Monday, February 29, 2016
The Moves I-VII
It seems we have used various and popular cult(ure) forms such as "bands" etc in a way and with a content that is perhaps more related to the philosophy and history of the so-called high, contemporary or even performance art. Pop culture is less than 100 years old, and its time has already gone. The high culture began to lose its kingship in the sixties as is well documented (there are many quotations for that, but I'll just refer to my old favourite, Leonard Cohen, who sang about the sixties and the changing of poetry into pop songs - now, in the 21st century, it has begun to change into something else, once again). It is common knowledege that the "high" and "pop" cultures have lost their border lines long ago and the world is full of various crossover works having characteristics from both. But in our work(s) we have been dealing with some of the underlining themes behind a common thread that is found everywhere.
What I am referring to is very simple and extremely complicated at the same time. And no, we don't have a copyright to these things, no one does. For lack of a better word and to honour performance artists like Joseph Beuys, Roi Vaara and Erkki Pirtola, I have decided to call these works of art, simply, THE MOVES, in no particular order:
I) THE FIRST MOVE:
THIRST & The Never Heard Of TOUR (2007-2014)
Document / Site: "Music for birds and rabbits"
II) THE SECOND MOVE:
THE NAMELESS THIN YOUNG MEN
Document / Site "Handmade rock art"
III) THE THIRD MOVE:
OMNIUM GATHERUM (late 2000 - early 2006)
Document / Site "Wastrel coming home"
IV) THE FOURTH MOVE:
YE COLD HANDS: THE HOMECOMING
No Document or Site available,
except in booklet form (see Vaaka)
V) THE FIFTH MOVE:
VIRTA ZINE (Alternative journalism since 2004)
Document / Site "Virta-lehti"
VI) THE SIXTH MOVE:
SHRINES (Educational ambient)
Document / Site "Akritas 2007"
VII) THE SEVENTH MOVE:
LYRICS / FLOR & BLANCHEFLOR
Document / Site "Mythic poetry"
So, the MOVES have been social in one way or another, and this is only my point of view. It may not concern the whole "project" or "band" itself (as is all too obvious in the THIRD MOVE). By the same token, it does not prevent me from stating this. The "social sculpture" of Beuys is very much and always a part of it, we are individual artists and we are social beings in everything. I still owe my gratitude to the people responsible. You have made it real for me to make these themes real for you. And please forgive me, if this doesn't sound right. But it's the truth, and nothing.......
To conclude, I have to confess the traditional forms of "performance art" have never appealed to me that much, I have been more interested in the hidden meanings and spirit (or structural side). And these MOVES have needed years or even decades to be formed. They have taken place in a historical way, not so much as a performance that happens in a certain place at a certain time. In a sense, this is what makes them new? THE SECOND MOVE has needed over 20 years (with only a handful of events / gigs and three or four "records" to be heard, but it has been an ongoing process with quite visible results, too). Some other MOVES have been done in 5-7 years. They have needed a series of points or events to unfold "historically", and this unfolding may have happened through single "performances" that resemble contemporary art / popular culture. THE FIRST MOVE is a bit like that. Then there are more literal MOVES that have been made in and for the literary circles. With these words, I am merely stating what has actually happened (and everyone could see for themselves what has been said before in interviews etc - like these apologies, everything moves in the same flow, at least, well, more or less).
I MOVE: Where does "live performance" change into something else, or the other way around? The questions about (un)officiality, audience / performer etc. (Cf. from a concert played for birds and rabbits to performing on a "real" music festival, and everything in between, as is documented in the FIRST MOVE. The Russian bard culture versus the American pop culture. These are also anthropological questions and problems).
II-IV & VI MOVES: Where is the line in-between "a real band" and a musico-philosophical project, and why? How about the changing of band names, constantly, in order to prevent any kind of success in the material sense of the word? Or, could there be other reasons for doing that? What does it all mean, and where does it lead us? There are also numerous other questions and themes concerning these bands / projects (about staging and music theater forms, disco dancing in death metal etc), as[s] documented in the MOVES II-IV & VI.
V MOVE: This move concerning our Virta culture magazine is debatable and questionable, but it could be mentioned here, nevertheless. There may be different views about the whole project, but the same thing applies to all the bands as well (on many of the MOVES above). So, I have been part of this (together with Mikko Nenonen, Matti Rautaniemi and Tuukka Vartiainen, and many others), and my role has changed during the years. The idea and the name "Virta" came up in a conversation I had with Olli Koski already in 2000 (he is the one who invented it, and yes, he is the legendary SAK economist). Where is the line between a real and a false journalism, and why? Virta does not have a chief-editor, no manifesto either, and its very existence has been on the brink of an abyss most of the time.
VII MOVE: This one is the only quite literally conscious art work, and it has taken a lot of time, even more of strength, and most of whatever little money there ever was. Yes, I am exaggerating now, and purposefully so. Lyrics / Flor & Blancheflor was published in full colour with a real Finnish ISBN code, in 2013/2014, and it is the only Vaaka book officially available through internet (see AdLibris, Amazon etc). The price is close to terrible, and unfortunately I have not been able to decrease it. But the statement is what counts: where is the line between a real (published) book and something else, and why? For there are three different levels in Lyrics: 1) the handwritten original manuscript 2) the traditional printed bookform and 3) the electric, free copy. What is the line to be crossed, where a book becomes "real"? (Cf. in the old times all books were made by hand and they were single copies, and now we are living in a world where the printing machines have become antique - does not this open a new question concerning the origin and the birth of the BOOK itself?). I have also tried to promote handwriting as a therapeutic or pedagogical method. The Finnish Cultural Foundation has supported the making of this MOVE.