For me revolution is emotional and as a happening it is irrational, violent and brutal. During political revolution everything happens fast and we don’t know what happens next. Future looks like an endless fight and filled with unkept promises. The idea of political revolution is to take power from those who abuse the nation and its people. The word revolution is about something orbiting the same route without stopping, so how do we stop the circle? Irony is, that it is what many man-made revolutions end up doing, going in circles and repeating atrocities. To throw over bad leaders to make new bad leaders and bad politics is what for example in Libya has happened after killing of Gaddafi. It is the case in many current revolutions like the Arab Spring which inspired the book in the first place. The importance is emphasised on the event and seeing it, which is a thrill, act of taking freedom but yet failing, to make a nation actually democratic and people free is much more difficult than organising an event or a riot. It takes a long time and both sexes, serious work and dedication and actual will to want democracy and a functioning state to benefit all the citizens. That is a hard thing to do.
Reasons why democracy and peace are difficult to find and accomplish I go through in my book (edited version 2020-21). The most important issue is who has got the power, what does power mean and what is desired of the ruler/s, what do rulers desire and want, why do they rule, how power is used, gained and held on to, what is desired for the people and who are the powerless. By whom are ideology, religion, gender/sex issues, basic values, state and its meaning for the people defined, which society is built on. Politics is a power play and a show, but it has appeared that the ones who truly have power are hidden behind massive fortunes and schemes which can date long back in history. Billionaires are the new royalty. World economy keeps politicians in tight leash and us as well, who knows what is going on when states impowerish and the few collect massive fortunes. The finance world creates empires and rich individuals we look at and upon and admire. We are depended on money, the wealthy and their image. Here comes the role of the consumer, voter, citizen, influencer, social media, the part played by the individual and how impressed and influenced we are. Do we live to benefit our own good only? How much power does the individual have and needs to have? What is the power? To make revolution is a question of existence and rethinking our place and options, how to exist and what do we accept of the powerful. How much power does one have and who are the powerless?
My work consists of written text only, 48 poems and 12 essays written 2013-2014, edited again 2019-21, revolution is constant editing and correcting too. No images are added other than what my texts make which interests me in poetry, how visual it is, the images written are in the brain, and a burning need to do and say something (what would be a better place than an elitist university like Aalto university in Helsinki? the unpolitical).
I began my search and research in a tormented way, thrilled, overjoyed of having this opportunity. I understand what to make a revolution means but do others understand revolution/uprising it the same way, how it happens and when it is just a demonstration/riot? It is going after the impossible, a dream for freedom and justice and is clearly very emotional and desperate, irrational and rational combined, right and wrong. There are many kinds of revolutions, fun and commercial, useful and unuseful, helpful and unhelpful. It is still a total belief in what one is doing and it is the right thing to do, in good and bad. It is focus and dedication. It becomes the meaning for better and worse, something to live by and aspire. As finished, the item, my book, looks like a copy of next year’s budget, it is grim, but so is the state of the world and many nations. I did not want this book to be a polished work of art, nor a clean correct scientific/artistic statement of having searched/researched for something and reported the results, but something to be passed on from hand to hand, the individual level is crucial and to study revolution the idea, is to study the very basis of humanity. Results of human activity are in the news, in the landscape on view all over. If one bothers to dig deeper, evidence is there online. I had to break the pattern of making and saying and learn. There are lots of patterns to be broken over and over again and thinking, I know what is, what has to be abandoned. But then I had to also make something whole, something new, not just to break and put to pieces, but to build, rebuild. One helpful thing was to start writing without thinking about the mistakes I might make. english is not my first language, so thinking in other tongue is a challenge. Not to think what other people might think about my work. My research method was to dive in into the sea of information and try to find the truth, clues and make an image of the world in need of a total turn over and be hopeful.
I wanted to have a go at a manifesto and do it as an artist and a writer mixed with the role of researcher/learner. My approach to the subject revolution is that everything is linked, every action has a reaction and those things happening far away affect us here. Making revolution becomes a difficult and delicate task, it becomes a task of everybody and not only of those far away and in power. Those who have made coups and revolutions truly can obtain power and hold on to it. That is what I am after who really makes revolution, a task for all to think about within. Making a revolution which is not bound by borders of nations and people in power which revolution in real life is bound to. To break the walls and habits in life inside people’s minds and behaviour meaning fears, conventions, prejudices, class, traditions, sex, misogyny, racism, expectations, traditions, religions, superstitions, power positions and finding places for the individual and the nation to grow. This same kind of revolutionary idea interests me in art: how to make art outside the conventions of art and still manage to change those conventions?
My meaning is to provoke to think and act, not only of oneself and for oneself but for the community and for the sake of the mantra of change. Although taking care of oneself is important and part of making a flourishing community. What is the possible revolution there, that may seem impossible, because a lot is wrong, bad and those who have the ultimate power are truly mighty and truth is ugly and hidden. We are surveilled and under heavy rule of capitalism/neoliberalism, money men and women, which seriously looks and feels like totalitarianism and brainwash: how to do anything without means, under surveillance and fear of punishment? When owning as much as possible is seen a good thing, how could the opposite be just as good or better and probably the only way for the planet to survive liveable? It also seems that those mighty ones make us feel powerless, insignificant and small on purpose. It is to enslave us. Our world is filled with propaganda on how life should be lived. Media is the one powerful force, which is difficult to be defeated and changed. It is not luckily one entity. There are unbiased news and neutral reports, one just have to be able to find them. We are at mercy of what is given to us if we don’t know where and how to look for information. I have been interested in finding revolution that would benefit people instead of leaders, a revolution of information and ideas, wisdom and do it yourself at the grassroot. Can such revolution be found in the news online via articles and columns on the net, friends spreading the news and people documenting the events of demonstrations and the so-called revolutions? How to connect with those who think the same? Many current revolutions have been implemented and reported by other than reporters of magazines online as we know and we can follow very closely what happens in Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Iran, The US and Tibet etc. if we wish. We can choose if we want to follow what happens, what concerns us. We can choose what interests us, what makes us choose. How free and individual are we in our decision-making? Social media have become an important way to put activism through. For example Feminist organization Femen has an active online of images and videos in social media of their demonstrations around the world. Change is happening because information and agitation get noticed and is very much-needed. What are the obstacles? We need the courage to do the right thing, the selfless thing.
There is something about the fragmented way of doing and how things are connected, which interests me. It reflects the world we live in. How we put together the bits and pieces and make a picture/opinion of it all. That is one part of what my work is about. Essays and poems which talk with each other, so they have become chapters of this book, fragments that are linked. I have framed my work to grow from radical feminist point of view. It is a feared and hated movement, second wave feminism, diminished by many. Feminism is the ideology, ethical and philosophical ground from where I write and do art. Rights of women and children are my main focus, crucially important to take into consideration and pay attention to in terms of revolution. They are the ones violated in a massive manner. They are the weak and the powerless, that includes how we take care of the environment. It has a direct influence on lives of poor people, who very often are women and children.
Question is not what needs to be done to make a complete turnover of way of life. It is when. We have the answers but are we ready to put them in use in a scale that would make the needed impact? The means and actions to do something have to be implemented immediately, not in twenty years. It means giving up one’s own comfort and winnings for the comfort and well-being of someone else somewhere else.
The book, When is revolution, irrational right and wrong, I begin with introduction to poetry as a political tool and act, which art form has influenced me, the revolutions all around and I have accomplished myself a collection of poems called Irrational right and wrong. All in all in history poetry has been a part of politics in the making, making social change and we can think now, how does it do it, did it. Who is the poet? What is the part of an artist in the world? Is it moving to read stories and texts of people who have been through difficult times, because of their work? Art is to reflect and pass on individual stories. It is about sharing and learning and comprehending. Same goes with music, which is poetry as well, and history is filled with powerful protest songs. Music has played a tremendous role in waking up, inspiring and unifying people. Poetry and truth provoke, because truth can be ugly and it impacts all in the end.
Henna Timanttimetsä, all the best.