Monday, September 23, 2013

installation in progress: koti pizza

This blog took a back seat to my Finnish endeavors this summer. But now I'm back! It's nearly the end of September, and I've been in graduate school for a month now already.  It's been truly overwhelming. It was one thing to imagine what it would be like, and quite another thing to be living it.  {It's kinda my fault for auditing an extra class, but hey, when else will I get to learn Portugu√™s Brasileiro with enthusiastic college freshmen and sophomores?}

Lyndon with my Koti Pizza installation somewhere around midnight yesterday.

I decided to sign up for one of the two installation spaces we have over at the grad studios for a little self-imposed deadline. They are available in one week slots, and I stayed up quite late last night to get it up (with Lyndon's help). I didn't want to fall into the trap of spending weeks hemming and hawing about ideas. I'd much rather see them physically manifested, reflect on what was successful or not, and move on.


This work is based on what I found when I went to the address where my great-grandmother used to live in Tampere, Finland. The building has been replaced by a strip of shops. On the corner is a Koti Pizza, which is a chain in Finland. Ironically, Koti means "home" in Finnish. So the house is now a Home Pizza, which is not at all a home pizza. The video on the right shows an actual home pizza being made in a home, while the video on the left shows Koti Pizza at closing time one night in August.

The pizza that is being made is an "Americana", which is topped with pineapple, ham, and blue cheese as well as mozzarella. It's close to what Americans would call a Hawaiian Pizza. The tape "drawing" on the wall is derived from architectural drawings from the early 20th century, when my ancestors lived there. The plans at that time were drawn up for a stove replacement. The videos are projected into the spaces where the two stoves were located in the drawing.

There are many layers that come to mind with this project:
  • the replacement of a home with a commercial space that uses the word "home"
  • the contrast between the cold commercial space and the warmth and sensuality of making something at home with your hands (and with someone else)
  • the misinterpretation of cultural icons 
  • the transformation of traditional worker's housing architecture in Tampereella to a more generic and bland type
  • the disappointment of looking for "home" and never quite finding it, and the idea of making home wherever one is

I'll take better photos soon and probably put them on my website. The finished installation includes a recipe viewers can take away from the right side, as well as a stripped down "menu" page on the left showing Koti Pizza's "Americana" pizza.




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