Through the works in the exhibition, Jarkko Räsänen has embarked on his personal battle against perceived problems and injustices; he goes on an offence against surveillance apparatuses and their use of AI, and blind trust and glorification of technology, fights for animal rights and highlights violence culture. He examines old footage with the help of technology, stepping away from the content-focused approach that historians mostly use when researching archives. Given the large amount of footage available in the UTV archive, the artist has developed different methods to analyse the material, giving the exhibition distinct directions and various starting points. However, Jarkko is sceptical of any technology, not only the old ones, but the ubiquitous algorithms, artificial intelligence, etc. that are currently often considered as superior to any old technologies. His interest in the technologies of different decades makes him curious of the potential of outdated modes and models, such as Teletext, its connection to the TV magazine, and its adaptation into the use for other purposes.
Material from the archive is crypted with algorithms the artist has created to be transmitted in cyber space for civilizations that are blind to realistic imagery. Algorithms are based on processes of slicing the image file into thin strips and re- organizing them according to simple mathematical rules (and also with a some slightly stranger mutations of that). The process takes the viewer onto a metaphysical journey through video files’ structures.
The newly produced works in the exhibition examine and respond to the UTV archive, which is currently digitised by Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive. Ulster Television was the first commercial television operator on the island of Ireland and UTV archive contains footage from the late 1950s until recent years when it was acquired by ITV. In the film reels and tapes, the turbulent past of Northern Ireland is recorded, but also the happier memories that have become part of the shared past. TV once entered people’s home and brought there the outside world, informing, entertaining and educating the viewers. Although the broadcasted material was mediated, motivated and at times biased, it provides a good glimpse into the mindsets and interests of the people consuming it. The collection preserves more mundane aspects of everyday life that might seem quite insignificant.
Fionnuala Doran, Paul Moore and Robin Price are presenting new work using Teletext technology. The works reference and play with the medium that was once a key source of information for many households pre-internet.
The project was commissioned by Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive. Northern Ireland Screen actively seeks to involve artists in engaging with their digital archive and thus seeking new meanings of the material they house in it. These commissions are widely displayed for different audiences, both in Northern Ireland and internationally. Many of the artists previously engaging with the archive have been local, and coming in from a very different cultural background and lived experience makes it possible for Jarkko Räsänen to view the material from a new point of view, create unnoticed connections and draw unexpected conclusions.