Skills of Economy — Post Models: Ore.e Refineries

Skills of Economy - Post Models: Ore.e Refineries, exhibition view 1, 2014

Skills of Eco­nomy — Post Mod­els: Ore.e Refiner­ies, exhib­i­tion view, 2014 Photo: SIC space

Skills of Economy - Post Models: Ore.e Refineries, exhibition view 2, 2014

Skills of Eco­nomy — Post Mod­els: Ore.e Refiner­ies, exhib­i­tion view, 2014 Photo: SIC space

Skills of Eco­nomy – Post Mod­els: Ore.e Refiner­ies is the first in a series of exhib­i­tions and events that will seek to under­stand the mean­ing of artistic prac­tice at a time when the wel­fare state is in the pro­cess of being dis­mantled. This exhib­i­tion explores the work of the Ore e. Refiner­ies organ­isa­tion span­ning the past eight years. The exhib­i­tion is part of cur­ator Jussi Koitela’s Skills of Eco­nomy project.

Over the past two dec­ades, neo-liberalism has sought to turn the state into a cor­por­a­tion, devoid of val­ues other than those of fin­an­cial suc­cess. This has changed, and will con­tinue to change, the state’s rela­tion­ship with art, artists and cul­tural insti­tu­tions alike and forces the art field to jus­tify its activ­it­ies and access to fund­ing in a com­pletely new way.

In Fin­land, the post-welfare state has adop­ted a neo-liberal model that places prime respons­ib­il­ity for the individual’s wel­fare on the indi­vidu­als them­selves, along­side out­sourced global and local pro­viders. The object­ive of this model is to estab­lish a ser­vice pro­vider corps con­sist­ing of com­mer­cial enter­prises tasked to oper­ate as effi­ciently as pos­sible and, ulti­mately, provide all pub­lic ser­vices in lieu of the state. It is, the argu­ment goes, the only effect­ive option cur­rently avail­able and, as such, the only pos­sible means of deliv­er­ing pub­lic ser­vices in the cur­rent and future demo­graphic context.

Post-model” is a term used to describe a time when the eco­nomy and pub­lic admin­is­tra­tions along with polit­ics itself will have become fully de-politicised entit­ies, as if we were liv­ing in a time devoid of ideo­lo­gies and the soci­etal mod­els and ideas they engender. The man­age­ment of our shared pub­lic affairs through par­lia­ment­ary demo­cracy is reduced to a mana­gerial, care taker-like activ­ity gov­erned by ration­al­ity, in which val­ues must not be allowed to inter­fere with the busi­ness of actual decision-making.

Seen from a dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive, the “post-model” in the title of this exhib­i­tion could also be taken to mean a time post the model described above. What forms might artistic activ­ity take in the future and what sort of soci­etal mod­els might that activ­ity open up? How can art make a crit­ical con­tri­bu­tion to ensur­ing the equal deliv­ery of ser­vices such as trans­port, man­u­fac­tur­ing, plan­ning and archiv­ing in the soci­ety of the future?

Ore.e Refiner­ies was foun­ded by artist Eero Yli-Vakkuri and black­smith and designer Jesse Sipola and focuses on pro­mot­ing crafts­man­ship in the digital era. It oper­ates some­where in the middle ground between art, design and ser­vice pro­vi­sion to cre­ate both art­works and ser­vices that seek at once to resolve and under­stand the chal­lenges arising from the cur­rent neo-liberal, global and digital real­ity in the areas of pre­cari­ous labour, com­mod­it­ies, con­sump­tion, envir­on­ment­al­ism and transport.

The organisation’s activ­it­ies are char­ac­ter­ised by their highly spec­u­lat­ive nature. Rather than cre­at­ing art, design and ser­vices in keep­ing with the impli­cit demands of the cur­rent cli­mate, their work gen­er­ates mean­ing through an ima­gined set of new social, envir­on­mental and eco­nomic circumstances.

Artists presen­ted in the Ore.e Refiner­ies Meta– Col­lec­tion – Arti­facts from the Age of Mech­an­ical Reproduction

Jussi Koitela, Paula Lehtonen, Kalle Mus­tonen, Eero Neli­markka, Pekka Ruuska, Record Sing­ers (Heiskanen, Nevalainen, Väisänen & Airas), Iidu Tikkanen, Lauri Wuolio and Topi Äikäs

Exhib­i­tion and the prac­tice of Ore e. Refiner­ies is sup­por­ted by Kon­een säätiö and Uuden­maan taidetoimikunta.