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Pleasure Dome is pleased to present a selection of recent work from The Helsingin Elokuvapaja (The Helsinki Film Workshop). Started in 1990, the Workshop is the first film co-operative in Finland, and is serving the needs of artists working in a non-commercial art-based form. Curated by Sami van Ingen, who will be in Toronto for this screening, the program presents a sampling of the unique self-processed films that have surfaced from the Co-op’s independent lab. These intimate works stand in stark contrast to the State regulated production model (best known in Canada through such works as Kaurismaki Bros.’ Leningrad Cowboys Go America) that had previously dominated the Finnish film scene.
By creating a new access to the production process and thereby usurping the dominance of Finland’s State controlled lab, the artists at the Workshop have been able to produce works beyond the usual filmic conventions. Many of these ‘hand-made’ films and videos exhibit a uniquely ‘personal’ outlook, such as Sami van Ingen’s childhood memory of his pet hamster in Hammu. Many of the Workshop’s artists also draw on a shared notion of isolation, as is succinctly developed in Heli Rekula’s existential chiller Hotelli. Other members have produced rigorous and self-reflective works exploring ideological and historical legacies, such as Seppo Renvall’s homage to Finland’s casualties of WWII.
Although many of these artists work in both film and video, there is strong distinction between the ‘self-processed’ filmwork and the videos, therefore the program has been divided into two parts accordingly. All of the works in the program were produced in 1991-92.
Aamuja (Mornings) Marjatta Oja, 6 min.
The work reveals a sequence of mornings recorded at the moment of waking up, the atmosphere and the uniqueness of the starting day.
Dokumentti TyÅ¡lÅ lsistÅ (Documentary About the Workers) Tiina Reunanen, 3 min.
While working on her photography exhibition, questions about the artist’s role in a work emerges. From the window of her flat she begins filming the workers casting concrete.
Personal Effects Oliver Whitehead, 13 min.
The idea of fetishism in its widest meaning is central to Personal Effects’ general theme. A kind of worship of objectness. The film is about behaviour, how objects reinforce patterns of behaviour and about the distance between us and the things we create.
PyhÅ Yksinkertaisuus (Holy Simplicity) Mikko Maasalo & Denise Ziegler, 4 min.
The imagery of this film consists of repeating texts which have been shot from a video monitor on which each individual frame of video shows one ‘page’ of text. These texts leave afterimages, causing the letters of different pages to melt into one another. On the soundtrack the texts are sung in the form of a canon, each voice starting and soon after being followed by another.
Hotelli (Hotel) Heli Rekula, 5 min.
A two-screen film of sterile hotel rooms and the isolated lives of the changing guests.
Hammu Sami van Ingen, 11 min.
“Hammu is the name of the hamster I had as a child. It seemed it was my only friend and being to identify with. One day it disappeared from the cage and was never to be seen again; that marked the end of my childhood, of unreserved trust and commitment. This work is a visualisation of memories I have about the event, of obsession, tediousness, and loss.”
Vapautemme Hinta (The Price of Our Liberty) Seppo Renvall, 5 min.
The ideas of liberty and suffering have become one in the minds of the Finnish people. The faces of those sacrificed for this idea look back, in a series of quickly paced momentary images.
Desh Rag (Love in Loneliness) Juha van Ingen, 3 min.
A visualisation of a song performed by Abdullah Faiz Khan, set in India.
Kalvo (Membrane) Marjatta Oja, 7 min.
The person in question is in a frozen state. The atmosphere is secret as if something very private, strange or disturbing will be resolved.
Alli Juha van Ingen & Sami van Ingen, 3 min.
The Grandmother’s endless stories about the past link to the last and biggest event of her life.
MitÅ Sinulla on Taskussasi (The Things You Have in Your Pockets) Denise Ziegler, 3 min.
Three video poems from an on-going work about the objects people carry in their pockets.
(Dis)Integrator Juha van Ingen, 4 min.
A fragment of a 50’s fiction film that has been copied as many times as possible. The result of this process supports the statement heard on the film.
The Blue Giraffe Mikko Maasalo, 4 min.
1 + 1 = 3; appropriated images from a Chinese acrobatic film set to the constructed dynamics by flux.