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  Henna-Riikka Halonen
   
 
The Bath House
Films on the playlist
The Bath House
Strange Place For Snow
Moderate Manipulations

 
Henna-Riikka Halonen (Finland 1975) has been living and working in UK since 2004. She graduated with MFA Fine Art from the Goldsmiths College, London in 2006. She has shown her work widely in international exhibitions and festivals. Her video works are often responses to a specific context or a site and adopt processes from leisure, sport or labor using the built environment as a stage and a site of shared history. She uses a wide range of historical and cultural references, including avant-garde theatre and science-fiction literature, testing the tensions between performers and their collaboration with the artist, acting and non-acting. Recently her work has been occupied with ideas of potential futures of communities, scenario planning and politics of participative practice.

The Bath House (2009) This work was a filmed re-imagination of ‘The Bathhouse’, 1929, a Russian Constructivist play written by Vladimir Mayakovsky and directed by Vesevolod Meyerhold. Mayakovsky's "drama in six acts with circus tricks and fireworks" was a satire on state bureaucracy, featuring a time machine rather than a bathhouse. Meyerhold used the play to display a whole gamut of styles of theatre, from naturalism through dance to agitprop. Each served as an attraction in itself, but as a sequence became a stinging challenge to critical / ideological / political complacency. The Bath House video was commissioned by the Collective Gallery and produced to mark the closure of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. The Commonwealth Pool, designed by Edinburgh architects RMJM in the 1960s, is a classic piece of Scottish modernist architecture. The building's interior, particularly its platforms and diving boards, reminded me visually of the set used for The Bathhouse, staged in 1930. The group mostly affected by the closure, the Edinburgh Diving Club’s junior members perform as actors creating their own demonstration against the closure. Half way through the original Maykovsky’s ‘The Bathhouse’ the actors rebel and take control of the direction; this process was paralleled in this re-imagination. CAMERA Minttu Mantynen & Scott Ward SOUNDTRACK Marcelo Oliveira CAST Edinburgh Diving Club PRODUCER Collective Gallery (Edinburgh)

Strange Place For Snow (2010) is a surreal film that is suspended between past and future, fiction and reality. The work creates a mirage-like universe where the familiar rubs shoulders with the strange. It provides a mental theatre that projects the viewer into a reflexive social and cultural experience. Using the principle and the form of the Moebius strip subverting and structuring the spatial and timely experience this video explores the space of anticipation, uncertainty and strategy. Every filmic event and space produces new narratives and scenarios leading the passages from one realm to the next. The references to futuristic literature such as Vladimir Mayakovsky’s The Bed Bug,the narration from H G Wells’ Time Machine and 1984 by George Orwell, intend to reflect the future and the complex identity of a historical border town in Northern England, taking place against the backdrop of its regeneration strategy. The journey of a woman through architectural spaces attempts to capture uncertainties of the present and generate an unstable perception of time and uses subjective understandings and non-linear narrative as a method to see events from alternative angles and perspectives. The video ‘Strange Place for Snow’ is Halonen’s second collaboration with Finnish Born Edinburgh based cinematographer Minttu Mäntynen with an original soundtrack from zoviet*france. It was produced as a part of Berwick Gymnasium residency In Berwick Upon Tweed and filmed in venues with significance to the Berwick Futures’ regeneration plan Similarly to the time traveller in Well’s Time Machine Halonen became a subjective storyteller projecting stories and collaborating with local people to produce these fictional scenarios. CAMERA Minttu Mäntynen & Scott Ward SOUNDTRACK zoviet*france CAST Anna Emmins, Elizabeth Bell PRODUCER Inspire Northumberland SOUND Marcelo De Oliveira RECORDING Dougie Fairgrieve GAFFER Dave Morgan

Moderate Manipulations (2011) This film aims is to show how positions (individual and political) are subject to constant internally and externally driven change. It was done in and out one of the last remaining futuristic houses, called Futuro, designed by Finnish Architect Matti Suuronen in 1968. Two professional advertising models were be hired and dressed in Marimekko’s 60’s fashion gowns. Each of the models were asked to perform according to some of the attitudes and formal patterns, akin to poses they have learned. The film becomes as a syntagmatic apparatus, almost a simulation of a chess game, where positions are constantly repeated, calculated and slightly adjusted. Constant repetition in a form of a retake will put emphasis not only on the power relations of each object but also expectations of the future to come. The idea of scenario is used in order to underline the different positions we take in relation to future but also to refer to the construction of this video itself. TRANSLATION OF VOICEOVER Scenario planning is being used to create a series of events that progress logically. They are made to show how the possible, likely, or threatened future state evolves step by step away from the current state. / I don’t know how to position her. It is so difficult to know how each pose can help the story. I mean strategically… / South, north, west, southwest, right, left. What difference does it make? / In the end, they are all just representing the same ideological opinion, competing over positions of power and contentious capital gains. / It is important to understand just where an individual positions herself within the picture. Historically the golden ratio has always been efficient enough. By positioning oneself in the middle, one could be in a constant and excruciating state of equilibrium, which with its kinetic vibrations, in the long term, would be far too exhausting for both the body and the eye. / The repetition of the same movement can enforce the reception of the message, as though it were the living propaganda of the body. / Even a light movement becomes heavy when it is repeated often enough. If we keep practising, are we finally going to be ready or are we destined to go on in an eternal state of always just about to come into being? / Composition, pose, strategy, movement, association, vision, White glove, white snow, white-backed woodpecker, an endangered species? / This is what it looks like, the other side of our standard of living. / She looks reluctant and confused. But is this a question about what she wants? Or is she only the piece in a game, someone arranging the space? / Or is it a question of how dramatic technique reflects the mindset of our era, the case of a split subject? / I adore white, white is beautiful, simple and trouble-free. / According to Estonian mythology, the White Ship will come soon and carry us away into the future.. / White page, white leaf, a space filled with emptiness, territory of endless possibilities, end and beginning. / An ossification, not only of habit but also of culture. / Who is looking and at whom? Who is in the background, who in the foreground? / Who is speaking? And to whom? / But this story is fiction, not a scientific report. It describes a reality that is not necessarily yours. The reality here in question is purely physical, that is to say, it has no allegorical significance. You should therefore see in it only the objects, the gestures, the expressions, the words and the shapes , the events that are shown, without seeking to give them either more or less meaning than they would have in your own life.

Distributor
AV Arkki www.av-arkki.fi


www.hennariikkahalonen.me.uk
 
 
 
   
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