Last year has been been a wonderful year for us, starting with Art´s birthday performances via Skype between Paris Cité International and Helsinki (program curated by Jarkko Räsänen). In 2014 no Skype, but a great combination of performers in the same place, same day - this time coordinated by Jenni Markkanen (http://www.artsbirthday.net/, check our small Helsinki event from the Schedule 2014, not far away from the new location of The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts). In 2014 there will be the fifth edition of AAVE Alternative AudioVisual Event festival with both international and domestic guests. In Harakka island we started a new concept of events starting from midday and ending at midnight. The first event was Godard & Gorin Midday-midnight event (Dziga Vertov Group films and three wonderful talks). Strangely enough, when being again in Paris (it´s all Paris now) I couldn´t help noticing that Palais de Tokyo opening hours were midday-midnight...
In these days people are remembering the events of the previous year. Instead of going back in time my thoughts seem to wander more in the recent days and in the future. Since my real interest lies in moving image, I will reflect my thoughts on what I see the most interesting field of study and research concerning it in the next year(s).
I saw a small part of Chris Marker retrospective in Pompidou Centre before Christmas, including the films also by other artists that he had some connection with. One of them was "Demi-tarif", a narrative film about three abandoned children in the big city directed by Isild Le Besco (France, 2003). It was about the experience and the energy from their perspective, when they were living in their apartment without the adults. Because of the absence of the parents, the children invent stories i.e. about their mother visiting the apartment at night but leaving early to work. "Demi-tarif" succeeded in showing how the everyday social formations taken as granted can be fragile and how any group develops it´s own survival methods. Marker has compared the film to the experience upon seeing Jean-Luc Godard's "À Bout de Souffle" for the first time. In it´s use of the everyday locations, improvised "raw" acting and cheap dv camera the film was also a reminder of the 16mm practice in "Mala Noche", the first film by Gus van Sant and dv camera method used in different Dogme-films of the 1990s.
In "Demi-tarif" the camera and the rhythms of editing remained close to the senso-motorical movements and their reactions and emotions on the moment. The other direction taken in the festival´s film selection was the personal and political film essay. In his own film and video essays Marker is a personal and poetic voice, a quiet listener and a kind observer, looming friendly behind the construction of the myth of the self and the subject, memory and death - often with the images of the cat and the owl by his side. But in the new understanding of images and their power on us we need other artists, not only dedicated on the passing moment, the memory that we so desperately try to grasp but more to "the parliament of images" themselves. Retrospectively and contemporarely we need both Marker´s contemporarians and filmmakers / artists from the next generations of political essay-oriented filmmaking (Straub/Huillet, Jean-Luc Godard, to Haroun Farocki and Hito Steyerl and eventually the artists finding their energy from Post Internet or "neuro-image" condition in understanding where we are now. And there are always generations in-between, like Zanzibar group of the 1960´s or the contemporary remodernist movement.
In Helsinki the year ends with new beginnings. In the course Leviathan (about big things and small things) we have started a conversation about the new attitudes, appearing i.e. in the gallery & screening works "Finnish Pavilion" by Jaakko Pallasvuo & Kimmo Modig and "Raami" by Jenni Markkanen. These works are questioning the cynicism of the art world and introducing new attitudes on artmaking and the whole social play around it and other cultural venues engaged in the production of "the new". Post Internet culture had it´s artistic research moment in the performance "Screening Days - This has been flagged as spam - Point of view / Point of access- Lecture" by Juha Forss in TeaK. This 6 hour show consisting of Youtube-VJ:ing was an amazing - and sometimes frightening - dive into the new factory of images (self-images, manic mapping of the world, real-life war situations etc.). Of the new feature-length fiction films the movie "Salpa" (The Latch) by Zagros Manuchar seemed was a fresh return to a new simplicity which engages us in the world created around a fictional character.
All of these recent ´proto-territorial´ works are showing us that the immaterial images are coexistent with the material bodies and images in such a way that you can´t separate them from each other because the material world around us is covered with images - which "matter". There is no return to the modernist concept of modernist concept of authenticity but it is as clear that there is also a strong absence of postmodernist irony and "false images". Following Henri Bergson´s old formula we know that the material world is made of (moving) images alltogether. In addition to this we are always making and manufacturing new points of views, images of the world and of each other.
During the following year(s) Nomadic Academy will explore how the ways of expression and control (senso-motorical sensibility, worlds of memory, participation in the social world and the realm of images) are existent and realised in the contemporary situation (of art(s)). In this the collaboration with such organisations and institutions like Helsingin Elokuva-akatemia, Art School MAA, The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts etc. will be important, along with other institutions, organisations and groups. We hope to continue collaboration in the form of the events, courses, workshops, reading groups and discussions now and in the future.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 from Nomadic Academy