Freja Bäckman

Freja Bäckman
artist, educator
[email protected]

30 Mai 2022


To whom it may concern,

This is a letter in support of Real Questions (2020-21) 80 slides, Kodak Carousel S-AV2000, used foam mattress belonging to HIAP. Exhibited at HIAP open studios summer 2021. The work was a communication through questions and jointly made between Jessie Bullivant & Jaakko Pallasvuo. I would like to borrow that form for this letter, in the spirit of the work of Jessie Bullivant, by whom I was asked if I would be willing to express my support.


Would you be up for it?

How would you like to proceed?

Is that a good starting question?

Hasn’t it already started?

From which position am I writing you the letter of support?

When did our relationship graduate from professional to personal?

Was it before or after we were neighbours?

Why does one stay connected with certain people after a writing workshop?

What would Chris Kraus think of this?

Are you surprised I remember what your texts were about, or are you bouncing the question back at me?

How do you relate to the people you inhabit the same institutions with?

I wonder if it comes down to attachment style?

Is my attachment style the same in my personal and professional relationships?

Did you read that book?

Does answering a question with more questions feel evasive?

Is the reason for me only skimming the book until now that of my attachment style or the thought of it being my ex giving me that book?

Is that fact true to both of us?

I wonder how many ways our lives mirrored each other’s?

Did you know I could hear your bluetooth speaker powering on/off through our shared wall?

Is answering a question with more questions a sign of earnest interest and listening?

Did you see the make in your bluetooth menu?

I wonder how it would have been to have a different neighbour?

Shall we get back to the task at hand?

Was Jaakko your neighbour on Suomenlinna?

How did it feel to share space with ‘Real Questions’ for hours on end during the HIAP open studios?

Did the heat of the bulb and the sound of the carousel revolving and the slides dropping into place fill the room?

How many times did the 80 slides change over the course of 10 hours?

How would you describe the sound of slides changing?

Is it an audible time passing?

How long are the pauses between these questions for the reader when there’s no timer changing the slide?

Was the timing awkwardly long or short for certain slides?

Did you ever have cherries at your Cable Factory studio?

Can you imagine how I separated the pits from their flesh with a bobby-pin?

Did I ever tell you that I got an apology from the person who accused me of stealing the cherries?

Did the person who apologised read ‘Real Questions’?

Did I only imagine the cherry incident, (mentioned in ‘Real Questions’), being brought to the Suomenlinnan Hoitokunta?

I wonder, what would have happened if hoitokunta had gotten involved?

Which actions require escalation, and which can be solved between the aggrieved parties (or stay unresolved)?

Was it a criminal act?

Did the same question already come up in another form in ‘Real Questions’?

What emergency were you thinking of?

Would it be considered cheating, when I dived from my kayak while it was overturning, during our kayak safety course examination?

Who would you be cheating?

Could you tell that I did that?

Would I tell if I did?

Should I have been saying ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, to maintain authorial ambiguity?

Is authorial ambiguity just diffused responsibility?

Is there a limit to the number of questions, like the slots in a slide projector carousel or the days in summer?

Is it weird that I thought of you, when I recently thought about how we are in the brightest period now and how soon it will get darker again?

How was last summer different from the previous one?

What elements are consistent every year?

Is it the expectations that make the summer?

What question would you have liked to get about the work?

Would you lay your bones down on that mattress?

Can you tell who each question has come from?

Does Jaakko know I am writing a letter of support for Real Questions as a series of questions with you?

What if Jaakko accuses us of stealing?

Did Jaakko get any cherries?

Is the voice recognizable through the wall?

Is this not the place of ending our exchange of questions, in support of your work?


In closing, I would like to underline my uncompromising support of Jessie Bullivant & Jaakko Pallasvuo, Real Questions (2020-21). Do not hesitate to ask me any questions concerning this work.


Yours sincerely,

Freja Bäckman