2111 Mission Street
Suite 401
San Francisco 94110

Places, Sounds, Words
An international sound art project
by Sirpa Jokinen (from Helsinki!)

May 27th - June 18th, 2005

How do we find ourselves situated in the world? What constitutes the sense of place? Where do we get our bearings?

In “Places, Sounds, Words,” Helsinki artist Sirpa Jokinen explores these questions through a series of exchanges with other people conducted in Moscow and San Francisco. Some are her friends; others are strangers. She asks them to take her to a place of some personal importance. She photographs them there and, with sensitive microphones, records both the sounds of the sites and her interlocutors’ explanations of their significance.

By focusing on sound, Jokinen pre-empts the presupposition of the world’s immediate, objective givenness – implied by sight – and presents the experience of place rather as dynamic, relational, and temporal. In the distance a man calls out for his friend. The wind comes up and then dies away. A passing skateboard interrupts the stillness of the day. Listening then to her contributors’ explanations of the meanings these places hold for them, these dynamics are shown to be value laden, highly subjective, and deeply personal. A garden is not defined merely by its flowers and a fence, but rather as a place one woman shares with her husband. A street corner is defined not merely by its stores and traffic signals, but as the scene of one man’s first outing alone as a boy– with all the promise and terror it entailed.

Beyond the merely physical, Jokinen explores the poetic constitution of place. And, by juxtaposing interviews from Moscow and San Francisco, reveals these poetics to be socially and historically qualified, as well as highly personal.

Sirpa Jokinen works at the Nordic Art School in Helsinki as a lecturer on psychoanalytic theory and experimental art making. Her recent art projects have addressed topics such as deja– vu and balance, and have been exhibited internationally. She received her BFA from the Fine Art Academy in Helsinki, and her MFA from The San Francisco Art Institute with the support of a Fulbright Scholarship.





exhibitions home | past exhibitions