Works by Mikko Hynninen (b. 1972) start out from conceptual ideas. The work of art that has had the greatest effect on him, the artist relates, is Robert Morris’ Box with the Sound of its Own Making. It consists of a wooden box, from inside which come sounds of sawing and hammering. Hynninen, who has graduated as a sound and lighting designer from the Theatre Academy of Finland, has created a personal style that combines the conceptual roots with rich audiovisuality and elaborate stage dramaturgy. This was made manifest already in Avanto 2002, when [plumb] – a group formed by Hynninen and a Canadian art collective called [the user] – presented their sound and light installation entitled Ondulation, which used a giant pool of water as an instrument. Hynninen’s first solo piece Aakkoset (Alphabet, 2004) was based on a language course tape he once found, which featured the Finnish alphabet read out loud. Performed by the Helsinki Computer Orchestra, the composition has transcended its austere, conceptual roots, growing into an imaginative mechano-psychedelic fantasy.
The fundamental idea behind his new composition The Kiasma Theatre, created especially for Avanto, is very simple: a composition with no musicians or instruments, only the empty auditorium of the Kiasma Theatre, the sounds of which are used as raw material for the composition. Hynninen explores every avenue available from this minimalistic starting point: he uses microphones to amplify noises created by stage mechanics of the auditorium, from winches and elevators to fluorescent tubes and air conditioning. Although the composition also utilises microphone feedback, the concert will be quiet, or, judging from the sample on the Avanto festival CD, even serene and meditative. “I don’t want to make a composition that surprises the audience, makes them say ‘Oh wow, what a smart way to make music using everyday objects!’ I am more interested in turning their sights elsewhere, towards being in an empty space.”
Mikko Hynninen’s The Kiasma Theatre in the Kiasma Theatre on Friday, November 19th at 19.00.