mika taanila - the future is not what it used to be
20 May 2004

In his newest film, the Finnish documentary maker Mika Taanila honours his fellow-countryman Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 1941), an almost forgotten pioneer in the field of digital art, music and robotica.

Thanks to this documentary Kurenniemi’s oeuvre, full of astonishing film fragments and obscure art works, is accessible to the public for the first time. At the same time it reveals the tension between an unshakeable utopian faith in the possibilities of technology for ethics and aesthetics, and the stubborn economic and social reality that tripped Kurenniemi up time after time, first at the university where he worked until 1972, then in the Finnish robotics industry, and finally at Nokia.

On the one hand, Taanila visualises his countryman as a brilliant artist who embodies the ideals typical of the 1960s, and on the other hand as the desperate boffin who believes that with the obsessive digital recording of all his visual impressions the ‘humane’ will be preserved in an android future.

Mika Taanila has been represented at Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt) and the 2003 Berlin Biennale, among other events. His documentary on the ‘Futuro’, the Finnish ‘house of the future’, the prototype of which is to be seen at the Central Museum, Utrecht, has frequently been shown in The Netherlands. It is expected that his latest work will be premiered at the 2004 IDFA.

In Finnish, English subtitles
May 20, 8:30 p.m.