Thursday, 4 April 2013
Arteles Residency in Finland!
I just arrived at this beautiful place in Finland a few hours ago called the Arteles Creative Center. I was (luckily!) selected to come on this residency and managed to rearrange my life a bit so I could be here for the whole of April! I'm looking out of my bedroom window right now, from my bed, and I can see forest and snow, it's so bright and sunny and the sun is warming the room. There is an antler on the floor in the corner - a ready-made sculpture.
Looking around the spaces in this little outcrop of buildings there are quite a few of them, and some skins too, one of a wolf. Thick fur. I wonder if there are many of them around here? There's so much untouched forest that I imagine there could be a few packs of wolves roaming about. Outside there's a great bird sound, perhaps some kind of woodpecker, inspiring all kinds of ideas about soundtracks and images already. Did a grocery shop, and have decided to eat a really healthy, clean, natural diet while I'm here, to try to connect with nature as much as I can and hopefully that will come through in what I make here. Here's a view from my window.
I've unpacked, and all my film stock is laid out on the table. It's hard to know which to begin with! But the Impossible (instant) film stocks are calling my name. I brought a Spectra Pro so I can shoot lovely wider Polaroid images and do interesting things like multiple exposures and long exposures, for example at night. I also brought my Hasselblad (120 film), Kiev 30 (16mm Russian spy stills camera - fitting, considering Finland's historical relationship with Russia), Minolta 16 (16mm spy camera that feels like silk to use! And no, I'm not talking about tampons, though it is about the same size!), Nizo 801 macro Super 8, 600 Polaroid, Job-Pro Polaroid, and a Noon 5x4 large format handmade pinhole camera, with some expired 5x4 Polaroid film to shoot in it.
I came to this place with the idea of a project called 'Travelling Light'. This is a bit of a layered title, since film and photography are all about light travelling. Also, I have decided to experiment with all sorts of more eco-friendly and eco-involved developing and image-making techniques, such as processing film in natural substances, and making cyanotypes that work with the power of the sun to develop them. I've been feeling a bit bogged down by the fact that analogue filmmaking uses a lot of toxic chemistry. The amounts I use are pretty small, but the fact I use them remains. This residency is a chance for me to explore alternative methods that might tread more lightly upon the earth - travel light, so to speak. The irony is that I brought 3 cases of equipment and film stock with me! Not really the light traveller I envisaged! I just couldn't help myself, thinking of all the different possibilities for using different formats and cameras, and I'll be here for a whole month so I want to make full use of this time to create!
Well, being here is lush - it totally makes up for a hellish night spent sleeping on a hard bench at Stansted airport only interrupted by numerous puke visits to the loo because of eating something weird. Yuk! Am feeling a million times better now, but am about to go to sleep for a few hours and give my poor body a break! The strange purging I experienced at the airport somehow fits perfectly with Travelling Light - I've now got fresh fruit and veggies and herbal teas to help my body heal itself and to kick-start this beautiful light time! Another little coincidence happened that makes me think 'Travelling Light' is the right project for me at this time. I've only read one of Tove Jansson's books (author of the Moomin books, as well as a lot of lesser-known but amazing fiction like 'The Summer Book'), and while I was googling my title to see if it was already being used for anything similar, I found a few other things called it too - a theatre company in Bristol, and - you guessed it - a compendium of short stories by Tove Jansson! So I have the book with me now and will read it while here - in Finland, a land Tove Jansson came from and adored, the landscape and feel of which permeate her writing.
Chris Fell - if you're reading this - am missing you already my beautiful. And have already slipped on my ass on the ice, you'll be amused to know!
Thanks to you all for reading, and I'll keep posting about my experiences while I'm here, it'd be ace to know that someone's reading, leave me a comment if you feel like it!