Few of us possess the physical strength and even steelier will to follow in the handprints of professional balancer Jaakko Tenhunen, but most of us have other projects that could benefit from the sort of relentless determination he brings to his work. “Effort, not comfort, is what gives the most tangible sense of satisfaction,” he remarks in the voiceover above, as the camera captures him supporting his entire body weight on a single palm, his face intense but not at all anguished. Reduce this elegant philosophy to the far punchier “just do it,” and you stand to sell a lot of shoes.
As Tenhunen knows firsthand, this sort of effortful pursuit depends on discipline and daily practice. Patience is also key, as success is cumulative, and difficult to measure in the early stages.
The stripped down aesthetic of his performance does not necessarily make what he does look easy, so much as worthwhile. If you are a fledgling hand balancer, you may well find it discouraging, but for those of us striving to see other goals through to completion, Tehunen provides a bracing visual metaphor.
Ayun Halliday will be at tabling at the Brooklyn Zinefest this Sunday. Immediately thereafter catch her performing the Complete History of her long running zine, the East Village Inky… in song, as part of Brooklyn Brain Frame.