Willloh S. Weiland, Australian artist and Artistic Director of Aphids, was awarded the International Prize for Live Art from the ANTI Contemporary Art Festival and the Saastomienen Foundation in 2015, one of the richest prizes for live art in the world. She returned to the festival in October, 2016 for a residency at HIAP (Helsinki International Artist Programme) with support from the Australia Council and to participate in ANTI. While in Helsinki she moved between the city and small town of Kuopio where, on a site dubbed ‘Technopolis’, she enacted a ceremonial performance as an ode to the eventual uselessness of some technologies and the death of the brand that buoyed it.
‘Artefact’ was a tech-funeral with many moving parts and drew on the skills of locals to add authenticity and fanfare to her performance, which included a eulogy. Weiland explained, “I’ve been inspired by the demise of the mythical telecommunications giant Nokia and the mysterious phenomenon of brand disappearance. It is a tribute to the immortal consumer icons we have internationally adored and the intimate and fickle ways we worship them.”
She made a screen with help from a stonemason using Finnish Kuru grey granite and took guidance from a nearby funeral service. Video portraits of people from Kuopio aged 8 to 80 with their technology were screened on the stone’s façade. For the free concert she enlisted collaborator JR Brennan to work with three choirs, one was a group of death metal singers, to reimagine the Nokia ringtone.
Design by Rebecca Macauley
Photograph: Bryony Jackson
Courtesy the artist