Maija Blåfield

On Destruction and Preservation, 2017

On Destruction and Preservation is a film that consists of consecutive stories. Its structure is circular: it has no beginning or end. Visitors to the exhibition in Kiasma can step into the piece at any point.

All the stories are about destruction and preservation. They are all documentary in different ways, and are based on real events, although each one is unbelievable in its own way. The narrative styles range from direct documentary to essay film.

One of the stories was shot during a taxi ride in the village of Longyearbyen in the Arctic Svalbard. The February day was about 20 degrees warmer than average because of climate change.

The scene consists of a guided tour with all the parts omitted except those about unusual weather and security. Because of the darkness and the rain it is impossible to see anything, and the viewer must rely exclusively on hearing.”

Serious matters cannot really be dealt with without humour, which is an essential part of life.

“The other extreme in terms of narrative style is a mushroom sex scene, as a result of which a rotting house gives birth to new life. The narration resembles that of a nature documentary, except that the procreative process of mushrooms is seen from a humanising perspective.

In an episode based on a poem I once wrote, Instructions on Building a Monument, the only documentary element is the view of a construction site in a city that is used to illustrate the recital.

Although the stories in the film are separate, there is always a thematic thread that connects one episode to the next. The water damage is a kind of undercurrent for the film, emphasised by the soundscape.

I really like difficult subjects. How do you talk about destruction so that someone actually wants to hear it? In that case you must primarily talk about preservation.

Serious matters cannot really be dealt with without humour, which is an essential part of life. This film was made possible by the people who appear in it, as their likability makes the topic easier to address.”

Maija Blåfield

Born 1973 in Helsinki. Graduated with an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2004. Has also studied scriptwriting. Lives and works in Helsinki.