Exhibition: Narrative Tremor
9 Sept – 30 Sept 2017
C-salen, Malmö Konsthall
Open daily 11–15, Sat/Sun 11–17. Free entrance
This film programme compiled by the artist Mika Taanila looks at the short but rich tradition of experimental film and video art in Finland. The works range from historical celluloid landmarks to analogue video art, and finally to more recent digital gems. The focus here is on cinematic concept, structural approach and sound, rather than on obsessive storytelling.
Supported by the AV-arkki Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art.
Mika Taanila is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Helsinki. His works have been screened at several international film festivals and major exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (2017), Aichi Triennale (2013), Documenta (2012), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Berlin Biennale (2004) and Manifesta 4 (2002). Taanila has curated film programmes for the Avanto Festival, Midnight Sun Film Festival, DocPoint and Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage.
Films in the exhibition:
Jan Bark & Erkki Kurenniemi: “Spindrift” (1966/2013, 13 mins)
This wild cybernetic film is the first ever computer animation made in Finland. In the spirit of true Nordic collaboration it was shot in Helsinki University’s Department of Nuclear Physics and – unusually – produced and broadcast by Swedish Television, SVT. Images by Kurenniemi, music by Bark.
Timo Aarniala, Pirjo Honkasalo, Anki Lindqvist, Timo Linnasalo, Inger Nylund, Erkki Seiro: “The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth” (1968, 3 mins)
A woman repeatedly visits a hairdresser’s salon in fragmented close-ups. Towards the end we hear her voice saying: ‘Did I forget something?’ The electronic soundtrack of this serial work has been made by manipulating the whirring sounds of equipment in the salon, transposing the mundane situation beyond realism and into a shadowy land of ghosts.
Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki: “Horizontal” (1979, 4 mins)
A formalist kitchen experiment with light, colour and sound by the Finnish master of Super 8mm filmmaking practice. The eerie soundtrack is made up of the wavering hum of an acoustic guitar produced by manipulating the speed of a reel-to-reel tape recorder.
Johan Oja: “Voikukalla soittelua” / “Playing Dandelions” (1990, 2 mins)
Johan Oja, “Voikukalla soittelua / Playing Dandelions”, 1990, 2’. Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
This musical video piece is a glimpse of the mythical Finnish summer mood and its enigmatic vibes. It was created spontaneously by DIY artist Johan Oja, with his friend Timo Laakso on camera, while they were both working at Paloniemi Hospital in Lohja. ‘For as long as I can remember, I have always blown into dandelion stems’, recalls Oja.
Eino Ruutsalo: “Kinescope” (1960–1991, 11 mins)
A rapid collage of unused footage from the artist’s own previous cinematic works: commercials, feature films, commissioned information films and kinetic experiments, as well as unexposed stock. Ruutsalo and his assistant Anne Laitinen damaged the 35mm footage by scratching the celluloid, throwing it on the floor and walking on it. On the electronic soundtrack we hear Henrik Otto Donner, Erkki Kurenniemi and Ruutsalo banging the blues away in 1967.
Denise Ziegler: “Mitä sinulla on taskussasi” / “The Things You Have in Your Pockets”, 1992, 4 mins)
A confession-style “video poem” embracing the everyday objects we constantly carry with us: ‘I don’t know what this key belongs to’. Made by Swiss visual artist Denise Ziegler after she moved to Finland.
Juha van Ingen: “(Dis)integrator” (1992, 5 mins)
We witness how ‘the television is the disintegrator’ until its sound and image fall apart step by step in front of our eyes. An iconic piece of Finnish video art, smoothly echoing the concept of Alvin Lucier’s musical composition “I Am Sitting In A Room” (1969).
Laura Joutsi: “Silta” / “The Bridge” (1993, 1 min)
A minimalist piece of observational cinema. Our anticipation of an approaching train is transformed as if by automatic camera exposure, revealing to us another, more expanded view.
Salla Tykkä: “Giant” (2014, 13 mins)
Salla Tykkä, “Giant”, 2014, 13’. Photo courtesy of AV-arkki
A short film in which young girls study the discipline of gymnastics at the Communist-era schools of Onesti and Deva in Romania. A wonderfully complex emotional work that is both a tour de force of cinematic means and a thought-provoking social essay on the search for perfection inside a modernist sports centre.
Petteri Cederberg: “Värin – äänin” / “With Colour – With Sound” (2016, 6 mins)
The dense and subtle soundtrack is accompanied by haunting abstractions. Music for the eyes meets melting and dripping colour for the ears.
Pekka Sassi: “A Friend” (2016, 3 mins)
Perfect analogue and digital friendship is explored in this recent work by highly prolific visual artist Pekka Sassi. This is ‘an homage to Lis Rhodes and Donovan’, as the artist himself describes it.