22 Dec 2018


The Palm Tree Is on Fire! (prototype)

HIAP artists-in-residency Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich are presenting their work in a group exhibition The Palm Tree Is on Fire! (prototype) at Kuvataideakatemian Galleria.

Artists: Zoe Walker ja Neil Bromwich (UK) Anna Pickering(UK), Arnaud Moinet (UK/France), Alexis Milne (UK), Tanja Sipilä (Fin), Mia Mäkelä (Fin) Henna-Riikka Halonen (Fin), Elysa Lozano (US) , John Tiney (UK), Hermanni Saarinen (FIN)

Opening on Thursday 21st of June at 6pm until 8pm.

Gallery is open every day 11am–6pm.
(The Gallery will be closed for Midsummer 22–23.06)

The Palm Tree Is on Fire! (prototype) is a group show, including a selection of artists, who all in their way approach subjects of resistance, dissent, change and their visual articulation. Exploring the intersection between protest and spectacle and their visual manifestations, the exhibition aims to reactivate the potential for productive dissent. Exhibition has been curated by Henna-Riikka Halonen a Doctoral student in Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Artists in the exhibition have been invited to respond to following letter:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Your news around the world has been of great interest to me. The Arab spring, UK riots, occupy movement, various elections. Not of course forgetting your personal exciting art
There’s all manner of news from here too and things cannot possibly remain as they are now. A degree of social and political passivity has set in amongst the fellows here, which comes from their being bored with themselves. For they have nothing to set against the tailors of popularizations and marketable values and this will be hard for us, artists to avoid as well. Recently art has been increasingly shaped by the powerful neo-liberal economic order and inherited its contradictions and paradoxes. Norms and principles of security and public control have increasingly washed out possibilities of collective and public resistance.
I worry, dear fellows, what happens for art and artists in this process of commoditization and depoliticisation? Even so called social or immaterial practices haven’t been able to escape this, but are rapidly becoming a mere marketing tools of creative industries that encourage associating art with a kind of value that is measurable.
A pure critique, one that is confrontational and oppositional, might not be effective anymore: there is a need to reframe the notion of resistance and dissent. I ask, therefore, how is it possible to effect change rather than imposing internationally recognized models of criticism and protest?

And given that the art field is structurally articulated by visual and aesthetic processes, how is it possible then to articulate the notions of resistance and change and what kind of values or tools are being produced?

So to turn the apparent problem upside down, can we indeed prototype new inventions of resistance and change?
What kind of devices and tools might be needed? What kind of prototyping process? Can the invented product turn against the powers determining its value? Now that I’m in full swing, I might as well conclude by telling you that as a result from these ongoing thoughts, I have decided to set up this exhibition. It includes a selection of artists, who all in their way approach subjects of resistance, dissent, change and their visual articulation. Artists that are exploring the intersection between protest and spectacle and their
visual manifestations. I am hoping that this exhibition will reactivate the potential for productive dissent and also perhaps point towards some kind of lack in the society in here Finland.
Perhaps you agree, perhaps you don’t, and perhaps you find this purely amusing, even ridiculous, but nevertheless please take the thoughts in this letter as a provocation and react!

Can you dear colleagues and friends start prototyping some kind of new form of art that has productive dissent in its heart?
If you ask my opinion of how we envisage from here? I would say that our repertoires of tactics might include: making sense into nonsense, repetition, subversion of systems, new
rhythms, interruption, re-enactment, mimesis, rereading, poesies,making strange, absurd, counternarrative, incoherent speech, lying, muting, modification, reparation, etc YOU NAME IT, DEAR FRIENDS AND DEAR COLLEAGUES! The methods are multiple…THE PALM TREE* IS ON FIRE (prototype)!

Permit me, dear friends and colleagues, to close my letter on the above note.
I am waiting anxiously for your reply.
Sincerely yours,
H-R Halonen

*Palm tree= exotic image the tourist boards of many countries promote

Yhteistyössä : Kuvataideakatemia/Finnish Aacdemy of Fine Arts and
Huqsvarna/ Irene Hageström ja Kaartin Neule-ja ompelukone.