Ghosts of Iris

I’m happy to announce that two short films I made a few years ago will be screened at the Iiriksen AaVeet event in Kino Iiris, Lahti, Friday November 22. Only a handful of people have seen either of them so far*, so we could call it a rare opportunity.

Through My Dreams Like a Knife (2014) a dialogueless black & white short film about self-reflection, wandering and transformation. Shot in the summer of 2013 in Perniö, Teisko and Venäjänkangas.

3rd Mind (for Bill & Brion) (2013) was inspired by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, especially their cinematic experiments with Antony Balch, as well as – obviously – their idea about the third mind that is present in every fruitful collaboration.

Both flicks feature Ovro aka Satu K and myself, both behind and in front of the camera. Both are true zero-budget DIY works made for the the love of making them, and as such quite personal and introspective.

( * I know. I should put more emphasis on promoting things, but it seems somewhat against my process-oriented nature. When I’m done with something I’m eager to move on to a new project…)

Remembering Heikki Huhtanen aka Henry Zalkin

It’s a certain sign of aging when you find yourself repeatedly thinking about people and events from 20, 25 or even 30 years ago. And although 40+ years is no achievement by current standards, some people don’t get even that.

The one person I’m thinking about in this case is Heikki Huhtanen, also known as Henry Zalkin, who passed away 20 years ago. My first acquaintance with Heikki was sometime in the early 1990s via a letter and a demo tape. The tape contained a demo by Bulimia, his band or more accurately a solo project. We exchanged some letters and later switched to email when it became more commonplace. I only met Heikki twice, and on both occasions quite briefly, but through our correspondence I got to know him as a man of many interests and great sense of humour. Besides making music he was a writer, a student of slavic languages at the University of Helsinki, and he also played classical music in an orchestra (I forget which instrument).

We shared quite some interests, mainly experimental and industrial music and (more or less) related subcultures, some of the stars in the hemisphere being William S. Burroughs, Genesis P-Orridge, The Master Musicians of Joujouka, Coil, Bill Laswell, Hakim Bey… and the list goes on.

Heikki’s music under the name Bulimia was released at the time on the electro-industrial compilation albums Freeze and Freeze 2 (on the Finnish EBM/industrial label Cyberware) as well as some international underground compilations. His demos received some confused reviews in Frantic Magazine which was the main electro/industrial magazine in Finland at the time.

Later, in 1997, we found both of us featured on an underground compilation tape The Members of Sonic Cults – me then under the name Cold Once Turning Dust (originally formed as a group in 1993, but the other members didn’t stick for long) and Heikki as Janko, Krul’ Albanskaj. His piece was an excerpt from a lengthy drone-noise colossus called Moscow, which, according to Heikki, contained (among other debris) field recordings made in Moscow back in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Members of Sonic Cults – compilation tape 1997
Members of Sonic Cults compilation tape from 1997, feat. Peel, Cold Once Turning Dust, Noval Dream, Vyöhyke, Grey Park, 1W and Janko, Krul’ Albanskaj.

I was fascinated by his style and approach – very knowledgeable, detailed and accomplished with decidedly lo-fi DIY methods, yet with tongue in cheek deep enough to confuse many. I guess he felt similarly about my work, anyway we both found quite a bit of mutual ground over which to discuss collaborating one way or another.

Our working methods were somewhat similar, too. Mainly abandoning conventional instrumentation, our main tools were tape recorders (for field recordings and other sound trawling), computer for crude sound generation and sequencing, and a 4-track recorder for recording and mixing. Heikki did play several instruments, though, a little example can be seen in this video from a party. (Thanks to Timo Tropiikista for uploading and blogging about it!)

At the time, in the late 1990s, Heikki was working on an album for Janko, Krul’ Albanskaj. On the basis of the Moscow excerpt mentioned above I expressed my interest in releasing the album on my newly established label Some Place Else. Finally in the summer of 1999 he completed the album and send me the master on MiniDisc, as well as a bunch of images I could use for the album cover art.

Around the same time he also mailed me a bunch of other recordings, on tape, asking me to transfer them to MiniDiscs for future use. (Before CDRs became commonplace, MiniDisc was a handy and affordable format for backups, master recordings etc.)

Then, after a brief period of silence, the sad news arrived. Heikki had passed away on September 5, 1999, from heart failure. He was 24 years old.

After recovering from the devastating news, I proceeded with the plans we had agreed on. I did the album artwork based on the images and notes Heikki had sent me. Finally in January 2001, Some Place Else released the Janko, Krul’ Albanskaj album. Bearing the cryptic title Ekezhhm, Gyuvel Pyuganlahkh Aektspyud?, it contained four pieces, including the complete 46-minute Mockba opus. Honestly, the album was no hit even in the underground scale, and I still have a bunch of CDs remaining from the edition of 500 copies. Nevertheless, I always considered it a great success on an artistic level – Heikki’s approach to experimental noise and sound collage was unlike anything else released in Finland. I just listened to the album while writing this, and find it still fresh and interesting after all these years.

One thing I still regret is that we never did that collaboration that we repeatedly talked about. Time just didn’t seem ripe for it, until there was no time anymore.

Henry Zalkin tapes and discs

Now, about the bunch of other tapes Heikki sent me back in the day. In the recent “archival excavations” I went through all the tapes and minidiscs he sent me, along with the letters, notes and tracklists, and had all of them transfered to digital. It amounts to this:

Bulimia – About two albums worth of material, including various demos and other recordings throughout the 1990s.

Janko, Krul’ Albanskaj – some tracks made for another album, plus other recordings and remixes; about one album’s worth of material.

Miscellaneous other recordings, including a collection of tracks with a theme/title “Psychoswing”.

For a long time I’ve been thinking about these recordings. I think if Heikki was still around he would most probably have released his works online, but as he’s not, and there was no plan announced, the music remains unreleased, for now.

I would certainly like to hear stories from people who used to know and be in touch with Heikki Huhtanen aka Henry Zalkin. If you have any memories about him feel free to share in the comment section. If you happen to have any of his music on tape or other formats, I would very much like to have a listen.

Life is temporary, but experiences, memories and deeds live on as long as the stories are told and the works viewed and listened to.

Grey Bloom XXI Anniversary Set

About 21 years ago, in August 1998, my debut album was released. In order to celebrate a little bit, in an almost private matter (I’m not a party person), a small edition called Grey Bloom XXI Anniversary Set was made, containing the original 12″LP from 1998 (my last copies), plus the tracks restored & remastered from original tapes on CDR + download, with booklet, plus an art print to go.

The LP+CDR+download+booklet+art print set is available from PARAFERAL

Niko Skorpio - Grey Bloom XXI Anniversary Set

GREY BLOOM [xero vol zero] 12″LP, my debut solo album, was released in August 1998 on Some Place Else in an edition of 210 copies. The last 20 copies were archived years ago, they have been unearthed for this set.

GREY BLOOM [XXI Engram Recall] CDR presents the album material restored from the original 4-track source tapes. Remastered faithfully to the originals and the artist’s intent. Includes download code. Comes with 8-page info/art booklet.

“Grey Bloom 93” art print is a photograph selected from the series shot on film back in 1993, used on the original album art. Dimensions: 30cm x 30cm (image 23cm x 18cm).

Niko Skorpio - Grey Bloom XXI Anniversary Set

PFS1905
PARAFERAL Sound 2019

The Unfolding, its various appearances

My latest solo exhibition opened on Tuesday at Galleria Uusi Kipinä in Lahti. The audiovisual installation The Unfolding (in finite space) will be there to be experienced up to July 14. Despite the usual difficulties with funding and the like, the installation turned out pretty awesome.

On a whim I decided to make a small edition CDR album that collects various soundscapes produced for (or otherwise related to) The Unfolding. However, due to sudden problems with the printer, I got only 6 copies made! That’s a future rarity, if something. A few of these are for sale on the PARAFERAL shop, grab yours now!

The album, called The Unfolding – Themes & Variations, is also available as a download via a bunch of codes that can be found at the gallery, while the exhibition is on.


 

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Kirnu: Niko Skorpio – The Unfolding THE UNFOLDING (in finite space) 2018 Projisoitu videoinstallaatio HD 1080p | 16:9 | audio 2.0 | pituus vaihteleva . The Unfolding on monimuotoinen audiovisuaalinen teos, joka hyödyntää päällekkäisvalotus- ja montaasitekniikoita. Kuvassa valoa hohtava ihmisen pään kaltainen hahmo muotoutuu, kääntyy ja ‘avautuu’ loputtomiin. Kuvan kaksipuolinen symmetria muistuttaa kineettistä mustetahratestiä ja viittaa luonnossa ja monissa elämänmuodoissa ilmenevään symmetriaan. Teoksen elektroakustinen ääniraita mukailee sävyltään ja rakenteeltaan eri kulttuurien rituaalimusiikin elementtejä, ja muuntuu ajan myötä joksikin muuksi. . Pintapuolisesti The Unfolding on tutkielma valosta, muodosta ja liikkeestä. Syvällisemmin se heijastelee ihmisyyttä kauneuden, haurauden ja voiman häilyvän kolminaisuuden kautta. Teoksen lähtökohta on eksistentiaalinen kaipaus purkaa muuri itsen ja toisen välillä. . Käsikirjoitus, kuva, ääni NIKO SKORPIO Tuotanto PARAFERAL • Niko Skorpio työskentelee kuvan, äänen ja sekalaisen kadonneen ja löydetyn materiaalin parissa. Hänen teoksiaan on esitetty taidenäyttelyissä ja tapahtumissa kansainvälisesti. Hänen taustansa on kokeellisessa musiikissa ja graafisessa suunnittelussa, joiden parissa hän on toiminut 1990-luvulta alkaen. Hän on opiskellut Aalto-yliopistossa (Taiteen maisteri) ja Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulussa (Kuvataiteilija AMK). . Niko Skorpion teokset tarkastelevat ihmisen, luonnon ja teknologian epätasapainoista kolmiyhteyttä vieraantuneesta näkökulmasta. Yhdistelemällä kuvaa ja ääntä kollaasinomaisesti hän pyrkii luomaan päänsisäisiä näkymiä pinnanalaisiin todellisuuksiin. . Tervetuloa! . Näyttely on avoinna 26.6.-14.7. . #nikoskorpio #galleriauusikipinä #videoinstallaatio #theunfolding #lahti #video #installaatio #ääni #nykytaide #contemporaryart #videoinstallation #fineart #videoart

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The Spiral Nature of Time

Time has a spiral nature. Events follow one another, but not in strict linear fashion. Transverse threads pierce through the fabric and create connections, like shortcuts.   

Rewind back to May 1997. I was wrapping up my graphic design studies, about to move back to Turku, and most of all determined to focus on music and visual design. I founded the record label Some Place Else as a platform to produce, release and distribute experimental music made by myself and like-minded individuals. It’s a long story, to be elaborated elsewhere, but in the end of 2013 I put Some Place Else on hold, in order to reset my focus and redirect my creative energies for the future. 

Forward to May 2014. I was about to graduate from my fine art studies. Sitting in a café in Toronto, I was scribbling down ideas and plans for the future in my sketchbook. That moment, PARAFERAL was conceived. 

For my creative work, I always, intuitively, create a kind of hermetic working space – mental and physical – a place that by default is more or less isolated from the daily chores and the social world of human activity. A space isolated from distractions, as well as a channel to communicate the results of the work to the world at large. 

Back in the day when it still made sense I had the record label as a shelter for creative works. Now, even though it may not make sense (financially and otherwise) I have PARAFERAL as an artistic research / development / production platform. On the street level it’s just another artist’s studio and workshop. Undernearth there’s a gateway to a vast network of tunnels, a transdimensional labyrinth through the mind and body of the technological animal. 

The currency of the surface [exo] is Gold,
the currency of the underworld [eso] is Gnosis. 

Now, May 2019. I’m finally able to invest more time and resources in PARAFERAL, especially its production side. A new website was launched recently. Although still very much a work-in-progress, it features a shop with some initial offerings. More PARAFERAL products – books, music, media objects etc. – will be made available, as well as selected original artworks. 

It’s a slow process, as it’s basically me handling everything, with limited time and resources. Nevertheless, this is what I do, what I’ve always done, abd PARAFERAL is another aspect, or a new level. Some steps further underground we go…

The spiral nature. Certain periods (like the ones above), although linearly distant, seem closely related and and mutually resonant through rhizome-like energetic shortcuts surrounding the four-dimensional coil-like quasi-entity commonly recognised as an individual being. 

Words are like that. Inadequate, confusing even. 

Uneasy Ride – the Book

I made a small edition of my thesis book Uneasy Ride – Chasing Freedom, Facing Devastation available for ‘public consumption’. Published by PARAFERAL, the edition is 20 copies only. As of writing this a few copies are up for grabs via the renewed PARAFERAL website.

Written in English, rich in photographic illustrations.
Pro-printed, softcover, 80 pages.
Size 20 cm x 25 cm.

Go get yours now if interested!

ABSTRACT

This thesis examines the essential themes of the road movie film genre and their relation to certain contemporary issues and my own artistic practice. The point of view is that of a visual artist who works with moving image and sound and who reveres sovereignty and equality, suffers from climate anxiety and drives an automobile. In addition to the written part, the thesis consists of an artistic production which is a video installation.

The research material consists of a selection of films, beginning with classic American road movies. The thesis also examines a number of films that are not road movies per se, but they serve as a continuation of the themes, illustrating a vision of a near future that is undesirable but at worst inevitable. Additionally the text examines selected experimental films that are either relevant to the subject matter or influential to the author’s working methods and aesthetic practices. The literary research material includes books and articles that elaborate on the themes brought forth in the films from various points of view.

The research begins with various phenomena influential to the emergence of the road movie genre, from the developments in cinema and technology to the counterculture movements of the 1960s. The themes selected for further study are the pursuit of freedom, the rebellion, and the transformation of the passenger enabled by the journey. The themes are entwined with the Western notions of freedom and the human condition, the long history of consciousness expansion, and environmental disasters.

Additionally the text describes the two-channel video installation also called Uneasy Ride. The artistic process at the crossroads of image, sound and the selected themes is discussed. Most of the material for the work was filmed on the road. The filming trips and the writing overlapped and influenced each other, in particular the experiences of being on the road sustained the written part.

The written part of the thesis uses the films as a metaphor of the human condition and the current global problems surrounding us. The artistic part attempts to communicate on an emotional level and by audiovisual means something unattainable by words alone.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Printed Sources
Alanen, Antti and Ilppo Pohjola. Sähköiset unet. Musiikkivideot: Miten taiteesta tuli pop. Helsinki: VAPK-kustannus, 1992.
Allen, Stewart Lee. Paholaisen juoma. Translated from English by Seppo Hyrkäs. Helsinki: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö, 2000. 
Archer, Neil. The Road Movie: In Search of Meaning. New York: Wallflower Press, 2016.
Atkinson, Michael. ‘‘Crossing The Frontiers.’’ Sight and Sound 4, no. 1, January 1994. 
Berlin, Isaiah. “Two Concepts of Liberty.” Four Essays on Liberty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969. 
Brakhage, Stan. Metaphors on Vision. N.p.: Film Culture Inc., 1963.
Burroughs, William S. Last Words: The Final Journals of Willliam S. Burroughs. New York: Grove Press, 2000.
Burroughs, William S. and Brion Gysin. The Third Mind. New York: The Viking Press, 1978.
Charters, Ann, ed. Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation? London: Penguin Books, 2001.
Grant, Barry Keith, ed. Film Genre: Theory and Criticism. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1977.
Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. London: Random House, 2004.
Joseph, Branden W. Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage. New York: Zone Books, 2008.
Kerouac, Jack. Matkalla. (Finnish translation, translated by Lauri Lehtinen.) Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Tammi, 1998.
Kuri, José Férez, ed. Brion Gysin: Tuning in to the Multimedia Age. London: Thames & Hudson, 2003. 
Laderman, David. Driving Visions: Exploring the Road Movie. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.
Lebel, Robert. Marcel Duchamp. New York: Grove Press, 1959.
Lee, Martin A. & Bruce Shlain. Acid Dreams. The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, and Beyond. New York: Grove Press, 1985. 
McKenna, Terence. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge. London: Rider & Company, 1992.
Möller, Olaf. “To Die Without God.” Filmihullu, June 2012. 
Pinchbeck, Daniel. How Soon is Now? From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation. London: Watkins Publishing, 2017.
Rees, A.L. A History of Experimental Film and Video. London: BFI Publishing, 1999. 
Rodley, Chris. Lynch on Lynch. (Finnish translation, translated by Lauri Lehtinen.) Helsinki: Like, 1998. 
Rubin, David S., ed. Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010.
Rudgley, Richard. The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society. London: British Museum Press, 1993.
Stouffer, Hannah, ed. Juxtapoz Psychedelic. Berkeley: Gingko Press, 2014.
Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture. London: The University of Chicago Press, 2006. 
Youngblood, Gene. Expanded Cinema. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co Inc., 1970.

Online Sources
Banks, Hanly. “Monte Hellman on Two Lane Blacktop and the Road Movie.” Fader, May 02, 2011. Accessed April 1, 2018. http://www.thefader.com/2011/05/02/interview-monte-hellman-on-two-lane-blacktop-and-the-road-movie
Bick, Andreas. “The Concept of ‘Sound Object’ (objet sonore) by Pierre Schaeffer.” Silent Listening. Accessed February 1, 2018. https://silentlistening.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/the-concept-of-„sound-object“-objet-sonore-by-pierre-schaeffer/ 
Briggs, Helen. “Plastic from tyres ‘major source’ of ocean pollution.” BBC News, February 22, 2017. Accessed April 6, 2018. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39042655 
Davis, Matthew. “Drive-in Theatres refuse to fade away.” BBC News, October 13, 2005. Accessed April 1, 2018. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4332896.stm 
Hartlaub, Peter. “Nicolas Cage tries, but too bad – the Ghost Rider can’t save his own movie.” SF Gate, February 17, 2007. Accessed March 1, 2018. https://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/REVIEW-Nicolas-Cage-tries-but-too-bad-the-2648304.php
Haslem, Wendy. “Great Directors: Maya Deren.” Senses of Cinema, December 2002. Accessed April 8, 2018. http://sensesofcinema.com/2002/great-directors/deren-2/ 
Hojnicki, Carrie. “Cracked Tales of Cocaine on Wall Street.” Business Insider, July 13, 2012. Accessed April 6, 2018. http://www.businessinsider.com/wall-street-cocaine-stories-2012-7?r=US&IR=T
Hurault-Paupe, Anne. “The paradoxes of cinematic movement: is the road movie a static genre?” Miranda [Online], 10/2014. Accessed March 7, 2018. http://miranda.revues.org/6257 
King, Tracy. “No, Max Mad Max: Fury Road is not a feminist masterpiece (but that’s OK).” The New Statesman, May 20, 2015. Accessed March 23, 2018. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2015/05/no-mad-max-fury-road-not-feminist-masterpiece-s-ok
Liu, Marian. “Great Pacific Garbage Patch now three times the size of France.” CNN International Edition, March 23, 2018. Accessed April 6, 2018. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/23/world/plastic-great-pacific-garbage-patch-intl/index.html 
Long, Tony. “Sept. 26, 1983: The Men Who Saved the World by Doing… Nothing” Wired, Sept. 26, 2009. Accessed March 4, 2018. https://www.wired.com/2007/09/dayintech-0926-2/
Mondello, Bob. “Remembering Hollywood’s Hays Code, 40 Years On.” National Public Radio. Accessed April 8, 2018. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93301189 
Ojibwa. “Vision Quest Among the Southern Plains Tribes.” Native American Netroots. Accessed April 1, 2018. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/578 
Rowin, Michael J. “Movies To Take Drugs To: Jordan Belson’s Trippy Shorts.” LA Weekly, March 24, 2011. Accessed April 7, 2018. http://www.laweekly.com/film/movies-to-take-drugs-to-jordan-belsons-trippy-shorts-2169707
Shea, Andrea. “Jack Kerouac’s Famous Scroll, ‘On the Road’ Again.” National Public Radio. Accessed March 30, 2018. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11709924 
Siff, Stephen. “The Illegalization of Marijuana: A Brief History.” Origins vol. 7, issue 8, May 2014. Accessed April 8, 2018. http://origins.osu.edu/article/illegalization-marijuana-brief-history/ 78 / 
Simner, Julia. “Why are there different types of synesthete?” Frontiers of Psychology, September 2, 2013. Accessed April 10, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3759026/
Singer, Leigh. “Blue Velvet: five films that influenced David Lynch’s shocking masterpiece.” BFI, updated June 16, 2017. Accessed April 8, 2018. http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/blue-velvet-five-films-influenced-david-lynch-s-shocking-masterpiece
Smith, Kyle. “Why ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is the feminist picture of the year.” New York Post, May 14, 2015. Accessed March 23, 2018. https://nypost.com/2015/05/14/why-mad-max-fury-road-is-the-feminist-picture-of-the-year/
Sragow, Michael. “Steven Spielberg: Force Behind the Box Office, From ‘Jaws’ to ‘E.T.’” Rolling Stone. Accessed April 2, 2018. https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/a-conversation-with-steven-spielberg-19820722 
Sugrue, Thomas J. “Driving While Black: The Car and Race Relations in Modern America”. Automobile in American Life and Society. Accessed April 1, 2018. http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Casestudy/R_Casestudy.htm
Wallace, David Foster. “David Lynch Keeps His Head.” Premiere, September 1996. Published online at http://www.lynchnet.com/lh/lhpremiere.html – accessed August 8, 2018.
Zazarine, Paul. “Kowalski’s Last Ride.” Muscle Car Review, March 1986. Published online at http://www.angelfire.com/id/newssection/VP.html – accessed May 23, 2018.
Zizek, Slavoj. “On David Lynch.” Zizek.uk, March 1, 2012. Accessed 23 July, 2018. http://zizek.uk/on-david-lynch/
“Drowning in plastic: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of France.” The Telegraph, April 24, 2009. Accessed April 6, 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/5208645/Drowning-in-plastic-The-Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch-is-twice-the-size-of-France.html “Ghost Rider.” Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed January 31, 2018. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ghost_rider/
“Sea Level Rise & Global Warming.” Union of Concerned Scientists. Accessed July 30, 2018. https://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/infographic-sea-level-rise-global-warming.html
“Vanishing Point (1971).” Elonet Kansallisfilmografia. Accessed April 9, 2018. https://www.elonet.fi/fi/elokuva/115119

Film & Video
Belson, Jordan, dir. Mandala. 1953. YouTube video, 00:40, excerpt. Posted by “Cvm Programs”, June 11, 2017. Accessed July 30, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH60wa2TuSk
Belson, Jordan, dir. Allures. 1961. YouTube video, 07:17. Posted by “Denial”, October 30, 2017. Accessed June 16, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlcB5psKz5Y
Brakhage, Stan, dir. Cat’s Cradle. 1959. YouTube video, 06:20. Posted by “Sergio Mota”, November 22, 2008. Accessed June 16, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cur2P5Ym3Yw
Brakhage, Stan, dir. Mothlight. 1963. YouTube video, 03:25. Posted by “phospheneca”, June 4, 2009. Accessed June 16, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt3nDgnC7M8 
Brakhage, Stan, dir. Dog Star Man. 1961-64. YouTube video, 1:14:33. Posted by “Andrew Balauger”, November 21, 2016. Accessed June 16, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb5Ko_sTwlc 
Conrad, Tony, dir. The Flicker. 1966. YouTube video, 01:39, excerpt. Posted by “REVOIRVIDEO”, July 20, 2012. Accessed June 16, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY5VryfCRig
Hellman, Monte, dir. Two-Lane Blacktop. 1971. Vimeo video, in two parts, 53:25 and 49:35. Posted by “Car Chase Wonderland”. Accessed January 14, 2018. Part 1: https://vimeo.com/196953402 Part 2: https://vimeo.com/197761616
Hopper, Dennis, dir. Easy Rider. 1969. Netflix, 95:00. Accessed December 6, 2017.
Lynch, David, dir. Lost Highway. 1997. N.p.: Sandrew Metronome, 2002. DVD. 
Lynch, David, dir. Wild at Heart. 1990. N.p.: Universal, 2010. Blu-ray. 
Lynch, David, dir. The Straight Story. 1990. N.p.: Channel 4, 2008. DVD.
Miller, George, dir. Mad Max. 1979. Solna: Warner Bros, 2013. Blu-ray.
Miller, George, dir. Mad Max II: The Road Warrior. 1981. Solna: Warner Bros, 2013. Blu-ray.
Miller, George, dir. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. 1985. Solna: Warner Bros, 2013. Blu-ray.
Miller, George, dir. Mad Max: Fury Road. 2015. Solna: Warner Bros, 2015. Blu-ray. 
Nguyen, Jon, dir. David Lynch: The Art Life. 2016. Yle Teema, March 21, 2018.
Pohjola, Ilppo, dir. Asphalto. 1998; Helsinki: Crystal Eye, 2004. DVD.
Pohjola, Ilppo, dir. Routemaster. 1999; Helsinki: Crystal Eye, 2004. DVD.
Pohjola, Ilppo, dir. 1 Plus 1 Plus 1 – Sympathy for the Decay. 2012. Helsinki: Crystal Eye, 2012. DVD (screening preview disc).
Salles, Walter, dir. On the Road. 2012. Yle Teema, March 9, 2016.
Sarafian, Richard C., dir. Vanishing Point. 1971. N.p.: Twentieth Century Fox, 2006. DVD.
Snow, Michael dir. Seated Figures. 1988. Vimeo video, 22:15, excerpt. Posted by “Images Festival”. Accessed January 31, 2018. https://vimeo.com/40316663
Spielberg, Steven, dir. Duel. 1971. YouTube video, 1:29:14. Posted by “Jill Shirley Dini”, February 23, 2017. Accessed March 23, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc9kpbxufRA
Starr, Jason, dir. Reflecting Thought: Stan Brakhage. 1985. YouTube video, 27:27. Posted by “CircuitoNomadica”, February 28, 2015. Accessed July 27, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tVu_AT_zk8 
Whitney, John, dir. Permutations. 1968. YouTube video, 7:53. Posted by “jordotech”, December 14, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdYxJ85RSds
Whitney, John, dir. Matrix. 1971. YouTube video, 6:20. Posted by “jordotech”, December 14, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryKT1uIPIaI

Music
Judas Priest. Defenders of the Faith. N.p: Columbia, 1984. LP.
Various Artists. Easy Rider (Music from the Soundtrack). N.p.: Universal, 2000. CD.
Various Artists. Lost Highway. N.p.: Nothing Records, 1996. CD.

Signal from the Void

Setting up BLACKTOP/DISSECTION - Niko Skorpio - GalleriaKONE

Installing the exhibition at GalleriaKONE. Photo by Satu Karhumaa.

For the last few months I’ve been mostly absent from all social contacts (virtual and otherwise) apart from what’s absolutely necessary. It’s a common side effect when I focus all my thoughts and energy to something I’m working on. It is an internal process to which social chatter is distractive and disruptive, even. (Having said that, my sincere apology to all friends & associates I’ve unintentionally neglected recently… I miss you and wish to have a chat over coffee/beer/etc asap!)

The last few months I worked intensively to finalize the work that is now out there as BLACKTOP/DISSECTION. The whole process was rather lengthy, beginning some two and half years ago as my MA thesis. After completing the thesis the work continued and expanded to new levels of depth.

I feel like I’ve been held captive by this work for the last few months (and more). It has made me drive the highways, trawl the forest paths and dig through my archives in search for material. It has woken me up in the early hours with ideas for editing, composing and fear of failure. Now that it’s out there in the world I finally feel free. It turned out right and the current gallery presentation is fine.

It is likely, though, there will be other works related to this one. It’s been a long process and many aspects researched and developed are not yet present in the current incarnation. For instance, a lot of sound and music was made, out of which only a small portion is currently audible in the installation. Having worked in the context of album-length music for many years, I automatically think about making an album out of these sounds… but let’s see how things turn out.

The feelings I’m currently having make me think about the fluctuation of energy related to the creative process. (Note to science buffs: I’m writing about ‘vital energy’ which is somewhat mysterious and esoteric and may not follow the known laws of physics, so bear with me.) After investing a great deal of vital energy to a process, the energy is released in the form of a completed artwork (or something else, depending on the process of course). A period marked by exhaustion often follows. The shortage of energy feels like a vacuum within. The vacuum’s tendency towards implosion has some similarities to feelings of burnout, depression and the like, and it may lead to those if not handled with care and proper attention to what’s going on.

The void will eventually be filled with new energy. Sometimes, the void draws in unhealty energy that may manifest as depression, mania or other ‘malfunctions’ of the mind. I’m sure every creative person intuitively knows this, but not everyone is consciously aware or capable of dealing with it. I’ve had my share of depression and other woes in the past and, although having learnt a thing or two about myself and these processes over the years, will probably have some more in the future.

As of right now, though, I’m acutely observing this fine balance of an attractive void to be saturated by various kinds of energies circling around it.
Imagine a spiral of stars around a massive black hole…
I don’t remember having observed this ‘background process’ this consciously before. Obviously my interest lies in the direction of energies, inviting positives and banishing negatives. Now that there’s time for rest and recreation and no pressure (internal or otherwise) to initiate a new project (even though there are plenty waiting on the drawing board… they can wait), the odds should be on my side.

I may post more about this shortly. Or perhaps, this self-research could form the basis for an altogether new work. Remains to be seen.

BLACKTOP/DISSECTION @ Hämeen Sanomat

Hämeen Sanomat / Kulttuuri 3.30.2019:

Road movie vaihtui ilmastoon
Niko Skorpio haluaa installaatiollaan saada katsojan pohtimaan omaa suhdettaan ilmastonmuutokseen ja kulutuskulttuuriin.

www-versio jutusta:
Niko Skorpio pohtii installaatiossaan kulutusta ja ympäristöä, muttei tarjoa valmiita vastauksia

Näyttely on avoinna 23.4. asti, vapaa pääsy. Olen tavattavissa galleriassa tiistaina 23.4. klo 17-18. Galleriassa myös ohjattu hitaan taiteen hetki lauantaina 6.4. klo 13-14.

Niko Skorpio
BLACKTOP/DISSECTION
GalleriaKONE 30.3.–23.4.2019
Verkatehdas, Hämeenlinna
www.galleriakone.fi
www.nikoskorpio.net

BLACKTOP/DISSECTION premiere

To briefly break the silence, my next solo show opens on Friday the 29th March at GalleriaKONE, Hämeenlinna. It’s the premiere of my new work called BLACKTOP/DISSECTION, a two-part two-channel video installation.

Have a look at GalleriaKONE for more info. Those on Facebook may wish to check the event page there.

More about this work, my recent absence from these digital dimensions and other things will follow… soon(er or later).

Lithographic prints for sale

Posted a selection of lithographic art prints I made a couple of years back on Instagram, willing to part with these, if you’re interested in obtaining one or more please get in touch. The pics posted are cropped & optimized for Instagram, full images of the prints available on request.

As of writing this there are reservations on a couple but don’t hesitate to inquire. Thanks!

“Secret Chief I” (detail)
(2012)
Tpl’a 1/2
28cm x 17cm

“Sunya (OneEye)” (detail)
(2012)
Test print 1/1
25cm x 22cm

“X X X” (detail)
(2015)
Tpl’a 1/1
18cm x 29cm

“Flapper” (detail)
(2012)
Tpl’a 1/1
25cm x 17cm

“Circuits”
(2015)
Tpl’a 1/1
28cm x 21cm

“Sunya” (detail)
(2012)
Tpl’a 2/2
28cm x 21cm

“Selfie via Kurenniemi”
(2015)
Tpl’a 1/1
19cm x 24cm

“Descent”
(2015)
Tpl’a 1/1
30cm x 21cm

“Tuduur” (detail)
(2012)
Tpl’a 1/1
22cm x 30cm

“Morphic Resonance” (detail)
(2015)
Tpl’a 1/1
28cm x 19cm

“Descent (Tard)”
(2015)
Tpl’a 1/1
30cm x 21cm

“Ruudut”
(2012)
Tpl’a 1/2
22cm x 30cm

All of the above are xerox lithographies, my favourite printmaking technique. Every plate is unique, edition here means how many plates with a similar motif and design were made in the session.