The Burning Jouhikko


Giving my instrument a proper viking birth, through viking death. It was the death of it’s old function and the rebirth as an instrument.

The norse rune for pine can also be interpreted as the word for torch. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to burn it.

In addition, there is a traditional Japanese technique of burning wood as a way of preserving it, as it means that it’s less likely to catch fire in the future and also waterproofs it. This technique is called “Shou-sugi-ban 焼き杉”. I was first exposed to this technique when I read this article. Which then lead me on to research into Maarten Baas, an artist referenced in that article.

In nature, everything is in flux, which creates a certain beauty. Yet, it’s a very human tendency to keep things as they are supposed to be and keep them beautiful as they originally were. Smoke plays with both perceptions of beauty. – Maarten Baas



He focuses on the process of transformation. Using this process as a vessel to explore beauty and perfection.

The ‘smoke’ pieces he produces have a bold, powerful and imposing atmosphere. This is due to the fact that they are completely black, it commands attention in a room. Which is illogical because black is a receding colour. The use of black in this piece reduces it to a tonal piece, as light is the only thing that defines the texture. This links to my notes on colour theory. When the background is plain the purity of the blackness will cause the viewer’s attention to be drawn to it, as it’s visually contrasting to the rest of the items in the room.

This technique exposes wood’s resilience and strength, while displaying fragility and venerability. There was a potential for the wood be reduced to ash, but LAGOM was found.

After the pieces are burn they are all “fixed so that they get back their original function”. It’s only a transformation of texture and colour.

He produced a series where he burnt classics by Rietveld, Gaudi, Sottsass and others. This is a different type of erasure and transformation. A rebirth of an old piece as a new one. Which links to concept of the video above.

All of this links to my research into the CERN opening ceremony. The connection with nature, folklore, history and the use of symbolism. Burning the jouhikko is a process that also contains all of those connotations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.