At-home residency: Noah Kin

In April, Kone Foundation awarded a three-month work grant to 185 professional artists for a home residency that takes place in the grantee’s own home. Through the home residency grant, the Foundation aims to support artists whose job opportunities have disappeared with the corona pandemic. During his residency, artist and composer Noah Kin will be working on his album When My Darkness Came To Light, which draws from Kin’s experiences as a racialised artist in a field where people who look like him are few and far between.

“I’m Noah Kin, a 25-year-old multidisciplinary artist and composer. I make experimental electronic music under the pseudonym Exploited Body. I also run a record label called Changeless which seeks to promote Finnish creators of experimental music.

During the home residence, I have been working on Exploited Body’s first full-length album that bears the name ‘When My Darkness Came To Light’. The album deals with my experiences as a black artist in an industry and an environment where there aren’t many people who look like me and the influence of these experiences on my mental health. Making the album has always seemed important, but in the current circumstances its importance is emphasised in an indescribable way.

While working in the home residence, I have tried to wake up as early as possible and to stay up as late as possible. I feel I’m at my most creative at night, so I often stay up into the early hours, working on my compositions. In the morning, I’m better equipped to make decisions about the arrangements and sound choices for my compositions. I spend most of my day sitting at the computer. I usually leave home to get some lunch, then bring it home and let my brain rest while I eat.

I generally work from home a lot and finalise my compositions at the studio. Now that going to the studio hasn’t felt like the responsible thing to do due to the pandemic, I’ve had plenty of time to polish up my ideas before I finally get back to the studio to finish the album.

Maintaining my social life takes place almost completely on social media these days. I only have a handful of people I’m close to who I talk to every day. In that respect, the situation hasn’t changed much. On the other hand, I’ve had the opportunity to contact people who are important to me but who I haven’t talked to in a long time. I only leave the house to buy groceries and to fight for human rights, #blacklivesmatter.

During the home residency, a calmer pace has taken over and I’ve realised that I don’t always have to hurry to finish things. I let art emerge when the time is right. At the same time, it can be challenging because it feels like I have ‘permission’ to postpone things and then I work on other projects instead. That’s why I try to create something new all the time, explore my own artistic practices or advance various projects as efficiently as possible.

The home residency came about because of the pandemic, but at the same time, world events have made racism a burning issue. In a worst-case scenario, racism is a much more deadly disease for racialised and especially black people than Covid-19. The best thing for me about the home residency is the attention on the fact that my identity matters, and I’m not going to remain silent about it anymore, not in my daily life or in my art.”