Silja Nikula

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Exposition: A City Never Lies – Situational Irony and the Political Impact of Public Urban Space. (20/05/2016) by Denise Ziegler
Silja Nikula 22/09/2016 at 09:41

With ironic eyes

 

Denise Ziegler is a visual artist, researcher and person walking through the city. She proposes a way to see a familiar environment with ironic eyes. Through this kind of observation, ingredients of new kind may arise, behind the views considered self-evidence. Ziegler directs her critical gaze to everyday situations and tries to deconstruct the ways we usually react them – even to reveal political statements behind them. Irony as a manifestation does not contain a hazy critique but offers a gentle, indirect and hidden message.


In this exposition, Ziegler moves from the artwork as an end product to experimental and participatory research cases, using interventions as means. She visits and revisits public urban spaces and realises similarities but also conflicts between the visual elements. She also settles her own video in the middle of noisy and colourful shopping paradise.


Intervention as a way to interfere and stick to something is a research operation that raises questions. It could also be a mean to participate in processes when complex environments are built, achieve change and break hierarchic manners of an approach.


Ziegler positions herself thoroughly. As doing practice-based research, she takes part in many discussions, but at the same time struggles rid of the specific definitions of doing research: Her research is artistic, because she is not following a path defined beforehand – still this research is more clearly structured in comparison with usual artistic research cases, in which there is ”a laboratory without any protocol”. When the writer describes her role, she meanwhile takes part in defining the concept of artistic research and showing the diversity of this working field.


Ironic situations are not intentionally constructed as ironic, but waiting to be found. In the first example, Ziegler saw similarity in a cosmetic shop between colourful logos and the coats of the arms on the wall. At the same time, she noticed their contradiction. Irony does not normally become revealed if one does not know the context, and in this case Ziegler was aware of the cultural history of the town. Her aim was to approach objects open-minded, but there arises a suspicion if the observer might have been a prison of her own expectations. Why could commercial and non-commercial representation be involved, as they both belong to the multilayered and hybrid urban place?

 

In my comment, I have paid attention to that seeing situations with ironic eyes is subjective and precisely the researcher´s own insight – by all means a good starting point to settle questions forward. The most interesting in this exposition is the new kind of way to see and it leading to further speculation about how this experimental method could be more generally adapted.


The images are essential in elucidating the interventions. Often, the first picture has a key role in leading the readers to understand the context of the article. The largest or the otherwise dominant one rises interest and tempts them to get acquainted with the article. Here the layout is clear, still without contrast. The video ”I got a pennant” works more powerful in the shopping mall when framed tightly on the vertical screen. The fourth image appears as a nice SURPRISE, and works as a metaphor of the ironic gaze.

 


Exposition: WIND RAIL - Sort of a Beginning / TUULIKAIDE - Eräänlainen alku (22/03/2013) by Annette Arlander
Silja Nikula 08/12/2013 at 12:42

 

Silja Nikula

 

(The abbreviated report in English)

 

Is it impossible to see a landscape as a motif of a presentation, if there is a human figure included? This is one question Arlander is concerned with in her exposition Wind Rail – Sort of a Beginning. The production is realized by proceeding stage-by-stage, dealing with the same theme. The artist herself is included in the presentation; mental images and history of the place are involved. Later, the artist inserts her own work into the discussion about the relationship between scenery and a human being. By using video recording as a concrete method of working, the artist makes the wind visible.

 

The exposition points out how many kinds of forms the artistic research process can take. It consists of images, sound, videos, sketches and texts in different genres. The most free-formed are “texts of the storyteller”, which are poetic. Single parts, such as the sketches and the conference presentation, work also as documents, which the final conclusion relies on. The process of working is experimental, but the earlier stages guide the proceeding and direct the aims.This kind of research is groping, intuitive, not always conscious and rarely structured. The writer is speculating on “at which stage one recognizes to research something”.

 

In the conclusion, the artist is decoding what kind of new understanding she has been creating. Arlander states that she has given up writing as a primary method for artistic artwork. Meanwhile, she raises a question that is relevant to all artistic research: the problem of verbalizing. How can we articulate experimental knowledge, when there are no ready concepts to start with? To describe the embodied and visual phenomena it is often more appropriate to use poetic expression instead of traditional academic language, which strives toward one denotative meaning. The discussion can also be extended to the role of visual material used in argumentation, documenting and reporting. One more task for researchers is often to define the concepts and name them in the Finnish language, when the previous discussion is in English. 

 


Exposition: WIND RAIL - Sort of a Beginning / TUULIKAIDE - Eräänlainen alku (22/03/2013) by Annette Arlander
Silja Nikula 08/12/2013 at 12:41

 

Silja Nikula

 

(Lyhennelmä lausunnosta)

 

Onko mahdotonta pitää maisemaa esityksen aiheena, jos mukana on ihminen? Tämä on yksi kysymys, jota Arlander pohtii ekspositiossaan Tuulikaide – eräänlainen alku. Kokonaisuus on toteutettu vaiheittain ja pitkäjänteisesti samaa teemaa työstäen. Taiteilija on itse mukana rakentamassaan esityksessä, ja tähän keholliseen kokemukseen yhdistyvät paikan mielikuvat ja historia. Ihmisen ja maiseman suhde tulee pohdittavaksi oman taiteellisen työskentelyn kautta. Maiseman esityksellistäminen liittyy myös teemoihin “liikkeettömyys tekona” sekäpoispäin katsomisen traditio”. Käyttämällä videointia konkreettisena työmenetelmänä taiteilija myös tuo tuulen näkyväksi.

 

Kokonaisuus havainnollistaa taiteellisen tutkivan prosessin moni-ilmeisyyttä. Mukana on kuvia, ääntä, videoita, kehittelyvaiheen luonnoksia ja eri tyylilajisia tekstejä. Vapaampaa muotoa edustavat esseemäisen runolliset “kertojan tekstit”. Yksittäiset osat, kuten luonnokset ja konferenssialustus, toimivat samalla dokumentteina, joiden valossa lopulliset päätelmät on tehty. Työskentelyn prosessia ohjaa kokeilevuus, kuitenkin aiemmat vaiheet suuntaavat jatkotyöskentelyä ja tarkentavat tavoitteita. Tutkimuksen alku on haparoivaa ja intuitiivista, ei käsitteellisesti jäsennettyä eikä aina tietoista. Kirjoittaja pohtii, ”missä vaiheessa oivaltaa tutkivansa jotakin”.

Päätelmissä taiteilija tulkitsee tekemäänsä vielä kerran. Hän toteaa luopuneensa kirjoittamisesta keskeisenä taiteellisen työn metodina. Samalla hän kiinnittää huomion asiaan, joka luonnehtii yleisemminkin tämän tyyppistä tutkimusta: sanallistamisen vaikeus. Miten parhaiten artikuloida kokemuksellista tietoa, jonka lähtökohtana eivät ole valmiit käsitteet? Kehollisten tai visuaalisten ilmiöiden kuvaamiseen poeettinen ilmaisu sopii usein paremmin kuin perinteinen akateeminen, yksiselitteisyyteen pyrkivä kirjoitustapa. Ekspositio herättää pohtimaan laajemminkin visuaalisen materiaalin roolia tutkimuksessa ja sitä, mitkä ovat sen mahdollisuudet argumentoinnissa, dokumentoinnissa ja raportoinnissa. Usein tutkija saa vielä yhtenä lisätehtävänä nimetä ja määritellä käsitteet suomen kielellä, kun aiempi keskustelu aiheesta on käyty englanniksi.




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