NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Benth Zeitlin’s award winning „Beasts of the Southern Wild“ was shot on historical 16 mm film that is considered rather amateur than professional nowadays, but loved for the very same reason, just like 8 mm one still is. Moving image event „Final(e)affect“ seemed to share the same love as its focus was on old-school analog techniques with all the wild spices. Who did not taste them in Helsinki, has a chance now to read and imagine.

The film performance event Final(e)affect celebrating “ephemeral nature of moving image, when created live without a script or score” was held in the midst of the gray November in The Cable Factory in Helsinki. It was the fourth edition of Causatum Live Cinema series, a concept conceived by the artist Marek Pluciennik and arranged by Catalysti, transcultural artists in Finland. This time it consisted of artists’ moving image performances, a collective jam session, and a hands-on workshop on seaweed film development by Lasse Vairio, a member of Filmverkstaden, the artist-run film lab in Vasa, Finland. Vairio’s poetic imagery in his own film performance was sense- and site-sensitive. We saw underwater scenery, photograph of the moon, accompanied with images of the trees in the forest in a poetic and beautiful side by side arrangement of moving images.

Natalia Kozieł‎-Kalliomäki and Petteri Kalliomäki. Photographer Antti Ahonen

There are 50 artist-run film laboratories in the world keeping the practice of photochemical analog film alive in artists’ hands. Earlier this year Filmverkstaden held it’s 10 year celebration When the light hits just right as a festival, a symposium, an exhibition and series of screenings and film performances. Baltic Analog Lab has dedicated it’s experimental film festival Process “to analogue cinema, celebrating the physical medium of film in all its personal, adventurous and uncompromising forms.” The Nordic-Baltic network has lab members from Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

The performative history of analog film has it’s beginning by the hands of the early film projectionists, who sometimes run their material backwards just for fun. Fun is still important part of the game. In their film performance Karvat (hairy) Natalia Kozieł-Kalliomäki and Petteri Kalliomäki deconstructed hilariously a soviet film celebrating. The cavalcade of the bearded and hairy faces of the political figures, philosophers and some artists was accompanied with random live hair floating on the images. In their performance the artists used several film projectors, handheld mirrors, analog overhead projector and played a funky soundtrack including music from the musical Hair.

Xavier Quérel. Photographer Antti Ahonen

Plucié d’Orsi is artists’ duo formed by Pluciennik & Paola Livorsi. Pluciennik had filmed 35 mm film shots with a hand cranked film camera. He changed their speed while projecting them with a likewise hand cranked 35mm film projector, while Livorsi made the soundscape partly from projector’s mechanical body, where microphones and piezoelectric sensors were attached to emit the sound. The pictures had a very limited, “dusty” colour and lightness range. It looked like the objects in them were drowning in the unprecented environmental changes in the climate.

Xavier Quérel, Grenoble-based artist and member of the group Metamkine, started his film performance Quelques minutes de soleil après minuit by walking among the audience with flashlights in his hands. The shadow of the prepared projector, ”the beast”, was joined by the company of the shadows of the audience. After the introduction, Quérel placed, burned and melted film strips using the projector and utilizing color filters in the process. The “film” was projected through the tiny screen placed on the table in the front of the projector lamp. He used also small mirror balls as light projection devices, even rolling them on the floor by kicking them in a bit clownery way.

The filmmaker and artist Seppo Renvall, who has also used “disco balls” together with his brother Markus Renvall in their mutual happening The Ball Show, had this time an overhead projector as his instrument. Renvall painted brushstrokes on the common office papers, using watercolor. The action was projected live on the wall. The live soundtrack for the performance was provided by the drummer Otzir Godot, whose beats and rhythms were present also in the next day’s jamming session. You didn’t have to wait for this Godot, he was unmistakably there at every moment.

The session ended with electronic video and audio performance 70fps by Andrea Saggiomo. Saggiamo feedbacked abstract electronic image and sound equipment in multiple ways, so that different connections influenced each other in mutual combinations. Saggiomo’s own verbal performance brought the human voice in. “Any level affects the others in physical way and I try to stay human inside this chain of chains…”, he told me.

Andrea Saggiomo. Antti Ahonen

In the last day of the festival all the artists joined in the collective jamming session. In the cathartic ending Saggiomo and Quérel fused their forces in an alchemic marriage of live film and electric feedback video image. All in all, Final(e)affect was a “feast of the beasts” by the artists who know how to use their instruments both in their own way and how to engage themselves and their tools in collaborative creation.

Marek Pluciennik & Paola Livorsi. Photographer Antti Ahonen

1) https://www.kaapelitehdas.fi/en/events/causatum-live-cinema-series-final-e-affect/. Link checked 22.11.2021

2) https://www.whenthelighthitsjustright.com/. Link checked 22.11.2021

3) https://processfest.lv/. Link checked 22.11.2021

4) https://www.filmlabs.org/. Link checked 22.11.2021

Kari Yli-Annala is Helsinki-based moving image artist, writer, lecturer and curator. He was the artistic director of AAVE Alternative AudioVisual Event in the 2010s.