Golden Resources Mall
28 July 2009, Beijing
Though I'm here in China together with my wife and though Judas is taking a good care of me, I feel more lost than anywhere before. Two years ago, I thought that Tokyo was difficult to understand and navigate but it's like a playground compared to this monotonous megapolis. Here the maps are fictitious - maybe the People's Liberation Army keeps the exact maps exclusively for themselves.
We haven't tried to walk anywhere and just ride by taxis and rickshaws and they stop in every corner to ask the way. We show them maps and addresses written in Mandarin but it doesn't help much. And don't even try to pronounce Chinese! I attempted to explain to a cab driver to take us to Tiananmen Square but we ended up in a shopping center. Or did they tear down chairman Mao's mausoleum and replaced it with a mall?
Tomorrow, I'm going to ask Judas to take us to Jin Yuan, Golden Resources Mall, the biggest shopping mall of the world that reflects perfectly the Communist Party's to create a stable, happy middle-income consumer class.
SPEAK CHINESE IN 15 DAYS
24 July 2009, Cervera de los Montes
The People's Republic of China is the largest country in East Asia and the most populous in the world with over 1.3 billion people, approximately one-fifth of the world's population. It is a socialist republic - specifically a people's democratic dictatorship according to its constitution - ruled by the Communist Party of China under a single-party system. The PRC's capital is Beijing and that's where I'm going tomorrow and I'm going to stay there almost two months..
I have packed in my suit case some essential books like Culture Shock China and Speak Chinese in 15 days and I already know to order a beer - wo yao yi bei pi jiu - and ask my way to a museum of contemporary art - dang dai yi shu bo wu guan.
TOUR DE FRANCE
20 July 2009, Biarritz
This morning, I woke up in Bordeaux. First I had an energetic meeting with Patrice, Eric and his team. Then we had lunch at Brasserie l'Europe with Charlotte and tried to convince her to collaborate with our surfing project.
After the meal, Eric got the idea that I should go to see in the real life the long board life style. He got me a car and I drove 200km towards Spain, my home country. After visiting Guethary, I'm now sitting at my room's terrace in Carlina Lodge, Biarritz, listening to the Spanish TV news, drinking whiskey and observing the surfers floating in the ocean. It's a lonely but somewhat sublime feeling.
SURFING AT CANA
19 July 2009, Toulouse
Once again, I've seen too much pre-flight safety demonstration mime and not enough my red house and my daughter in a pink dress. I'm not sure if I'm coming or going but the more I travel, the more melancholic I feel. I remember that when we were students, Jani proposed me to form an artist group of two of us. I said no because i couldn't imagine him signing my drawings but I regret it when I find myself traveling alone.
Now I'm drinking coffee in the front of the Gare de Toulouse Matabiau and waiting for a TGV to take me to Bordeaux. I though that Bordeaux was wine but it must be also a place because I have a hotel booked there for tonight. The funny thing is that I'm not going there for the wine but for surfing. In the Wedding of Cana, Jesus turned water into wine - maybe I could do the same to the watersports and this strange project with surfers.
14 July 2009, Helsinki
The Finnish sculptor Markus Copper's works in Kiasma's exhibition Horror Vacui are amazingly poignant - stabbings, sinking submarines and superb sounds. Sacred and superb. He is maybe the best Finnish artist ever.
I remember when Mr. Copper was student in the Academy of Fine Arts, he cut off his hand with a circular saw and grilled it in a microwave oven. That was his statment. And that is excactly how his art is - violent and poetic.
I had an awesome art experince but I'm happy that my almost-four-year-old daughter wanted to leave the museum already in the third floor when she got horrified of Veli Granö's installation. Markus Copper's terror is nothing for kids. Why flims are rated suitable for kids or not but the exhibitions are practically always open to everybody? Do the museum pedagogies think that art sublimates or purifies anything and that violence in art is not art and porn in art is not porn? At least in my art, genocides are genocides and tutti frutti ice cream is tutti frutti ice cream.
11 July 2009, Helsinki
Finland is perhaps best known for its peacefulness and beautiful nature. Vast forests, a unique archipelago and thousands of lakes present a striking mixture of wooded hills and waters. In addition to its mystical northern nature, Finland is also a modern Nordic country with a high standard of living and advanced economy and technology. Finland’s landscapes are a glorious variation on the themes of forest and water, where the comforts of modern life are never far away. Yet each region has its distinct character, from the wilds of Lapland to the inspiring lakes of the East and the archipelagos of the South-West. Finland is full of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the midnight sun and the long winter nights and the different cultural heritages ot the Eastern and Western parts of the country.
I don't know much about that official Finland that is undoubtedly the best country of the world - even better than Sweden. I just visit here my family and friends. Few days more vacation and then back to work, first to Bordeaux and then to Beijing.
06 July 2009, Helsinki
Last week Monday, I slept in Cervera, on Tuesday in Madrid, on Wednesday in Helsinki, and on Thursday in Luxembourg. People tell me that - though I don't have money - at least I travel a lot. Those friends that don't travel all the time are dreaming of seeing new places and new people. I dream of spending more time in my studio and with my family.
In Luxembourg, I participated in a meeting of Pepinieres where we planned future mobility of young artists. I think that the other participants thought that the artist should travel even more than they do currently. I tried to speak about the green values and carbon footprints. Almost nobody was interested it those themes.
Why the artworld people like art works that speak about ecology but they don't try to act ecologically when producing exhibitions or designing residencies? I admit that I don't act the right way neither. I'm planning to fly to Beijing in the end of this month and come back to Europe later for four days and fly again to China. I tell to myself that I'm just trying to survive and that I can't say no to any work that brings a little amount of money home.
According to John Adams, professor of geography in University College of London hypermobility causes more polarisation between rich and poor, more anonymous and less convivial community and less cultural variation.