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In March 2021 Myymälä2 should have hosted varialambo‘s exhibition Re-enactment of the 3rd Millennium. Unfortunately they could not present their new work due to the fact that they are currently at home in quarantine. They decided, however, to generously hold the space for others to present their work and that is what made Becoming A Target two weeks screening possible. Myymälä2 gallery is thankful for their resilience and generosity.

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Becoming A Target

5.3. – 21.3.2021, Myymälä2, Uudenmaankatu 23

The Politics of Signaling, Exposing, Labeling and Beyond

Becoming a Target / Diventare un Bersaglio, is a collection of video works curated by Myymälä2. Based on the research of Dr. Timo Tuhkanen, the video compilation presents the works of artists from different generations, paths of life, and nationality. Becoming a target pretends to unfold a perspective on this fragile moment.

The project is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Concept:

On the 15th of July 2016 a woman opened her computer, logged into Facebook and started scrolling. The news bombarded her from every side, the previous day in Nice a terror attack had killed 86 and resulted in the injuries of 458 people. She was overwhelmed, she felt something new, something she had never felt before. She called her travel agency and cancelled her holiday to Nice booked for the beginning of August. She logged back into Facebook and told all her friends that she would not be travelling on holiday to Nice. She could not find a valid reason to expose herself to be a passive target of such violence. This real Facebook post is the trigger for the ongoing artistic research and an exhibition idea by Timo Tuhkanen called “Subjectivity Becoming a Target”, in which several artists would examine the multiple facets of what it means to become a target but also what it means to be a ‘targeter’. The notion of being a target can be presumed as a condition resultant of the post 9/11 era, in which a collective mediated imagination sees the Islamic terrorism as a threat for western values of democracy, civil freedoms and liberty within a new geopolitics and media ecosystem. Through the artists Tuhkanen started discussion it is possible to see that various themes have already emerged that show how being a target affects society. Works can refer directly to computing and data archiving using automated facial recognition algorithms, resulting in an exhibitionist subculture of face-painting which paradoxically hides their users from that inquisitive software; others show the moment of contact between the targeter and the target; artists are interested in asking what it means to be a target of public institutions? How to protect vulnerable individuals, and how to gather vulnerable voices to bring them to surface and deliver them inside the institutions? artists work with the ways in which trauma is created by targeting individuals and groups; they inquire into how being a target can act to inform social protest by accepting one’s ‘targetness’ and turning it around through pacifism to target the targeter.

The screening pretends to show how eventful and uneventful elements in our daily lives come together to make a person feel targeted, and how that feeling changes the way that person acts. It examines the observation by the artists that there has been a shift in the way people feels about being targets, which is concretely altering the very fabric of society. While asking very difficult questions, the screening expects to propose an arena to debate about the phenomena and mechanism behind the feeling of being a target, and it wishes to trigger possibilities for reflection, revealing how this feeling creates actions and thoughts, but also how it feeds divisive ideologies and helps spread them. The screening wants to bring light to new perspectives to complex questions about the rise of fear, and attempts at generating new bodies of knowledge leading to a clearer picture of what causes disruption in the cohesiveness and harmony of a society.

 

ARTISTS

 

Roi Vaara (FI)

Roi Vaara is a pioneer in performance art and a forerunner in video, installation and collective art in Finland and internationally an acclaimed performance artist. His art is site and situation specific experiments made live. For him art is the way to approach life, nature and reality corresponding to actual existence. Vaara has performed since 1979, by now over 500 performances and his works have been presented in over 50 countries. Since 1988 Vaara has been active in an influential performance collective Black Market International whose mode of operation of its durational performances is based on free and open exchange of ideas. In 2001 Vaara organised the biggest performance art festival in the world, the EXIT festival in Helsinki. Anybody willing to perform was invited and 300 artists from 34 countries did so. Vaara studied at the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki during 1972–75 and at Jyväskylä University 1976–77. Vaara was awarded with Ars Fennica Award in 2005 and with Pro Finlandia honorary medal in 2010. He has lectured and held workshops in art colleges, universities and academies in many countries. Vaara was born in Moss, Norway from Finnish parents and lives in Helsinki and Budapest.

 

Oliver Whitehead (UK/FI)

Oliver Whitehead is a media artist from England who has lived and worked in Helsinki, Finland since 1971. He worked as director of the Media Department in the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki from 1991–97. Whitehead is a versatile and multidisciplinary artist. He moves comfortably within painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, film, video, dance improvisation, live-cinema, poetry performance (solo and with musicians) often applying a combination of the techniques. His works are in public collections of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, The Helsinki City Museum, Amos Anderson Art Museum, Photographic Museum, EMMA (Espoo museum of modern art) and many others.

 

Carolin Koss (DE/FI)

Carolin Koss is a Helsinki based German-Finnish artist and filmmaker. Koss works with various media to create contemplative and aesthetic works. Embodying internal landscapes and tackling the subconsious sphere, stylised imagery or surreal set-ups, the artist invents dream realities which are often linked to real environmental, societal and psychological contexts. She completed her MFA degree at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2014. Her films and art works have been shown on various international exhibitions and film festivals e.g. in Helsinki, Berlin, Stockholm, London, St.Petersburg, Venice, Addis Ababa, Shanghai and New York City. Koss was recently longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, shortlisted for a video competition by the band Radiohead and nominated for the “Young Achiever’s Award” at the Golden Women Awards in Helsinki. She won the 1st price at the Screen & Sound Fest in Kraków and was granted with the “Hope Award for arising new talents” at the Unprecedented Filmfestival in Tallin.

 

Miriro Mwandiambira (ZW)

Having graduated from the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Visual Art Studio, 2014 in painting, Miriro immediately began experimenting with other media developing sculptural, installation and performance oriented projects. At the core of Mwandiambira’s practice is her commitment to being a voice of women in the contemporary social and cultural context of urban Zimbabwe, a tense and urgent mix of global pop culture, with strong traditional roots and beliefs. At the same time, Mwandiambira, asserts the domain of woman’s work and creativity into the space of art, in a way that does not entertain a compromise with or deference to the male dominated mediums and fields like painting and sculpture. Sewing, fashion, hair design and elements of self-decoration are legitimized and the divide between public and private domains is disrupted. In the past few years Miriro’s work has attracted the attention of both international curators and collectors, with a strong performance and installation practice, which has secured her the place at the prestigious RAW Academy in Dakar, Senegal in 2018.

 

Hannaleena Heiska (FI)

Hannaleena Heiska (b. 1973, Oulu) graduated from the Department of Painting at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. She was one of the artists nominated for the biggest art prize in Finland, the Ars Fennica, in 2011. Heiska has exhibited internationally, for example, at the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial, Yekaterinburg, Russia, 2017; Gothenburg Art Museum, Gothenburg, 2015; Espace Louis Vuitton Gallery, Tokyo 2012; and the CAC – Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania 2010. Heiska’s works are represented in many significant public collections, such as Gothenburg Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art. Her videoworks have been shown at numerous film and media-art festivals in Europe. Her film Today We Live won first prize in the Helsinki Short Film Festival in 2013.

 

Heather Warren-Crow (US)

Heather Warren-Crow is a performance artist based in West Texas in the United States. Moving between live and pre-recorded performance, she has shown her work in galleries and in performance spaces, on monitors and on stages, in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, India, Japan, Mexico, Tanzania, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, and across Europe and the United States. Most recently, Warren-Crow exhibited sound art in Novi Sad, Serbia and video art in Arizona in the US. Her video We Should Have Died in 2020 When We Had the Chance, which appropriates tweets with the hashtags #covid19confession and #quarantineconfession, will be screened at the Barcelona International Short Film and Video Festival in late October.

 

Mariam Haji Janahi (BH/FI)

Mariam Haji is a fine artist from Bahrain. She represented the Kingdom of Bahrain in the 55th Venice Biennale 2013 for her work ‘Victory’ which is a permanent public display at the National Theater of Bahrain. She is also the winner of Bahrain’s 38th National Fine Art Competition for her “Muse” series. She works with different mediums ranging from Drawing and Painting to Video and Performance. She had graduated from RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) in Melbourne Australia, with a Bachelor of Art (Fine Arts) in 2008 and in 2002 acquired a Diploma in ‘Introduction to Design’ from Dundee College, Scotland.

 

Sumugan Sivanesan (AU/MY)

Sumugan Sivanesan is an anti-disciplinary artist, researcher and writer. Often working collaboratively his interests span migrant histories and minority politics, activist media, artist infrastructures and more-than-human rights. In Berlin he organises with Black Earth, a collective who address interacting issues of race, gender, colonialism and climate justice. Sumugan earned a doctorate from the Transforming Cultures research centre at the University of Technology Sydney (2014). He was a post- doctoral researcher at the Institute for English and American Studies (Cultural Studies), University of Potsdam (2016) supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to research ‘Urban Eco-politics of the Anthropocene’, blogging at: shadowofthefuture.org. He has received grants from Kone Foundation, Finland (2019), Create New South Wales 360 Visions virtual reality development program (2017), Australia Council for the Arts Literature (2014), Australia Council for the Arts Emerging and Experimental Arts (2013) and Australia Council for the Arts Music Board (2008, 2005) among others.

 

Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo (ZW)

Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo is a human rights defender, writer, poet, and protest musician based in the small mining town of Kwekwe in the Republic of Zimbabwe. He is co-founder and Director of the Zimbabwe Organization for Youth In Politics (Z.O.Y.P), a grassroots non-profit youth organization advocating for youth participation and representation in political processes and policy formulation. He is also the Senior Trainer at the Community Human Rights Defenders Academy, a human rights institution which educates human rights defenders from grassroots and remote communities in Zimbabwe. He rose to prominence for using arts (poetry, protest music, and non-fiction books) to challenge government oppression and political corruption in Zimbabwe. He wrote three political books titled Robert Mugabe From Freedom Fighter To The People’s Enemy, Zimbabwe A Revolution Waiting To Happen, and Dismantling Mugabeism. He has also composed a protest musical album Pisarema raNkosilathi (Psalms of Nkosilathi), which is comprised of 14 protest songs which calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to respect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

 

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS

 

Merja Puustinen & Andy Best (FI/GB)

Merja Puustinen and Andy Best are married and live in Espoo. They have worked together since 1992 and have exhibited widely both internationally and in Finland. Puustinen is an artistic and cultural/political researcher and doctoral candidate at Kuvataideakatemia, The University of the Arts, Helsinki. Best has recently been appointed as professor of sculpture at Kuvataideakatemia. The cover image is painted by them on Myymälä2’s wall as a part of ther exhibition The Clinical Impossibility of Foretelling the Future, Part 2: “The End of the World (As We Know It)”. Photo by Kamila Sladowska

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