press release

The Time of Distance-a simultaneous exhibition and series of events in Berlin and Helsinki, April 18th – 27th 2008

‘The cities of the world are concentric, isomorphic, synchronic. Only one exists and you are always in the same one.’ Jean Baudrillard

The city is often used as a metaphor for the concept of simultaneity – from James Joyce’s multiple life threads in Dublin; to Tucholsky’s leap from a breakfast table in Berlin into a Mexican Bullfighting arena. The Time of Distance begins with two cities, Berlin and Helsinki, two hubs of connections and disconnections. In these cities the events will be scheduled to run like clock-work. Urban myths will be declared by faux town-criers at exactly the same time, in the same moment film reels will be played at parallel speeds and art-theorists will no doubt mouth identical words…

The participating artists include: Tea Mäkipää, Linda Franke, Laura Horelli & Anu Pennanen, Robert Mathy, Christiane Frey, Patrick Jambon, Ailsa Ferrier, Mari Keski-Korsu, Julia Prezewowsky, Morten Dysgaard, Sonya Schönberger, Sanni Priha, Henna & Elina Vainio. These artists deal with the phenomena of simultaneity in a variety of ways: the relativity of proximity and distance as well as an attempt to understand time and space in its cultural, social and political meaning. What does ‘contemporary’ mean today and what do simultaneous events in different urban contexts signify? Performances, installations, video and film are the predominant mediums in the exhibition; as simultaneity and the imminent relationship of time and space are the inherent conditions of these mediums.

Morten Dysgaard’s films explore cultural identities and their various forms and systems of representation. Through a continuous questioning of the way the protagonists construct their individual identity, he forces the viewers to face their own judgements and preconceptions. Over and over again the plot consists of a turning point where protagonists and antagonist swap sides. Dysgaard’s new film Spiral of gazes (2008) looks at the tension arising between cultural roots and global life. Two phenomenon, which have always co-existed-the stereotype picture of the ‘Christian western world’ and the ‘Moslem middle east’ – are

overcome. The medium film enables to bring what has felt very far intimately close and remove what has felt deceivingly close before.

The British artist Ailsa Ferrier, working with the concept of ‘the eternal outsider’ will travel to Gotland – an island of the south cost of Sweden, a Bergmanian landmass equidistant to the two centres of the show. During the opening evenings, she will hold her own solitary performance, titled: Ob Skene, which is made visible to the audience by a text piece in the gallery. Shying away from distinction, Ferrier finds the place 'in between', in this case of the 'off-screen' or Ob Skene that the title refers too. Ferrier works with the distinction between the imagined and the real, waking and sleeping, ignorance and knowledge; Berlin or Helsinki, she demands no resolution.

Küchenballerina (2008) is the title of the latest work by video artist Christiane Frey. Whilst the ballerina tries to dance to Tschaikowsky’s Swan lake, along her kitchenette several things prepare themselves in magical ways: a kettle starts boiling, a drink mixes itself, a dishwasher fills itself up and in the pan eggs and bacon sizzle. The clumsy physical performance of the ballerina and the mundaineity of a domestic scene deliberately contradict the pathos of the ballet and lend the piece the character of a parody. The attempt to discipline oneself and to fulfil all expectations at once, or to multi-task is doomed to fail, which can be read both as a sneer about untouchable stereotypical gender criticism and Zeitgeist.

The performance artist Linda Franke works in an unusually sensual way and construes a narrative which reveals her affinity to surrealist paintings and a fantastically bizarre world of film images. For The Time of Distance Linda, in a piece titled-he is not your uncle he is your

father, will paint a picture of her performance before it takes place in Helsinki, and will use her memories of the painting as a script for the performance. The painting will be exhibited in Berlin and the performance web-streamed from Helsinki.

For their sound collage Laura Horelli and Anu Pennanen have recorded several phone calls between themselves and citizens of Helsinki. The receiver of each phone call was asked to describe the scene outside their window, as well as their personal, professional or philosophical projections for the future. As visitors in both cities gaze out of the gallery window, they will listen to impressions of Helsinki; this

work deals with individual perception and asks the question: what is global and what is local. global and what is local.

As a result of her research residency, which took place for two weeks prior to The Time of Distance exhibition, Mari Keski-Korsu has created a video piece and an installation. In autumn 2005, Mari noticed something strange on a map of Berlin. The word Mega, with an arrow pointing straight into what looked, on the map, to be the middle of nowhere. Mari visited the location of Mega to find simply an empty patch of field. Working with the concept of a cartographical mistake, Korsu has investigated the presence of other ‘Mega’s’ and questions the authority of property.

Tea Mäkipää is premiering her film -My life as a Reindeer in Berlin. In Mäkipää’s film, nature provides its own documentary: the reindeer, with camera attached, wanders through the forests and swamps of Finnish Lapland and gives an urban audience a chance to see life from a reindeer’s perspective. Tea Mäkipää recently exhibited in Neue Heimat at the Berlinische Galerie.

In his video work Vibration (2007), the young multi-media artist Robert Mathy uses previously televised footage of a downhill ski-slalom in a unique manner. Taken from the television channel ORF, he superimposes each skier's downhill run on top of one another. The repeating camera positions show that the skiers zig-zag down the mountain virtually synchronously, and the bodies of the slaloming skiers dissolve into one mass. The noise of the skiers and the television commentary blur as they are overlaid, becoming one monotonous hissing noise without a definite relation to space or time.

In Julia Prezewowsky’s piece, Declarations – Monument for Nonsense (2008), an exaggerated speech podium is transformed publicly declared and authorised. The piece undertakes the absurd attempt to synchronise the two performances and certify the myths, as well as drawing attention to our desire for chronology and truth in these tales.

Inspired by Berlin's sausage streetvendors, who carry their grill equipment on their own bodies, Patrick Jambon will bring his portable karaoke machine to Helsinki and invite and motivate people to participate in his performance. The idea is to sing simultaneously through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) both in Berlin and Helsinki.

The webcam will capture the lyrics on the screen in Helsinki, while the projector will displays these in Berlin; loudspeakers will allow the audience to hear the singers perform a duet, seperated by thousands of miles.

In her work Keine Zeit für einszweidrei (No Time for onetwothree) the German artist Sonya Schönberger plays with persisting preconceptions arising from ignorance and laziness. What does one find on the internet when looking for preconceived stereotypes of ‘Finns’ and ‘Germans’, depicted as both ‘self’ and as ‘the other’? The text inscribed plate questions how one can consume and deal with this information.

Finnish identical twins, Henna & Elina Vainio, will show their split installation Odd Sympathy, based on a text by Alan Kaprow. One half of a formalised domestic scene exists in each gallery, with the missing half web-streamed live to the opposing city. A study of symmetry and asymmetry, equivalences and equals, Henna and Elina have created two interactive stages that share the same chronology.

Over a period of nine days Sanni Priha will conduct a research laboratory to investigate the possibilities of transferring one's body/mind into a world of fiction film. The artist has developed an extensive film viewing method in which one is subjected to a film repeatedly for a significant amount of time. In this particular (pseudo-)scientific research, the test subject is exposed to the film Mulholland Drive by David Lynch. Is it possible for one to exist in two places, the 'real' and the fictive one at the same time? Can we split the conscious mind, as well as our body into two, in order to reach another, more illusory world?

only in german


mit Morten Dysgaard, Linda Franke, Christiane Frey, Ailsa Ferrier, Robert Grueber, Gillian Holt & Katja Koponen, Laura Horelli & Anu Pennanen, Patrick Jambon, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Mari Keski-Korsu, Robert Mathy, Tea Mäkipää, Julia Prezewowsky, Sonya Schönberger, Sanni Priha, Henna & Elina Vainio