Residency artists and researchers

Multidisciplinary art

Huhtakallio-Tarnanen-Visala workgroup

A working group assembled by harpsichordist Aura Visala is using their time at the Saari Residence to work on a multi-textured essay-like solo piece called Consciousness/Conscience.

What is man’s place in the world? This is the burning question that the working group is trying to answer by studying the exceptional life and literary works of the philosopher Simone Weil (1909–1943). The piece combines text (Aura Visala), music (Niilo Tarnanen) and movement (Soili Huhtakallio) through the interactions of the group members. The project began in the spring of 2020, and the group’s stay at the Saari Residence is designed to allow them to practise and hone the performance for its premiere at the Kuopio Baroque Festival on 23 July 2022.

Becoming unrooted and broken off from one’s own history, culture and place is at the heart of Weil’s attempts to make sense of people’s violence and (loss of) morality during the Second World War. Consciousness/Conscience tackles this question of roots, place and responsibility through the perspective of flesh. The piece echoes not only Weil’s most notable sources of inspiration and annoyance, such as Ancient Greece and Rome and Christianity, but also Visala’s own, sometimes discordant relationship with Weil. This is communicated through excerpts of old music that Visala has incorporated into the piece. The text featured in the piece includes both Visala’s own writings and excerpts from Weil’s book The Need for Roots (1949/2007).

The working group explores vocal registers, the feel of pronunciation and the kinaesthesia of playing a musical instrument, while trying to understand Weil’s thinking through the corporeality of playing and singing. Tarnanen has composed music for Visala’s voice, harpsichord and looper pedal. Huhtakallio has studied the physical relationship between a musical instrument and its player as well as the associated symbolism.

Soili Huhtakallio is an Espoo-based choreographer and dancer. Among Huhtakallio’s most important choreographic tools and artistic interests is the interplay between sound, music, performer and choreography. She graduated from the Theatre Academy Helsinki with a bachelor’s degree in dance in 2013 and a master’s degree in dance and choreography in 2016.

Niilo Tarnanen is a composer (Master of Music, Sibelius Academy / University of the Arts Helsinki, 2015) who sees music as a means to find humanity that accepts its own psychophysical boundaries. Many of his compositions are studies of the auditory experience and the meanings associated with it. Among the recurring themes in Tarnanen’s work are letting the form of music be determined by each individual performance, exploring the boundaries between music and non-music and harnessing the harmonies that can be found in the natural environment.

Harpsichordist Aura Visala’s artistic activities range from old music concerts to stage performances and new music. She is a founding member of a musical ensemble called Æstus, which was formed in March 2021. Visala holds master’s degrees in music from the Berlin University of the Arts (2017) and the Sibelius Academy (2019). She takes private lessons in the Taubman approach from Edna Golandsky and classical singing lessons from Meri Metsomäki.