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21 May 2009

Framework: The Finnish Art Review

© Minna Äkkijyrkkä with her Kyyttö cattle.
Photo by Juha Metso, 2004.

Launch of Issue 10 in Venice


Launching at the Finnish Pavilion in Giardini, Venice on Friday 5th of June, 2009 at 3-5 pm

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In the cover image the sculptor, performance artist and cattle keeper Miina Äkkijyrkkä guides her cattle through the forest. Her personal conflict with authorities merges together with the uncertain destiny of the endangered native cattle breed of which there are only a few members left. Her experiences have caused personal uncertainty and helplessness in a situation where she literally has to ask: Where can we go?

Similarly, the prospects concerning the future of the global society merge together with the ongoing financial crisis, the fastening climate change and its impact on the global environment. Even if the consequences of the current developments are still unknown and unfurling, they can already prove that science or technological development do not alone lead to real development and welfare – on the contrary, the course of events may take quite an opposite direction. If the 'world balance' can only depend on economic growth, how do we rescue the home for the human race?

Keeping the demise of neoliberal ideology in mind, the contributors in Locating have been asked to sketch out alternative starting points for today's economic, political and aesthetic practices and draft outlines for alternative models. One of the key questions is, What role can the visual arts, broadly understood, play in broadening the scope of cultural practices? Among writers and cultural actors are Chuck Dyke, Michel Bauwens, David Elliott, Miina Äkkijyrkkä, ?smundur ?smundsson, Antoanetta Ivanova, Kim Levin, Elena Sorkina & Oliver Ressler, Morten Goll & Joachim Hamou & Tone Olaf Nielsen, and Marita Muukkonen & HeHe.

The magazine provides a wider context for Jussi Kivi's Fire & Rescue Museum to be arranged at the Finnish Pavilion in the 53rd Venice Biennale by FRAME Finnish Find for Art Exchange and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. In Focus Sven Spieker and Jonni Roos examine this artistic case study which has its origin in the artist's long-standing passionate interest in everything that relates to firefighting. The collection was brought out of confinement and transformed to communicate new meanings after the artist's accidental encounter with an underground nuclear bomb shelter constructed by the Soviet army in eastern Estonia. Artefacts of heroism are mirrored against the Soviet-time propagandist information boards and posters that give instructions on civil defence and firefighting procedures before and after a nuclear fallout. Childhood adoration for rescuers turns out to be a thin dream when it is faced with the threat of massive destruction.

Even though the timeframe of the collecting process of Jussi Kivi's Fire & Rescue Museum is short, only some fifty years, the museum's major statement compares with the apocalyptic fates of the ancient empires that were destroyed centuries ago. The project's precarious position between the artist's personal need for order and safety and the disorder and chaos of the surrounding reality presents in miniature the situation we are facing in the world at large: If the preconditions of life are neglected, any rescue plans toward future conflicts stand helpless.

The artists reviewed in Features are: Jan-Erik Andersson by Yrjö Haila, Sasha Huber by Hans Fässler and Suzana Milesvska, Antti Laitinen by Poka-Yio and Juha-Heikki Tihinen, and Jani Ruscica by Maxine Kopsa and Kari Yli-Annala. The projects presented do not comply with normal artistic practices of commissioned works which are based on collaboration with curators or established art institutions. On the contrary, they have been transgressing established boundaries that guide and control current conditions of artistic production.

Opinions, Analyses & Letters include four commentaries by Raul Zamudio (New York), Henk Slager (Utrecht), Martina Corgnati (Turin), and Ilya Budraitskis & Alexandra Galkina (Moscow). The writers have been invited to discuss socio-political dimensions of art production and dynamics of its institutional relations, with a special focus on particular infrastructural functions that artists, curators and critics perform in different contextual dispositions.

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