ENTROTOPIA is an exhibition exchange project between HTS, Helsinki Artists’ Association (Finland) and Publikum.sk (Slovakia). This website is a OPEN platform for artists, curators and the PUBLIC to discuss and share ideas with each others. Project is curated by Ville Laaksonen and Dominika Chrzanová.

Theme ENTROTOPIA is a multi-national approach to discuss the possibilities of artists UTOPIA as a response to DYSTOPIAn state of world. ENTROPY is a force that seems to divide everything, but can it also be an solution that connects us in a new order?

Entrotopia Instagram

MÄRI MÄKIÖ - "Images of the sound."

You studied at Aalto University, School of arts in Helsinki where you've got BA and MA degree at Photography. During your studies you left to Leipzig for one year. What impact does it had on your work and how you describe your whole study years? My studies were a deep dive into the world of photography, starting from the very basic black and white darkroom processes. Lot of mastering of techniques and focus on detail. I think even though I’m not using photography anymore in my artistic work, you can still see the influence of the visual art studies in my work. I mentioned you studied photography but most of your work consist some objects or sounds. Could you explain when and why it happened? What changed and inspired you? Already during my studies I started to use moving image and with that sound came into my work. I think what happened was that I couldn’t get were I wanted artistically by using only photography and images. I felt the need to create something more three-dimensional and something that you could enter in, not only to look at. I think with images there’s always a certain distance between the artwork and the person experiencing it, especially with photography with its glossy and impenetrable surface. What I wanted to create was something that you can experience with not only seeing, but with you hole body, using also your other senses. For the last years, I have been working a lot with sound, especially human voice and language. I find it interesting to work with sound as the sense of hearing is one of our primary senses, we can hear sounds already before we’re born. It’s also the sense through which we are in our most vulnerable, it has a big impact on us also in unconscious levels. At the moment I mainly work in the field of media arts, lately my interest has been in producing interactive sound installations and I have been investigating tactility and bodily experience as part of my work. I'm interested in the relationship between sense of sight and other senses as well as translations between visual world, sound and language. How could you describe process of making your artworks? An important part of my work is creating the content of the work together with people from different positions and backgrounds. I usually plan the frames for the work or project and invite people to create some of the content of the work together with me. I also work in different work groups of artists and designers. The creation of my works is often communal and through the process there is always an element of surprise in the outcome. I choose the media according to my project idea and concept. There is something different in your works, it is possible to feel “touch of Japan”. Have you visited this country and for what purpose? In 2016 I was selected by the Finnish Institute in Japan and Frame Contemporary Art Finland to take part in Akiyoshidai International Art Village residence program trans_2015-2016 in Yamaguchi prefecture in Japan. Second time I was in Japan in 2018 at Yamanashi International Art Residence at Kofu, Yamanashi. While there I was researching language, it’s onomatopoeic qualities and the translations between language and image. As an outcome of those visits I produced interactive sound installations, that combines tactility, sound and onomatopoeia. Does the stay in Japan changed your view of the world and way of thinking? What else gave you this stay in personal and artistic level? I’m very interested in the traditional japanese culture. I think the attraction comes from the fact that there’s something very relatable in the culture for me in a personal level, but on the other hand in many ways it’s totally opposite of our western way of seeing the world. Maybe it’s that contradiction that interests me. Japanese aesthetics are very appealing to me and the focus on small details and the way that japanese people are taking care of their environment and taking other people into consideration instead of just pursuing your own goals and needs as individuals. During my visits I also got to know some Japanese artists and I have been co-operating with them. In my work Tuntu(ma) you can hear the voice of Japanese sound and performance artist Miyuki Inoue and at the moment I’m working together with a Japanese Calligraphy artist Yukina Yamamoto, who’s at the moment living in Finland. So I feel that my connection to Japan is quite meaningful for my artistic work and also in personal level as I have been lucky to meet some great people there. What are you trying to say by your artworks and why do you like onomatopoetic words so much? What are you trying to say by your work? What mission / purpose does it contain? I’m interested in human voice and language and how we connect to our environment and to other people through our voice and it’s resonance. I think essentially what I’m trying to find out is that could we find a way to assimilate with our environment and other people, to connect in some unconscious level through sound. I’m interested in the ways we use our voice that are on the borderlines of language or music, like humming or onomatopoeic words. Onomatopoeic words are interesting as they are part of the language, but they have stronger connection to the source that they imitate than normal words. Sometimes they are called “images of the sounds”, as they resemble images some ways and they are able to create strong visual images and emotions. I started to research onomatopoeic words while I was in Japan as Japanese language has so many of them, not only imitating the sounds in nature, but also describing different emotions or actions that don’t produce any kind of sound.
In the exhibition Entrotopia I have two sound installations that bring echoes of a place in the Akiyoshidai national park in Japan for the audience to hear and also touch in the gallery. It is an experiment in transposing the spatial experience of a dark cave thousands of kilometres away into the exhibition space, how the original space can be made perceptible through the senses of hearing and touch. 300 million years ago Akiyoshidai was part of a coral reef, with its karst stone formations created from limestone worn over the millennia by rainwater. There are over 400 limestone caves in the Akiyoshidai area. One of the largest of them is named Kagekiyodo. The caves are completely dark, and they can only be experience using touch and hearing. The two installations are called Tuntu(ma) (which can be translated as touch or feel of something) and Sound of Darkness. The latter is a journey through the cave that was recorded with binaural microphones. It was created together with people living in the Akiyoshidai area. An experience of the cave is recreated through a soundscape consisting of onomatopoeic words and sounds that seek to convey the darkness, with sounds of the cave itself merging into a chorus of improvised human voices. Tuntu(ma) is an interactive work that employs ceramics and sound. The ceramic components are copies of sections of a cave wall worn down by water. By touching the ceramic pieces, visitors can play the work. The evocative water sounds reflecting the texture of the ceramic pieces were produced by Japanese sound artist Miyuki Inoue. What does Entrotopia means to you? I have been thinking a lot lately how to be an artist (or just a human) in the current time of climate crises and mass extinction. I feel that there’s a certain utopian freedom, sharing and hope in the artistic process, but on the other hand being an artist is still being part of the capitalist society which is destroying our environment and forcing us to consume, produce and to pursue individual success. I also think that we humans are very destructive species, but maybe art is one of the better things we’re capable to create, so there might be some sense of utopia in the middle of all the chaos. So I think these contradictions are Entrotopia to me. Where do you think is your work heading and what are your future goals? At the moment I’m working with different projects. I’m doing research on humming and it’s meaning and use in communication in human and animal communities. I’m also co-operating with a Japanese Calligraphy artist Yukina Yamamoto. We’re looking for ways to connect this very traditional art form with contemporary art, especially with sound. It will be interesting! And I’m hoping soon there will be a change for me to spend some time in Japan again..


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