays on the festival. What I can do, really, in regards to the festival, is to leave myself out of it. Just to be sure, I want to stress I don't have any opinion about the festival. I know some of its humans and I think they are wonderful, loving beings. I've enjoyed my time in the festival in earlier years. I'm sure I would enjoy myself this time, too. It's not really about my enjoyment or whether the festival should exist or not. 

It seems I need to go back a bit. So let's begin from the beginning anew.

1. Could I still not do the play?
- I think I could, but I don't have any particular reason not do it. Also, it might make other people's lives harder, or at least harden their job in some ways.
- I don't have any reason to do the play. I could go on without it. Or could I? What about my career as an artist: you know, I do art works for living. Or to be more precise, I work in the art world in various positions. So if I say no, will my career fade out? This would mean I should get another job, score unemployment benefits, or just generally figure something else out. Is this decisive? Will this festival either take me in or fade me out? It's about me, again. Should I care how saying yes or no affects my future? But mathematics tells us the future is dependant on countless little things, insofar it's not possible to know the future. If I look at my career in the art world so far, there is no one thing that, if taken out, would destroy it all. But it's also impossible to say that. What has happened, has happened. Of course I've done work in order to make certain things happen, and I've made choices over things and outcomes, but I find it hard to see my career or life as a linear story, something that's easy to take apart. OK I feel like this is not worth repeating or thinking about. So let's cut it short: I say "yes" or I say "no", either way I don't know what will happen next.     
-  Yes I should. I should do the play. That's what I'm doing now. I'm doing a play.
-> sidenote: should I think about my career more? Like should I try to do a very successful place, so I would have a more stable future and maybe through that get more means to do good in the world (note: I've mentioned things like this a few times in this text, but I am not going to address the question of what is good and what does helping other beings mean, not here at least. Maybe tomorrow. I mean I should of course address since it seems like that's the moral angle, or the starting point to all these questions and my attempts at trying to solve them)? Or should I do what feels right and whatever I think is worth doing? But then, if I don't see any particular value in doing or not doing the play, how should I act? 

3. When did this urge to write a play appear? And what's my relationship to the festival?
- it was before the festival commission. [sidenote: could I think about the play as one thing and the work for the festival as another thing?] I guess I just told them I have a play I could do. Well, I think I didn't actually, but instead said that I don't know what I'm doing and I can't promise anything, that it would be best if they'd gave me a fixed sum of money and I would take care of the production of the play totally by myself. But I also suggested that the festival staff could do all the production for me, like deciding what the name is, what promo pictures to use, what kind of press release or introductory text to write, where to have it, how many times I should present the work, how much the tickets should cost, and so on. Furthermore, I encouraged the director of the festival to carry out these decisions in the most effortless way, so they would have as much time for other stuff in their lives & the festival as possible. I've seen festivals and organised them, and I always amaze the amount of work humans do there and whether that works is always required, in order to reach the aim they have. This is the question: what is the aim of that festival? I guess I should ask them so I'd understand them better. Anyway, I don't think anyone from the festival side is waiting for me to do anything specific. So I may as well continue the thought here.

OK now I feel like my mind is blank, like I've done enough thinking for the time being. I need to be, —well you need to be aware of the actual event of writing this. I have a body with piss and water and blood and emotions and aches in it. I can't sit here typing forever. But should I just continue where I left off as soon as I can? I've been having this routine of writing for one hour, non-stop, every day. Usually during the last ten minutes or so of that hour, I start to itch my belly, to run my fingers through my hair, to press my right hand fingers down from the knuckles up with my left hand, things like that. But I really need to think this through. I need to know w 

I also recorded a monologue earlier today. 

8th May 2014


I need to write out this fear. It's in my stomach, I mean that's where it seems to originate from. It travels to my fingertips, making touching things hard, and writing, too. It caps off few years from my life. I'll die younger because of the fear that shakes my body. But that's nothing, I think. I am alive now, here, in Tallinn, where the sun is setting, its last rays shining through the dusty windows into my studio, onto the greasy skin of my face. The warmth from the battery mixes with the radiation from the sun. 
I look at the text I'm producing and wonder why I can't get into it. Like I was left outside of my own soul. (erased something here)

I thought about the things I need in order to be OK again, quickly realising this fear is not about needs left unfulfilled. 

All the things I'm not writing about because I'm trapped in this body, no not this body but this projection. My mind control is at zero, I take every thought that goes to my body and worry over it. Like someone had figured out a way to use the films of Woody Allen as enchanced interrogation technique.

I started to write a play because I had a need to deal with actual matters, the human condition etc. This decision now seems like discrediting my own works. Anyway, I'm not doing any of those things, I am not tackling any issues. I'm doing the same thing I always do. I talk about myself. Look at this fucking text it's basically a series of I's with commercials in between.

I could tell you about things, but everyone and her mother knows that that's not what artists should be doing. 

These ideas, or lines, scenes, whatever, they storm my mind everyday, but I never write them down. I don't believe in my own ideas, although I think ideas is all there is. It's not that ideas are important, but that's just all we have in terms of stuff that makes life particularly human and civilized. After we're warm, full, healed, and safe, we want ideas. But are they really worth it? Should I not help everyone who don't have some or any of those things? Or is ideas actually that valuable that someone just needs to do them? There are so many pepole already providing the world with ideas and works. 
I guess my artistic career is about letting go. 

Am I just lazy, someone asked me a few months ago, while having lunch with me in a nice restaurant. Is that why I do what I do, these scetches and one-off things and art works that deal with doing those works, my companion continued. I might just be nothing more than a box with the sound of its own making. Though in my case, the box never gets built. I am Kimmo Modig with the sound of its own being.
I hastily press enter two times to start a new paragraph, move over from what I just said, fucking leave myself be there, I mean leave that thought there and hide it behind this stuff here.
You could say something about "in the long run", but I'm not even walking I'm taking the taxi. You could point me to the right direction but I would just ask "your or my left" and get lost. We could get together and build a new thing, but we would move to a shitty neighbourhood with people who want to wreck things. 

Do you know the story about the king with invisible clothes? I dont know how it goes in English (yes I noticed I just wrote dont instead of don't get over it's the internet), or what's it called I mean. There's that kid in the tale, the one who says out loud that the king has no clothes. I try not to say mean things about people, but since it's a fictional character let's skip the apology (well it's there now) and just say it: god, that kid is so dumb. I mean if the king wants to wear invisible clothes, there's nothing in the world to stop him from doing that. Additionally, invisible clothes sound so cool and I admire the designers who can understand context (king, power) so well and provide such a staggering yet elegant solution (naked is real, king should champion bold ideas). And that kid doesn't get it, he doesn't get contemporary art, conceptual thinking, or power games and social structures. He think he can go on through life with studied innocence, as if no one couldn't see through his cape of naïvism. He don't know how to be naked, he's so afraid of it that he needs to cover himself with naïvety. Then again, I respect him for getting into the game: he is using his position as a child to say populist, oversimplified, even insulting things to other people. Actually scrap that, I can't respect anyone from doing such things. That's not being in the game: that's staying on the sides (he is, literally, standing on the side when he yells his polished comment) and smearing other people for taking a stand. I would like to have a cultural minister in Finland akin to that fearless king. I'm sure that king didn't feel the fear I'm fearing now. 

This is my home, this text, and all the stuff I've ever publicly presented and put out there. The fear I think comes from the fact of knowing that I will publish this somewhere. This text suffers from pre-traumatic stress. 

I feel loved and I love. To be able to say that is great. It's so wonderful, it's the thing I'm most proud of. I have people and I want them to have me. Maybe that's why I have so very little to say. That seems like a very strange thought. It goes up to my throat and makes my breathing a bit harder, giving me the warning of a coming cold. So it can't be that. The love I feel around me, in the words and actions of my people, it is elevating. It is not expecting anything, really. I should regard it as a launching pad, not as a comatose drug. True love makes you active not passive. This love (and well yeah Finland, luck, position etc) makes me safe. It is the opposite of fear. 
I'm biting my finger nails now. Is that a sign of what exactly? I just cleaned my workspace and now the floor has bits of body excess on it. The whole place is so quiet. John is brewing beer in the kitchen. If I wouldn't feel safe with him or vice versa, I wouldn't be writing but contemplating, analysing, figuring it out, feeling the feels, trying to keep the body electric from malfunctioning. Here I am, and I think about the people who has made it happen, unconsiously or not, whether I've aggressively pushed myself through or if I've just let things run their course. I'm thinking about the people who I trust. It fills me with unexplainable, quiet joy, like reverberant noise that is so loud it turns into uncharacteristic ambience. What am I giving back, who am I helping, I think. I don't dig deep into those two questions. Letting them linger on in the tip of my mind, having them rattle my body a bit like surrendering yourself to an exotic treatment, I bite another bit from my left index finger, leave the piece of nail resting on my upper lip, stage left. I love that saying. It refers to theatre stage and it's something technicians would use to give orders to each other while working. Move that light litte to stage right. Things are seen from the viewpoint of the stage, through the body of the performer. They envisage the bodies and move the lights and other equipment accordingly, not the other way around usually. The life at stage left. 

I changed the paragraph although I'm planning to continue writing about love, somewhat. My mind processes all the possible criticism this text could face. My brain the sickly biased 3D simulator. The feeling of early symptoms of a cold returns to my throat, as always. A subtle pain occupies my right ear, some sort of feeble vibration runs through my forehead like scanning it or as a warning signal. 
The now uneven, sharp nails go touching the forehead, looking for understanding getting nothing and returning to the keyboard. My right wrist pleas for a rollaround or two, a shake the very least. There's something on my pelvis, but maybe it's just my body wanting to force my brain into writing that beautiful word. 
I do my favorite thing: I close my eyelid briefly by sliding the outer side of my right index finger over it. And another classic follows: I sort of clean my upper teeth by rubbing my left index finger back and forth on them. This means I need to show my teeth a bit. 
All these remarks on my physical being makes me feel like I'm drunk. I'm drinking something called GUARANA HUSTLER ENERGIZER ENERGIAJOOK. It tastes like Battery+. People should write my name with a plus sign, Kimmo+. It looks so good doesn't it. I press or hold the excess flesh around my left rib with my left hand, while the right hand fingers run together down and up through the back of head, hair so short there it resembles -oh, I dont those landscape words. While thinking what the Finnish word "aro" is in English, the middle finger of my left hand touches my dick somewhat quickly, not really scratching but plopping (?) it expressively, like a doctor pulling the curtains around a hospital bed, signalling the last stop on a routine check-up. But my body is never checked out, it's not a finite project or even one that has a structure to it. My body is the only thing that I don't need to structuralize. It is accepted by myself, by the normative-hungry society. My body is like a delivery to a promise I never understood.

I'm also recording a series monologues while I'm here. Here's the first one:

5th May 2014


I arrived here on a Friday. First thing I did was I cleaned up my working space, the studio, from top to bottom, behind the drawers, all of it. I removed some of the furniture out, re-arragned ones that were left. Afterwards I realised how much I needed to do that cleaning. 
I came to Tallinn to figure my art out, really I did. On Saturday morning, as I was heading for a run, someone shouted at me, speaking Finnish: ARE YOU SOMEHOW FROM THE FINNISH ART WORLD? I was flaggerstabbered (etc), walked up to him and said Well yes, I guess I am, my name is Kimmo. 

All the other days have been just nameless days with always something to do, someone to meet and food to cook. The real issues, the ones I'm really thinking about, these I won't even share here as they're private, and this is -I actually can't say what this is. I mean I'm writing a play, so this must have something to do with it. It's like Ptarmigan or Tallinn is becoming one of my main characters in this play titled Court of Helsinki which is about the kings and queens of 16th & 21st century Europes. For that, Tallinn is just perfect historically. I'm staying up on the hill in Old Town. It feels like the airport with no one speaking the local languages, pleasantly stucked in an indulgent space between two things. 

One night, I went to see local DJs play. And I just wanted to dance, too. A rapper was doing his set in Estonian. It felt more like a house party with a living room forcibly elevated into a stage, racuous storytelling turned into a hastily structured performance. It was good, I did dance. The only thing I understood was when the rapper was paying respects to DJ Rashad, the Chicago-based Footwork innovator, and one of my all-time favourite producers. Before leaving for the club, I had been chatting with two fellow artists from the Chi. 

Today, I went to see the Köler prize exhibition at EKKM, and another show they had running in adjacent building. Both shows were full of tricks. Most of the works were a mixed breed of coneptualism and crafting. To think and to build. It made total sense, so much so that I guess I'm somewhat jealous to those artists' practice. But I can't say that without creating a subtext that hints to the possibility that I see myself as a more advanced artist, since I don't do either one. 
I went to a lecture earlier this week. It was by a performance artist & reseacher. I was referred to in the talk, since I've taken part in the research via a questoinnaire. I had labeled my practice "social games & grants", where other artists referred had categorized themselves as sculptors, media artists, and so on.
While doing the residency, I'm organizing events every Sunday. The series is called Sundays with Kimmo. It's the classic relational things: breakfasts, talks, workshops, concerts. I wanted a loose structure and to see where it takes me and the people I meet. At times I'm terrible embarrassed by the lack of depth in the things I do. That's why I'm writing a play, to save my reputation, to make something more real, tried & tested, and just recognizable. Isn't it ironic, don't you think: I'm trying to move away from social games as my practice, ending up doing something that is not about content but being a responsible artist. Today I thought: the play itself, as a text, doesn't matter. It's about me trying to sell it to places, and the contexts this hustling brings for the work. It's about ADSR, attack decay sustain release. The text is a placeholder for my endeavours. It's the ride that matters not the ticket.
But I'm not there yet. I'm still writing a play for its own sake. I'm using the attention-disorder cure for the writerly type, ie. the Freedom app, to cut off my internet connection for an hour every day so I may write without any breaks. While I type, I listen to instrumental dance music to keep the words flowing in. I'm seeing my own reflection on my Macbook Pro's (mid-2011 model) screen. I'm wearing a white T-shirt with a V-neck. As I write down these observations, I begin to roll my shoulders, my body getting consious of being looked at. I've written endless sheets of texts like this one. I run every other day, I do the New York Times-championed 7-minute workout on those other days. I read a page or two of someone else's writing. I write a letter to my friend & colleague every week. These are the things I see directly connected to writing a play. 
Now I'm facing a dead end. I've told you few stories from Tallinn, described what I'm doing. Not that I'm even thinking about the blog as the context, oh well now I am. I didn't set myself up on a mission to share and not share certaing things with you. Am I just telling you whatever things in order to create scarcity towards the things I'm not telling? Are these mundane stories like the cheap painting on the wall, covering a secret vault? 
I know how you read, because I'm the same. I think that I'm busy and I don't have time to read random things, so that's why I feel posting this text is pointless, as no one I know has time to read it. But I do read stuff like this, actually most of the stuff I read is links friends have liked or shared in Facebook (the more subtle the way I notice it, the better, re: Freud). Confessions, arguments, notes etc. 
Sure, I'm thinking I've lost you so many times already. There was potentially intriguing info in the beginning. If you're living in Tallinn and do the art circles, you might've kept on reading to find yourself or someone you know mentioned or described. But now it's back to me, well you and me. I need to reach you, but I don't have anything particular to give but the things we have between us.

What do we now? Have I given up?, no, it's Have I given up. You can think of the things I have left alone here, like EU, Ukraine, flat tax rate, national self-esteem, the fear and lure of locality, you know. I like lists more than I like debriefs. 

Right now I would like to know how much time I have left, I mean from the hour of writing I've assigned myself to do here. I can't, since I don't remember when I begun and Freedom App won't tell. 

I'm listening music in shuffle mode so I can't just check how much of the album I've listened to so far. I rarely even listen to albums anymore. It's always a stream from Soundcloud, like Facebook stream but as audio (in case you're not familiar with SC). 

Or then it's a mixtape, or some new release but consumed in a way (say, amongst other albums in shuffle mode) that denies it from its albumic nature. 

Although I don't just listen to the latest music. I do fall for the hits of my teenage years, like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. 

I just saved this file and named it as tallinn-1.txt, so I imagine there to be more of this.
If you're disappointed at how bad and basic this text is, don't worry. Put it in context. It's just the first one in the series. I might get better. There is a chance to see me, and I could assume you as well, grow.

bass drum
bass line
snare drum

lol why do we refer to sounds with such names, it's not that music producers use actual drums kits or parts to create the sounds. To really move forward, you need to come up with new concepts and interfaces. This is the bif truth in many things. Also in art of course. It's not that I'm against content, but I just happen to work like this. Maybe it's my priviledged status, the Nordic artist winking his male eye in the face of reality. I don't know, yet. It's just that this is where I am, now.

To write for writing's sake lol lol, which I guess what writing is. 

I didn't want to isolate that sentence with line breaks in order to make it seem more poignant, I'm just trying to show you how my thinking is collapsing when getting more closer to the finish line. Like in the beginning I had some actual things on my mind, stuff I've been ruminating and waxing, but now we're here in the void, in my reality.

Just like heavy physical exercise (take spinning classes they're surprisingly hardcore), this has worn me down, sucked out all my energy. But does this uplift you like spinning or jogging does?