Mika Vainio – Time Examined

Author: Colin | Published: 23/10/10

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Mika Vainio - Time Examined

Artist Mika Vainio
Title Time Examined
Label Raster Noton
Year 2009
Design Denise Walther
Music Music composed for installation and performance works
Desktop Download image
Notes I can’t help suspect a dash of Finnish deadpan humour in the placement of the title on the rear cover and its reversal on the spine. Similarly, the portentousness of the embossed gold serif titles is undermined with a very straight face by the edge to edge image on the front endpaper which portrays Vainio smartly attired in a three piece suit and gold tie. Seated on a flowery sofa surrounded by what appears to be ’50s furniture and a stack of coffee table art books. On the floor. Could this be the Finnish noise/techno minimalist caught relaxing in the comfort of his own home? Probably not, but this is surely the sort of deadpan humour also found in Aki Kaurismäki’s films.Vainio’s frank and rather unsettling gaze seems initially to be directed straight at the view, but on closer inspection his eyes are looking subtly downward. The two CDs are held in paper sleeves that blend with the images on the front and rear endpapers. On the latter Vainio is pictured with hands clamped firmly over his ears – a final source of amusement in light of the ear-splitting noise he’s often capable of.

Large images of Vainio’s installations and related details are laid right to the margins throughout. These are dotted with short, explanatory texts. In the middle are 18 pages of essays, discography, bibliography, etc printed on a much thinner paper stock. Time Examined is a subtly amusing, informative and rather wonderful object.

The design is more reminiscent of the approach taken by Linger Decoree and Michaela Kessler for Atom TM’s Liedgut – which makes an interesting alternative to the predominantly cool and modern approach of most of the label’s designs. Both strands do, however, share a tremendous elegance and attention to detail.

Here’s hoping for a similarly interesting take on Carsten Nicolai’s gallery work in the not too distant future.

See also:

Mika Vainio – Sahko Recordings reissues
Raster Noton
Various Artists – Recovery
My review of Pan Sonic’s Kesto


  1. Yet another must from raster – noton …
    Carsten Nicolai’s work has been published ‘in a raster – noton’ way by JRP/Ringier and Walther König in particular.

    Comment by GMA — October 25, 2010 @ 10:42 am
  2. Thanks, I wasn’t aware of those publications. However, not as attractive as a true Raster Noton release…

    Comment by Colin — October 26, 2010 @ 11:04 am
  3. Having looked at this PDF of the entire Walther König publication, I have to agree that it’s very attractively presented. I guess I would still wish for a similar compactness as this Vainio release and an accompanying soundtrack.

    Comment by Colin — October 28, 2010 @ 8:41 am
  4. Perhaps you should try Carsten Nicolai’s books ‘Polyfoto’ or ‘Auto Pilot’ published by raster – noton which both include Noto CD.
    Or the superb ‘Audio Visual Spaces’ exhibition catalogue published by SMAK Ghent in Belgium.
    But I agree with you that the ‘definitive’ Carsten Nicolai’s monography with accompanying soundtrack has still to be published and I hope it’s for the near future …

    Comment by GMA — October 28, 2010 @ 5:31 pm
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