July 13, 2006 - framework: the finnish art review - Issue 5: Involvement/Detachment July 2006
July 13, 2006

Issue 5: Involvement/Detachment July 2006

Aurora Reinhard, Julio & Lupita, 2004, single channel video, 4’35, edition 5 2 AP.
Courtesy of the artist/Galerie Anhava, Helsinki/Extraspazio, Rome.

framework: the finnish art review
Issue 5: Involvement/Detachment

July 2006
144 pages


The 5th issue of framework: the finnish art review is now available. It takes off from the epochal reform that happened exactly one hundred years ago in Finland: The first session of Finlands unicameral parliament was held on May 23, 1906, and the members of the four Estates the nobility, the bourgeoisie, the clergy, and the peasantry approved a new parliamentary system and electoral law on June 1, 1906. This granted all adult citizens equal, universal suffrage and full political rights. Unlike the previous system, the 200 representatives of the unicameral Parliament were to be elected independent of wealth or social status. Women in Finland were thus the first in Europe to fully exercise their democratic right to vote, and the first in the world to enjoy full political rights by being eligible to stand for a national parliament. These reforms multiplied the number of eligible voters by ten, and the as yet non-independent Finland at once left behind one of Europes most backward and archaic systems of representation and acquired the worlds most modern representative democracy based on class and gender equality.

How could this reform occur in the faraway North, in a small, peripheral, predominantly agrarian country that still was an autonomous Grand Duchy under the Russian Empire? Today it is even more difficult to grasp that the revolution in womens full political rights took place only a hundred years ago in Finland and that elsewhere the equivalent reform has taken place much later.

Centenaries frequently provide an opportunity for asking pertinent questions, and this is especially the case with this particular centenary, namely, we can ask: How much have the conditions really changed during this century? How much is there actually space to use our political rights or to change our own society?

Asking these questions in no way plays down the significance of past reforms, quite the contrary, it pays homage to them. It is definitely important from time to time to highlight the milestones in any social and political participation, and their importance, and the history of how they were achieved. Finnish parliamentary reform, for example, was facilitated at the time by mass action against the autocratic regime in Russia, as well as by similar protests all over Europe. Are the days of mass action over, or does the reform still require defence? Do we need new types of action to carry the reform further?

To characterize the dilemma, we borrow a phrase from the title of an essay by Norbert Elias: Involvement and Detachment. These are not polar opposites; rather, they are integral elements in all human social and communicative action, always interconnected, on both the communal and the personal level. The richness of this tension is indicated by the existence of a whole range of near-synonyms for both terms: engagement, participation vs. exclusion and critical distance, for instance. On the other hand, there is no universal recipe for the way that interconnectedness is to be enacted.

Among the contributors is a wide number of outstanding cultural theorists, scientists and critics such as Markku Koivusalo (Finland), Antke Engel (Germany), Eeva Raevaara (Finland), Minna Ruckenstein (Finland), Lilli Alanen (Finland), Marius Babias (Germany), Nikos Papastergiardis (Australia), Lolita Jablonskiene (Lithuania), Anu Koivunen (Finland), Nana Zhvitiashvili (Russia), Laima Kreivyte (Lithuania), Simon Sheikh (Denmark/Germany), Maria Lind (Sweden), Mika Hannula (Finland/Germany), Denise Robinson (Great Britain), Erkki Huhtamo (USA/Finland), Martin Seidel (Germany), Marco Enrico Giacomelli (Italia), Frans Josef Peterson (Sweden), and Vlad Morariu (Romania).

The featured artists are Ulla Jokisalo, Minna Heikinaho, the Anteeksi group, and Aurora Reinhard.

To see the content of the issue in detail or get information about the back issues as well as to subscribe online, go to www.framework.fi or contact office@framework.fi.

FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange
Merimiehenkatu 36 D 527, FI-00150 Helsinki
Phone 358 (0)9 612 6420
info@frame-fund.fi, www.frame-fund.fi

framework: the finnish art review

framework: the finnish art review
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