The Band Blow-Fi: Erkki Huovinen and Ville Kiiski

Blow-Fi is the long-term collaboration between speech improviser, video artist Ville Kiiski (Helsinki, Finland) and multi-instrumentalist musician Erkki Huovinen (Minneapolis, USA). Blow-Fi compresses western culture into a stream-of-consciousness mix in which avant-garde art meets sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, without forgetting politics, religion, and the ever-present corporate world, rarely so directly depicted in contemporary art as in Kiiski’s improvised lyrics.

Halun politiikka / The Politics of Lust -poster

"Halun politiikka" (The Politics of Lust) poster, 2009

Developing their improvisational style in an audio framework since 1994, Kiiski and Huovinen began adapting their work into video format early in the millennium. This involved expanding the artistic possibilities by incorporating visual artists and dancers in a free-improvisational production phase of the material. For the resulting video works, the guiding idea was always to retain the natural, real time continuum of these multi-artistic improvisations, even despite the addition of a layer of experimental videographic elements. In 2009, Kiiski and Huovinen created two half-hour works along these lines – “Everyday irony” and “The Politics of Lust”, both presented in several galleries in Finland. Also, from May to August 2009, a mini documentary of their work was presented in the terminal area of the Turku International Airport.

Kaupan ja kulttuurin kaupunki (Town of Trade and Culture), 2009

On the set of "Town of Trade and Culture" (Kaupan ja kulttuurin kaupunki) in 2009.

The largest Blow-Fi production to date has been the film Town of Trade and Culture (premiered May 2011 in Minneapolis). In Town of Trade and Culture, Kiiski and Huovinen return to their hometown Turku in South-Western Finland, roaming through its backyards, docks, alleys and coffee rooms, and portraying a staggering cavalcade of real-life citizens in all their mundane hopes, fears, beauty, foulness, and fervor. Again, all of the material seen in the final edited work originates in totally free improvisations with changing groups of artists, both in studio spaces and in moving environments in and around Turku.

In 2012, Kiiski and Huovinen finally published their first audio CD on Heartbreaker Productions, stripping down the hard-hitting, improvisational Blow-Fi core from the inter-artistic, performative touches of their video work. More information on this work may be found in the “Audio Productions” section.

Forthcoming: In May 2011, Kiiski and Huovinen produced yet another multi-artistic workshop at the CLA TV Studios in Minneapolis. Exploring the theme “Migration” with a cast of American guest dancers and musicians as well as the Finnish costume designer Heidi Wikar, they produced the raw materials for their next video works – hopefully to be seen sometime in 2013.

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