A geographically and artistically diverse group of grantees were chosen despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic
Applications were received from 71 countries, and 3.8% of the applicants were awarded a residency. The applicants were different ages, different genders and at different stages of their artistic careers and come from all over the world. Some of the artists awarded a residency come from outside the established structures of the arts. The work plans conveyed originality, topicality and a desire to engage in an open-minded working process that will generate new perspectives for the artist themselves too. Many of the artists selected for residency inhabit the spaces where different forms of art meet.
The artists will work at the residence for periods of two months during the winter season, while in the summer the residence will cater to working groups. The number of residency periods available next year was influenced, among other things, by the forthcoming renovation of the Saari Manor’s main building, which will span several years, and this summer’s working groups and events that had to be postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic has created completely new challenges for activities involving international residencies. The coronavirus has made the future unpredictable, and travel between countries and even within Finland may at times be prevented. When choosing the residents, however, we didn’t want to try to predict the future and focus, for example, only on artists living close to Finland. As in previous years, our residency calendar for next year is as diverse as possible, both geographically and artistically. However, if an artist is prevented from travelling to the Saari Residence due to the coronavirus, they will be able to participate through a remote connection,” says Leena Kela, Executive Director of the Saari Residence.
Introducing three 2021 artists in residence
Next year, the artists working at the Saari Residence will include Venezuelan psychologist and filmmaker Mariangela Pluchino, Kenyan musician partners KiliHippie and BoiBlacc and Helsinki-based performance art group the Bee Company. In their work, they examine issues such as biodiversity, the future, gender and the problems relating to the complex exploitation of animal husbandry and care of animals.
Short film about a night in Helsinki
Psychologist and filmmaker Mariangela Pluchino was born in Venezuela, grew up in Costa Rica and now works in Helsinki. At the Saari Residence, she plans to write a script for a new fictional dance-road movie, which will depict one night in the lives of a group of women in Helsinki. In the film, the young women pretend to be drunk and order a taxi, then abduct the driver and drive around Helsinki suburbs for one winter night. Inspired by Pluchino’s personal experiences, the work is part of a broader project in which she examines visual narratives of cis or trans women and ways of non-binary subjects to take control.
”I long for a flicker of dialogue and silence, and the Saari Residence materializes this setting,” Pluchino says.
Kenyan hiphop in Mietoinen
Kenyan working partners, music producer KiliHippie and rapper BoiBlacc, will arrive at the Saari Residence in early 2021 to work on their second collaborative album. In their music, they use a unique combination of the Kenyan local Creole known as Sheng and English, as well as mixing rap and hip hop.
“I’m elated at the opportunity to fly Kenya’s flag high with this new foray that awaits us! With our gifts we’ll seek to show irrefutably that our people can go toe to toe with the very best in the world. We are really itching to take this massive opportunity granted to us to cross-pollinate the content of our minds and souls with our other Saari Fellows, that we may all leave better off for knowing each other”,” says KiliHippie.
In search of humbler humanity
The Bee Company is a series of works on the encounters between the world of bees and that of humans.
“We are seeking and practising new ways of working and existing to achieve humbler humanity and help us face an increasingly uncertain future. We use ethnographic research methods and are especially inspired by multispecies ethnography, which examines the way human lives are intertwined with non-human species,” says Ina Niemelä who is in charge of calling the working group together.
In addition to light and video designer, artist and bee-keeper Ina Niemelä, the working group includes bio-artist and costume designer Ingvill Fossheim, documentarist Aino Aksenja, dancer Marlon Moilanen and dancer and archaeologist Suvi Tuominen.
The methods of the Bee Company are care, rehabilitation and maintenance of fertility. The working group feels a deep need to do things in a new way. That is how they hope to end up in a different place than where they started.
In a meeting held on 12 June 2020, the Board of Trustees of Kone Foundation decided who will be awarded a Saari residency in 2021.