Trojan Horse: What do you do?
Aapo Korkeaoja: I am quite a multi worker. My work is situated in the field of culture. My work consists of producing art events, teaching art, performing arts, lecturing and then I have this farm and the construction works around it. I run the Live art studies at the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences at Kankaanpää Art School. During the summer, I work mostly a a farmer, but I also produce art events such as Käsitekesä-exhibition and Immaterial-live art festival and organize workshops.
AK: I have also worked as a columnist and I write all kinds of things. In my theoretical freetime I build and renovate houses. I’m interested in using ecomaterials such as wood, hemp and clay. This summer we have a tinyhouse workshop at the farm.
My farmhouse is a work- and residence space for artists and cultural activists, run by culture assosiation kukoko.
TH: What is the percentage of art and agriculture in your life?
AK: My work is seasonally dependent. I use about 20 per cent of my time with agriculture and 80 per cent with arts and (other) culture.
TH: What does a word ‘self-sufficiency’ mean?
AK: For me ‘Self-sufficiency’ seems to be a relatively topical concept, something that has long been forgotten socially, politically and culturally. With the development of processes and specialization, people are alienated from the understanding of where everything comes from. What is a building, what is a home? How to manage it and how could it be economically feasible? Traditionally self-sufficiency is perceived as an activity in which everything is done by oneself, even though contemporary goal might be generally organic thinking. It is more interesting when you associate self-sufficiency with communality. The relationship between mutual dependencies and independence is important and interesting. Encounters and helping create a mutually relevant dependence, like in a rural community. Even if all members of these communities are not on one another’s hearts, they are in contact with each other, helping and exchanging information, skills, money and replacing one’s other. A good balance is created in a functioning organism. This is how we can get quite close to a good agrarian culture, working capitalism and happy working culture.
TH: Are you part of a bigger structure like an institution?
AK: Some of the surrounding structures I have chosen, are wider and more abstract. First there is my family, my partner and our children. Being part of a family has pushed me to see it as a strong social structure in a society. Then when I step out of my home I am part of the rural community in Satakunta. I am also part of the artist network, in local, national and global levels. Its structure is loose and changing. I am part of polytechnics, it’s staff, student and faculty structure.
TH: How can schools be more aware of the needs of art world and the world in general around them?
AK: The fine art related teaching culture in Finland has strong relation to modernist formalism. Traditional concentration in the university is towards material, how it has a special character and the artist’s or architect’s role to recognise that nature. After the identification, the artist has to create a form that is suitable for a specific place or time. So, the base of an art- and architecture school is often formalistic. Then what is often said to the students is that the content cannot be taught. Materials and techniques can be taught, but the content often remains on the pupil’s talents. Because of this students are often left alone. In teaching, I think, one should prefer to recall how to study an environment, how to study different cultures and arts, and combine different interests. It would be important to remember that art should not be removed from society and from everyday life.