When the imagery and the video material starts to become some kind of litter. There is masses of clips and images coming and going and here I'm producing more. So what to do with this all then? I read Thomas Hirschorns writings about his ideas about art and he said that he cant understand the idea "less is more". Hes approach to material and the way he assembles things that at first seem to be merely trash but by the way they are portraited become meaningful. I personally see them as certain kind of sets or events that definetelly hold within them a performative elements. That something I might like to here; to see what happens to all this garbage like loads of material when I start to put clips together beside eachoter. Will they express something together?
(Hirschhorn, Thomas. et al. Critical Laboratory the Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2013. Print.)
One of my friend stated how she felt that the Väre building and especially the lobby of it was designed to be perfect for strutting a cross it in a cool manner, rather than serving the actual objections the building was built in the first place.
This made me think about the space and become very acknowledged about it from the first time I entered the lobby via broken (it’s still broken after one and a half year) door. First impression when entering the space is that it has a greater meaning than just being a hall, an entering space for the premisses. It carries the sort of temple like attribute in it, a suggestion that this certain space is dedicated to some important, sacred actions or rituals. It also contains a connotation to other contemporary art school buildings that are made in the old factory buildings that have huge halls in the middle of them. These big halls have had a pragmatic purpose of being places for big machines, construction lines, workers etc. they have not been wide open spaces just for aesthetic reasons.
When entering the lobby of Väre the first impression is that the space is being made to be looked at by a visitor, not a student. It wants to create an impression, it wants to impress, it wants to take control and make you feel small. One can only conquer the hall by forcing thru it with strong, nearly arrogant manner. If you stop at the doorway and start looking around wondering, where should I go and what to do, you have already lost the game. In order to take control of the space you must play the part that the space suggests to you, you must commit to the ritual it invites you in, you must perform. By entering the space, you are (whether you want or not) instantly part of the performance, the space creates the set and the stage where you are a performer of its ever continuing event. Even when you are alone in the lobby, you do not act alone; your counter actor is the space itself and it reacts to everything you do or don’t do.
By standing in the middle of the space you are at the same time the performer and the audience or in a way the kind of “spectactor” as Augusto Boal calls the idea of participating individual of the audience in an forum- or invisible theatre.
Your clothes, posture, facial expression, gestures, age, gender, status, things you carry along, people that enter the room all become symbolic objects and highly meaningful signifiers in the manner as the things in the stage immediately stop being a practical representation of them self and turn in to the symbolic network of meanings.
To exist in the Väre lobby is to perform, only thing you can decide is how do you perform.
Alan Bryman writes about the phenomena that he has named as a "disneyization" meaning the process seen in a America and all over the world where principles of Diseneyland start to become more and more dominating features in different areas of society. (Bryman, 2004) When looking at the idea of the architecture of Väre building in Otaniemi one can easily see that one ...important ... character of it has been the transparency. Premises meant for students individual work are mainly rooms and spaces with glass walls predisposing the students for a constant observation and monitoring. Motive behind this idea is enable visual observation of the work for visitor groups and special guests in order to establish and strengthen the Aalto brand. By this there is a certain element of performativity attached to the the work of students and the staff. Bryman mentiones as the one the dimensions of disneyfization the "“performative labour – the growing tendency for frontline service work to be viewed as a performance" (Bryman, 2004, 9) I see here an analogy between the theory of diesneyfization and the current trend of designing art schools and public buildings in general.
Ane Hjort Guttu writes in her text "The end Of Art Education as We Know It" about the change in the art school system in nordic countries and especially the ideolocigal shift that is seen in the architecture of new art school buildings. Guttu draws the similarity between these buildings of all having the same kind of spacy halls, courtyards and project spaces. She sees tbhis as a result of economical thinking that aims to minimize the risk of spaces to be unused. (Guttu, 2020) Buildings are not made in order to serve the students and their endeavours but in order to be lucrative business for constructors and owners. As Guttu states about the essence of spaces that: "As much as they offer flexibility, they also incite the students to take on a new role, one where they learn the fine art of navigating between work and leisure, socialising and study, constant availability and ceaseless performativity." (Guttu, 2020)
Guttu cites a student in a Bergen art school, who depicts the behaviour that this kind of space arouses in an interesting manner:
"When I’m at my workplace at school, I start to behave the way I think an art student would behave. If I’m doing carpentry, for example, then I think ‘now it looks like I’m working’. I pace back and forth because I think it looks good, like I’m being productive and know what I’m about." (Guttu, 2020)
In this way the students turn into a wierd combinations of customer and employees. In a way we rent the space for our studies but at the same we are expected to keep up the certain kind of performance for the owners and their clients. If our performance does not satisfy the owner the "priviledge" of using the space is taken away from us. We students are hired performers in the show where the Väre building acts as a set. Our reward is the possibility to study in the middle of this set, but in in the carefully designed manner that this particular set guides us towards.
The set itself is the one playing the lead role hear but of course the set is nothing without the actors and there cant be a lead role without the other roles.
Well here I'm sitting in the corner of the Väre lobby. Drinking the cappucino that I bought from the private cafe cituated in the space. I'm sitting in this wierd chair that is the property of the cafe. Its kind of cosy, offering a very laid back posture, but in no ways it is optimal for working on a computer. When I entered the space and decided to go and by a coffee I started to observe the space and wonder what would be the "right" place for me to do my work on my laptop. Should I sit on the couch at the side of the hall, or should take a chair at the cafe area?
I order the cafe and really go at the dilemma. As I mentioned I choose the funny looking cosy chair and sit down to observe the space. I'm very aware of my actions, I instantly start to evaluate what kind of image I give from my self by these decicions. Do I choose this chair because it........
I observe the space and try to come up with some interesting notions of it. Of course by doing this I get nothing out of it; you dont get interesting notions by trying to get them, cause then you stop the actual observation and just wait and push yourself to craft some ideas. I scribble some observations down cause you cant just give up instantly and because by the experience I know that if you force yourself to start and muscle through the sticky start, something interesting might actually happen. But now nothing happens. My scribbling works in the same way as in the Bozzo orders the Lucky to think in the play of Waiting for Godot. Lucky seems somewhat mute and inable to produce intelligent ideas because his subject postition, but his supposed master Bozzo claims that Lucky is a masterful thinker. And when he orders his beast of burden to think, Lucky bursts out an incredible litany of something that at least by the first impression seems to be just a random dadaistik collection of sentences. My outcome feels a bit similar but unluckily lacking the aesthetic brilliance of Lucky's monologue. So basically I just stare at the empty space and bore myself with indifferent words and sentences.
My idea for the day and for this session in the corner of the lobby was to write notes and formulate some kind of monologue text about the space as an performance. I see that nothing really comes out. There is lots of space, very few people walking cross the space now and then. I have pretty much nothing to say about them. They just seem to keep their cool and pass the floor in ostensibly laconic fashion.
I try to imagine my self in the middle of the floor, standing, feeling unsecure and a bit embarrased. I'm used to being embarrased it has been a big part of my profession actually, and it is not a problem for me actually, but now it feels somehow as a discusting idea to go to the middle of the floor and just be there. But at the same time I feel that it is what I need to do at the moment. Of course I have to document my standing and being somehow. So I decide to film it.