by Viivi Saikkonen
The title of my work is in my mother tongue Finnish. One could roughly translate it to: silence in-between noise. I wanted to leave the sentence in Finnish to elaborate a feeling of distance, layering and lack of understanding. As in percentage only few people speak the language in this world, but I also want to add a cultural layer in the work.
Because of the corona virus the outcome of my work got flipped around at the last minute, but the core stayed the same. In my initial work I was making an installation with two main elements: sculpture and video. The video is still there, but the sculpture developed into a virtual visualisation, remaining as a part of my final video work.
The dysfunctional system that I am presenting through my work is reflecting and questioning how I express my feelings verbally and physically. More precisely, how I lack and have a hard time expressing my feelings out loud. I was taught by my surroundings, that there are right and wrong ways of expressing ones feelings. That I should cope by myself, instead of sharing and asking for help, that one should repress how one feels. To not say certain things out loud and to, for example, dance in a certain way. Shame and fear are still driving, but at the same time learned behaviours from childhood and youth are being questioned. These signals from my surroundings silenced me in many ways. I wish I could just dance and scream and tell everyone how I feel, but honestly I am not sure how to do that.
Through this work I want to start questioning this silence. Or well, show that the silence is only on the surface, not inside. I want to show the contrast between what one shares with the outside world, and how different that might be from what one feels inside. I am talking about ‘me’ and ‘one’, because this work is a self portrait, but I think through making self portraits and researching myself, I research at the same time my surroundings, and human mind. My forever question is why one thinks and acts like they do, and where it comes from, as almost everything seems to be connected.
The sculptures which appear in the video work represent my outside, surface. I desired to present a contrast between what others see on the outside, and how that might differ with what is going on in ones mind. The outside might be colourful, sleek and shiny, but in the inside there might be explosions, anxiety, shame and fear. I wish to question, reflect and present, rather than give answers. The music for the “dance video”, was made by my dear friend Paavo Arikka. He created the song with explosions and restlessness, combined with fun and energy, which elaborated on my idea of creating this dance video with no rules about how I should dance. However, with the thought behind, that I haven’t had the freedom to dance the way I felt, because of the expectations from myself and my surroundings. I have build up a lot of anxiety around dancing, even though it should be something fun and joyful. With the video I wanted to scrap the idea that there are rules in how to express myself through dance, but also through my visual language I want to give an alternative for the never-ending seek for “perfect”, that I have experienced. The second part of my video presents more of the anxiety around saying out loud what is going on in my mind, especially about how I feel. I have many times faced a situation where I have completely or partly shut down, and not been able to say out loud what is going on in my head, because of someones reaction or an intimidating atmosphere. I have build an armour to protect myself. However, some years ago I have found a way to express my feelings, through writing. I have a stack of texts about things and feelings, which, more or less, I have hidden. These writings have let me to research and start this particular project. I want to show the lack of expression, and question why I act like I do, but again giving no answers away. I wish to evoke feelings and contrasts of withdrawal and openness, fear and hardness, awkwardness and boldness, loudness and silence.