Video, 00:09:00, 2018
This work was made for an exhibition engaging with the centenary of Finland’s independence. Väinö was my great grandfather. The work tells a semi-fictionalised story in connection with his imprisonment during the Finnish civil war of 1918. In the work I staged a conversation between myself and Väinö, whose character I also play.
Fifty years after surviving the prison camps he committed suicide. I began considering this event as a catalyst within my own family, some point from which a generational trauma emanates. I wanted to understand the ways in which mental illness may be passed on through the years.
The work combines the real events of the past century with my own experience of depression and homophobia and places them in relation to each other. I insert myself in this re-imagining of both personal and cultural history and ask what (if anything) of the past can be redeemed? Should the purveyor of family darkness be put on a posthumous trial, or cast into shame, and if so how? The alternating between blame and forgiveness is complex and unrelenting; survivors’ guilt can take many forms.
Exhibited at Exhibition Laboratory, Helsinki