a video work by TEEMU MÄKI

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5 minutes, 21 seconds
2009–2010, 16:9
HD video
Finnish with English subtitles

A video based on Teemu Mäki's poem "Mitä varten?". Actress Noora Dadu recites the poem in a shopping mall and on top of a high building, skyline of Helsinki as a backdrop.

The poem is an anti-consumerist meditation about how meaningful is it to live in contemporary Finland – a state that has been top-ranked in World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, also a state where according to surveys school children are exceptionally unhappy.

The video was commissioned by Suomi Post Mortem -project, where several Finnish artists were asked to make a short film in response to a burst of school shootings that happened in Finland.

The poem was originally published in Mäki's book of poems Kuolevainen, WSOY, 2008, ISBN: 978-951-0-34537-5.
                      varten still image
Watch a short sample

(A parable)

You sit, wait, suffer, stuff you face with pick ‘n’ mix candy, piece together
the external requirements of a good life.
You gnaw a rubber bone, made all the more precious by
the nigger’s envy. It has an aftertaste of
ammonia and the numb brick in your stomach.
You measure the essence of things with yawns,
discover that the principal form of your suffering is bewilderment.
You exert yourself, teeth a burr-puzzle gnarl,
guts lurking from your butt like a periscope,
seeing all around, everything from dangers to potential achievements,
towards which you plough a furrow, harnessing your jugular.
At last you thrash about just to ask:
Why are the molecules in this precise order?
Why these particular states of mind, why you?
What exactly is this sketch of wrinkles trying to say?
Why have consumption and purchasing power grown in this proportion?
Why were these particular children born into this particular family?
Why was the focus of your earnest embraces these particular houses and dreams?
Why were they mulched into caricatures of dreams and what sleep did it?
Why does illness flourish, despite all that exercise?
Why have things been forgotten inside us?
Why do these lives creep their way through us like thieves, their faces turned to the wall?
In the middle of the room a pyre of questions crackles away.
Strewn around it lie a set of cold, charred, pre-prepared answers:
Man creates God in his own image, flatters himself.
As for free will, well, it may be free,
but it is not your will,
within you though it is.

You’re sitting on rocks by the shore in Ruoholahti, Helsinki,
capital of the most competitive nation in the world.
A parade of office blocks marches forth behind you;
information technology is their business, their goal
the future of Finland. They don’t do content.
Discontent is everyone's own business.
The suburb slumbers beside you, waiting for its shift to start;
the sea licks against your legs, softly softly,
it’s in no hurry, it knows that when you’re ready, you’ll fall into its arms.
You sit on a rock, waiting for things to sort themselves out, waiting,
hoping that having a child will bring you more joy than it will cost you money,
hoping that that new-car smell will last
longer than the humiliating memory of hours of unpaid overtime.
You wait and suffer greatly
the wrapping paper stuck to your lollypop.
You demand that things get a grip, that work might reveal its purpose,
that the glare of lights in the harbour might tell you what it wants to see.
You go home, sit down on the couch,
the television sees you;
when you are bored of this channel,
the channel will change you.
Eventually you make a move,
you can either pipe
more icing
or you can punch
a hole somewhere,
between the ribs,
in the side of a Mercedes,
make a difference.

(translation by David Hackston)


<<< previous work
poet & scriptwriter & director – Teemu Mäki
actress – Noora Dadu
camera & edit – Mikko Manuel Kamunen
sound recording & mixing – Toni Teivaala
runner – Keijo Reini
post production supervisor – Jyl'C
producers – Maija Hirvonen, Miia Jonkka, Katja Lautamatti, Inka Finell
Suomi Post Mortem -projekti

Camera work rehearsal:
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