Residency guests 2018

Merima Dizdarević

Kuva: Sanela Selimović

Photo: Ioana Cojocariu

Multilingualism is a central part of my life and work and the question of language loyalty/disloyalty, regarding my first language/mother tongue and provenance is inevitably and involuntarily significant, especially when it comes to my artistic endeavours that come to be in the realms of former Yugoslavia or in the context of Yugoslav diaspora elsewhere.

I write in three languages; English, Swedish and BCS (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian [+ Montenegrin]), a language I, along with others, refer to as “Naški” or “our language”. I have published a book in the three languages paralleled, but mostly not translated. At Saari I will primarily focus on three parallel manuscripts connected to performative poetry and hence work with these texts in combination with performance ideas. For the last couple of years I have mostly been performing in collectives, but am also keen to develop my solo performances tied to the texts I am working on. Simultaneously, I will be recording audio poetry with lo-fi musical elements based on the texts.

Alongside this, and time-allowing, I would like to explore some more things. One of them is this triad of the Yugoslav, the Swedish and the Finnish, something I would like to delve into on site.

This video was made a year ago, when I was originally supposed to reside at Saari. In it I talk about the above-mentioned field of interest:

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Marianne Holm Hansen

I am a visual artist who works across media and method including writing/ text-based work, drawing, photography, collaboration and conversation. My practice explores how experience and knowledge is formed, communicated, embodied and/ or understood through organising structures, established methodologies, behaviours, habits and, in particular, language – both malleable and fallible, yet the dominant system by which we seek to shape and to share meaning. However, while language continues to be central to my work, I am currently considering how we give form to that which exists outside language: the invisible, the sometimes purposefully hidden, the not easily communicable, the not necessarily – or not yet – known. To date, I have created material works, explored the potential of gestures-as-communication through private performances to camera, held conversations and worked through text-based works – employing repetition, re-contextualisation and a wilful disregard for spelling, orthography and language conventions – to open up, rather than close down, the potential for meaning. Most productively, I have employed the notion of the void – as hole, gap, pause – as metaphor for communicating in situations where language falters or entirely fails.

As I am now at a stage where I am planning a publication of work and texts relating to the project, I am fully aware that the potential central concepts for the project are numerous as well as slippery and complex. However, as I need to identify precisely which direction to take, the Saari Residence have given me a unique opportunity to approach my residency as a possibility for being in, and experiencing fully, the Void itself. As such, I will arrive without any predetermined plan or agenda besides genuinely wanting to see what ‘sticks’ from previous work and research and what new may emerge. I’ll attempt to place myself in a position that is entirely open, including open to the potential that the impact of the residency may radically shift the direction of the project as well as my practice overall. I do not know what will happen but I’m excited to see what will.

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Hou Chien Cheng

Hou Chien Cheng was born in 1981 in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. He received an MFA in Free Art from KASK School of Arts Ghent Belgium in 2009. Since then Hou has been exhibiting and participating residency programs in- and outside Europe. In 2012 Hou initiated an audio-visual, literary trilogy project titled ‘Orchestrating the Borrowed’. The trilogy contains three books – Brown, Green and White. Brown was published in 2014, followed by Green in 2016. During his time at Saari Residence Hou would develop a part of the final episode of the trilogy – White – which speaks of the psychology behind seeking validation. Hou currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

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Maria Laakso

Introduction coming soon.

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Kalle Lehto

Introduction coming soon.

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film author, curator and anthropologist

The Lost Innocence – script/treatment for documentary film.

I am documentary scriptwriter, director and editor. I am also curator and anthropologist. In the essence, the searcher for stories and storyteller, always seek the voices and stories of individuals, groups or communities that stayed silent and invisible.

Searching for the place of memory and past in the present moment is in the essence of my works. How we construct them in our mind and emotion? How we carry memory and past in the present? In my latest film “The Flood”, the topic was the collective memory of the inhabitants of the submerged town. In my earlier work “Day of Youth” it was ideologies and believes from the past that still divide people in the present Serbia. Now, my biggest challenge is to explore it not only in content, but also in methodology by using nonlinear film narrative; not common in documentary film.

“The Lost Innocence” is documentary that I’ve been filming in Romanian foster – family in a space of 11 years. The material that I made eleven years ago, describes the last moments that orphan Andrea spent in her foster family before she was taken by her grandparents. Later, it will turn out to be also the last days of her innocence childhood.

Andrea was transferred from her caring foster family to grandparents in 2007, when she was six. There she survived traumatic child exploitation. After two years of searching, her foster family found her in the bad condition and bring her back home.

The story will be placed in 2019, during the events that follow celebration of Andrea’s 18th birthday and the day when she legally needs to leave her foster family. That is the moment when memories starts to come out on the surface again. Interweaving past and present, film will explore memories and transfer experience of Andrea.

My aim is to intertwine past and present from material that are made in such long period (different technique, I was different as an author, characters changed etc). Analyzing the material from previous filming, I want to explore it as places of memory in the final story.

In documentary film world, no one gives you a time and space to experiment, to dream your film, to be inspired and to cross the bounders of the already known. Everything revolves around the industry and production. The Saari Residence gives that space. During my stay at the Saari Residence, I will research and reinterpreted filmed footage from 2007, explore non linear narrative and applied it in a script/treatment for documentary film.

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Introduction coming soon.

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Introduction coming soon.

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Through performance, installation, and sculpture I create visual cycles that investigate the source of movements. Pedestrian movements: those are the ones our body learns first. But how do these movements develop alongside and amongst other bodies? These questions stem from my desires to break down choreography to its deriving gestural movements. In a recent performance, Sourced, I created this cycle using four bodies which were all influencing each other through visual, verbal, and physical cues. Molly physically communicates to me, I verbally tell Constance, and Constance physically tells Priscilla. The autonomy choreographed into each “role” allows the performers to determine how the phrases change or develop throughout the process.

See some of my work at

I recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts with a BFA in Sculpture + Extended Media with minors in Dance + Choreography and Art History. Since graduating, I have been working with Natasha Kovacs on projects involving communication through physical language, contact improvisation and bodies as transportative communication capsules. See some of our collaborative work at

At the Saari Residence, Kevin Allen Schwenkler and I will focus on research into the development of scores and the peculiarities of their language. Since this is tied with group listening practices and group dynamics, our project benefits from developing connections with fellow residents and with the area as a social space. This research, combined with methods for the collaborative generation of scores based on listening and scribing practices, will lead over time to specific set material for a performance.

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Queerness and mixed racial identities are the source of my movement through the world. My artistic practice is an instance of this movement. By collaboratively composing performance scores I attempt to showcase this. Such compositions make manifest my belief that embodied collective action is the source and goal of all aesthetic experience. My recent piece Concerto for Voice, composed for the Mills College Contemporary Performance Ensemble, represents this. The piece consists of a network of musical tasks expressed primarily via text, each in addition to the shared task of interpreting vocalizations adjacent to speech that “comment without addressing anything.” All tasks, all sounds, and all actions in this piece are meaningless outside of the group atmosphere. So, the overall effect is one of collective sense-making of the musical unknown.

I am a recent graduate of Mills College, with an M.A. in Music Composition. I hold B.A. from Hampshire College in Mathematics, Physics, and Music.

See more of my work at

At the Saari Residence, Lindsay Parnell and I will focus on research into the development of scores and the peculiarities of their language. Since this is tied with group listening practices and group dynamics, our project benefits from developing connections with fellow residents and with the area as a social space. This research, combined with methods for the collaborative generation of scores based on listening and scribing practices, will lead over time to specific set material for a performance.

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