Close Watch, a newly commissioned video installation by Pilvi Takala, premieres at the Pavilion of Finland at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland, the exhibition is curated by Christina Li.
The multi-channel installation is based on Takala’s experience in the private security industry, where she worked covertly as a fully qualified security guard for Securitas. The piece is centred on workshops she developed in response to issues encountered on the job during her six-month employment at one of Finland’s largest shopping malls.
Working undercover, staging social situations and infiltrating communities, Takala’s artistic practice exposes often-unspoken rules and norms in society. Exploring security as both a concept and an industry, Close Watch considers how it defines our public space and the behaviour tolerated within it.
“Workplace culture defines the boundaries of acceptable behaviour’’, Pilvi Takala explains in Frame’s press release. ‘‘As a security guard, the role is learned almost entirely on the job, with norms and standards passed down from senior colleagues. In a high-stress environment, collegial support is essential, but what if your colleague is the aggressor? When is it necessary to break rank and how? I'm interested in how control is enforced by and within the private security industry, and how we ultimately govern each other’s behaviour.”
Displayed within site-specific exhibition architecture by Studio L A, the multi-channel video installation will be on show in Finland’s Alvar Aalto Pavilion. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication published by Mousse Publishing, and a website which will host further research and digital material.
Pilvi Takala divides her time between Berlin and Helsinki. Her video works are based on performative interventions in which she researches specific communities in order to process social structures and question the normative rules and truths of our behaviour in different contexts. Her works show that it is often possible to learn about the implicit rules of a social situation simply through its disruption.
Saastamoinen Foundation is the main partner for Close Watch.
The main supporter of Close Watch is the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland.
Other supporters include EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art,
AVEK The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture,
The Finnish Cultural Foundation and Embassy of Finland in Rome.
Further support was given by Helsinki Contemporary and Carlos/Ishikawa and Stigter van Doesburg, representing Pilvi Takala.
Pilvi Takala’s work has been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Pavilion of Finland at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia,
23 April – 27 November 2022.
Photo credit: Pilvi Takala, Close Watch, Video installation, 2022.