Chance Encounters #24 meets Nina Lassila.
NINA LASSILA born in Helsinki (Finland) 1974, lives and works currently in Gothenburg and Belgium.
Nina Lassila is a visual artist working mainly with video and performance. In many of her works she deals with questions of identity – specifically identity affected by social barriers, conventions based on gender and upbringing and cultural differences. Her other bodies of work explore issues of i.e supernatural phenomena, art and economic structures.
She has taken part in several group shows and video festivals internationally i.e The Istanbul Biennial 2007, Reykjavik Festival of Arts 2008, Rencontres Internationals Paris/Madrid/Berlin 2007 and 2012, Kassel Documentary & Video art festival 2009/2012/2013, Reality Check TSSK Trondheim NO 2010, Cartes Flux Festival of New Media Helsinki FI 2010, XV Art Fair Mänttä FIN 2010, LOOP Barcelona 2011, SHE DEVIL V Macro Museum Rome 2011, Nordic Art Express - Nordic Video Art on tour 2010/2011, Blanche-Neige Centre Georges Pompidou Paris 2011, Directors Lounge Berlin 2007/2012, Arctic Heat Film Festival Jyväskylä 2013, Tampere FilmFestival 2013, The portrait in the moving image at Vandalorum (Värnamo) & Jönköpings Museum SE 2013, Nantes Performance Festival 2013, DE 2013, WALK#2 EARLY VISIONS Brussels 2013 2014 Freunde und Feinde groupshow at Atelierhof Kreuzberg Berlin 2014
How did you first decide that art was your path in life ?
I decided to devote myself completely to creating art and living an artist life when I was doing my MA studies in Gothenburg Sweden in 2000. I had quitted a quiet safe job as photographer and image editor at a newspaper for doing my masters. It was not a hard decision - I just understood that I could not be an artist while I was working with something else. Being an artist is a full-time thing.
What's your main interest as an artist ?
I have many interests but what keeps me going is trying to relate to the question "what is important", I basically always need "to say or work with something that I believe is important". If I fail it is not art I'm doing.
Otherwise my interests span from gender issues all the way to supernatural phenomena. Somehow I like to prove that everything is connected and by finding out where and why the link is broken everything can be fixed.
I guess my basic mission as an artist is the very naive idea of changing the world...
Where do you get the ideas for your work ?
My ideas normally pop out from everyday life situations and my ways of perceiving the world and what is going on around me. Very often just talking to friends can create new ideas too. Some of my works have started of also from objects. Things and thoughts become stories.
What would you most like to make that you haven't so far ?
A real LIVE performance where I would challenge the audience and perhaps doing something quite freaky. I have already done things that I refer to as events. Events because I don't consider what I have done as REAL performances. Well, I did once participate in a real performance but the idea was not mine so I can't count that in. hahaha.
I would also like to involve my self in activist art…to do something with a real visible, tangible impact. Like artists who are cleaning rivers or something.
I'd would also like to publish a book.
What do you think is the social role of art ?
I think art should inspire people to see things differently. At it's best it can function as an eye opener and shaking our boundaries in both good and bad ways. (I myself was extremely shaken after Renzo Martens "own your poverty" piece - and that does not happen every day, unfortunately). But I still see that there is a problem with meeting the big public - the white cube problem is going on. And art in big people friendly museums is mostly quite entertaining but not so provoking. I still feel that art is not so interesting to the big public. Well, Marina Abramovic made people queue to the MOMA….so perhaps things are changing.
Another very important thing is that art can give us the space and possibility of experiencing a variety of emotions and feelings and most importantly a breathing space free from the horrors and demands of the outer world.
What place does creativity have in education ?
Unfortunately way to non significant. Or I'm not an expert on this but when I grew up I knew nothing about art and creativity was something not so popular, like sports was. And I don't think things have changed so much. Now I feel creativity is mainly used as a quite empty word…it's seen as a great quality as long as it will make a profit but when it comes to a kind of crazy creativity it's mostly rejected.
Because weird things are scary…
Do you think that by challenging conventional views, art can truly make a change in the public's perception ?
Yes as long as it's not pissing people of.
What are your future plans and projects ?
I'm creating a new body of work for an exhibition in Finland in October. The work feels quite challenging and a bit scary to be honest but that's part of the fun.
In the near future I would also love to organize a live art festival in my village. And publish a book.
Many Thanks and good luck !