12.7. “Don’t need permission for everything that you want”

“Anything that you want to do, anyplace that you want to go,
don’t need permission for everything that you want.
Any taste that you feel is right,
wear any clothes just as long as they’re bright,
say what you want, ‘cos this is a new art school.
Do what you want if it takes your mind,
better do it now, ‘cos you won’t have time
and never worry if people laugh at you –
the fools only laugh ‘cos they envy you.”

The Jam – Art School

Dating back to 1977, the opening track from The Jam’s debut album In The City points out a certain philosophy of living – a new way of living. With this entry we touch the topic of why we are in Berlin, but also how did we end up here. Along with its informative content, we hope that it serves the function of inspiration as well.

NOTE.’s ethos has been quite simple – to look at history, dissect it into pieces, then look at the individual pieces and see what function they serve and how that falls back into the big picture. Simply put we are running a 24/7 critical history class in our heads where the possibility of learning never stops.

The communal aspect of working together functions in the same fashion – we’ve welcomed a number of people to be involved with NOTE’s projects and what is more important is that people have included themselves as parts of the process. You have to demand it to have it. NOTE’s aesthetics have a signature feel, but there’s no fixed plan – we do not represent a style – NOTE. represents people. Cult movement, hair underground, hippie mafia, a rock’n’roll band – all these definitions we accept, but do not carry them as badge of honours. To us NOTE. represents new culture. As modern culture is over saturated with buying and selling (products and lifestyles, respectively), it is also visible that we have reached some sort of an end.

What is new culture then? Understanding history and interpretating history are the tools, after that it gets a bit tricky :). To claim something as new is to understand that there has been an old way of the same thing. To incorporate new modes into the big picture takes effort, but more than anything it takes trust. All the people we have worked with, or hang out with face the same situation – we feel reluctant to tell you what to do, or how to do things.

To give an example:

As we decided to do The Ultra Moderns, two days prior to the shoot we missed among other things the following: location and some models. Bar Ö kindly helped with the location and we got the right people eventually. On the day of the shoot it turned out that we have very little to no light. We did have a photographer though. We asked Hilla to shoot The Ultra Moderns because we knew that she takes pictures – we hadn’t seen any, but she takes pictures so she was in. So back at the set with didn’t have any lights or equipment, not even a podium for the camera. But we did have the idea what we wanted to pass on and we had all the right people there. This is where the ideological side comes in – the nature of NOTE. is always visible, but through rather non-authoritarian lead we seek to serve the purpose of the complete picture rather than that of our own interests. It is helpful to have someone or some people who lead as leading requires responsibility. In return no one wants responsibility and control. Control is terrible, so how to rid control? Do not presents yourself as an authority, that is the easiest way. In practise it proves to be a hard task, but how we see it – through history of things, is that enabling people works. If you present yourself as someone who has an idea that needs the other person’s input, you have made yourself company. With The Ultra Moderns the aesthetics of the work set the tone, so basically whatever you bring in stylistically – way of taking the picture etc. can only enhance the experience what exactly is The Ultra Moderns. It does not change the foundation. The final pictures carried the atmosphere well into the live presentation mentioned in this article where it was noted that:

“… the Finnish hair industry has never been presented in such shocking manner while managing to be something new.”

The material used in the on-location shoot for The Ultra Moderns as a backdrop is archive material from disasters involving people – from oil spills to control. In the live presentation the vibe of the pictures lead us to use pure noise as music with jump cut style video including among other things Joan Jett being a total bad ass and the history of politics.

Still with us? Nice! The original shoot for The Ultra Moderns was done in three hours. As we have no product to sell, it is fundamental to give experiences and ideas through style and/or the ethos behind it.

Through NOTE.education we have worked to build an education system that is communal and includes information that can be perceived and used as tools. The task is to partially rework the mentality of the hair industry away from the context of buying and selling to one of experiencing and doing. The credibility comes from the quality of work, make no mistake, but who said that bringing profoundly humane elements into play somehow lessens the attraction? Do you work as a hairdresser and feel that all the effort you put in just barely breaks even? With NOTE. we want to maintain the commercial attention through quality and raise the spirit of people by simply pointing out that we can do this together, but everybody has to work for change – there is no space for free rides. NOTE.education has done their best to deliver quality seminars of their own and bring in international education to enable Finnish hairdressers to come to classes and seminars that improve skill. The venues have been chosen accordingly as we feel that in a material time we want to provide something that nurtures the spirit and again allows the vision to be broader.

Earlier this year NOTE. was granted an international funding, a project that had been in the works a long time. Through this project we simply seek to branch out – on the map, but also in the means of doing. This is the main reason we’ve landed to Berlin, the city has an extensive underground history with fairly troubled internal history to match that. It is a place where a lot is happening, but as we see it, we look at what should be happening and dive right in. Through relentless methods of planning we seek to make connections and make them pay off for everybody – this in a positive manner curates the immediate surroundings to have pleasant people and welcoming backdrop. NOTE. intents to host NOTE.Open House in Berlin that is, again something new and something very welcoming in it’s attitude towards people. That attitude hopefully becomes the new normal, until it reinvents itself again with a philosophy that matches the zeitgeist.

This is what we are and we are happy that we are all involved.

NOTE. is ____________