What Time Is?

The essence of our time under the magnifying glass.

The starting point was to create a visually interesting and intense, kaleidoscopically abundant work that could be set together with the pioneering electric composition of Jukka Ruohomäki (1947-2022).

What Time Is? places the experience of time in the centre of contemplation. The human figures act as reference points for meditation on the passage and ending of time. The images of war function as universal symbols reflecting the inherent violence in human nature through all eras. The work gives us a chance to reflect on the transient nature of time and the relationship of the viewer to the conflict-ridden epoch in which we live.

The images have been produced straight on film by exposing, painting, scratching, taping and chemically manipulating. I built a dark room in the washing room of the sauna building in our yard. I developed film in buckets. Additionally there is 16mm film material which I shot and developed myself and some instances of stop motion animated materials. I animated e.g. various metal plates, a bathroom mat and an insect net on an overhead projector. The war images are found footage.

The composer Jukka Ruohomäki produced a piece of electronic music called What Time Is? in 1970 with one of the earliest synthesizers in the world called DIMI1-synthesizer desgined by Erkki Kurenniemi. In this work I have used the version four of the piece edited by Ruohomäki from the original master tapes.

An experimental work produced mainly on film to the composition of electronic music pioneer Jukka Ruohomäki.

Niina Suominen: script, camera, editing, direction, production.
Jukka Ruohomäki: music.
Production supported by: TAIKE and AVEK - The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture.

Preview on AV-Arkki Artist page.