Good Vibrations at SIC

Artists: Julie Béna, Happy Magic Society, Beatrice Lozza, Shana Moulton, Mirko Nikolić, Nastja Säde Rönkkö

Exhibition title: Good Vibrations

Curated by: Elina Suoyrjö

Venue: SIC, Helsinki, Finland

Date: April 29 – May 28, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and SIC, Helsinki

With Julie Béna, Happy Magic Society, Beatrice Lozza, Shana Moulton, mirko nikolić and Nastja Säde Rönkkö. Curated by Elina Suoyrjö.

Nastja Säde Rönkkö’s participatory performance sometimes forever takes place on Thursday 18 May, 2-8pm. Visitors are invited to exchange a memory or a story for a tattoo. First come, first served.

A curious bunch of individuals – beings, things, materialities in differing sizes and forms – inhabit the space of the gallery during the exhibition. Building on warm-hearted feelings and aspirations, Good Vibrations invites visitors to tune into the frequencies of the artworks, and the energies moving around them. It is these nonhuman entities together with you, the entities who encounter them, that create Good Vibrations and negotiate what these pleasant and uplifting resonances might in fact be.

The artworks in the exhibition speak to us in various volumes, from nudges and whispers to direct invitations. A subtle yet mysterious scent, extracted especially for the occasion by Happy Magic Society, welcomes us into the space. Julie Béna has brought an enchanting object, full of potential wonder by its very definition, accompanied by a group of bodiless mouths functioning as a kind of punctuation throughout the space. Nastja Säde Rönkkö in her turn directly invites visitors to exchange their memories or stories for tattoos. During the day of the participatory performance, visitors have the chance to make good memories last, or bad ones fade away.

Good Vibrations also aims to give space to the vibrations and needs of the works themselves. Beatrice Lozza’s thread decides its form at the site it is brought to, in relation to other elements around it. This is a sculptural drawing that takes its time, through subtle movement in concert with the conditions of the gallery space. There is plenty of room also for desires and pleasures. Within a passage prepared by mirko nikolić, the visitor finds themself in an intimate situation between two nonhuman beings. To pass through, one needs to make a decision similar to that which Marina Abramović and Ulay once asked their audience to make.

Good Vibrations attempts to summon and emit positive energies, and work beyond the complexity that is to a large extent imprinted on good feeling and feeling good these days. When the world is falling apart, there is no room for sarcasm or irony. It feels more efficient, more useful, more radical, to open up and show some vulnerability. Cynthia, the protagonist in Shana Moulton’s video works, who is also the artist’s alter ego, has found a way to do this. In the videos, we get to witness Cynthia’s journey from worries and distress to wonder and healing. Sometimes magical objects can help us through rough times.

During a recent talk, a wise woman, Donna Haraway, pointed out that there is a certain comic quality to everything that really matters. Amidst the goings-on in the world, we should not stop at critiquing, but move forward. According to Haraway, the space for joyous play is to be found in art, and it is art that just might help us through this. So, I propose that we accept these subtle invitations, let the relations unfold, give space to the flow of energies, warm feelings, and even strange desires, and see what happens.