Jaakko Pallasvuo at Future Gallery

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Artist: Jaakko Pallasvuo

Exhibition title:  Off-game

Venue:  Future Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Date: January 29 – February 21, 2015

Photography: Courtesy of the artist and Future Gallery, Berlin

Future Gallery is proud to present Off-Game the third solo exhibition by Finnish artist Jaakko Pallasvuo.

In his video EU, Jaakko Pallasvuo describes a cyber plague that is taking over the world. Those who have not yet been infected – in particular, the Finnish performance group Vibes – avoid any contact with the Internet. They live in isolation, trying to stay healthy and keep cool. Over the course of the video, the group evolves into something like an organism, surrendering an element of their consciousness into a collective experience. They also become infected: every breath of air becomes contaminated, each individual a potential contaminator.

Helsinki, Finland in 2004. A group of people meets in a room full of flour. A live-action roleplaying game about terminally ill cancer patients in a group therapy session takes place. [1] All of the players are going to die and attempt to come to terms with this fact. The flour is defined as “normal” within the game. This is Nordic Larp, a genre of live-action roleplaying that combines influences from theatre and performance art with gamer cultures. It is about trying out a certain mindset or exploring an emotion, rather than saving a town from orcs etc. [2]

Mindset: life, location: Finland. The game is about finding a meaningful life in a small community. When the contingency of all possible possibilities keeps the players in endless consideration, only the comforts of close proximity can break the spell of indecision. Here, the neighborhood is experienced not as a fate but as a variety of random opportunities. [3] Pallasvuo returns to his hometown Helsinki, joins the Vibes and starts making ceramics. He creates energy objects and barters them for other objects and services. Work becomes tactile rather than gestural, clay masks and resin bottles.

How to feel particularly alive? Pallasvuo meditates on Wojciech Kosma’s communal performance art practice in his blog [4]. He points out the therapeutic effects of ‘method’ as opposed to ‘concept’ and a drive that seems to be coming from something other than an idea that is illustrated or unfolding. In an interview with the Vibes [5], while interviewing himself, Pallasvuo mentions looking for a way out of endless self-reflection by somehow writing himself out of it – to be able to work instinctively, beyond the algorithms of official (Internet) culture.

Future Gallery, Berlin 2015. The exhibition is titled Off-Game. According to the Nordic Larp wiki this term refers to elements outside of the game, or objects that do not fit within the established fiction of that game. People can also be said to be off-game, or out of character, if they act as themselves and not their character during play.

Text by Jenna Sutela

[1] Luminescence by Juhana Pettersson and Mike Pohjola, 2014
[2] Lizzie Stark: Leaving Mundania – Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games, Chicage Review Press 2012
[3] See Chus Martinez and Ingo Niermann’s dialog What constitutes a neighborhood? in Bettery Magazine, January 2013
[4] Jaakko Pallasvuo: All In the—family, on Dawson’s Creek Oct 29th, 2014
[5] Jaakko Pallasvuo: Vibes (interview), 2014

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