Two men wearing black suits and ties are hiking in the middle of Finland’s best-known landscape. They are Harri Piispanen and Aleksi Jaakkola, Kansallisromantikot – the National Romantics. According to their own definition the two artists carry out performative explorations. The method used during these artistic explorations is a several day hike while wearing black suits. Performative exploration is based on wandering in the landscape, seamlessly combining performance with artistic research.
Landscape is concrete. A national landscape on the other hand exists only as a concept. How can something immaterial be turned into a tangible form? What does it feel, smell or taste like? Can it be turned into a product? Is it ok to laugh at it? And to whom does it actually belong to?
The National Romantics have visited Koli. The result of the exploration is a new depiction of the iconic national treasure: The Essence of Koli, a concentrate of the national landscape. It is the quintessence of Finnish nature – a miracle tincture, a luxurious elixir or snake-oil.
This delicate depiction of the national treasure can also be savoured as a hot beverage. The National Romantics serve the Essence in a ceremony like performance “Koli tasting”. In the performance you can taste a drop of the Essence itself.
Mii Mii: HD-video, 16:9, stereo, 16:48min (2017)
Tuu Tuu: HD-video, 16:9, stereo, 3:33min (2017)
Photos: Aleksi Jaakkola, Mika Kiviniemi
Videos: Aleksi Jaakkola and Harri Piispanen