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. 

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.

The Winter Solstice

A frame grab from a work-in-progress moving image piece The Unfolding.

Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings, passages and transitions, here symbolizes the Winter Solstice. The darkest spot of the yearly cycle invites one to a pause; to look back and worth to time passed and time to come. It is time to make sense of things done, and to make plans for the future.

To have space-time unfold as It will.

The mind works in mysterious ways

I’m currently working on my Master’s thesis for ViCCA/Aalto University, it deals with road movies to some extent, obviously with related reading, writing, watching and filming on the to do list…

The other day, taking the usual procrastinatory detour, I checked some news headlines and learned that Malcolm Young had passed away. (Well, sir, have a fine and restful journey onward and thanks for laying the major cornerstones for hard & heavy rock with the juggernaut called AC/DC.)

While finding my way back from the data swamp to actual tasks at hand, I again remembered a film I had partially seen way back but didn’t know the name or any details about it. Call it obsessive or whatever, but I often get these little flashbacks from films that I’ve forgotten about; not knowing what films they are or how to successfully find info on them is somewhat frustrating, and they keep haunting me.

Anyways, this particular flick, or at least the parts I remember, deals with highways in the American desert and a sort of demon cop driving a police car in pursuit of someone or something. Well, cars, highways and the desert relate to my thesis, so I thought why not try to check out again if I managed to find it this time around. Googling for demon cop, police car, desert, highway etc. and wow, this time I actually get what I was looking for!

So it seems the film is Highway to Hell! Synchronicity, coincidence, whatever you want to call it, but I’m certain the news about mr. Young triggered a chain of events in the subconscious mind.

The AC/DC classic is featured on the film trailer as well…

Looking forward to watching this undoubtedly fine piece of early 1990’s B-grade horror cheese, all of it this time around. (Well, shot 1989 but first released 1991 to be exact.)

Leonard Cohen and Donald Trump as male role models

Following the discourse on a crisis of masculinity and a lack of male role models, let’s compare the two men that hit the news headlines worldwide this week, Donald Trump and Leonard Cohen. I take special interest in their attitude towards women.

Donald Trump (image: BBC)

“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” (source)
— Donald Trump, businessman and reality tv star, elected as the next president of the USA.

Leonard Cohen (Gonzales Photo/Tord Litleskare/Corbis via Vulture.com)

“I wish the women would hurry up and take over […] Then we can finally recognize that women really are the minds and the force that holds everything together” (source)
— Leonard Cohen, singer, songwriter and poet, who passed away at 82.

Yes, it’s quite selective and black-and-white, but still very revealing concerning these public images are present in media and as such are influential characters.

Cohen always appeared as the perfect gentleman, respectful and respected, while Trump acts like a schoolyard bully who never grew up. In this context, the circumstance of events —one passed away, the other soon a president— is most unfortunate.

On a positive note, Leonard Cohen’s work and persona will not be forgotten. And there’s hope (isn’t there always hope?) that Trump will reveal a more respectful side of himself once he’s finally “on top of the world”, if that would finally give him enough self-respect…?

Emergence in Reverse

A little exercise in thought, following from the previous post.

Brexit will actually have a snowball effect, in which countries leaving the EU would only be the first step. There are already signs of it in Britain, with speculations of Scotland voting for independence. In Finland’s case it would go own, beginning with Lapland claiming independence. Next, provinces would leave Finland and claim for independence.

On and on, until we reach the individual human being, who claims independence from any groups or entities supposedly “governing” her. Individuality. There. Not a bad ending for such a horrific flick.

In the sequel, the individual gets what is due. We will see individual organs gaining independence from the body. Inside organs, cells would claim independence, then molecules, atoms, electrons, on and on until the quantum foam which, according to our current beliefs, forms the indivisible base layer in the fabric of the universe.

Down there… would we finally realise that all separation is essentially illusion and deep within us we are all one?

A universe-size monster in perpetual autoerotocannibalist binge! Face it, that’s what we are deep down and on the surface. Let’s drink to that.

And tomorrow morning, it’s time to wake up and clean up our act.

Midsummer Blues

I woke up this morning to hearing that Great Britain had voted for leaving the EU. Lots of speculations about what happens next is going on everywhere, but I won’t go into that.

My thoughts drifted along to wondering why people voted the way they did (both for and against). I figure it’s not much to do with reason or logic, but mostly emotions. Indeed, studies indicate humans tend to make decisions mostly based on emotions, and then find suitable reasoning based on those emotions to justify their decisions.

In this case, as well as with related recent events in Europe (and elsewhere), I think it’s all down to the philosophical question of what it is to be human these days on planet earth. As a human being, what kinds of groups you identify with, and whether you as a self-perceived member of a group favour integration or separation with other kinds of groups.

Personally I ‘ve always felt* being a citizen of the Planet Earth rather than a citizen of Finland or any other arbitrary splinter group. Such groups by definition seem too exclusive and restrictive to identify with.

(* See? This, too, is rooted in emotion and rationalised with the the kind of logic I find suitable.)

Nationalism was a project that, like all projects had its good and bad sides, but seriously, its time has gone. Our greatest problems are global, and they must be dealt with on a global level. We’ll never reach that goal with the current situation of nation states competing over diminishing resources, each measuring their success based on the misfortunes of their competitors.

Enter silence

It’s Good Friday. I’m in my home studio, tidying up the desks, organising piles of paper, sorting out possibly useful material from mere trash. Making room to work on new things. Banishing dust demons.

In Finnish, Good Friday is called “Long Friday” (Pitkäperjantai), and I wouldn’t mind this Friday lasting for a week or two. I’m not Christian; Easter has no significance to me, apart from allowing some extra time off from work and other busyness. In these hectic times I welcome any extra periods of relief, silence and calm I’m given. My current shuffling between making art (aka the Great Work), teaching and studying is fulfilling and gratifying in its diversity, but also burdening. Thus all opportunities of retreat and chillout are taken with pleasure.

Anyways, I decided to set up this blog, mainly to share writings related to my studies but also to keep a kind of record for the textual aspect of my work, whether essays, notes, scripts or sketches and whatnot. This, setting up a blog that is, is also part of the attempt to set things (and my thought processes) in functional order.

The commenting option is open, to invite any relevant comments, ideas and so on. Online discussion or arguing is not one of my primary interests, but any advice or attempts to dig deeper into subjects at hand are the most welcome.