working Darkness IV

art, recent work

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On Friday, June 19th, Midsummer’s Eve – Juhanni – is celebrated in Finland. The day is cold and rain is in the air, city’s almost deserted. I keep working darkness. Because of the low temperature, I decide not to do the actual felting, just prepare for the making of the bell. Wood sculptor Timo Nenonen helps me in trying out the equipment.

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Reino keeps company, while I build the shape by filling wool from the bottom (which will eventually turn out top), spiralling out outwards and upwards and making sure that fibres are criss-crossing so as to keep together well when felted. Finally, I insert the inner bag filled with saw-dust (kindly provided by Timo) which is meant to keep the material fixed in shape while felting. But for the time being, I leave it there.

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working Darkness III

art, recent work

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‘Darkness’ workshop is going on at gallery Titanik, in the heart of a Northern midsummer’s abundance of light; right now it’s almost 10 pm and still daylight outdoors. Reino Koivula, my appreciated colleague, non-organizes the event which develops graciously.


Darkness workshop at gallery Titanik; photo by Reino Koivula

I’m the last to leave the gallery, having figured out a possible technique to make three-dimensional bell-shaped pieces of felt and now making the equipment for it. Today’s accomplishment was another carpet, striped in lighter and darker gray and measuring 1,0 x 2,4 metres, later to be cut and shaped by Reino.

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working Darkness II

art, recent work

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Today, the first felting was done at gallery Titanik by the bank of Aura river in Åbo/Turku. Wool from värmlandsfår and gutefår, two old Swedish sheep-breeds, was used. Two ewes of värmlandsfår, Stina and Brita, had provided us beautiful dark brown/black fells which were successfully turned into one flat, thick piece of felt measuring 1,1 x 1,5 metres. Moreover, we did some experimenting on three-dimensional felting with gray-black gutefår wool.

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    working Darkness I

    art, recent work

    Last week, the Nomadic University held its eighth oasis called ‘Crisis? What Crisis?’ – once more in Åbo/Turku. There were lectures by Roger Säljö, Bruce Johnson, Karl-Erik Norrman and others … the opening of Hanna Varis’ exhibition in Åbo Castle… and some good working which will hopefully turn out fruitful.
    For full programme, see the NUrope webpage:

  • Now, after a short visit home, I pack my car for returning: one bag of course literature, a cool bag for milk and honey, some personal things – clothes and toothbrush, mainly; a huge big cauldron, ten litres of liquid soap, a carpet, a tarpaulin, a bed-sheet and a young tree-trunk plus eight sacks of first-class quality wool in different shades of darkness. Let’s see what will happen next.

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    Quality and Research VI

    art, recent work, teaching

    “Is there a method to die?”

    How could this question make sense? For all we know, death will happen to everybody alive; it’s the one condition we all share. There’s no method not to die.

    This makes clear that the essential word here isn’t ‘death’ – it’s ‘method’. The common-sense understanding of this word might be something like: ‘a set-up of presumptions and techniques used systematically to arrive at a certain result’. Now, if the result – in this case, physical death – is certain, no matter what, the question may still seem absurd. But stay with it a while…

    The Greek origin of the word ‘method’ means ‘way’. Without doubt, the way one takes could be related primarily to a determined goal – that is, result-oriented – which doesn’t necessarily affect one’s existence very much. When going to the airport, one may choose between the highway or the railway; both offer the prospect of a fast and safe arrival (though we all know that things do not always happen the way we plan).

    On the other hand: when going into something unknown, one will need to enhance awareness when moving along the chosen direction. Finding one’s way then becomes process-oriented; in each moment, the way outside exists only to the extent that it exists in one’s mind. This is how the concept of method is often adressed in contemporary art and research.

    I remember the way I travelled by the side of my mother. I remember the parting of ways.

    And the question makes perfect sense.