At Manifesta 10 On Board & What Is Monumental Today? Symposium
In relation to the current geopolitical situation, a strong dichotomy between Russia and the Western world has gained new value as a means to articulate cultural and political differences in European discussions. Debates in the art field around Manifesta 10 in St.Petersburg also seem to highlight differences and antagonisms between conditions for art and artists in St.Petersburg and the Western art field. Europe however still seems to be under a regime of globalized and networked finance capitalism. Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja recently stated that market forces have already punished Russia.
Floating Ghost is a performance and video program curated by Jussi Koitela for the Manifesta 10 On Board project and What is Monumental Today? Symposium. The project addresses the neoliberal condition of freedom and obligation from the perspective of current challenges in daily life conditions and devepopment of immaterial technolgies in the Northern and Eastern Europe through works by Anna Breu, Tero Nauha and Anna Johansson. The second part of the project is being conducted at What Is Monumental Today? Symposium at Eurepean University at St. Petersburg/Smolny Institute, St. Petersburg showing video works by Tero Nauha, Pekka Niskanen and Anna Johansson .
The development of the neoliberal capital in the last few decades has introduced us to a floating currency, floating share prices, and other ”floating” economic instruments that have translated to general living conditions and value systems making daily life precarious and unreliable. This “floating” life style and the accelerating abstraction of capital combined and the development of digital communication imposes a new suspicions on freedom and obligation. Are there rights beyond economical rights? What are our obligations to the material and immaterial conditions of daily life?
Manifesta 10 On Board
Performances by Tero Nauha and Anna Breu, video by Anna Johansson
What Is Monumental Today? Symposium
Videos by Tero Nauha, Pekka Niskanen and Anna Johansson
Perfermance in two acts
Anna Breu is a cross-disciplinary artist collective, using moving image, sound and performance as its primary mediums. The group shares a shameless interest towards art language and dyslexic confusion as the basis of their artistic practice.
Life in Bytom
Bytom is a former mining town in Upper Silesia, Poland. This area is famous for its mining industry, which, however, has almost disappeared during the past twenty years of economic transformation. Bytom is an exemplary example of the transformation, which neo-liberal politics produces. In 2011 I was invited by the curator Stanisław Ruksza from CSW Kronika to do a project in Bytom, and for this reason, visited this city on several occasions in 2012. These visits were composed of workshops, interviews, field trips and other events, which aimed to produce source material for an effective interpretation of the situation. Eventually, the final results were presented at the Kronika as a scripted performance, installation and a video piece.
During my visits, I encountered many individual and singular stories and events, which revealed things not particular only to Poland, but as signs of a general transition in neo-liberal Europe. At first, my rather theoretical research circled around the problem of economic transformation, or as I call it: a mess of capitalism. Mess has no certain centre, which in the case of Bytom is in straight dissymmetry with the previous, state controlled socialism in Poland. However, right from the start, after the first meetings with Ruksza, one aspect of Bytom became clear, that Bytom is not going through a controlled transformation period, but rather a series of arbitrary changes. He called Bytom, “the Detroit of Poland.” In other words, a place without an ideology or roadmap, but a mess of collapsing buildings and infrastructures where no one knows how long the duration of this process will be or what forms it will take. It is the precariousness of this mess, where my endeavour took place, and where I asked myself what could a performance do?
Delivering the 110 most searched phrases on Google in the main street of Umeå. Is there a difference in how we behave in the designed public spaces compared to the digital ones? Our digital activity transformed to the public space. The constantly changing language. A clash between private and public.
The Chechen refugees of Western Europe are experienced users of computers. The broken families constantly keep in touch by email and Skype Internet phonecalls. To balance the insecurity that fills their everyday life, the Chechens in diaspora have a need to create a unifying virtual world, a haven that would be prepared for hackers’ attacks and even a virtual war. The refugees want to build a place in Second Life where at least their avatars can be safe. A virtual trauma center for refugees recovering from the war, a mosque, a cinema and a press conference center were all planned to be a part of Virtual Chechnya.