The themes under consideration at the Saari Residence are otherness, feminism and the boundaries between what is real and what is artificial

In November and December, an international group of artists working at the residence will include musician and sound artist Ville Aalto (Finland), the visual arts partners Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell (Sweden), painter and illustrator Juliana Hyrri (Finland), artist Pennie Key (Greece/United Kingdom), composer Enrico Minaglia (Italy), artist and researcher Kira O’Reilly (Ireland/Finland), doctoral researcher Hilma Salonen (Finland) and freelance dramaturge and curator Nienke Scholts (Netherlands). In addition, the Saari Invited Artist since September, performance and visual artist Essi Kausalainen, will continue working at the Saari Residence.

The group is working on a variety of topics, such as otherness, the contradiction between the artificial and the authentic, and projects that examine issues concerning feminism.

During his residency, the Helsinki-based musician/sound artist Ville Aalto is producing electronic bird song and other sounds from nature. He aims to complete a multi-channel sound installation to be premiered in January, the purpose of which is to create a natural soundscape that is as realistic as possible using only electronically produced sounds. He will also be working on a recording of electronic music with electric bird song.

The Swedish team of visual artists, Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell, are working on their sustainable collaborative long-term queer engagements project In Each Other’s Company (IEOC). The company explores opportunities for sustainable performative practices and formats

During her time at the Saari Residence, Helsinki-based visual artist Juliana Hyrri is working on her graphic novel Venäläinen lapsi (Russian Child). In it, she will examine the misunderstandings that lead an individual to live their life in an imaginary reality, as it were. She analyses moments of revelation that make you see the world in a new way. The starting point for the work are the childhoods shaped by the Russian and Soviet culture, that she draws from her own roots and experiences.

The Greek artist based in London, Pennie Key, researches female artists who made sex-positive or pornographic work, focusing on questions such as: What is the line between celebrating sexuality and sensationalism? Both sex positive artists and sex workers are still often seen as ‘bad feminists’, and she is nterested in the ongoing discourse between feminisms, art and popular culture.

The Italian composer Enrico Minaglia is working on his new composition Thin Ice, his new piece for solo flute (Finnish pitkähuilu and classical C flute), live electronics and fixed media. The main concept behind this piece is the idea of skating on thin ice as a metaphor of today’s western way of life, values and society. He is recording a vast palette of ice sounds: all that hissing, bubbling and crackling that an ice mass emits, as it reaches the melting point. After that the samples will be electronically processed and transformed into an orchestra of icy/glassy/eerie musical instruments.

The  Irish artist and researcher based in Helsinki, Kira O’Reilly investigates and redefines attitudes related to the menopause. She is developing a concept of ‘menopausal batteries’ which plays with notions of ‘endochrine piracy’ During her residency period, she plans to, drawing on her field work from the summer months, also process some of the material on ticks and tick-borne pathogens. She is also working very slowly on a dance of mourning, a multimedia work that is emerging as an act of mourning – some of it is movement, some of it writings.

During each two-month period, one apartment is reserved for a researcher who has received a grant from Kone Foundation. In November and December, doctoral researcher Hilma Salonen is working on the non-fiction book Löylyssä naapurissa – havaintoja itäiseltä banjavyöhykkeeltä (Going to Sauna Next Door – Observations from the Eastern Banya Zone). Funded by Kone Foundation, the non-fiction book project aims to chart the folklore of public saunas in all its forms in Northwest Russia, the Baltic states, Ukraine and Belarus. In Saari, she intends to arrange her notes into text and search literary material for information.

The Dutch freelance dramaturge and curator Nienke Scholts makes the most of the Saari Residence’s remote location as a case study for exploring dramaturgy as artistic practice. She sees dramaturgy as a site of a collaborative dialogical work that attends to situations that aren’t only artistic, but also social, political or ecological.  Since her arrival at Saari she has been exploring darkness (both literally and metaphorically) as a space of disorientation and therefore, possibility. Through a certain scotography [her term], a writing / drawing / recording in and of the dark, she engages with her subject of research; the co-creation, observation and articulation of emergent artists and institutional practices that search to reorganise themselves in ways that are not predicated on neo-liberal value systems; but that are for example endurable, fair practice, and attentive.  Among her research material is the case of Veem House for Performance a small art venue in Amsterdam, that manifested itself as the ‘100 Day House’ in 2017. As a respons to limited financial resources being granted to the house in the larger context of massive cuts to the arts budget by the government, it remained open only for 100 days of the year and closed its doors for the rest of the art season; performing a ‘blackout’ and period of darkness.

Performance and visual artist Essi Kausalainen, who began her work as the Saari Invited Artist a couple of months ago. In November and December, she will continue working on two performance works, Thousand Times Yes (an experimental chamber opera to be performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki) and Carnival of the Animals (collaboration with the group Every House Has a Door, to be performed in Rijeka, Croatia).


Read more about the Saari Fellows