The Lessons of Folklore. Utilising the carnivalesque origins of folk ritual in contemporary art practice.
Many European folk rituals contain elements of a subversive nature, relying on humour, costumes, disguise and ceremony in their performance. My doctoral practice is situated within this milieu of ritual and tradit¬¬ion, expanding and reframing the contemporary performance of customs and rites. This investigation is intended to take place in our present, an age when digital technologies and globalised connectedness seem to move us away from a different kind of kinship, that of the realm of the natural magics of the landscape, and of past hyper-local agricultural rites.
Traditional customs have represented a kind of necessary annual calendar of combined natural speculation, for both the realms of the environment and the human. My aim is to critically engage with the folkloric practices of modern incarnations of traditional European folklore through a dialogue with contemporary museum, artistic and theoretical practices.
Matthew Cowan is a New Zealand artist and Doctoral candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki, working in the realm of traditional European customs. His works are photographs, videos and installations, which play with the inherent strangeness of the continued popularity of long established folk customs in a modern world. Recent exhibitions have included artistic responses to artefacts and folk objects in museum collections, delving into structures that guide perceptions of popular histories and re-examining what is suggested as evidence in the historical presentation of identity. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Scream of the Strawbear, Kunsthalle Giessen, Giessen, Germany, (2019); para field notes, Galleria Hippolyte, Helsinki, Finland (2018); Wandle auf Rosen und Vergissmeinnicht, Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, Braunschweig, Germany (2016); Equinox Men, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Hannover, Germany (2015)
Since the beginning of 2002, the concept of post-dramatic (Hans-Thies Lehmann) has had huge impact on the understanding of contemporary theatre making and dramaturgy. Somehow, in spite of its importance, the concept of post-dramatic does not now anymore seem to generate new thinking in the area of dramaturgy. Or: what is comes to dramaturgical work and dramaturgical making itself, dramaturgy understood from the inside, it is not very useful, or that’s how I feel. So, my research has started out as an inquiry about the relationship of the ludic & playfulness and dramaturgy. I have asked: could the notion of the play and the ludic give me a fresh perspective to dramaturgy and dramaturgical work?
Lately in my research project and in my artistic part, performance Rakkaus ja toisto, I have played with gesture, pause and repetition as dramaturgical concepts and elements of (live) (ludic) dramaturgy and composition. I have been inspired by the idea of dramaturgy driven performance (Konstantina Georgelou et al.), and I am currently thinking: what do I actually mean with dramaturgical making and dramaturgical composition?
Katariina Numminen is a Helsinki based performance maker, director and dramaturg and doctoral candidate in Theatre Academy in the University of Arts in Helsinki. She has often been working with documentary material, focusing on voice and sound in the performance. Her current interests include improvisation and live dramaturgy and live composition, Brecht and psychoanalysis and performance. Her latest works include Zoo, (2014), Asu (“Dress” 2018), Rakkaus ja toisto (“Love and Repetition”) (2019). In addition to the artistic work, she has been teaching extensively dramaturgy, dramatic writing and contemporary performance practices. She was a professor of dramaturgy in University of Arts in Helsinki 2014-2019. She has written about theatre and dramaturgy and has co-edited two books. Currently she is working on an artistic research doctoral project in the field of dramaturgy.
Virtual scenography in transformation – The performative and aesthetic possibilities of virtual environments
The immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets allow the user to experience the illusion of presence in virtual environments and to interact with the virtual space in an intuitive way. Artists from various fields are directing their efforts towards the creation of narrative content that benefits from the immersive quality of virtual and augmented reality. The deep immersion in the virtual surroundings and the layering of physical and virtuals spaces means that scenography plays a vital role in these extended reality (XR) experiences. At the moment, the virtual environments in many of the current XR experiences remain as
predominantly static surroundings for the narrative. However, there is enormous untapped potential in the transformability and aesthetic possibilities of virtual sets, and this visual resource should be rethought and developed along with the other aspects of XR storytelling.
This practise-based research will explore how to utilize the full visual potential of virtual and augmented reality. This will be done by merging the creative process of designing virtual scenography with areas such as performing arts, fine arts, media art and immersive theatre, resulting in performative virtual environments that complement or even drive the narrative experience. Additionally, this research will explore the possibilities of an unconventional aesthetic approach in designing a virtual set, inspired by abstractions and the expressiveness found in analogue artistic mediums. This research will also provide insights into how to utilize virtual reality design tools in the artistic process of creating virtual spaces. This allows the designer to work in a more intuitive and natural way. The outcome is an expanded toolset for the artist to create visually and emotionally compelling virtual scenography for unique XR experiences.
Virtual Cinema Lab
I am a Finnish author, screenwriter and dramaturge. I have an MA from the University of Helsinki (comparative literature) and an MA from the Theatre Academy Helsinki (dramaturgy). I have published novels and poetry collections and written original works and adaptations for stage, radio, film, and television. My work experience includes Lecturer of Drama at the University of the Arts 2009–2014 and dramaturge in the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE 2006–2008. Currently I’m teaching screenwriting at Aalto University (Film and Scenography) and writing a feature film script. I’m also active in AMPI, a film platform for mobile people: http://academyofmovingpeopleandimages.com
My thesis is about adaptation, especially from literature to film. “From Adaptation to Adoptation” (working title) examines Henry Parland’s (1908-30) avant-garde novel Sönder (1932, Finn. Rikki, 1995) and approaches its adaptation as a meeting point between literature and film, form and subject matter. Adapting the novel into a contemporary setting raises also questions about history and its interpretation, gender and ethics. I aim to develop a “metascript”, a tool for reimagining cinema. I contextualize my research with Steven Maras and Ted Nannicelli, while using my own artistic background as both writer and screenwriter. The theory part of the thesis examines various modern and postmodern approaches and their practices, while the artistic part consists of a screen adaptation of Parland’s novel.
Soren Thilo Funder
THE HORROR OF THE DROP - Contemporary horror fiction as counter-narrative in political art practice or Surviving the night in the haunted mansion of absolute capitalism is a research project about the alienating effects of absolute capitalism and the possibilities of artistic research and visual experimentation to adapt and utilize contemporary horror fiction - as the very format of alienation - to counter this effect.
The research project will engage different aspects of absolute capitalism, like financial speculation, algorithmic transactions, environmental exhaustion, cognitive work and debt economy, coupling the conditions they form with conditions within horror fiction. As a starting point, financial speculation is conceived as an alienating space of algorithmic transactions. A decisional ecology leaving the human beings invested in this activity strangely culpable and dissociated at the same time. The imaginary gush of digits and symbols creates an otherworldly activity chillingly operative in the actuality of everyday life - like an algorithmic poltergeist rearranging the actual furniture of the living room. The speculative nature of the handling of real people’s livelihoods also defines a space where ethics are exchanged for markets and a crisis of morality stirs inside each individual trader. As the torrent of excess - ultimately irrevocable in the neoliberal ideology - spins centrifugally ahead, a notion of suicidal tendency and self-harm becomes apparent. The centrifugal drive turns centripetally in on itself, as the finitude of natural resources promises the catastrophic end of this venture. Finally, debt economy unfolds the harrowing sense of guilt and the trading off of actual living-time for the citizen. The indebted man roams the urban setting restlessly as a living dead, owing all of what really constitutes lived life, namely time, to an undefined and opaque apparatus.
A certain upsurge in the interest of horror fiction within the realm of critical theory, as well as contemporary art, witnesses a slow but building acknowledgement of the genre’s worth as a tool in the analysis of our times. Furthermore the acceleration of developments in society mirroring conditions of horror fiction (including and beyond conditions informed by trading bots, the anthropocene and post-internet life) intensifies the need for studying and evaluating the horror of our times. THE HORROR OF THE DROP is an attempt to address this growing concern within the medium of the very mirror. Spun around a series of new video works, it will endeavor to create a textual and visual language, that toy with the notion of genre fiction, critical theory and contemporary art, in the attempt to provoke new visual and critical landscapes for new readings and commentaries on contemporary society as always already horror.
More than just aim to perk up artistic research and politically engaged art production by letting it, in some sense, become horror fiction, THE HORROR OF THE DROP will raise urgent questions on the possibilities of evading the traps of assimilation in artistic work that deals with governing and economic structures and how to generate truly new political spaces within the experience of contemporary art. And notably what these spaces might then tell us.
Soren Thilo Funder is a visual artist working primarily with video and installation. His works are mash-ups of popular fictions, cultural tropes and socio-political situations, projections and histories. They are narrative constructions insisting on new meaning forming in the thin membrane negotiating fictions from realities. Invested in written and unwritten histories, the paradoxes of societal engagement and a need for new nonlinear narratives, Thilo Funder proposes spaces for awry temporal, political and recollective encounters.
Soren Thilo Funder has an MA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and The School of Art and Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently a Research Fellow at The Art Academy - Department of Contemporary Art, University of Bergen. He has been artist-in-residence at ISCP in New York, Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, SOMA in Mexico City, Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt and Platform Garanti in Istanbul. Previous exhibitions include solo presentations at Turku Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Tranen Contemporary Art Center, Overgaden – Institute for Contemporary Art and Den Frie - Centre for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, as well as the duo show “Little Lies” with David Claerbout at Yarat Contemporary Art Centre. He was furthermore represented at the 19th Biennale of Sydney, eva International Biennial of Visual Art - “After The Future”, 12th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 8 – Parallel Events and 6th International Liverpool Biennial.
Craig Thomas Wells
This project has the title 'Emergent Ears - Playing the multi channel system and becoming played by it'. This project will advance from three integral confrontations between electronic music, live embodied improvisation and multi channel loudspeaker systems. Emergent ears is primarily concerned with opening electronic music to all possible permutations of interruption and spatial configurations. Where elevation and azimuth become compositional syntax in which to extend audible material, spatiality itself becomes an agent and at times a protagonist.
Craig Thomas Wells (born in 1988) is a sound artist and composer from the UK who is currently based in Bergen. He works with synthesis, sound collage, field recording and live performance. He completed a Phd in philosophy in the UK and now is part of the Norwegian Artistic research programme where he is focusing on various methods of sound diffusion, composition and notions of alterity. His research interests oscillate around ways in which sound and listening can both resolve and cleave open philosophical concepts, in which the materiality of practice can give alternative perspectives on theoretical consequences. He disseminates music under various guises, most notably Klunks, Refrains and Vonrik Hauge.
Environmental sound, politics and economics of sound, acoustics and sound art.
In the project The sound of time - Tuning into the Norwegian landscape and the post-industrial soundscape I want to investigate how we as humans relate to public space and the sound environment around us, collective auditory memory and how sound function as a phenomenon, social and political constructs.
As a professional artist and researcher I’m interested to investigate, reflect and dig deeper into the current state of Norwegian landscape and the post-industrial soundscape through my artistic practice, using methods such as field studies, listening sessions, recordings, interviews, sound editing, processing, exploring archives, developing new soundscapes and creating new sound objects/installations and experimenting with sound in space.
Since my childhood, I’ve spent tremendous hours in the north, visiting my grandparent’s house, hiking in the mountains, fishing and picking berries. My family roots comes from Lofoten and Lyngen. The northern-Norwegian landscape, atmosphere and mood resonate warm within me. The smell of rotten fish, the seagulls screaming outside the bedroom window, the dark cold winter and the bright summer nights. This serve as backdrop for who I am and the reason why I want to do my PhD at Kunstakademiet in Tromsø.
I’m interested to analyze and immerse into the Norwegian and the northern-Norwegian sound environment (landscape and place), focusing on the acoustic and audible qualities, in an historical context, until present, as a source for inspiration, creative input and future knowledge.
The World Soundscape Project was established as an educational research group by R. Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University in Canada during the late 1960s. The group consisted of R. Murray Schafer, Bruce Davis, Peter Huse, Barry Truax, Howard Broomfield and Hildegard Westerkamp. The project serve as a reference for my PhD project, and raise many similar questions, even though the artistic outcome, the sound environment and time we live in is very different, I find the project still relevant and inspiring.
During my field work I´ve got more and more interested in the sounds / frequenzies that surrounds us that we cannot hear. Christina Kubisch use of electromagnetic sounds is something that interests and inspires me at the moment.
Alexander Rishaug is a sound artist and composer working in the field in between the art and the experimental music scene. Rishaug creates site-specific sound projects that investigates time, memory, space/place and acoustics through the use of extended field recording techniques and advanced speaker technology, analogue synthesizers, computers and generative sound manipulations. This has led to numerous performances, art projects and collaborations within the field of sound art, contemporary music, visual art, film, dance and theatre.
The Artist, The Market and The Public
When we take on our professional roles, we perform ourselves. We sit at our desk in the studio, we write an email or get a call from someone. We know the dos and don’ts when we have a work meeting with another artist or curator over lunch, visit a gallery or introduce two friends to each other in a bar. We perform these rituals collectively when we attend larger public events such as the reception for an exhibition, a dinner party at a colleague’s house, a panel discussion, a lecture, or an artist’s talk.
Yet, if you would be asked to describe your behaviour and language, the codes and rituals you follow during these events in great detail, what is it exactly that you perform? And why do you do what you do?
My research project „The Artist, The Market and The Public“ is an exploration of my own field and sub-culture, i.e. the increasingly globalized art world with its intricately linked social, moral and economic interrelations. By looking for example at the manners and mannerisms, codes and rituals of people working in the arts, I hope to shed light on some of the contradictions inherent to its working culture. The writer and artist Pablo Helguera claims that art objects make us perform certain rituals, and that we perform the protocol around such objects in our desire to belong. If this is so, what is the impact on our behaviour at a time when art is becoming more and more dematerialized? What will visual art mean in the future, and what form will it take? And what are we going to perform then?
In her audio- and video-installations, short films and lecture performances, Juliane Zelwies (b. 1976, Berlin) explores the psychology of social interaction, particularly with regard to (human) communication. Visually at home in the ambiguous borderland between documentary and dramatisation, much of her work relies on an exchange with expert groups and individuals, with whom she looks into the construction and deconstruction of narratives. Juliane studied Sculpture and Film in Stockholm and Philadelphia and holds an MFA in Media Art from the Berlin University of the Arts. Since October 2017 she is a research fellow of the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme at the Academy for Contemporary Art and Creative Writing in Tromsø. Her video works are distributed by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin.
Camilla G. Bruerberg
Soft Construct. Not the style, but the space.
My field of research is within design, specifically digital knitwear technology and textile design. The field of fashion spans from hard-core commercial industry to strong individual artistic practises. It is a craft based subject, we work with garments - tangible, wearable products. The textile and garment is designed to be worn. It has a purpose. It has potential. I see this relationship as both powerful and everyday-like; wearing textiles is one thing all people share. We can communicate our identity, our desires, our needs and how we want to be approached.
New ways of integrating materials and digital techniques in clothing design are relevant across the field. The ethical questions surrounding production and consumption are wide and critically important. Today the machines developed for knitwear are highly advanced with great potential for both the different practices within fashion as well as other fields. Still, designers are often not in a position to utilise these possibilities in a meaningful way, partially because of how textile production is organised and the pressure of profit. My hope for this project is to gain further knowledge and experience into how a designer can explore and use new technology. Material and technical research has often been my artistic starting point. In this project I will explore relevant theories concerning craft, materiality and our relationship to our surroundings. Acquiring self sufficiency in technical tools and the deeper understanding of these processes is paramount, as opposed to having someone else complete the
The project as it stands now is an exploration of knitting technology, building skill and network,
parting ways with my earlier practice. I have investigated programming and the machines I use
through the material, explored the unknown territory between myself and the fabric after sending a
program from the computer to the knitting machine. This process has opened up for reflection on skill
and craft, what that means in a digital and fragmented but global world. How do we interact with
materials in this process? What do they mean to us? Why do I have such a strong resistance to
including the body in my work at this stage?
I have a background as a fashion and textile designer, graduating from Oslo National Academy in
2008. I have worked independently with artistic projects, and collaborated with both artists and
brands, developing designs for stage and commercial use. I have simultaneously worked as a
workshop manager for the knitting lab at the National academy in Oslo. From I was a child I have
always been fascinated by production - a machine that can make something? This same fascination
have guided me towards industrial technology in my practice as s designer.
Just Do It! – exploring the musician’s use of bodily performance
In the 21st century an increasing number of composers include extra-musical elements in their work; elements that often activate the musicians’ voice and body in ways that are not related to merely playing an instrument.
This moving, dancing, touching, speaking, singing, shouting, grimacing, sounding body opens a new and still expanding palette of expression – but its use also requires new skills that are currently not an explicit part of higher musical education or standard musical performance practice.
Engaging in bodily performance on stage without suitable knowledge and skills is equivalent to trying to play an instrument without knowing how it works. The result may be interesting, but the full potential of nuances and details in expression will never be realised.
This stands in strong opposition to the usual rigour of classically trained musicians, and it is unsatisfactory for musicians, composers, works and audiences alike.
To explore the possibilities and potential limitations of bodily performance in music and to define the skills needed to realise them, four new solo pieces for accordion and body and one concerto for ensemble and accordionist will be commissioned, developed and performed.
Existing theoretical knowledge and practical experience from actors, dancers, performance artists and other musicians – obtained from literature and through interviews – will be used to detect, define and develop the new performance skills, and an advisory board of experts within theatre, performance art and dance will give feedback and proposed solutions for specific challenges in the five new works.
The detected challenges and required skills will in parallel be compared to and linked with existing musical praxis with the intention of establishing a new musical performance practice for bodily performance in music.
Through an extensive career as soloist and chamber musician, Andreas Borregaard communicates the accordion’s fascinating qualities and palette of expressions to a wide audience. He collaborates with composers from all over Europe and is actively influencing the development of this young instrument’s use and repertoire. And through a parallel fascination with early music, he explores how the accordion can add new colours to the keyboard repertoire of the 18th century. Andreas Borregaard started playing the accordion at the age of 5 in his hometown of Allerød, Denmark. In 2001 he began his studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen with professor James Crabb. After 5 years study he graduated with Bachelor and Master degrees, obtaining the highest possible marks in all subjects. He was then immediately admitted into the Soloist Class (advanced performance degree), graduating with an official debut concert in spring 2010. Since 2010 Andreas Borregaard has been teaching accordion and chamber music at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and in 2017 he was appointed accordion lecturer at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, where he is currently also a PhD fellow in artistic research.
Memory as Material.
Through a handful of projects, I investigate different ways of working artistically with memory as material:
in «Her» the focus was on a specific body and her voice as a site of memories, in «Double Portraits in Rooms» I was experimenting with re-staging sound vice a house demolished 60 years ago, in «The Eighth Day» I investigated bringing my own body into the site of a medieval ballade, in «Arbeidstittel: Lilleaker Folkets Hus» the biography of a specific person was a starting point for working on a more collective memory of the labour movement and a specific house holding this movement,in «Hinterland Archives» an 100 year old archive of sound and images from the inuits are the basis for a staged concert, and finally, in «Biography» the memories of my own childhood is the basis for questioning some of the aspects of «Memory as Material».
Erik Dæhlin is composer, director and artist, concerned with music that integrates different performative material, unfolding in and beyond the music and in context to the performance space. He makes hybrid art works, composing and devising musical, visual and textual material to conglomerate forms of sound based art. He also composes solo and chamber music and electro-acoustic music, as well as installations and other art works.
SATYRIC BODIES: fleshy cartoons in dialogue with the not yet and the already dead explores intergenerational haunting and transpires as instantly (de)composing intra-cultural, auto-ethnographic vivisections of whiteness, privilege, ancestry and coloniality. Through a series of trans-disciplinary corporeal, material and technological experiments, the project evokes uncertainty, discomfort and failure as methodological tools, and draws on the politics and aesthetics of queer and intersectional discourse.
Stacey Sacks is an actor/writer/director/researcher/clown and current PhD candidate in performative and mediated practices at Stockholm’s University of the Arts. Born in Zimbabwe, Sacks studied Performance Practice and Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town and completed the MA program ‘A Year of Physical Comedy’ at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2012. Sacks is the author, together with Nalle Laanela, of The Clown Manifesto (Oberon Books, 2015).
Ram Krishna Ranjan
His PhD research focuses on the Bengal Famine of 1943 and its representation in visual arts – particularly in films. The famine and the crisis ridden years of the 1940s gave rise to much compelling literature and art in Bengal. This response, however, was tinged with anticipation of a post-independence utopia where hunger, suffering, and class conflict would be eradicated. The inequities and complexities of caste, class, and gender in victimization by the famine were overtaken by a generalized and increasingly fervent nationalist sentiment and a renewed anti-colonial agenda. The ‘bhadralok’ (Bengali elite) were empathetic towards the suffering of the rural peasantry but only from an intellectual distance. The resulting art and literature didn’t fully capture the profound sub-narratives and faultlines of caste, class, and gender that the famine had so brutally exposed. Films made in the 1970s and 80s, especially by Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, attempted to respond to this gap but that too felt inadequate. It is this context that his research aims to further and experiment with ontologies of expressions that emerges from subaltern/oral history framework and investigate the possibilities and limits of it in films.
Ram Krishna Ranjan (born 1985, India) is a practice-based researcher and visual artist. His educational background is in Economics, Media and Cultural Studies and Fine Art. He is currently doing his PhD in artistic research at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg. His longstanding areas of interests are decoloniality, migration, gentrification, memory and nation, and the intersectionality of caste, class, and gender. Through his moving-images based practice, he tries to build conversations around place-specific issues of social justice and political oppression.
”Rya Narratives – Aspects of Time and Ethics in Time-consuming Craft Practices” is the current title of my PhD project, which I began in 2016 as a practice-based research in hand-weaving that investigates low resolution pictures in fluffy overgrown pixels woven in a traditional manner with wool-piles on a linen warp, in swedish called ”rya”. The project’s written text and rya weaving occupy a personal perspective, structured around interests in the subjects of labour, history and time consuming activity.
Some interests in my project include:
*Reflections on time, skill and ethics in handmade weaving practices (crafts)
*Woven pixels, handweaving as pointilism; transfereces of digital images to analouge materials.
Tacit- and embodied knowledge
*Compairing time, skill and ethics in solitary vs. collaborative handmade practice
*Collaborations in handmade practices – focus on ethics and communication through friendship-as-method, and craft making with the use of social media
*Visual ethics, with mpathy as compass, and reflections on ”spending time with images”
Emelie Röndahl is a weaving artist based outside Gothenburg, Sweden. She is currently undertaking PhD studies in Artistic Research in Crafts at the Academy for Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg, where she also earned a MFA in 2012, with one exchange semester at Art Academy of Oslo (KHiO), Norway. She also studied two years of traditional (Swedish) weaving at two different Folk High Schools. Emelie Röndahl was recently an artist in residence at the Textile Arts Center (TAC) in Brooklyn, New York (2014-2015). She is a recipient of the Swedish Arts Committee´s International Program, IASPIS, six month Artist Residency in Stockholm, Sweden (2013), creating a work later acquired by Public Art Agency Sweden for their national collection (2014). For the moment she is taking part of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial (2018) making a collaborative weaving project with participants from all over the world. The project is called “Google Weaving Stop-time” and have been exhibited at Salt Galata in Istanbul September–November 2018, and is currently on tour to LUMA Arles (France) and C-Mine (Belgium). Emelie Röndahl lives and works outside of Gothenburg in Kinna, a historical textile region where crafts like spinning and weaving continue to be part of local lives. She has woven since 2006.