17th May 2014
For the next hour, I will try to come up with slogans. Like, write them. I didn't plan this beforehand, and I don't have any good ones on my mind. OK here we go.
I asked you for directions not company
(To be honest, I was reading Strike magazine where an anarchist named David Graeber said "If I ask someone for directions, I don't expect them to say "five pounds, please.", so this was a somewhat rude take on that one.)
Hmm, I'm noticing now this is harder than I thought. Slogans are usually made for a particular purpose, like political propaganda, advertising a product, etc. They don't work that well without a context. And if you've read my previous posts, you know that's the one thing I'm lacking (if that's even possible).
At the moment, Europe is full of slogans because of the EU elections. Some Finnish guy had "Decideful and optimistic" as a slogan on his ad. There was a picture of him, cut from breast up. He had a a sort of messy longish hair but still clean, with subtly unshaven facial hair, and it looked like his hands were in his pockets which is not a sign of decidefulness, and he was facing the viewer diagonally like not knowing where to stand, he was wearing a grey neutral-ish suit but with a vest that spoke of old-fashioned sentiments. (If you're reading this, I'm sorry if it sounded mean, I don't know you personally or what your campaign is about, this was an impression and I got in a manners of seconds).
Slogans are a way of solving a problem. That's how I've came up with them before, under pressure. I've curated something, a show, that has been needing a title or tagline. So, I guess I could write slogans for my artistic practice.
Kimmo - nothing is normal
(it means: saying nothing is completely normal, not having any content is OK. But I don't like the connotations with the word normal. As my gym teacher said (I was 11), there is no thing as normal.)
Kimmo - nothing is OK
Since I talk about grants and money a lot in my works, I could do a slogan for the Finnish Arts Promotion Centre, the public institution that hands out national & regional artist grants. The institution is better known by the acronym TAIKE.
No money, No Monet - Taike
(it would be great if they could base this with historical facts about Monet's supporters, but I don't actually know how he made his living. Also, Monet is not a Finnish artist, and Taike doesn't have any reason to advertise themselves abroad, I suppose. Then again, it would be good if they'd reach to artists living in Finland who don't speak Finnish. And since no one knows any Finnish artists, maybe it's good, then.)
When Life Gives You a Cash Cow, Make Milk - Taike
Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's Taike
(a socialist take on the Maybelline eyeliner's amazing, classic slogan. I really don't like stuff that is just a play on something existing and legendary, unless it's really old or semi-forgotten and the new version kinda electrifies it. This slogan here is shit, although I like the idea of Taike pointing out that in Finland you don't need to born into money in order to make art - the state can help you out. Anyway, I really think Taike should bang the drum about how great it is that we have a state that supports culture without strings attached. Surely it's not this simple, and there's a lot that could be criticized in their activities, but you know I'm now looking at this from the position of an ad man.)
either or and taike
(sort of anything goes, we support whatever. "tai" means or in Finnish. I don't know why I'm writing these in English anyway. OK time to change the subject.)
Who would need a slogan? Hmm, maybe Ptarmigan, my host organisation for this residency in Tallinn. They do so much stuff, put up events workshops sessions etc, and I imagine that there are people out there who don't have a solid understanding of Ptarmigan's activities and, more importantly, its ethos. For me, Ptarmigan is about doing things just the way you want, without respecting art/activist cultures' existing modes. I could even go as far as to say that Ptarmigan is taking art back from art world, like making creativity fun, communal, shared, and career-free again.
Ptarmigan - art without art
(what I just said)
Ptarmigan: Hard to say, easier to stay
(the name is really hard to pronounce if you don't happen to know that the P should be silent. A not a lot of people know what a ptarmigan is (it's a bird). So I think you should take your supposed weakness and start from there. And with the "stay" thing, we're referring to the residency and maybe the workshops and projects that span over a long period of time. Also "hard to say" means that you're not sure of something, and as such refers to people not knowing what to think of Ptarmigan.)
You make it at Ptarmigan
(since Ptarmigan encourages people to come up with their own proposals, to take command of the activities happening there, this could also work. Again, a boring reference to "You make it a Sony"). Not so happy about this one, to be honest.)
Anything goes & nothing works & everyone plays
(a way to capture Ptarmigan's spirit of 1. being open about the equality of ideas, 2. projects not working since the projects are tests in themselves and kids that's how science is, and finally, 3. not always having a performer and the audience but everyone together. I like the use of & here, like the tote bag with a group of famous people's (like models, rappers, etc.) first names on capital letters.)
(this is about revealing your inner self in a group (how the best werkshops tend to give us the space to show your inner workings), showing other people, showing off, having a show (not something Ptarmigan really does but since Ptarmigan still has very clear ties to art, let's keep it there). I think I like this a lot.)
I started to think a tour t-shirt by Nine Inch Nails from like thirteen years ago. The Fragile 2CD had just came out, and on one of the tracks Trent Reznor is signing "Where the fuck were you?", referring to a tough life situation where the protagnist were left alone. They used this line on the t-shirt. It was amazing. On the front, it had the iconic NIN logo, and on the back, it listed the dates and places of their European tour, with WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU? as a title. It worked even if you didnt know the lyric reference, but if you knew, it made you belong to the same group with the person wearing the shirt. I loved it then and I love it now.
"Where do you want to go today" by Microsoft Windows is an amazing one, as well. It reminds of me Finland joining EU, of Berlin wall breaking down, of de-regulated markets, of my first trips abroad, of the allure of Interrail and learning German in high school, of leaving my small home town behind for good, of the permanent, revolutionary effect Internet has had in our lives, and of technological determinism and of scientific positivism, and lastly, of the fake feeling of choice consumer electronics offer us.
btw, right here is a great text about slogans, written by Sezgin Boynik.
TAIKE - old deal
(socialist democracy with an old-school, mature vibe. and of course the reference to US's economic ideas of 30's ie new deal, of promises kept broken, but with Taike still delivering what's promised, ie. the good ol' deal of the state supporting the artists.)
OK now just some random stuff:
High sore (like for a cough medicine thing etc, the ad should have something to do with high score, like partying hard with beautiful people screaming in the club, and then the next day solving all sore throat problems with this cough drug. Maybe even: High Score, Low Sore)
Bring it Off (this could work for the Finnish anti-mosquito deodorant OFF)
You're in the air tonight
(perfume commercial. spread this shit around you to set the tone for the evening. in the ad, a woman (she is caucasian-asian, ie. fascist norm + blatantly racist exotism) walking, beautiful summery boulevard, the scent making not just men (hetero-oppressive) but the whole city go crazy for her and her scent. A remix of Phil Collins' in the air tonite playing, but without the sad lyrics. Try this: Sean Glatt - Feel It. We need Major chords there, happiness. Maybe just use the drum break from the song. or nothing at all, screw indie references and catering to esoteric ironic taste buds.)
I'm trying to think of a gun commerical but can't hack it. A play on the words arms, naturally. Maybe using Bon Jovi's Lay Your Arms On Me somehow. Or maybe it should not have any references to guns at all, but only safety and your loved ones. No image of guns at least.
Well slogans, that was the point, let's get back to it. I'll try one for Kiasma, the contemporary art museum in Helsinki, Finland.
show on, show off
(again the play with the word show. and a reference to karate kid, maybe reconstruct that bit from Karate Kid movie where they wax on, wax off a car.)
Nothing is not boring
(and again, using the word nothing as something art could potentially be.)
It's just a building
(emphasising that the building itself doesn't really matter in the end, it's the content, the art works, that it's all about. since the Kiasma building is such a predominant fixture in Helsinki cityscape, this could work maybe. Though maybe Kiasma should do the opposite and start taking itself super seriously instead. they've already tried humor and playfulness in their campaigns, like the "i don't quite understand..." and post-it notes stuff and the logo they have.)
Kiasma: more serious than life
This is not for you, this is about you
(i like this. how art isn't there to serve anyone, but it still connects us and communicates, since an art work always speaks about and reflcets the time it was made in.)
Finally, here's the Phil Collins remix I mentioned earlier: