RECEPTION: Encounters at gaycaches and in the shadow of stories

During the spring 2016, the Saari Residence has seen more community art projects than ever before: the triennial of the community art, RECEPTION, brought five artists to work on their community art projects in the residence.

Organised for the first time this year, RECEPTION, the triennial of the community art, starts from the premise of interpersonal encounters, interaction and collaboration. At Mynämäki, the theme of the events is ART+INFLUENCE. During the spring, the events will spread across the cities and towns on the west coast of Finland including Helsinki, Kemiönsaari, Turku, Mynämäki, Rauma, Pori and Vaasa.

In March, five artists participating in the triennial started their work at the Saari Residence in Mynämäki. They are two working couples: Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger, Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lindgren, along with artist Olga Jitlina.

In March and April, artists Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger have been working with people from Turku on a collaborative work entitled Gaykätkö (Gaycache). In an interesting way, it combines the popular geocaching with the gay culture of Turku, along with locations, experiences and events of significance to it. Geocaching is an outdoor activity suitable for everyone and involving using GPS to find caches hidden in various locations. You can participate in Gaykätkö by looking for locations in and around Turku that have special significance to the local LGBT community. The work explores gay culture from a micro-historical perspective with the objective of strengthening the local gay identity and sense of community – without putting anyone up on a pedestal or forcing anyone to come out.

Through an open call, Hamm and Kamanger looked for participants to plan the locations for the work, and eight active people from Turku came along. The planning team met around ten times and came up with so many locations that, in the end, they had to cut them down to approximately twenty. The secret locations will be revealed to the public as the work is opened on 28 April 2016. People can look for the caches until the end of the Turku week of the triennial, until 5 June 2016. Take out your smart phone or GPS device and follow Gäykätkö on Facebook for details on the progress of the work: www.facebook.com/gaycaching/?fref=ts

During their time in the Residence, Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lindgren have been working closely with the Karelian evacuees in Mynämäki. Together, Falke and Lindgren make up Livsmedlet, a duo of visual theatre arts established in 2011 with the objective of creating challenging, current, and innovative works using their audience’s views on the environment and everyday life.

In the workshops held at the Saari Residence, they created a shadow theatre production entitled Varjohallitus (The Shadow Cabinet) which incorporates puppet theatre and dance. It will be performed twice near the church in Mynämäki at the end of April, as the evenings begin to grow dark. In the performance, the audience participates in a walking tour of the village, watching stories played out in the streets and windows.

The starting point of the work are the obscured and forgotten stories of the Karelian evacuees in Mynämäki. With their work, Falke and Lindgren want to influence the public debate: The Shadow Cabinet reminds us of the fact that things have not always been great in Finland, either. Finnish people were also forced to flee the war and leave their homes.

Performances will be in Mynämäki on 28 and 29 April at 22:30. The exact location will be announced later on the triennial website: www.vastaanplusotto.fi/info/ohjelma/mynamaki/

At the Saari Residence, St Petersburg artist Olga Jitlina has been working on a piece dealing with identity and the problems relating to its diverse nature.

In Turku, the week of 30 May – 5 June 2016 will be the climax of RECEPTION, with events under the theme of ART+SOCIETY. Please join us!