Saari Residence


The 2024 residencies for Saari Residence have been awarded

Kuva | Photo: Knut Utler

Kone Foundation has decided on the artists and researchers to be awarded a residency at the Saari Residence in 2024. Next year, in addition to Finnish artists, the residence will host individual artists and working groups from Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and Taiwan, among others.

In the March application call, 1,064 artists and groups of artists from 86 different countries applied to work at the Saari Residence. More than 800 individual artists and around a hundred work partners applied for an individual residency. More than a hundred working groups of artists or artistic communities applied for group residencies. The call for applications also reached people in new countries, resulting in 13 applicants from countries that have never before been represented at Saari.

The majority of applicants for individual residencies were representatives of the visual arts, while the majority of applicants for group residencies represented performing arts. We received almost 500 more applications than last year, and the majority concerned individual residencies. Due to the large number of applications, the award rate for residencies in 2024 decreased to 3.3%.

“The quality of the residency applications was very high, which made the evaluators’ work even more challenging. We are happy that our call for applications attracted such wide interest although, unfortunately, it also means that many excellent applicants were not granted a residency. Many practical factors, such as workspace preferences, influenced the final choices. When awarding residencies, we strive to consider various aspects of diversity, such as the fields of art the applicants work in and their backgrounds. Since there are so many factors that influence the final choices, we encourage those who were not offered a residency during this application round to apply again in future rounds,” says Leena Kela, Residency Director of the Saari Residence.

Artists highlighted topical, multi-layered and even painful topics in their applications

According to our expert evaluators, the applications were, overall, carefully prepared, and their quality was once again high and their diversity wide. The applications highlighted topical issues that can be brought to the fore through art.

“At any given time, there are themes in the field of art that artists are particularly attracted to. In other words, current topics are popular and important. This means that practices and ideas that are based on an awareness of this, but at the same time disrupt or expand on it by applying a different perspective, stand out. In my opinion, the applications we evaluated reflect the fact that our way of life, the global situation, demographic changes and social protest movements have revealed how fragile and vulnerable we and our society are. Artists react to this and seek new, sensitive ways of dealing with issues such as our relationship with nature, minority identities, ageing, illness, gender and, to some extent, technology. I think it is very important to support this,” says one of the experts who participated in evaluating the applications.

In 2024, the artists and working groups working at the Saari Residence will examine issues such as trauma, postcolonialism, artificial intelligence, bodily experiences, ageing, climate change, technology, identity, issues concerning indigenous peoples and the green transition, autobiographical approaches and new means of expression.

The people working at the Saari Residence next year will include, for example, visual artist Arttu Isotalo, dramaturg, performance artist and playwright Katariina Numminen and the working group Listening to the Land, which consists of members of indigenous peoples and is led by Sámi artist Camilla Therese Karlsen.

Arttu Isotalo. Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

During his residency, Arttu Isotalo will examine symbiotic relationships in nature

Of the applicants for individual residency, 37% are aged 27–35. Arttu Isotalo (b. 1994) from Helsinki works with visual art, video, music, performance art, clothing and social media, actively combining different techniques. “My works are usually bursting with loud colours and rich textures, as I strive for extremes in my art,” he explains.

Isotalo is a young artist who has never before tried something like the residencies Saari offers. He is looking forward to finding out what the experience will bring. During his residency, he aims to deepen his understanding of symbiotic relationships in nature, which he feels offer great potential for solving our problems today. He also wants to inspire others to take an interest in the subject by using art to show how symbiotic structures can be connected to human activities.

“During my residency, I will carry out part of a mixed-technology project focusing on recycled textiles. Through experimentation, I hope to discover what opportunities a working method that imitates symbioses creates in the context of art. Recycled textiles are the most important material in this project, and I hope to find more of them at the Residence. I view my work as a kind of soil in whose dead organic matter I can plant new ideas, and the results of my work are like seeds or spores, causing new organisms to grow. I’m particularly interested in exploring what it would be like to start several smaller projects and bring them into interaction with each other, so that they can exchange building materials with each other and eventually intertwine. This could also be allowed to spread to the digital space by documenting the stages of work and further processing them using a computer or phone,” Isotalo explains.

Katariina Numminen. Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Katariina Numminen explores what mouth-to-mouth means from the perspective of dramaturgy

Dramaturg, performance artist and playwright Katariina Numminen (b. 1971) represents more experienced artists, who in total made up a large percentage of the applicants, 42%. Numminen, who lives in Helsinki, will spend her time at the Residence writing dramatic work for the stage. She has worked with contemporary theatre, performance art and dramaturgy since the 1990s and has also taught dramaturgy and writing for many years. Numminen is currently working on her doctoral dissertation entitled Dramaturgian keskeneräistäminen (Incomplete Dramaturgy), in which she studies the terms, conditions and performance arrangements that would make dramaturgy more visible.

Numminen’s artistic interests have included various documentary materials and procedural working methods and, more recently, corporeality, dreams, sorrow and time. In addition to creating performances and writing plays, she has authored radio plays and articles.

“What puzzles and excites me about writing for the stage is the orality, the way you write words to put into another person’s mouth. Can this aspect of speech on stage be thought of as a kind of ‘oral tradition’? This mouth-to-mouth perspective is one of the hypotheses I will be exploring during my residency,” Numminen says.

Numminen’s work at the Residence relates to a text for the stage that deals with time, age, learning and teaching. She speaks of “enigmatic messages”, by which she means the way art and education convey more than and something other than what is actually uttered and meant.

“One of the starting impulses for my work has been my own experience of existing between generations. What time bombs do we carry within us, and what sets them off? Which of them do we recognise in our own body? What sort of things do we transfer to the next generation, how do we recognise them and surprise ourselves, what did we do or say? I want to explore the way a person is sometimes squashed between generations and, on the other hand, is a thin, fragile and elastic thread between the past and present or future,” she says.

Listening to the Land. Photo: Knut Utler

Working group Listening to the Land brings indigenous peoples’ voices into the debate about the green transition

One of the groups to be working at the Saari Residence in summer 2024 is called Listening to the Land. It consists of indigenous artists (Sámi, Inuit, First Peoples) and artists from different fields of art. In its project “Electric Lies”, the group will highlight politically sensitive perspectives on the green transition through means of artistic expression that transcends different forms of art. The project tackles the problematic rhetoric around the transition to a green economy and energy production: the group believes that public has been fed numerous lies in order to reinforce certain political choices, and indigenous cultures usually end up as the underdog.

“Through joiking (a traditional form of song in Sámi music), visual elements, poetry and movement, we aim to reveal and bring to light perspectives that are often overlooked or ignored in public debate,” says the curator of the project, Sámi artist Camilla Therese Karlsen.

The key questions in the group’s work are: What will happen to the land when indigenous peoples are forced to abandon their traditional way of life in harmony with nature in order to give way to modern energy production? What lies will be used to convince the majority of the people that this is the right thing to do?

Listening to the Land is a project originally initiated by Berlin-based cultural house Oyoun and curated by Sámi artist Camilla Therese Karlsen. Karlsen will select and bring together works of art that reflect a meaningful connection between indigenous peoples, traditional culture and healthy nature. The members of the group are dancer and poet Camilla Therese Karlsen, actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok, choreographer Marit-Shirin Caroladotter, poet and activist Timimie Märak, joiker Lars Henrik Blind, mask dancer Elisabeth Heilmann Blind and photographer Innuteq Storch

Encounters, insights and the exchange of ideas in the peace and quiet of the countryside

The Saari Residence in Mynämäki, maintained by Kone Foundation, offers artists and groups of artists not only a work grant and accommodation but also versatile working spaces and a peaceful rural environment that provide a productive setting for concentrating on work. Representatives of different fields of art work at the Residence at the same time, and artists are encouraged to interact and share their thoughts with each other during their residency. At best, this can lead to new and surprising forms of cooperation.

In a meeting held on the 9 June 2023, Kone Foundation’s Board of Trustees decided on the grantees to be awarded a Saari residency in 2024.

List of grantees awarded an individual residency

List of grantees awarded a group residency

Additional information

Leena Kela, Residency Director

+358 40 732 3628,