Footnotes For The Reader: Interview with Leevi Lehto, Summer 2018; accompanying the preface to “Alussa oli Kääntäminen: 2000-luvun poetiikkaa” (In the Beginning Was Translation: A 21st Century Poetics), for S’lim Zine #6

The first time Ulysses appeared in Finnish (Odysseus, 1964) the translator of that novel, Pentti Saarikoski, consulted an instruction manual that today would be considered quite flawed, or at least out of date. Can you describe how your own translation of Ulysses (2012) and the one that came before it have been influenced by two different notions of contemporary literature...more

Without the about, the reader wouldn’t know that the publishers of this zine are Helsinki-based, or that they initiate projects that exist in the margins of architecture and design, or that their website is built using Indexhibit – though maybe in the future they would like to update it into something else ( There’s no chance of knowing that S’lim Zine has two different International Standard Serial Numbers, or that each issue is deliberately restricted to 36 A4 sized pages,1 or that no.6 is about Helsinki – without the about...more

Let’s start with “Kitchen Party”. For the readers who haven’t seen the film, can you begin by describing the premise and how the kitchen plays into it? Was the kitchen part of the story from the beginning or did it evolve, say, after developing the characters...more

The Midden marks the end of a five-year multidisciplinary research initiative on ecological issues in contemporary art. In response to the current oil-dependent society, termed fossil modernity, it aims at imagining new paths toward more livable futures. The book digs into a heap of material amassed by the art research project Frontiers in Retreat (2013–18) involving 25 artists at residencies across Europe. Contributors from the fields of media studies, speculative fiction, philosophy and curatorial writing include Taru Elfving, Emmi Itäranta, Jenni Nurmenniemi, Jussi Parikka, Antti Salminen, and Tracey Warr...more

Portraits Probably, Spring 2016; workshop at Design Museum Helsinki on the ocassion of the exhibition “Daniel Palillo”, for Helsinki New and Pre Helsinki

If those who are undone by theory become theorists, what becomes of those who are undone by fashion? Join Daniel Palillo at Design Museum Helsinki in a hands-on workshop for undoing fashion. An event for becoming makeshift makeup artists and objects of the eye. Live face making, with skin-safe ink or paper construction, will be captured by portrait specialsit Sanna Lehto. Participants will receive a digital copy of their portait after the event...more

Try To Act As If You Don’t Know, Autumn 2018; review of the publication “OASE #100: Karel Martens and the Architecture of the Journal”, for the Finnish Architectural Review (Arkkitehti-lehti)

Looking at the front and inside flaps of OASE 100, covered in every colophon detail since issue 28 and itemized as index-like lists that are arranged by category, you can’t help but notice one thing. Those don’t go there. Almost as a reminder, the credits of the current issue are also near the back where designers typically put them. Through his work as both a designer and a teacher, Karel shares a kind of mindset with you. Sometimes, by way of an impossible exercise: “I often say, try to act as if you don’t know what a book is, like you’ve never seen a book cover before” (2010 interview with Harmen Liemburg)...more

Works on Paper, Spring/Summer 2019; (three) press releases, for Garret Publications

The book opens with what Mattila calls a “mistake”, that of a coloured dot and a drip of paint running from it. The mark on paper, signalling new possibilities for the artist, would prove to be the foundational element in a series of variations and artworks – on light, colour, shadow, and fragile forms. Each with their own power “to tell us about life, space and hope.”...more

A Table With Three Legs, Summer 2018; conceptual reading of Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60, for “The Lives of Others” exhibition catalogue at Factory Gallery in Seoul

Imagine that the Finnish design system is a table standing on four legs. The entire infrastructure is supported equally by four pillars and each of them representing part of the industry – education, memory, profession and promotion. Playing a bit of the game ‘telephone’ here, the metaphor was heard from Professor Pekka Korvenmaa – during an open discussion at Design Museum Helsinki – who allegedly heard it from Antti Nurmesniemi. A story’s origin, you could argue, is almost always up for debate but Korvenmaa, having written the book Finnish Design: A Concise History, had secured his reputation some years ago with a mass of reliable source material. As the professor reached the end of his opening remarks the audience was left on the edge of their seat: “if one leg falls, the table falls down...more

A Vacuum Cleaner Is For Cleaning Except When It Is Not, Spring 2017; short fiction making up the artistic component of the MA thesis from Aalto Univeristy, under the mentorship of Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey

The quadratic format plots the alphabet on a 5×5 letter grid, with the letter K always replaced with the letter C for sake of economy and convenience (as in H-O-U-S-E-C-E-E-P-I-N-G). To locate a letter on the grid, identify the horizontal row from the first 1–5 knocks, then the vertical column from the next 1–5 knocks, which are always separated by a pause. Consider the first and last letters of the alphabet for example; two knocks separated by a pause designates the letter A (first row, first column), while ten knocks separated by a pause mid-way designates the letter Z (5th row, 5th column). Note that identifying the pause between row and column is crucial since six knocks can potentially designate letter E (1,5), letter I (2,4), letter N (3,3), letter R (4,2), or letter V (5,1), depending on the position of the pause...more


Jaakko Mattila: Works on Paper; Salt in the Wound: Encountering Contemporary Artists across Europe by Jurriaan Benschop (︎); Bastard Cookbook: Antto Melasniemi and Rirkrit Tiravanija (︎)

Jaakko Mattila: Works on Paper

Works on Paper collects for the first time the watercolours and etchings from abstract painter Jaakko Mattila. The artist monograph, by Garret Publications, presents over 300 images of formal explorations and commissioned artworks from a 12 year period. Accompanying the works are colourful interpretations from scholars in the fields of psychology, art history and art criticism, along the artist’s own words.

The book opens with what Mattila calls “a mistake”, that of a coloured dot and a drip of paint running from it. The mark on paper, signalling new possibilities for the artist, would prove to be the foundational element in a series of variations and artworks – on light, colour, shadow, and fragile forms. Each with their own power “to tell us about life, space and hope.”

Concise essays and an interview with the artist provide insight into Mattila’s works, with contributions from art historian Tomi Moisio, psychology professor Göte Nyman, and art critics Jean Ramsay and Mike Watson. They touch a spectrum of topics, from abstract notions of perception to the scientific-like processes of printmaking.  

Mattila’s interests in art history and system-based experimentation emerge from the texts with links to 20th-century painters, such as Albers, Klint, Duchamp and Malevich. The latter of whom Mattila played homage to with his 2008 etching titled Grey Square – an aquatint he made by layering hue after hue until achieving a desired state of non-colour.

Mattila’s paintings and prints, with their deep wells of colour and light, bring with them a sense optimism.“[A]s if drawing water from a well”, writes Ramsay, “Mattila’s art seems to be synonymous with emerging from the deepest lightless crevasses of pitch black to the warm sun of white light.”

Works on Paper will launch at the Herrick Gallery in London on the 17th of April at 6pm – on the occasion of their exhibition “Impossibility of an Island – EGS and Jaakko Mattila” on view from 16–28.4.2019.

Salt in the Wound: Encountering Contemporary Artists across Europe by Jurriaan Benschop

Salt in the Wound takes the reader on a journey through Europe, following the different paths of 18 established and mid-career contemporary artists. What drives their work? How do cultural landscapes, political climates, and other circumstances filter through the work? By encountering the artists directly, through conversation and debate, the author delves into both local and global dimensions of the art world. Further reflection on various traditions and regions of the continent allow new perspectives to emerge that speak to the diversity of art across Europe.

At the heart of this book are the notions of origin and imagination. As the author reports, “I travelled and talked to people who are professionals of the imagination. I was curious to find out how they see the places they grew up in, how they see the one they ended up in, and how this affects the work they create. A travel book emerged – a collection of narrative essays exploring the continent – presenting motifs such as modernity, memory, abstraction and origin, as well as the specific interests of the artists.”

Jurriaan Benschop is a Dutch writer and curator. He has lived and worked in Berlin since 2006. A critic for Artforum International, he has published in many magazines, books and exhibition catalogues. Recent exhibitions that he has curated in Berlin include As If, At Home (2016), Re: Imagining Europe (2017) and Content is a Glimpse (2018–19).

First published in Dutch 2016 by Van Oorschot Publishers under the title Zout in de Wond. Revised edition.

Bastard Cookbook: Antto Melasniemi and Rirkrit Tiravanija
Release: 1.6.2019

After years of making food together in gallery settings and art institutions around the world, ‘bastard brothers’ Rirkrit Tiravanija and Antto Melasniemi release their first collaborative cookbook. The Bastard Cookbook, co-published by Garret Publications and the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, brings together new texts from scholars and journalists in food studies, interviews with the chefs and fifty or so odd recipes. The dishes and their ingredients are illustrated by photographer Janne Tuunanen as he follows the bastards on a culinary adventure from a fish sauce farm in Thailand to the Archipelago of Finland.

The Bastard Cookbook offers a range of bastardized recipes that are both delectable and truly incongruous. The starting point for many dishes, such as Fish Sauce Ice Cream, Panang Curry Pizza and “Kind of Nordic Khao Soi Soup”, are traditional ingredients and techniques (if not Grandma’s own televised repertoire). Through their unabashed, un-precious and unapologetic approach to cooking, the chefs put on a show, and remind us that culture is a process.

A mix of intermittent texts and interviews open up the topics of hospitality and cosmopolitan thinking. Contributing writer Krishnendu Ray, editor of the critical food journal Gastronomica and Chair of the Food Studies Program at New York University, reflects on the idea of ‘bastard cooking’ through the lens of domestic labor. While Sara Kay, Lola Kramer and Pauliina Siniauer each contribute with texts that are distinctly journalistic in flavour.

Tiravanija and Melasniemi have created a collection truly their own, with “exhortations, culinary scenarios – and above all – food to liberate the modern gourmand from essentialism.” The Bastard Cookbook launches on the 1st of June, 2019 at Gavin Brown’s enterprise in New York and is otherwise available through Idea Books.