Up And About Again

Maarit Suomi-Vaananen (in person) - 2009, 9:49, S16mm, Finland

Up And About Again is moved by motion, laid back in the outback.

Dreamlike images depict a Datsun 100A driving, covered in a thick layer of snow and ice, through a summer landscape. Something inexplicable has turned an otherwise ordinary day upside down.

The pain is hidden.

Film is the central art form for film director and media artist Maarit Suomi-Väänänen (MA). Her work also encompasses photography and installations, including the immaterial such as smoke and light. Praised as fascinating and open to a multitude of interpretations, Suomi-Väänänen's awarded works have toured from San Fransisco to Hanti-Mansisjk, appearing in exhibitions, at festivals and on tv. Suomi-Väänänen (born 1966) lives and works in Helsinki.

Questions with Maarit Suomi-Vaananen by Liz Wing

Liz Wing: Who was driving the car, and how were they able to see?

Maarit Suomi-Vaananen:The car specialist Risto Hämäri is doing a very comprehensive work in the film Up And About Again. I was co-operating with him during the casting, anti-tuning the car and shooting periods. In the casting process of the main character I had in mind out-of-fashion old cars from 1970s´. I had very detailed vision how the car should look, and how the car should be anti-fixed: the front lamp is out, the other wheeler is rumpled, and back wheel must get lost in the middle of the drive, just to give few examples. For me all the marks in the car and snow are the monologue of the protagonist as well as the concept of time passing. Stuntman Risto Hämäri is driving the car with the aid of a pen camera and a monitor.

LW: Part of the film takes place in a grey field of skree. Where is this place? Was it difficult to rig the explosions?

MSV: The first scene of Up And About Again is happening at Rudus Kulmakorpi quarry, near Helsinki. When I first time visited the place I felt it very scary, it is a very huge and vast hard rock quarry. I had a wonderful experience to work with special effects coordinator Konsta Mannerheimo, who did the explosions, smokes, snows, as well as the exhaust fumes of the car. Special effects are acting a big role, since the start of this film was to depict inner feelings with special effects only. Konsta Mannerheimo as a special effects coordinator was in charge of the riggings, permissions and security. I was taking hundreds of photo sketches in the script writing process. A photo sketching is an important tool in finding a contextually and visually viable solution when I am writing a new work. By concretely taking photos I internalise the film's visual world. With the photographic draft I also introduce the work's world to others possibly involved at an early stage. The whole crew was really committed.

LW: The car becomes a character, meandering about landscapes and taking time out for a little self-expression. It's also out of place, covered in snow in a green environment. Can you tell us more about this kind of character?

MSV: For me the car is the metaphora of the people. By choosing a car as a protagonist, I tried to avoid the discussion of the gender. The car has seen as a man, a woman as well as just a car. I am not really a car person. So I went to the every-mans-rally and formula off-road to research the road dust and the appearance of bad shaped cars in the difficult circumstances.

I call Up And About Again as an open narrative, in which a carefully written story and narrative are left open so as to reflect the viewer’s experience. Up And About Again can be seen as an age-coming-story. The film is also depiction of the otherness and alienation as well as dependency and even with the refugee: main character is in the other climate as surrounding environment. Pain is hidden. More about the work:


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