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Jaana Kokko
From January 16th 2010 to February 20th 2010
Life Must Be Alive

Jaana Kokko has developed a body of video work in which the spatial configuration shapes the totality of being. Two videos are presented in the gallery: Modern Times (Transcription) (1982/2006) and The Anarch (2008)—drawn from the series "Who am I, What am I, Why am I"—, both of which testify to a desire for interrogating the value of the document as representation of reality and as element of fiction. Speech, here, carries a story, knowledge and memory; in an examination of power relationships, the artist brings it to the screen through individual and familial interviews.

Modern Times (Transcription) (1982/2006) is constructed around an interview conducted by the artist and her friend—when they were both 10 years old—on the day-to-day activities of a woman and a man. Kokko takes up this old recording and turns it into the soundtrack for a new filmic structure, thus bringing two parallel worlds together. On the screen, images shot in 2006: in an empty space, a young woman cleans a display cabinet and places a tape-recorder. Subtitles appear, drawn from the 1982 interview: a synchronized transcription of the dialogue (translated into English) and ambient sounds. This temporal divergence, the spareness of the setting, and the disembodied nature of the soundtrack heightens the fictionality of the document, mirroring the discrepancy between the reality of the interviewed protagonists and what they imagined they would become.

In The Anarch (2008), Kokko attempts to redefine the concept of anarchy in opposition to the widespread misconception that associates it with nihilism, chaos, and terrorism. She asks Veikko Leväaho (1924-2009) to relate his experience—he had been court-martialled during the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union (1941-1944)—and to explain his conception of a wholly just, ideal society.
- Geneviève Bédard + Marie-Josée Lafortune

Finnish artist Jaana Kokko holds an M.A. from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki (2002) and M.Sc. in economics from the Helsinki School of Economics (1999). She has exhibited and has taken part in many video festivals in Finland, Russia, and Europe.

The artist wishes to thank the Arts Council of Finland for its support.