Leaflet #6: Looking back and heading forward

The number of dancers, choreographers, artists, curators, writers and others who work in our studio has been constantly growing over the past years. In 2013 c.off started to provide and develop residencies and practical conditions for organizations and individuals to reprocess, articulate and alter their artistic practices, with the determination of creating a space for intertwined knowledge production. 

The c.off residency is intended to be a place where the focus is put on the process rather than on the product, where working processes can be entangled as much as unfolded, argue with given disciplines and genres, and rethink social and political discourses.

During the past year some of the cross-disciplinary processes taking place in our studio has been articulated in a series of informal interviews on our Facebook page and website.

Last summer Mira Mutka were one of our residents, working on her project Slowotek – a performative practice of slowness. Mira initiated slowness as an exploring and performative practice during her master degree project at DOCH, Dans och Cirkushögskolan/School of Dance and Circus. This particular interest emerged from a desire to question and challenge the borders of life, work and art by inviting different definitions of the practices to co-exist. The ideas developed from states of loss and a necessity for making sense of working within the arts and living in the world at the same time.

This is what she said about the project then:

– I imagine and dream of Slowotek being a shelter for queer events; appearing, functioning, affecting as well as taking care of us (who somehow come in contact with Slowotek’s contents) – in multiple shapes, forms, contexts and times. Slowotek is a place for regarding, practicing and being of and in slowness. Slowness not only as in a calmer pacing of movement, but also slowness as in slow-term allowance of processes to take place and have (a) space. Over time I’m planning to practice slowness with collaborators and those who attend open public sessions in a continuous, flexible, ongoing and ever-changing environment within which my practices Gait, Slothing, Slowathon as well as other still unknown practices, performances, thoughts, theories and sharings can reside. For me, the slowness practices have supported un-loneliness during profound periods of change and abilities to exist in pain in a greater context. Walking and slowly moving through complex and painful experiences gave ground to renegotiate in relation to events I perceived as senseless. Attaching to the university and cosmological/ philosophical theories helped to create well-needed distances and perspectives. Sharing the practices and re-connecting socially restored a sense of trust and of love.

After last year’s residency at c.off, the project has almost been in hibernation.

– I have been involved in fellow artists’ projects and working environments, with Slowotek present and moving quietly in the back of my mind. Currently I am in conversation with several artists whose practice and work seem to have connecting points to topics that keep me curios over time. Next year I am hoping that we will have a platform through which we will be able to collaboratively share mutual and diverse interests in public spaces and places, says Mira Mutka.

Another resident, Tuukka Haapakorpi, worked in our studio this winter with a project that was presented in the exhibition Stockpiling Time.

– At c.off my primary concern was to produce paper sculptures prior to my first private exhibition taking place in Turku in January 2017. I took up a technique used in printmaking, applying wheat starch glue on very thin Japanese paper meant for printmaking, wrapping it around the object I was “recording” with it. It felt like peeling skin off, making a new dermal layer after another. In reality, my original idea was to produce firm objects that would carry a speaker element inside but instead I ended up with something that is like a leftover or a shed skin, numerous versions of the outline or surface of an object, a line between the object and negative space. The paper sculptures are so fragile they hardly can stand up by themselves. A minute draft or a current of air from a by passer might destabilize them enough to make them collapse. Visitors most likely have to wear no shoes since it is winter and snow carried in by the shoes could destroy the paper on the floor.

– What I experienced during the residency was the effects of solitude and not having much to do, peeling away the defenses I had built against the feeling of dullness, a kind of undesensitization. This is a word that I’ve become to like since I saw it being used in the sitcom series Community, perhaps related to a nowadays uncommon sensitivity towards graphic violence, a thawing from an overflow of stimuli present in everyday environment, such as music, entertainment, social media and human interaction; basically noise.

Today Tuukka has just received his first working grant from the Finnish center for promotion of arts (Taike) for a project that will be dealing with deterioration of reality in the medium of augmented reality and site-specific art.

– I guess in Stockpiling Time I really was dealing with emptiness. The installation I had at Raatihuoneen galleria, Turku, Finland was about negative space, a term used for describing phenomena around the abscence of object in art, architecture and music. In fact, the exhibition and the works related were a kind of closure to a process that had started in 2012 when I was still doing my BA at the Fine Arts Academy in Helsinki. A refusal of presence and representation that was in the core of every piece I managed to produce, a sort of erasure of self and the object, an unwillingness to communicate anything but a hollow space, Tuukka says.

This summer Linda BlomqvistAnna Pehrson and Hiroko Tsuchimoto will be inhabiting the studio along with others as residents, and we will happily follow their work’s entanglements and unfoldings. Look out on our Facebook-page for an upcoming interview with Anna Pehrson and her working process with In [Brackets] (working title) .

The staff at c.off wish you the best of summers!