Handwriting has Died (part 2: Mouse.Green)
Mouse.Green. Installation with sound artist Shawn Decker (Chicago)
The second part of the exhibition Handwriting has Died, the installation Mouse.Green, springs out of several sources, one is working in the garden of the Life on a Leaf house, where I observed a mouse running over a path in the grass, slowly making its own recognizable path. I started to film it on video by letting the camera be on for hours and eventually I got it captured running. The final video is a 15 min looping stationary scene, where nature changes all the time. The running mouse is seamlessly edited into the scene every 30th second. The “Waiting for Godot effect” is speeded up and goes on forever, which might remind us of the futility of life, at least seen from the view of nature.
As a part of the installation, the monitor with the video is placed upon a shelf made for this occasion by using leftover wooden material from the building of the Life on a Leaf house and painted in eight shades of green. The “greenness” continues in the video’s landscape, with the mouse. On the shelf are four handwriting/drawing exercises. Two of the comment the aversion many of the early modernist painters had against the green colour in the early 20th century. For example, Mondrian sat with his back to the window to avoid seeing nature. They all strived to picture a spiritual higher state of mind and the green colour was connected to the “chaos” in nature.
Close to the shelf/monitor an old-fashioned wooden swing is placed, painted in eight shades of green. Visitors can sit on the swing and observe the mouse. On the top is a shelf, where an amplifier and two speakers are placed. Two more speakers are situated on small shelves on the sides of the swing, and the last one is behind the swing on the floor. They are all cast in concrete in the earth around four apples and a pumpkin. Sound artist Shawn Decker’s sound work in 5.1 Dolby, is based on natural sounds, as well as artificial sounds, using the patterns and rhythms of the natural world. He usually makes transparent soundscapes, where the naturally occurring sound world gets to be a part of Decker’s. The heavy traffic outside the gallery with cars and trams seamlessly floated into Decker’s work.
This is a documentary video. Parallel with the visual output mainly filmed at the gallery, PhD Marja-Terttu Kvirinta, art historian and critic, discusses the works with me for the audio part. To reach people outside Finland, we decided to make it in English.
The discussion starts with the personal importance of Handwriting as a mental escape place for a stuttering young boy, but also pointing out its connection to experiencing beauty. It ends with the discussion touching on a variety of themes, from modernist design and the nature of the green colour to the fires in the USA and the planning of the new Spruce-house. For Kivirinta a key element in the exhibition folds around the experience of “having the past present, not only today but also tomorrow”. The video is 32 minutes long.
At 16.00 you can hear a part of the sound work, made by my friend, sound artist Shawn Decker from Chicago. He was supposed to make a collaborative installation in the gallery with me, but due to Covid-19, he could not come. Instead, he sent a sound file for the work Mouse. Green.