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Ghent, Belgium


#2 Soft Power

Bombay Bicyle Club (Madrid, Spain 2014)
According to Wikipedia soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. SFMOMA’s exhibition SOFT POWER is about the ways in which artists deploy art to explore their roles as citizens and social actors. For me the concept simultaneously represents an ambiguity and a particularity. 

Editors (Helsinki, Finland 2017)
While delivering concrete results the use of (hard(er)) power can often leave many feel powerless. Power doesn’t belong to all. It has been collected and canned and is being stored for the selected few. The ones who may visit their power pantry daily or hardly ever, but it’s their power panty and no-one else’s. The ones who do not choose to make an extra key even for family and friends, not to mention the next door neighbour who yet again has painted their front door the wrong shade of blue. 

Au Revoir Simone (Madrid, Spain 2013)
Soft power seems to counter its ironclad sibling. It’s like a warm blanket you can wrap yourself into, the hygge of power games. Perhaps naively so I believe that soft power cannot be canned and hidden away, it only really works if left laying around in a public space available for all by-passers. The more people pick it up the more strength it gathers and instead of bringing people down it empowers them. It’s like a pile of shiny slime - attractive, addictive, shapeshifting. 

The National (Helsinki, Finland 2018)
In my teens I fell in love with a Latvian band who sang many of their songs in Latvian - a language I didn’t speak. A language I still don’t speak, but can sing in (leaving aside a discussion about my musical skills). A time that made me learn more about the country, learn some of the language and meet other people with similar fire in their bellies. Many of whom I can still on this day - odd 20 years later - call friends. 

The Latvian band - BrainStorm - and yours truly (Pärnu, Estonia 2001)
I used to be glued to television watching ‘Gilmore Girls’ like so many others around the Globe. The quotes, the jokes, the references - they’re all like the super-short-cuts in creating meaningful connections with like-minded strangers. All this to me is like soft power anti-punch-in-the-gut. The music, the movies, the paintings. To name a few. They all weave a web between us. Its full shape and size will always remain a mystery. The lines running through can push and pull us in unknown directions. Always connected. 

St Vincent (Helsinki, Finland 2018)
I stand corrected. Soft power can be canned, but the moment you take off the lid it runs in its own direction leaving behind spots, swirls and marks. Its course cannot be premeditated and the influence measured with common tools. To those who like to can and store their power and use it with great precision and calculation this is not an attractive choice. For the rest it could be the tool to build a more understanding and connected, curious and educated community. It could be a power tool to empower others around us as opposed to leaving many people powerless. 

Foals (Madrid, Spain 2013)


#1 Decade

I thought that Spotify was celebrating its 10th birthday when it fed me with all those best of and whatnot lists. I was somehow blind to the fact that I was slowly sinking into the sea of decade wrap ups. While slightly confused it didn’t really bother me. Who doesn’t love a good list? It could be done in any given moment. E.g. my favourite dust bunnies on January 6th, 2020. One really doesn’t need a time-ly reason. After all, getting too focused on time is like fiddling with a Pandora’s box.

By the time I realised that a decade is coming to an end it was way too late. Too late to think of an appropriate fancy way to celebrate, too late to fill my blog and social media with lists, wrap ups and inspiring stories. Good riddance. I mean, we are already days into a new decade. 

Firstly, I am not really prone to fancy celebrating. It always looks more fun in the movies. Less loud and more glamorous. Secondly, what if the Georgian calendar loses its prominent standing and the whole system gets thrown out of the window?! Thirdly, what if my decade doesn’t look much compared to Spotify’s decade? Less loud, less labeled and without all the cute graphs. Foremost so ‘cos I have not been collecting my life experience data in a systematic way. 

Moreover, I believe that small uncountable details really build up the vibe of a time. May it be a day or a week, a month or a decade based on a Georgian calendar. Some of those I have collected in my Instagram account (since 2012, so almost a decade!), others are piled up in the notes on my phone. Like the crash hot collection of potential band/secret cult names. Large chunk of those moments cannot be pinned down or named, but they have made me into the person I am today. Like today will add to the self I am tomorrow. Okay, that sounds too... I better get off that bandwagon, before it's too late. But you get the gist. If I could have any one thing to describe my decade it would be a chronological visual list of all the artwork I have seen. Or then all the songs I have heard. Preferably both. I could make stunning visuals and graphs and celebrate like it’s 1999. I made a cake in 1999. It was a good celebration.

Perhaps more interesting are the overarching interests and values that run like a red thread from one decade to another taking different shapes while keeping their essence. For example I have loved music as long as I can remember, but my favourite artists have changed more often than those celebrated Georgian calendar decades. I have always felt strongly about justice and equal treatment, but not always have I given it much attention or felt like I need to speak up. But, the times they are a-changin'. (Oh, that bandwagon again!)  


To conclude, noticing how time passes by isn’t relevant at all. Unless you’re in a business of making cool graphs or in deep need for self-reflection. Let’s bet I’ll be as surprised in 2029 as I was in 2019. End of a decade. 



Hello 2020

In the scariest dark hides a marvellous spark. 
(The Crash "Fireworks")