Admirer, 20181:57:00 nine-channel video installation, contract
In Admirer the artist negotiates the terms of a contract with an anonymous person via email. Though initially the messages were only in response to Takala’s 2015 free text-messaging service Invisible Friend, the artist quickly began to receive a torrent of unwanted and often aggressive messages from Anonymous, across various online platforms.
Takala proposed a contract which would serve both as the basis of an artwork and as a concrete justification for terminating all contact. This contract is an attempt to define the terms of their communication, and implement clear boundaries and objectives within their interaction. Over the two-month negotiation period, both parties contributed to and commented on the terms of the contract. Working together to formulate it, the process of negotiation itself existing both as a form of emotional labour and an attempt at self-preservation.
Admirer evidences a certain kind of gendered, online behaviour, one in which the risk of reprisal is minimal. These attitudes are echoed across parts of our society, with the work being both about the themes which surface (e.g. entitlement, misogyny, harassment framed as romantic persistence) and the actual management of these issues. Both parties exercised power in this process, with Takala’s agency stemming from her clear intentions and control over the art-making process, whilst Anonymous’ power lies in the concealing of their identity.
Animation: Animated ZeugSound Design: Alessandro SaccoiaThe people who helped to make this work choose to remain anonymous.Supported by AVEK / The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Taike / Arts Promotion Centre Finland
installation view, Admirer, Second Shift, Kiasma, Helsinki, August 2018 – February 2019, photo: Pirje Mykkänen / Kansallisgalleriainstallation view, Admirer, Stigter Van Doesburg, Amsterdam, January – February 2019, photo: Peter Tijhuis