Optical Sound

Dir: Mika Taanila


5 mins


Part of: A Movie

Taanila’s film is based on the live performance of the Symphony for 12 Dot Matrix Printers by the Canadian artist duo [The User]. The film intercuts close-ups of the mechanical parts of the printers performing the piece, taken from surveillance cameras placed inside the machines, with images of the ASCII files’ score being played, which has been photocopied straight onto clear film without the use of a camera. These live images are contrasted with time-lapse footage of large modern office blocks shot from the streets, at dawn and dusk, in Helsinki.

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About the artist

Born 1965, lives and works in Helsinki. Taanila studied cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki, then video design in Lahti, and has worked as a documentary filmmaker and director of music videos, as well as an artist. Reflecting this range of practice, his works are collages of archive materials, found footage of amateur films and documentary, combined with electronic music. A common theme is a fascination with science fiction, and the futuristic ideas and utopias of the recent past. Futuro – A New Stance For Tomorrow (1998) explores the rise and fall of an icon of 1960s space-age design, the 100% plastic Futuro House, an egg-shaped, prefabricated portable building.

The Future Is Not What It Used To Be (2002) is a portrait of one of the unsung pioneers of early electronic art, Finnish scientist/artist Erkki Kurenniemi, exploring the 1960s avant-garde in music and film, the early history of microcomputers but also the open questions of 21st century science. Taanila’s short documentaries have been screened at more than 200 international film festivals, and have been broadcast nationwide in France/Germany (Arte), Australia (SBS), The Netherlands (NOS1), the Czech Republic, Sweden (SVT1) and Finland (YLE TV1). His films have also been exhibited in numerous international group shows, including the Istanbul (2001), Venice (2003) and Berlin (2004) Biennials and Manifesta 4 (2002). Recent one-person exhibitions include Kiasma in Helsinki, Spacex in Exeter and Migrosmuseum in Zürich.

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