Day 12: Jari Silomäki’s “My Weather Diary” exhibit at PS1 is BTS

I don’t know about you but when I’m wearing shades and then it turns out – surprise! – that what I should’ve brought was an umbrella, my mood can change from Elle Woods one second to Wednesday Addams the next. If you were in the city on Saturday, you’d be right to think that sometime in the late afternoon, I had disemboweled Bruiser and served his juiciest bits on Uncle Fester’s dinner plate. Bend and snap, indeed.

Since puberty, my mood has been determined chiefly by two things – infatuations and the weather – and it frightens me how perfectly attuned my mood is to the subtlest variations in either. A text message sent to a crush who hasn’t responded in 3 minutes (Hmmm, maybe he’s in the subway and can’t receive messages)….7 (What if he’s actually having coffee with a cute guy ?) …11 minutes (I’ll bet he’s totally making out with that guy right now!) can inspire the same agony as a overcast sky with not a single blast of blistering sunshine coming through. The main difference between the two is that boys I can momentarily shut out of my field of vision – say, by not logging on to Gmail Chat – but the weather, relentlessly hounding me wherever nook and cranny in New York City I lodge in, is not so easy to escape. Secondly, I can be forgiving about men being flaky, indecisive and not realizing the second they see me that I’m what they need to be happy. That’s actually how I like it – my final moment of triumph wouldn’t be half as delicious if it wasn’t preceded by suspenseful drama. But when a wintry day sneaks into the official summer season, it’s nothing but a downright betrayal.

There is one man, though, whom I’d let fiddle with my barometer and forecast my atmospheric conditions any day. Jari Silomäki is one of 16 Finnish artists featured in “Arctic Hysteria: New Art from Finland” at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City. While I went to P.S. 1 for Olafur Eliasson’s “Take Your Time”, I stayed for Silomäki’s “My Weather Diary”, a series of photographs of landscapes, locales and everyday scenes that he’s taken daily since 2001. He scribbles notes at the bottom of each photograph by hand, the calligraphy describing a mood, the day’s most memorable piece of world-political news or an event in his personal life: “There is no place for human rights in a country lacking human rights. The Israeli army began a ground assault to Lebanon” or “Parkano, the day when Germany apologised for the treatment of Marlene Dietrich”. The off-handedness of the annotations renders them both a nostalgic tone and a special weight, a value, to what is said. 

In the exhibition situation the work is transformed into a wallpaper-like installation that fills a whole room. (In the P.S.1 exhibition, roughly 60 or so photographs dress up at least half of two walls.) A presentation like this can play up certain aspects of the work – the fleeting mass of days, the flow of the seasons, the shifts in feeling. The composition of each photograph is a study in poetic abandon, the mood distinct, running the gamut from ennui and melancholy to expectation and joy. Descirbing the impetus behind the series, Silomäki said, “The starting point of this work was that world events, personal events and weather will repeat themselves and merge into one large continuum.” Silomäki’s lens captures a world of boundaries blurring and shapes shifting, where you don’t know where your personal geography ends and the rest of the world begins. Sounds suspect, this interconnectedness of things, but perhaps everyone having this sort of sensory distortion might do the world a bit of good.



2 Responses to “Day 12: Jari Silomäki’s “My Weather Diary” exhibit at PS1 is BTS”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Looks beautiful…

  2. I am enjoying your musings very much. Not to be critical, but you misquoted the artist’s words… I think it says that there is no place for animal rights in a country without human rights… keep writing, i’m liking what you have to say.

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