Galleria del Vento

When the wind blows, things change. This forces us to reflect. Our senses show us one part, a surface, an effect. Yet more lies behind, undisclosed. We sense that something lies behind, waiting to be discovered. Just as we sense that we might be rewarded if we make an effort, if we search, if we venture forth into the unknown. If we question, and if we question ourselves.

Will we be able to bear standing in the wind? Will we be able to accept that our way of thinking has flaws, that it deceives itself all too willingly? That we believe that we are thinking “independently” whereas in fact we are satisfying our personal patterns all too readily? And might switching between verbal and nonverbal expression be one of the few practices in which we can reveal both ourselves and our self-repeating patterns?

Where is the wind when it isn’t blowing? Where is research when it isn’t doing research? Does it still exist then? Shouldn’t we speak of “researching” instead of “research”? And shouldn’t we understand research as a human activity in which we ask too much of ourselves to reach the open, unclarified sphere? Isn’t “researching” an activity that leads us away from certainty?

Can objectives be imposed on research? Isn’t it rather like the wind, which we can at best guide and shape? Who wanted to lock up the wind? Who wanted to force art to do something? Isn’t this rather one of the few social spheres in which we can conceive of the impossible, the unthinkable? And doesn’t this make it a most important force, one which will strengthen society in the long term?

Yes, it’s draughty when we stand in the wind. Yes, the wind makes us feel cold. Without the wind, though, it gets sticky. Without the wind, it gets hot and oppressive. We are living in oppressive times. I see a world in which one country after another is closing itself off out of fear of the international wind. I see a world that is increasingly forbidding itself any imponderability, any draught, also at home, out of a demand for security. I am a friend of small winds. But I don’t like storms.

Florian Dombois

This text is an artist statement that will also be present in the Research Pavilion for visitors to read during the Pavilion’s second exhibition Galleria del Vento July 8th– August 13th.

Word from Commissioner Anita Seppä

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Uniarts Helsinki’s Research Pavilion for artistic research opens its doors in Venice on 10 May, the same day as when the Venice Biennale opens. The Pavilion’s venue Sala del Camino, a beautiful ex-monastery located in the Island of Giudecca, is an ideal place for art exhibitions, as well as workshops, concerts, performances and artistic interventions. Just on the other side of the Canal lies Giardini, the heart of the Biennale, with its energetic art tourists and souvenir shoppers. The island of Giudecca that’s surrounding the Research Pavilion, on the other hand, has a very different atmosphere: it is characteristically domestic and quiet.

Two years ago, in this uniquely rich cultural environment we hosted the first Research Pavilion under the theme Experimentality. The Pavilion for 2017 builds off of that, but also presents a radically new concept. First of all, the Research Pavilion will be a distinctly shared project, a joint effort set up by the talented people from all the academies of Uniarts Helsinki: the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy. As such, the Pavilion will extend its scope to cover not only fine arts, but also music, performing arts, dance and theatre.

Second, this year’s Research Pavilion has a strong Nordic presence. We have invited the central networks of artistic research in Sweden and Norway (altogether 22 arts institutions of higher education), and their representatives Ingrid Elam, Cecilie Broch Knudsen and Geir Strøm are members in our Scandinavian steering group. This group of experts serves as an advisory body in the project and will also contribute to future strategic planning. In this political climate, as new walls are built up on a daily basis to hinder free mobility and international cooperation around the globe, it feels especially important to intensify the cultural partnerships between our closest neighbours and other transnational networks.

During the summer of 2017, the Research Pavilion will host three art exhibitions, which also present new international forms of collaboration with the famed Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Zurich University of the Arts. In addition, the tremendously interesting series of artistic research activities called Camino Events will bring over a hundred professionals and students from around the world to Venice as guests of Uniarts Helsinki.

The first exhibition in the Research Pavilion is You Gotta Say Yes to Another Access, which will give thirteen Nordic doctoral students the chance to work on this year’s theme of the Pavilion, the Utopia of Access. In July-August, Florian Dombois from Zurich University of the Arts will go to the lagoons of Venice on a boat with golden sails to collect material that he’ll use to build a wind tunnel in the Pavilion for his exhibition, Galleria del Vento. The final exhibition Hauntopia/what if features works by doctoral students from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. They will study traces of “ghosts” of the past and their effects on both the present time and our utopias of the future.

The Research Pavilion will articulate to an international audience how contemporary artistic researchers and researchers in the arts process topical questions and utilize fresh methodologies with respect to the theme Utopia of Access.  During the summer of 2017 we’ll see how experts of fine arts, music, dance, theatre, performing arts and curating produce art, research and pop-up events in the Pavilion and the surrounding urban space. Without a doubt the outcome will surprise us, in one way or another, as is to be expected when it comes to utopias.