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Jaakko Ruuska

Artistic Research on the Experience of Disconnection

Jaakko Ruuska’s (1981-) transdisciplinary artistic practice is based on documentary filmmaking, photography & live art. He holds a Master of Arts in Documentary Filmmaking (Aalto-university, 2012). Since 2009 he has been a member of the live art collective: Other spaces (see: https://toisissatiloissa.net/en/ ). Ruuska has participated many of those collective’s performances, including the Reindeer Safari (2011-),  which has been performed until very recently, in various art venues across the Europe. In addition, Ruuska  has worked also as visual artist, working with the mediums of cinematography and photography. Currently  he is a doctoral student of Visual Art in the University of the Arts Helsinki (UNIARTS). In the doctoral  studies Ruuska has developed transdisciplinary artistic practices, experimenting with the boundaries of  cinematography, participatory art & live art, in place specific contexts. 


My artistic research studies theoretical problems by using experimental artistic practices as the method of  research. By the artistic experiments I test the limits of the concepts and push them beyond their limits. In  the process I also test the limits of the artistic practices. The theme of my artistic research is the event of  disconnection, that interrupts the mediation of experience. In the distribution of the sensible, disconnection  differentiates the subjectivities, interrupting the mediation of intercorporality. In the spatial order,  disconnection constitutes the boundary of the periphery, that excludes the disconnected area as blindspot, or  nonsensical fringe (outside). In the chronical order, disconnection performs the movement of  deterritorialization, that pushes the state of connection outside of its place. When disconnected experiences lose their actuality, they become virtual, like the sense of pain in the ghost limb, that is real experience, even  if not corporeal. My artistic research is the attempt to develop performative events through which the disconnected experiences can be rejointed with new constellations. 

The doctoral thesis consists of artistic parts, as case studies for the event of disconnection. My Name Is  Laura Viljander – casts the silenced subjectivity of a victim of the Finnish Civil War into a public memory  struggle, in which the spatial distribution of the sensible is reorganized through aesthetic practices of place specific cinematography. Elisenvaara-Pieksämäki – The Wrecked Machine studies the spatiality of  disconnection by artistic practices, in which the disconnected railway line becomes the site of performative  events. These events study the congruences of railway journey and cinematic apparatus, by transfiguring the  concepts of the railway and cinema. The Disconnected Space is a playful collective exercise of site-specific  writing & walking. In the participatory performance the concept of disconnection characterizes the sensibility of the urban public space, which was exposed to the various restrictions, that were imposed to  tackle the Covid pandemic. In the exercise, the methods of writing, drifting and the use of hobo signs are used to transform the nonplace into a new common space. The key concepts of my research are virtual (Deleuze, Benjamin etc.), disconnection, distribution of the sensible (Ranciere), essay (Adorno), ghost limb (Merleau-Ponty), participation (Bishop), place (de Certeau), periphery, utopia & counter memory  (Foucault). My essayistic research touches on various theories of continental philosophy as well as the  contemporary art theories by Antti Salminen, Claire Bishop and others. 


I write my doctoral thesis in Finnish. In addition, I have held various presentations about the subject in  English in various international symposiums & conferences. During my doctoral studies I have accumulated the skills in creative writing & writing in academic context, especially (but not only) in Finnish. With  background in documentary filmmaking, I have developed an eye for tutoring and giving feedback on the  writing processes of MA thesis or other narrations of one’s own artistic practice. With the background of  performing in the live art collective, I am experienced with giving feedback or tutoring with giving  presentations. Based on these artistic backgrounds, I am experienced with various fields of filmmaking, such  as screenwriting (nonfiction films) cinematography (16mm & digital formats), and editing, as well as with  basic skills in post-production. In addition, I have worked as documentary photographer having basic skills  with various formats of photography & basic skills of image processing. With the background in the live art  collective, I am experienced with various participatory practices and their ethical consequences.

KuvA research activities

This blog highlights the activities of the research unit and doctoral programme at the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki | Tämä blogi esittelee Kuvataideakatemian tutkimusyksikön ja tohtorikoulutusohjelman tapahtumia ja toimintaa | I den här bloggen presenteras verksamheten och evenemangen vid Bildkonstsakademins forskningsenhet och doktorandprogram

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