Snow Wave

(0)

Despite its title, P.S.1's current survey of Finnish art Arctic Hysteria leans towards the cool and calculated, with moments of dotty humor. In keeping with a culture known for both outdoor saunas and Linus Torvalds, much of the work deals with nature, technology or both; the two themes come together with another Finnish national icon in Tea Mäkipää's video My Life as a Reindeer, created from antler-mounted footage obtained in a manner reminiscent of Sam Easterson. Even more heroically silly are two pieces by electronic music and media art pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi, resurrected in conjunction with a documentary on the artist: Master Chaynjis, a meandering mechanical head billed as a "swearing robot," and DIMI-S, a.k.a. the Sexophone, an early electronic instrument that generates sounds through interpersonal body contact. Another historic visionary revived in this largely contemporary show is architect Matti Suuronen, whose UFO-style Futuro House provides the inspiration for a site-specific "Futuro Lounge," which serves as an unfortunately impractical screening pod and reading room. Elsewhere, the exhibit is video-heavy, with two notable standouts. Dancer Reijo Kela provides a very rare object -- a dance video that doesn't suck -- with 365 Days-Reijo Kela's Video Diary of 1999, in which the artist propels himself by various, often comical means from one side of the frame to another: skiing, skipping, crawling, running nude. Audio-visual band Pink Twins present four of their neo-image-processing videos in one room, creating an overwhelming environment of digital rainbow cascades, melting satellite maps, and looping explosions. Atypical of the rest of Arctic Hysteria's relatively detached sensibility, Markus Copper's Kursk feels like walking into the set of a truly scary horror film: a room stuffed with sporadically clanking, mechanized black deep-sea diving suits, it elicits claustrophobic unease and a far more directly emotional response than the rest of this otherwise fore-brainy selection. - Ed Halter

Image: Huutajat, The Screaming Men, 2003 (Still image from video, 76 min., Directed by Mika Ronkainen) Courtesy the artist Photo by Matthew Septimus.