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.

Uneasy Ride – Chasing Freedom, Facing Devastation

My Master of Arts thesis for Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture is called Uneasy Ride. It consists of an artistic part, a cinematic installation, and a written part called Uneasy Ride: Chasing Freedom, Facing Devastation, presented in the form of a 80-page book. Completed in September 2018.

A batch of thesis books fresh from the press.

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.

311098 Tapes

There were no photos or recordings from the event. I only had some memories. Like the ceiling above stage constantly rumbling to low end frequencies. People in the audience sitting on the floor, eyes closed. Someone telling me it sounded like Op:l Bastards; a compliment although very misguided.

And then I had the source tapes (and minidiscs) I had prepared for the gig.

According to some research we unconsciously modify our memories and possibly create false memories over time. Now, I’ve deliberately made a false memory of sorts. Here’s a live recording from October 2018, made using those source tapes prepared 20 years ago.

I’m sharing this to whoever has some 40+ minutes to focus on sound alone – preferably on the floor, with eyes closed. Rumbling ceiling optional.

DOWNLOAD:

I Want My Revolution – screening in Tampere

RESOLUTION / KUMOUS screening 3.
Curators: Taija Goldblatt, Onni Lillqvist, Shubhangi Singh
Date: 29.9.2018
​Location: Yard of Cultural House Laikku, Tampere, Finland

Videos:
Black Lives Matter | Sasha Huber and Petri Saarikko
City of Plastic | Alberto Reza
Bow, Kaboom, Splash | Veera Salmio
Olemisesta / On Being | Taija Goldblatt
Dawn to Dust | Shubhangi Singh
30 dias de patineta | Henry Solonzo
MONDODIFFICILE@MEGAMIXX | Teemu Raudaskoski
Unknown Animal | Anna Björklund
I WANT MY REVOLUTION | Niko Skorpio

20 years ago – Grey Bloom

20 years ago today, I released my debut solo album. I called it Grey Bloom [xero vol zero] and put it out on 12″ vinyl on my own small underground label Some Place Else. Always thinking bigger than my resources allow, it was supposed to be followed shortly by another LP with a related theme and tracks recorded at the same period. The album’s subtitle was supposed to refer to that, though in retrospect it seems like a planned one-off… “vol zero” ? Anyways, plans changed, other things came up and the follow-up got buried and forgotten.

Grey Bloom was a rather bleak and minimal album recorded with a very lo-fi setup that included a 486 PC computer (for some basic sound generation), a delay pedal, a bass guitar, some cheap keyboard, fm radio etc, recorded with a 4-tracker and mixed down to a minidisc (which I had just acquired to ‘upgrade’ from C-cassette masters).

The pinnacle of the album’s success for me happened when Jukka Mikkola played it on his radio show Avaruusromuathe legendary Finnish show for experimental and ambient music through which I had learned about the likes of Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno and more, back in the early 1990’s. It was absolutely the greatest honour that could have happened to the album, I was so happy about that!

This summer I’ve looked back and spent a few days with my old tape archive, going through master tapes and original 4-track recordings, to refresh my memory on past deeds a bit, and to transfer everything to digital. There are plenty of recordings that never ended up on a release, and to my surprise I found some of them a lot more interesting than what I chose to release back then. It’s all lo-fi sound collage type experiments recorded on a 4-track, so there’s a particular charm of tape hiss and other artifacts involved. Selected bits may come out in some form in the future, those interested should stay tuned on this frequency.

Niko Skorpio on Vimeo

I still agree with David Lynch on what he says on the video above, about watching movies on an iPhone. That was a decade ago, but the point remains. It’s impossible to achieve the kind of immersion that you get on a large screen in a dark movie theater, no matter how pristine your phone’s or tablet’s retina screen is.

For similar reasons, I’ve been hesitant to share online some of my videos and cinematic works, since many of them are installations designed for specific site and setting. Oneline, one cannot achieve the same experience as on large projections, special screens and darkened spaces.

Now I’ve partly changed my mind. I still think one should experience the works in the environment and setting meant for them, but if that’s not possible, online streaming is better than nothing at all.

That said, my video works from 2011-2017 (most of them, at least) can now be viewed on Vimeo. They’re also found on my website where there’s more info, stills, photos and related stuff.

vimeo.com/nikoskorpio

www.nikoskorpio.net

So, feel free to watch wherever, whenever and however you prefer. In general: the larger the screen, the louder the sound, the darker the room, the fewer the people and other distractions between you and the work, the better.