First guests of the year arrived

The first guests of the year are researcher and cartoonist Hugo Almeida, author Marianne Backlén, clown Gabriela Muñoz, animation director Tatu Pohjavirta, artist Kaisa Salmi, puppeteer and puppet theatre director Outi Sippola, visual artist Martta Tuomaala and researcher Daniel McKay.
The first guest the year have arrived in the beginning of January. Photo: Pirre Naukkarinen

Get involved in artistic museum exhibition dealing with events of 1918

At the Saari Residence, Kaisa Salmi, an installation, performance, community and environmental artist, is working on a new kind of museum exhibition that will be presented in various locations. The piece, tentatively titled Sovinto (Reconciliation), is experiential and ritualistic and has two different doors (white and red) to choose from which lead to various parts of the museums at the selected venues. It is based on Salmi’s work entitled Fellman’s Field, which is part of her artistic doctoral thesis and reconstructs the events of the Civil War in 1918. Sovinto presents an approach that is dissociated from party politics and the two doors make it possible to consider both sides of the story. The content located behind the doors will be constructed and planned separately for each exhibition location with people who live locally and will be tailored for each location. The content could be in the form of an installation, performance, ritual or video.

Kaisa Salmi is interested in hearing the Civil War stories of people living in Mynämäki and the surrounding areas, so please get in touch and get involved. You can contact Kaisa Salmi by telephone +358 40 527 1347 or email kaisa.salmi@aalto.fi.

The other locations include Helsinki, Mänttä-Vilppula, Tammisaari, Kouvola, Pori, Asikkala, Padasjoki, Lammi, Hyvinkää and Tammisaari.

Evolution, clowning and gritty realism of the fitness boom

During his residency, Portuguese researcher and artist Hugo Almeida will be investigating the theory of evolution as a phenomenon of popular culture. His doctoral thesis was on molecular biology and he combines science and art in his work. Evolution is usually viewed from a scientific perspective, but during his residency Almeida will create an essay-like comic using the concept of evolution. The sources for his project will be comics, articles and ethnographic materials that Almeida will collect during his residency. The result of his work will be a 30-page comic book examining the links between science, popular culture and personal beliefs.

During her residency, author Marianne Backlén will concentrate on writing her novel for young adults. The novel will deal with current issues related to immigration and marginalisation of young people. The novel, which is tentatively titled Diamantvägen (Diamond path), tells a story of young love overshadowed by racism and of the magic of diamonds examined through different cultures. In addition to marginalisation, the novel deals with drugs, psychological problems and the idealism of young people and their desire to help.

Daniel McKay, who was awarded the Kone Foundation researcher grant, will be working on his study of the experiences of prisoners of war in Southeast Asia in the Second World War as described in literature. In English-speaking countries, the experience of being a Second World War prisoner of war is still likened to that of the story told in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai, for example. Over the past decade, Southeast Asian authors have written novels that provide a varying and fresh perspective on this subject.

Mexican clown Gabriela Muñoz will be condensing her clown show of three acts into a more compact version that she can easily take around the world. The show, called Limbo, was performed on a larger scale last year in Mexico City. The first part of the show is set in the real world, the second part in a fantasy world and the third part is a combination of these. Limbo is based on a dream that Muñoz had when she was in a coma at the age of 17.

Animation director Tatu Pohjavirta will be writing the script for a ten-minute puppet animation and will plan its visual style and narrative. The animation that he will be working on is a story about a woman who breeds pigs. The woman falls in love with a man who works at a sausage factory, but the love is unrequited: the man is only interested in his sausage machine. Pohjavirta spices up his story, which he describes as a love story between a human, machine and animal, with black humour. The real meaning of the story is the inability of people to meet others, their fellow humans, head-on, so human contacts are replaced with various devices or feelings are redirected towards animals.

Puppeteer and puppet theatre director Outi Sippola will tackle a challenge during her residency period by writing a viewers’ guide to puppet theatre for adults. The aim of the handbook is to familiarise readers with contemporary puppet theatre by explaining the language of puppet theatre and by providing tools to help viewers follow performances. Contemporary puppet theatre continues to be a marginal form of art in Finland, but the aim of the book is to make the performances more accessible.

During her residency, artist Martta Tuomaala will be focusing on finalising the script for her next video installation. Her Finnspinning-Soumi-Perkele! video installation addresses the current fitness boom and deals with the concept of Finnishness through a 45-minute virtual spinning class. The tragicomical and gritty installation presents a fitness programme including rap, mockery and moralistic lectures, wallowing in self-pity and boosting of self-esteem, accompanied by a shared sense of shame. The artist herself is the fitness instructor in the installation, and she has brought her own spinning bike to the Saari Residence which she will ride while editing the script.

The Saari Residence’s invited artist, Hanneriina Moisseinen, will continue her work at the residency, concentrating on her fourth graphic novel.

Read more about our guests