Palakoon valkoisen Pispalan sisäänrakennettu ylivertaisuus!
("Burn the built-in superiority of white Pispala!")
Performanssifiesta 2015 at Hirvitalo/Pispalan Nykytaiteen Keskus, Pispala (Tampere) 2015.
Materials: old artwork ("Kaikkein paskin Pispala" installation, 2007), axe, recorded noise, cassette player, miked handsaw, amplifier, alarm-clock, potato starch, ethanol, fire
All photos: Simo Ulvi
In 2007 I created a text and photograph installation called "Kaikkein paskin Pispala" (The shittiest of all Pispala") which consisted of around 10 photographs taken from various places, spots and buildings around Pispala, and my personal stories as well as stories and experiences I remembered hearing from people who I knew, or stories that I had learned from reading books and other historical documents about this neighbourhood combined. For those of you who do not know, Pispala used to be dominantly a neighbourhood of the poorest end of the working class, carrying a negative reputation mostly exorbitant, but being a strong and warm community of a very particular character for it's members. Since it was merged to the city of Tampere in 1939, the city officials have carried a series of measures to make it vanish, both socially and as a (self-) environment. In the early 2000's the gentrification of Pispala really started to gain speed, and in many cases the game was not too clean and decent. The house where I was living at the time, was also lost in a dishonest manner to a new bourgeoisie owner who simply did not have the slightest respect to anything about it, nor towards us. While going deeper into the vast negative history of Pispala as doing the research necessary for the artwork, I got seriously depressed. As a form of a profound despise towards the abuse of power and systematic, indifferent negligence, for the exhibition I glued the phographs and the textsheets onto dumpstered pieces of plywood covered in concrete stains (as Pispala is or was explicitly a wooden neighbourhood, many of the new bourgeoisie villas were visibly made of concrete!) and 'framed' them with sprayed urethan. Needless to say, the pieces looked disgusting!
For the following eight years I stored the pieces. They were not made to last and to exhibit them again, and would have required now to update the series by multiplication of three... I was sick of the topic and did not want to store the work either. For Performanssifiesta 2015 I adandoned the idea to execute my initial plan, and came up with a new one,and did all the preparation work in about 1,5 hours. Since burning has been a familiar method used here to get rid of old historical houses, I decided to burn the images and stories about destroyed and gentrified Pispala locations. Obviously, I did not expect this to gain any further attention, this was just a mere personal expression. For a soundtrack I recorded about 30 minutes of as-nerve-wrecking-as-possible noise with an electric guitar and some effects I had at hand. This soundtrack was playing on the back, as I was hand-sawing the pieces of plywood with a miked and amplified handsaw. I cut the pieces in different forms (what I remember iI think I had planned to saw them into cross-forms, but it turned out to be too hard and time consuming, so I abandoned that idea on the fly) and bangedthem into the ground into a formation that you see for war heroes in cemetaries. To kind of 'holify' them I poured potato starch all over them. When the alarm-clock rang, I then poured pure ethanol on the 'grave stones' and set them on fire. To manifest my personal disrespect and scorn I ironically kneeled down and kept bowing to them for some minutes. I finished the performance by slaying the burning pieces with an axe. The performance was an attempt o relieve myself from the memory of the anxiety and depression in the fall of 2007 of which the work reminded me, as well as to destroy the work itself by using a method which still carried also some of the original spirit of the work. The gentrification and devastation of Pispala is now 2021 in a phase that it is hard to imagine much of anything left of it's old spirit in 2030's. Rents are skyrocketing as the young bourgeoisie is buying apartments as investments. After all the fight, the rich won.
Suomi-leijona takaisin savannille!
("Finnish Lion back to the savannah!")
Vierailevana osallistujana Scandinavian Punks- performanssiryhmän performanssissa, Tampere 2011/
As a visiting participant in a performance by a performance group Scandinavian Punks, Tampere 2011.
Ironical and satirical performance about how moronic Finnish nationalists figure out that lion (a state symbol) does not exist in the "Finnish" nature and organize a campaign to abolish the symbol and to replace it with a "Finnish" animal. One of their many foolish campaign events again gets interrupted when the lion appears, and the campaigners have to storm out into a desperate attempt to catch the symbolic animal...