Saari Fellows September – October 2020

Due to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the first individual residencies at the Saari Residence this autumn are organised in the form of a hybrid residence, which means that some of the Saari Fellows will work at the Saari Residence in Mietoinen and others will work from home. The residents working at the Saari Residence are doctoral researcher Lotta Aarikka, dramaturge and writer Klaus Maunuksela, artist Perttu Saksa (all based in Finland) and artist and doctoral researcher Anthea Moys (South Africa/UK). The residents working from home include author Ayọbámi Adébáyọ (Lagos, Nigeria); violinist, composer, sound and visual artist Sara Pajunen (Deluth, USA); artist Isaac Chong Wai (Berlin, Germany) and artist and writer Catherine Sarah Young (Sydney, Australia).

During her residence, doctoral researcher and freelance writer Lotta Aarikka plans to complete her doctoral thesis, which examines the history of Finnish dialect research from the perspective of materials, methods and language ideologies. She is a recipient of Kone Foundation’s two-year grant.

Nigerian author Ayobámi Adébáyo is spending her home residency working on her new novel. The novel, whose working title is The Daughters, deals with the themes of grief, memory, gender as a social construct and the digital media. The novel examines the issue intimately from one family’s point of view, but at the same time highlights more broadly the perspectives relating to the favouring of boys, which is prevalent in Nigerian culture.

Dramaturge and writer Klaus Maunuksela aims to spend their time at the Saari Residence discovering what an algorithmic libretto is and exploring its potential as an art form. Maunuksela describes the algorithmic libretto as a speculative concept he uses in an attempt to discern the impact of technology and automation on language and the way this impact appears, will appear or could appear in contemporary music and performance art.

Artist, teacher and doctoral researcher Anthea Moys (South Africa/UK) takes advantage of the quiet surroundings of the Saari Residence, while writing her artistic doctoral thesis. In this thesis, she explores play from the point of view of performance research and within the context of her own performance, BOXING GAMES. The themes of her research are power and privilege.

At her home residency, violinist, composer, sound and visual artist Sara Pajunen (USA) continues her long-term project Mine Songs: Sounding an Altered Landscape, through which she explores the changed landscape of her childhood home, Northern Minnesota, USA, utilising various art forms. She does this by experimenting with the relationship between photographs taken and sounds recorded in the region, while challenging the status of humans as the ruler of the natural world.

During his residency, artist Perttu Saksa will focus on analogue photography and the wet plate technology of the 19th century. In his work, he examines, for example, what happens when traces of chemicals, corrosion and analogue photography techniques that contain errors and organic traces begin to dominate the photograph over the subject itself. In his work, Saksa examines humans’ relationship with the environment, especially animals, and seeks to make the boundaries between the organic and inorganic visible. Alongside analogue photographs, he is also working on his upcoming exhibition.

Artist Isaac Chong Wai (Hong Kong/Germany) is carrying out his residency in Berlin. His project is called Re-enactment of Dictators’ Death and in it he explores the memorial ceremonies and the historiography related to the deaths of some of the most notorious dictators in world history. He reconstructs the deaths of the dictators through an artistic practice to ensure that we remember why we mustn’t forget the past when building our future. He studies the historical facts and major monuments related to the deaths of the dictators and the way the public has reacted to the news about the dictators’ passing.

Artist and writer Catherine Sarah Young (the Philippines/Australia) is participating in the Saari Residence’s home residency from Sidney, Australia. In her work, she explores alternative futures in relation to climate change and the environment. She is particularly interested in the tensions that exist between nature and technology. Her original plan was to carry out a project at Saari called Ice Chess, in which she would look at the Arctic crisis and the associated geopolitical power relations through the game of chess. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions, Young continues the project in the home residency. Also, she plans to examine her hometown of Sydney from a new perspective during her home residence, while also looking for new ways of working.

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