Residency Artists 2021

Sophie Deligiannaki

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Sophie Deligiannaki
Visual Artist & Curator

During my residency in Saari, I will continue my work as the curator of Helsinki Open Waves (HOW), which is a multilingual platform ( I will carry on the structure of a new curated section at HOW which studies languages as the conveyers of collective memory and heritage. At the same time, I will focus on my art project which conceives a fictive interaction between two poets during the interwar. The project will examine the universe of the poets through their poems, various texts, audio, and visual artworks.

Further than that, I intend to explore the nature around Saari, read, write, record autumn’s sounds and capture the seasonal reflections for my current project. I wish my daily interaction with the natural environment will influence me on a professional as well as on a personal level. I would like to discover the local life and hopefully, this will be an enlightening experience for me.


Sophie Deligiannaki (b.1989, Athens) is a Finland-based multidisciplinary artist. In her works, Sophie often combines poetry with nature and strives to build a poetic bridge between women’s poetry and nature awareness. She is very much involved with bookbinding art techniques, painting, collage, poetry & moving images. Currently, she works as curator of Helsinki Open Waves (HOW).

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Oksana Kazmina

Oksana Kazmina
Artist and filmmaker

The backstage histories.

Daily routine, festive rituals and other bodily practices of some unfitted groups of Ukrainians. Incompetent and loose field study, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2014-2020.

During my Saari Home Residency, I will work on my project, The backstage histories and the themes of intersectional feminism, posthumanism, archives, politics of memory, hierarchies, vulnerable groups, violence.

My residency period enables me to work on the project, share it with the other fellows, exchange ideas about possible scenarios of living, loving and caring. Also, while editing/working on the project, I draw sketches/write notes/walk a lot.  Otherwise, I am primarily working with the computer.


Oksana Kazmina, Ukrainian documentary film-maker, media artist and performer.

Oksana graduated from the Faculty of Journalism at Ivan Franko Lviv National University, the Faculty of TV-Directing at Karpenko-Kary Kyiv National Theater, Film and Television University, and Moving Academy for Performing Arts – Amsterdam. Oksana was also a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Wesleyan University, USA, in 2016. Now Oksana teaches the basics of video narration at Kyiv Academy of Media Arts, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Since 2016 Oksana has been working on her debut feature Underwater. Underwater is a long term exploration of everyday practices of dealing with the patriarchy. It registers different aspects of life and work of three Ukrainian female-identified artists AntiGonna (Kyiv-Vinnytsia- Odesa), Masha Pronina (Donetsk-Mariupol) and Ksenia Platanoiva (Zaporizhzhia)

Underwater is inspired by another project of Oksana, The backstage histories. Daily routine, festive rituals and other bodily practices of some unfitted groups of Ukrainians. Incompetent and loose field study, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2014-2020.

These two projects map Oksana’s main interests and practices starting from 2014, they interconnect and grow horizontally as different collaborations between its participants arise. In this way, these fluid projects expand and mutate over time giving rise to other projects and practices, such as artistic collective OKCAHAS (together with AntiGonna) and interdisciplinary project Body Practices (together with Anatoliy Bielov).

OKCAHAS explores different aspects of female sexuality and pleasure. Film Zarosli, which the collective produced, has participated in festivals Pornfilmfestival Berlin, Tel Aviv Queer Film Festival, Antwerp Queer Festival and others.

Besides, recently Oksana has released the first album of her and Vasyl’ Tkachenko’s music project Serviz Propav. Available on SoundCloud.

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Katriina Kettunen

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Katriina Kettunen

I am Katriina, a performance artist and journalist who has made a home in Helsinki. During my residency, I will focus on planning a new work of performing art that is also an artistic research project.

The work is called Exercises in Gaining Transparency and is inspired by the philosopher Byung-Chul Han’s book The Transparency Society. According to Han, we live in a society of transparency where constant interaction and openness has become an unchallenged ideal. In the digital age, everything leaves a mark, a document, evidence. He also links transparency to relationships, symbolically equates it with pornography and raises questions of power, control and lack of trust: “(A) transparent relationship is a dead one, altogether lacking attraction and vitality.”

I will tackle these ideas and study transparency both figuratively and concretely: as a phenomenon that relates to spaces and materials, the human body, the psyche and social reality. During the residency, I will also outline a “Hanian” antithesis to transparency. I will retreat to silence for a while. I will turn off my phone, computer, the ceiling light and close my studio door.

My artistic practice is still young and still taking shape. In fact, “practice” as a word related to the academics and institutions of the arts is still new to me. I adopted it around 2017 when I began my studies at Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy in the master’s programme of Live Art and Performance Studies.

In any case, as an artist I like “why?” and “what if?” questions. I also like the question, “what exists already?” This may be related to the interfaces between everyday life and art, where I like to roam. In my performances, I rarely present predigested statements, but instead like to invite the audience to reflect on the topic at hand together with me. My background as a journalist and my commitment to the ethical journalistic code of conduct also influence my art.

I belong to the Reality Research Center (RRC), a collective of performing artists based in Helsinki. The piece I am working on at the Saari Residence will be included in the RRC’s repertoire next autumn. I have invited a sound and space designer to join the project, and they will visit me at Saari during my time there.

Finally, when applying for the residency, I mentioned that I would also critically examine the structures in which the work is created. In my view, this introductory text is part of the “performance of transparency” that also permeates the making of art. This text is an opportunity for me to describe myself as an artist and perhaps earn a little more of a foothold in the field. At the same time, of course, I will participate in the marketing of the residence activities. (As Han points out, transparency is often driven by financial interest.)

Yet, I asked the photographer to take my portrait without showing my face. The boundary I made as regards my face is not clear or definitive, but I wanted to give it a try. How do you feel about it?


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Gábor Arion Kudász

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Gábor Arion Kudász
DLA / photographer

At Saari, I will work together with my child to express father-child bonding and non-verbal communication using digital and large-scale photography, drawing, dance, and other means yet to be found. My work will build on the experiences shared with my oldest son with whom I developed a visual dialogue of dreams and hopes during a similar one-month adventure in 2012. The artistic process relies on the recurrence of challenges of fatherhood across decades and personalities, while it will benefit from the uncertainty of place and actors.

During the residency, I hope that the emotional fluctuations of the teenage soul and my midlife uncertainties will be channelled into a positive creative process. There is hope that fellow artists and the community will inspire us to discover new ways. But the most important is the opportunity to focus our attention on each other at Saari.

As a photographer, I search for manifestations of internal processes and visualize moral struggles. My method can be described as an amalgamation of participative documentary and staged photography into a narrative opus, often a book, that embraces a longer time period.

Gábor Arion Kudász (1978, Budapest) received his diploma at the Hungarian University of Art and Design. He often incorporates staged and artificial elements into a documentary approach to photography. In his recent works, Arion narrows his attention to the understanding of the relationship between responsibility and ambition. His work HUMAN received international attention and it was recognized by the Robert Capa Grand Prize in 2015. Arion won the Balogh Rudolf Award in 2012. Since 2018 he is involved in photographic research on the life choices of youth, supported by a scholarship from the Hungarian Academy of Arts. His works are included in public collections, such as the Hungarian National Gallery and Musée de l’Elysée. Gábor Arion Kudász is an avid teacher of photography, currently head of the photography MA program of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design.

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Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

Photo: Lya Montiel

Mauricio Montiel Figueiras (Mexico, 1968) is a writer of prose fiction and essays, as well as a poet, translator, editor and film and literary critic. He is the author of fifteen books in different genres, the most recent one of which is a memoir on depression and mental health that has won wide acclaim in Spain and Mexico. His work has been published in magazines and newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. He has been a Resident Writer for the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in England (2003) and The Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy (2008). In 2012 he was appointed Resident Writer for the prestigious Hawthornden Retreat for Writers in Scotland. From 2011 to 2020 he worked on a Twitter novel titled The Man in Tweed. The late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño wrote of his work: “Among the Latin American writers of the new generations, Mauricio Montiel Figueiras is one of the few, counted on the fingers of one hand, who chooses the most difficult path – that of literature in its purest form, without compromise. [His fiction is like] a burning bridge that only the most daring readers cross.”

During his time at the Saari Residence, Mauricio will be working on the research and first stages of a historical novel tentatively titled No Woman is an Island, which will give voice to Rachel Chiesley, Lady Grange (1679-1745), the wife of James Erskine, Lord Grange, a Scottish lawyer with Jacobite sympathies, during her seven-year exile in St Kilda, the most remote archipelago of the Outer Hebrides – an experience of extreme solitude and utter abandonment that took place in Scotland in the eighteenth century, during the Jacobite Risings, and that to this day remains something of a mystery. To reconstruct Lady Grange’s banishment after what was called her shotgun marriage, Mauricio will use two narrative devices– her own monologues and the letters that she put in bottles and threw to the sea in vain hope of reaching the continent and getting some help. One of Mauricio’s main intentions is to emphasize the possible bipolar disorder that afflicted Lady Grange and that probably caused her violent outbursts, which eventually cost her the loss of custody of her children. Mauricio usually splits his working days in two: mornings for writing and afternoons for expanding his research – books and internet – and making notes.

Creating and promoting literature has become the core of Mauricio’s professional life – he enjoys devising and participating in literary programs and workshops. Besides literature, he’s particularly interested in film and visual arts, since for many years he has written about both subjects. One of his main goals is to help create a more accurate sense of a literary community.

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Sumugan Sivanesan

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Dr Sumugan Sivanesan
Artist, researcher and writer

I will be working on articles, conference presentations, media productions and archives concerned with my project funded by the Kone Foundation:

During my residency, I’m looking forward to time away from the distractions of ‘regular life’ to focus on critical reflection and writing, some media production and planning for the coming year. My project employs ‘radio-as-method’; (collaboratively) producing radio events, performances and podcasts as a means of conducting research and publishing/broadcasting. At Saari, I will be writing texts for publications, editing video documentation, producing audio works, preparing performances and planning for the future of

Sumugan Sivanesan is an anti-disciplinary artist, researcher and writer. Often working collaboratively his interests span migrant histories and minority politics, activist media, artist infrastructures and more-than-human rights. He is currently developing to research anticolonial media and music. In Helsinki, he has been working in collaboration with Pixelache supported by the Kone Foundation. In Berlin, Sumugan organises with Black Earth, a collective who address interacting issues of race, gender, colonialism and climate justice.

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Aliisa Talja

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Aliisa Talja
artist, researcher, writer

I will be working with sourdough culture at the Saari Residence. Sourdough culture is a fermented mixture of water and flour that humans have used for millennia to make bread. It contains a collection of microbes that are beneficial for the body, wild yeasts that occur in nature and lactobacilli. Each culture is unique. Its microbiota is unique, as is the taste of the bread made from it. That’s why bakers throughout the ages have protected sourdough cultures that produce particularly tasty bread. What can baking with sourdough culture teach us about care?

During my residency, I will examine the care relationship between the sourdough culture – that is, a particular microbiota – and the baker – a human being. This relationship consists of reciprocity, preservation, reviving, feeding, touching, kneading, enjoying… What else? It extends beyond the baker and the culture: to the landscape, the earth, the plate, the stomach… Where else? It intertwines chains, structures and practices of care… What else? In my research, I will pay special attention to the connection between gender and care.

My work at the Saari Residence will include baking, performances and documenting my work. Baking with a sourdough culture is a concrete way of caring for others, whether they are humans, habitats or microbes. It requires being present, as well as patience and slowness. As a way of working, performance requires peace, courage and privacy. By combining sourdough baking with performance, I will explore the physical and functional knowledge related to care.

Other actions that support my work are reading, writing and analysing the care cultures that have emerged around baking from a design and organisational perspective.

This residency is an important opportunity for me to develop my personal practice. I am practising tolerating uncertainty. While I don’t know if it is possible to explore cultures of care by baking and reflecting, I will explore the opportunities this starting point will open up one loaf of bread, one reading experience, one thought and one performance at a time.


Aliisa Talja is a researcher, writer, facilitator and artist. Her previous collaborations with microbes include, for example, growing the kombucha fungus into a digital synthesiser interface, running a sourdough culture baking-ASMR session on a streaming service and facilitating a pickle workshop at the Kosminen Gallery. Aliisa has a Master of Arts degree in design. She uses her education to examine social and cultural structures, to perceive them as designed and implemented by someone, and to imagine and organise other types of structures. Aliisa is also preparing a publication on emotions, feminist awakenings and influential relationships in design work.

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Slow Thinking Lab

Slow Thinking Lab met at the Saari Residence in August of 2021. Our aim was to take a deeper dive into our multiple goals and motivations – moored within our respective varied scientific disciplines and artistic practices. We needed to find a common, yet sufficiently nuanced, language, and set some shared foundations for future research. We also worked through our approaches in terms of research ethics. Through intense discussions and sometimes heated debates, we clarified the goals and parameters of our project and with that, transformed our name and crystallised our future plan of action. Thus the result of this residency now reads:

Flourishing through connectivity: the ‘slowACES project – accessing connectivity experiences through slowness’ 

This project is about bringing together scientific, spiritual and artistic perspectives to facilitate connectivity.
The ‘slowACES’ project will create practical examples and models of how to improve our connectivity, both within ourselves and to other living things, through experiences of art, nature, healing and silence. The researchers involved come from medicine, complementary medicine, Sami indigenous studies, art history and artistic research. This combination allows us to combine experiential understanding with analytical approaches. Research outputs will include artworks, performances, book and written articles, allowing policymakers and the public to reflect on ways of improving wellbeing, reducing loneliness and increasing connectivity through non-commercialized practices. The world is at a turning point due to global warming, and the Covid pandemic which has isolated individuals and increased loneliness. Public engagement will be central to the project. Through workshops, public seminars and publications both for academic and wider audiences, we will be able to take our suggested practices to a wide cross-section of the community and help them develop their own customized approaches.

Accessing connectivity experiences with the help of trees. Drum session by Francis Joy, 2021. Photo: Pia Lindman

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Bee Company

In a two-week residency in Mynämäki, we do artistic pre-work and research.
We work on and relatively slowly think aloud what are the sustainable and fruitful ways of collaborating for us.
We call a fumbling Teams-call for the honeybees in Tullisaari.
We count bumblebees and revise the cornerstones of our existence.
We sleep some nights and write a book at that time.
We stay awake the other nights and write another book.
We eat our words and go swimming instead.
We walk a new route so many times that it becomes older.
We write down a fantastical plan and a weak performance.
We draw maps without an agenda.
We make flower arrangements and thought arrangements.
We enjoy summer and each other.

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Pitirre Projects Inc

Two recent events have forever marked the lives of Puerto Ricans. One was Hurricane María, which struck the island on September 20, 2017, leaving a humanitarian crisis that will linger for years to come. The other was in July 2019, when more than a million people—almost a third of the island’s population—filled the streets with protests, forcing Governor Ricardo Rosselló to resign. People reached a boiling point when 889 pages of leaked Telegram app messages were published by the Center of Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico, unveiling a corrupt government whose officials joked about the María deaths and made violent homophobic and sexist remarks against political opponents, journalists, and other public figures. To add salt to our injuries, at the beginning of the current year the south of island experienced a series of earthquakes which left hundreds without a safe home. Based on these ongoing personal and social experiences we seek to produce aesthetic components for a metaphorical visual essay (an installation) reflecting on journalism, disaster capitalism, climate change, and the way in which information is filtered through social media, the distortions created by partisan “fake” news headlines, and how these socio-economic forces affect morality, racial hate, gender relations, cultural production, and personal space.

Finland is considered one of the least corrupt countries in the world while Puerto Rico is accused by Trump’s acolytes of being one of the most corrupt. It would be a radical change for our collective to immerse in our work to develop new ideas outside of our frantically corrupt environment which has caused trauma on us in the last four years. We also aspire to open a bridge for artistic exchange and partnership between Finland and Puerto Rico by collaborating with Myymälä2 Gallery.

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Camouflage workgroup

Photo: Tuukka Ervasti


Camouflage (Eng): The use of any combination of materials, coloration or illumination for concealment, disguise, mimesis, simulation or falsification

camouflage is a multilayered landscape where things are both revealed and covered. Under the variegated surface is a speculative (auto)fiction, where the artist reveals their trick. But not everything is what it looks like.

camouflage, a new work by Sonya Lindfors and working group, examines the act of looking and the politics of the gaze. The stage has the potentiality to reveal and obscure, make things invisible or hypervisible. But how do we recognize what we see. What happens in that moment of recognition when you categorize something as “contemporary”, as “art” or as “Black”?

The work scats with ancestors, slips in meanings and dreams of the right to opacity.

Premiere 19.10.2021 in Helsinki

Choreography and concept
Sonya Lindfors

Working group
Esete Sutinen, Julian Owusu, Johanna Karlberg, Riikka Lakea, Tony Sikström, Erno Aaltonen, Jussi Matikainen, Sanna Levo, Sonya Lindfors

Contributors to the process
Elisa Tuovinen, Lydia Östberg Diakité, Pauliina Sjöberg, Zen Jefferson

Production assistant
Tuure Kaukua, Riikka Lakea

Reykjavik Dance Festival / NREP ; MDT, Stockholm; Koneen Säätiö

MDT, Stockholm

Supported by
Arts Promotion Center, Finland, Svenska Kulturfonden, Nordic Culture Point

Tuukka Ervasti

Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Sonya Lindfors, UrbanApa, Culture centre Stoa

Upcoming dates
19.-23.10.2021 | Zodiak – center for new dance, Helsinki
26.-29.5.2022 | MDT Stockholm, SwedenBIOSonya Lindfors is a Cameroonian-Finnish choreographer, artistic director, facilitator and educator. She received a MA in choreography from the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2013. In the core of her work is the practice of shaking and challenging existing power structures and empowering communities.
Her time is divided between her own artistic work, educational work and working as the artistic director of UrbanApa; an inter-disciplinary and counter-hegemonic arts community that offers a platform for new discourses and feminist art practices. In all her positions she creates and facilitates anti-racist and feminist platforms, where a festival, a performance, a publication or a workshop can operate as the site of empowerment and radical collective dreaming.
Lindfors makes her own and collaborative works such as performances, curated programs and performative actions. Her works have been shown and supported by Beursschouwburg, Kampnagel, Spring Utrecht, CODA – festival, Black Box Theater Oslo, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance among others. She is a member of Miracle Workers Collective that represented Finland at the 58th Venice Biennale.

Lindfors has been awarded The Finnish State Art prize for Dance (together with Anniina Jääskeläinen) in 2013, and Anti Festival International Prize for Live Art in

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Veli Lehtovaara and workgroup

Photo: Samppa Erkkilä – Jyväskylän Kesä 2021

Veli Lehtovaara and workgroup

Dance artist Veli Lehtovaara and the working group he has assembled have spent their residency completing their work called Ikimetsä | Clearcut. The dancers in the work are: Elias Giród, Anni Koskinen, Sofia Simola, Erik Eriksson (SE), Inga Huld Hákonardóttir (IS) and Kevin Fay (US). Their three-year-long artistic process culminated in performances at the Jyväskylän Kesä Festival 2021, following their residency at Saari.

Ikimetsä | Clearcut is a multi-arts performance that combines dance, sound, textile and visual art. The work examines the nature of time and the biodiversity of nature in the old-growth forests of Kainuu. This international group of artists has worked in the primeval forests of Siikavaara and Paljakanvaara between 2019–2021. Riitta Nykänen, an environmental educator living at the foot of the tree-covered hills of Siikavaara, has acted as the group’s guide. This work of art intertwines research, traditional knowledge and experimental contemporary art. In it, facts are combined with storytelling and bodily experiences. The guiding principle is that the forest is always present within us.

With this work, the group aims to arouse the audience’s curiosity and provide them with the opportunity to reflect on the multi-layered nature of time and the importance of biodiversity both as a value in itself and as a prerequisite for human culture. One of their goals is to highlight how the life and temporality of urban centres and a forest in its natural state differ from each other. The final performance takes place in an urban space – in an environment defined by the rhythm of human activity and different forms of architecture. The choreography arrives in the city like a foreign organism. It suggests an utterly different kind of passage of time and bodily existence. 

During the performance, members of the audience can use their own mobile devices and earphones to listen to an audio piece created by Jani Hietanen which is based on the field recordings of the group’s expeditions. The sound design transports the audience into a forest in the middle of the shopping centre. The live broadcast, which the audience listens to online, also offers the opportunity to participate for those who cannot get to the venue in person but who long to make a sound journey to the intersection of a primeval forest and modern dance.

The idea behind the costumes designed and made by Piia Rinne is the recycling and layering of costumes from previous art pieces and unused clothes in a collage-like manner.  The work is enriched by the visual art created during the process by artist Joma Richter. It sharpens the perception and the experience at the interface of the body and the environment and the dance and image.

Choreography: Veli Lehtovaara in collaboration with the performers
Dance: Elias Giród, Anni Koskinen, Sofia Simola, Erik Eriksson (SE), Inga Huld Hákonardóttir (IS) and Kevin Fay (US)
Sound design: Jani Hietanen
Costume design: Piia Rinne
Environmental educator: Riitta Nykänen
Artist: Joma Richter
Photographs: Veli Lehtovaara, Piia Rinne, Joma Richter, Samppa Erkkilä
Jyväskylän Kesä 2021
Production: SpaceTimeLove | Veli Lehtovaara in collaboration with Arts Management Helsinki and Routa Company (Kajaani)
Funders: Finnish Cultural Foundation, Art Promotion Centre Finland, the Arts Council of Uusimaa, Kone Foundation
Residences: Shawbrook (IE), Mustarinda (Hyrynsalmi, FI), Routa (Kajaani, FI), Saari Residence (Mietoinen, FI)

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Translation Mosaic

Käännösmosaiikki (Translation Mosaic) is a group of seven translators who translate literature from a language that is considered rare in Finland. Each of the participants is the lone representative of a specific language and culture in this workshop. The group includes translators from Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish and Estonian into Finnish, as well as the group leader, Finnish translator and editor Alice Martin.

Because the languages of this workshop are so rare that there is not enough work for many translators working in them, the participants have often found themselves quite alone in their work and having to make translation solutions without the peer support that translators working with more common languages have in abundance. It is also unusual to find an editor who is able to understand such rare languages, especially those with writing systems that differ from the western one. The central purpose of the Translation Mosaic workshop is to provide these translators with an opportunity for collegial support and sympathy. Time will also be reserved for free discussion and comparison of experiences.

During the residency, the participants will also experiment with translating poetry in the languages of the workshop. Alice Martin is an expert in editing translated poetry, and the purpose of the poetry translations done as group work is to unleash the creativity of the participants and to bring them pleasure. At the same time, they will learn about different cultures’ poetic traditions and types of metre.


The members of the group are:

Alice Martin (group leader)
Tuula Kojo (Turkish)
Kaisu Lahikainen (Estonian)
Markus Mäkinen (Japanese)
Sampsa Peltonen (Arabic)
Minna Tuovinen (Hebrew)
Riina Vuokko (Chinese)

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Radios are turned up to beat thunder,
translations of the gospel
back into tongues.

CD Wright, ‘Libretto’


‘Tongues’ is the work of Finnish-Palestinian actor, playwright and director Noora Dadu and American writer, translator and musician Timmy Straw, working in close collaboration with Leah Agne (researcher/archivist, US), Ami Karvonen (director/dramaturg, Finland), Teemu Mäki (artist/poet, Finland) and Emily Wells (composer/performer/video artist, US). It is a study of the lived experience of translation across different private, political and historical circumstances and across different art forms, including poetry, music, performance, video, and dance. Collectively, we see ‘Tongues’ as a series of etudes––iterations in pursuit of a whole––that takes as its ‘life-world’ the manifold conditions and motivations for translation, refiguring these as stagings, as performative events.

As a group we will spend these two weeks at the Saari Residence (or, for the Americans, on Zoom) collecting images, ideas, phrases, gestures, and beginning to give the work a form and structure and an arc of pursuit (thinking here of Bach’s Preludes & Fugues, whose beauty comes out of a very dry organizing principle: Bach wanted to explore each key, along the circle of fifths,  and to deal, strategically and consciously, with a range of technical problems in keyboard performance).

Translation, in the work ‘Tongues,’ can mean and be many things––act, necessity, position towards reality, metaphor, medium of relation. Translation conditions the terms of our world together: it is there in law, migration, cartography, belief, love, distance, intimacy, and power; and it is also, telescoping inward, our only means towards each other. If, for Paul Celan, a poem is a message in a bottle, then translation is surely the bottle, or the ocean, bringing (and necessarily changing) speech from one being to another across real and/or metaphorical distance.

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Benjamin Abras

An artist is sitting in a squat, papers of the art project in the front in a large dance studio. Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Benjamin Abras, Belo Horizonte, MG (Brazil)

I’m a poet, contemporary artist with an interdisciplinary approach and independent researcher.

At the Saari Residence, I am working on a performative documentary movie. I base the script on my new poem book Dautonic Garden and my essay Diaspora in Transe, which deal with the reverberations of the affective memories of three generations in my body, target as a black. European, Lebanese and African memories are making this body a cultural crossroad.

The central questions in the process:

  •  How to build transversal philosophical goals about human identities?
  • What did it mean to a body from the subs, how not feel belonging to the stereotype of his country after across the planet in the last 20 years?
  • What is identity out of place called the place for that culture?
  • What is being a human somehow out of the stereotype of cultural approach?
  • What means ancestrality in a personal goal?
  • What don’t we see in the way the others see us, in this cultural layer?

My expectations for this residency are based on the possibility of creating together some opportunity for an exhibition of this movie that I am building, maybe together with other Foundation programs for a future exhibition.

My working methods involve the intersection of languages in three layers: reading, drawing, and immersion in the techniques of Afro Butoh, a performative dance theatre with Afro Brazilian goals. It is a field of research with an afro diasporic approachOnly five researchers share this knowledge in the world. I am one of them, with the blessing of the Butoh Master Yoshito Ohno.

My process in the first month follows the flow of a ritual. Every day I choose one of the poems. I read and dive into a body immersion in the phonetic vibrations of those words trying to open the gate of new memories inside the phonetics of those words. After that immersion, I draw creating storyboards about the possible image for the shootings and experimenting with the soundtrack’s memory of the sound in a performative writing process.

In this project, I invited the contemporary artist Neïs Casasola, who brings together fashion and contemporary art in her production, to build together a sculpture with which I will explore other elements between the corporealities present in the resonance of my voice to generate the movement of this sculpture when the sound of my voice in resonance move my body.

During the second month, I am planning to experiment with the images in the storyboards, studying the connection embodying the voice, in the sculpture, with Neïs making some shoots to see what kind of poetic comes out from this connection in between voice, sculpture, and the memories moving my body.

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Jurriaan Benschop

A person is sitting cross-legged and smiling on the side of a road.

Jurriaan Benschop
Writer and curator

During my residency, I work on a book, called Why Painting Works. Over the past decade, I have written on many occasions about painting and have organised solo and group exhibitions. From this developed the wish to make a book that brings together insights and experiences, and map connections between artists in an era of style pluralism. Painting is an art form that everyone knows, its history going back to early forms of human life, and for most people the first contact with art, during childhood. Yet contemporary paintings often appear as a mystery, and they are associated with a specialized field of expertise. This book will give access to the world of painting, to the ideas and drive behind the work. It will allow the reader to navigate through the diverse landscape of contemporary painting.

Writing this book is an opportunity to rethink the language we use to speak about art. What kind of tone is suitable? Is it possible to evoke the experience of looking at a work of art? Writing about art is not just a matter of knowing your subject matter or history, but it is as much about style, and about being flexible in language. Therefore, I look forward to being in dialogue with artists and researchers from other disciplines. It will be interesting to see where common ground can be found. Even though our focus and subject matters are different, we all share language, an interest in art and in creating narratives around it.

During the residency, I will process material that I collected over years and focus on rewriting and adding new chapters. I will look for the voice (or voices) that can lead the reader through the material, including switches in atmosphere or tempo that are needed. As a writer time is my friend, and rephrasing what I wrote before is an important tool in the process. In this respect my practice is not unlike that of some painters; it is about layers and about creating clarity through reduction.

Jurriaan Benschop is a Dutch writer and curator who is based in Berlin. He grew up in Amsterdam, where he studied art history. He is the author of the essay book Salt in the Wound(Garret Publications, 2019) for which he travelled across the European continent to speak with artists about their work, their imagination and artistic roots. He publishes regularly in Artforum and on, as well as in exhibition catalogues and artist’s books. Exhibitions that he has curated include Geist und Form. Ten Painters from Berlin (Bloomington Indiana, 2013),As If, At Home(Berlin, 2016),Re: Imagining Europe(Berlin, 2017), Taking Root(Düsseldorf, 2019-20) and A Matter of Touch (Berlin, 2020). He has been lecturing at art schools and universities in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Riga, Vienna, Helsinki and other cities.

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Jack Faber

A person is standing in front of icy seashore in the spring time. Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Jack Faber – Filmmaker / Interdisciplinary Artist / Researcher

During my residency period, my main focus in residency is We’re Wolves – an expanded cinema / participatory art project through which we can shapeshift ourselves into Northern wolves and experience life from their unique perspective.

The project aims to connect people with each other through nature, a crucial matter in these times of uncertainty, isolation, limited mobility and inaccessibility to physical locations. ‘We’re Wolves’ suggests instead new forms of closeness, movement and togetherness as social survival strategies, realized through compassion and caring for others. By looking through the wild into the domesticated world, ‘We’re Wolves’ encourages us to rethink our basic values and a more balanced social priority.

The project takes the wolves’ prism as a way to see the wonders of life from a fresh perspective, as well as a metaphor for our current precarious position. Once apex predators, nowadays, many wolf communities struggle to survive and have a vulnerable position. They became soft targets for populistic political parties (as in Germany) who raise ancient fears based on folklore – portraying them as invaders, an analogy for foreigners to be fearful of. ‘We’re Wolves’ offers a path of empathy instead.

I see the retreat, with its supportive and creative environment, as a perfect meeting place for sharing interdisciplinary approaches and collaborative working methods. Dealing with crucial issues, the residency is an opportunity to be part of a productive community and to create a mutual body of knowledge through productive individual and collective activities. It is a chance to learn, to reflect, to grow as an artist, to share ideas and new knowledge while fostering new professional relationships and future collaborations.

I expect to be inspired by the place and its inhabitants, to experience its new environment and how my artistic practice is developed and reacted to by my peer participants and professionals working in the residence – while in process.

By enabling us to experience the life of other species that share our place of existence, we can better understand our mutual relations as well as the great importance of treating nature and its inhabitants with respect and equality. Creating such an emphatic link is invaluable to our sustainability and shared responsibility as a society.
I’m aiming at creating such a link through various methods including the Exploration of acoustic, cinematic and Virtual spaces as artistic expressions and advanced therapeutic platforms, field recordings, documenting, peer Feedback, re-appropriation, investigation of acoustic ecologies, researching togetherness and closeness as artistic strategies.

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Eva Neklyaeva

Eva Neklayeva is leaning on a counter. Photo: Valtenrina Bianchi

Photo: Valentina Bianchi

Eva Neklyaeva

Eva Neklyaeva is a curator based between Helsinki and Milano. The focus for the residency is creating time and space for writing a handbook for curatorial practice in the performing arts.

In addition to this, Eva is launching the new curatorial project “Samara” – performances by post that was conceived during the previous residency supported by Kone Foundation. She is also a co-curator for the 2021 edition of Spielart in Munich and teaches curating in performing art in Arts Universities of Helsinki, Stockholm, Reykjavik and Venice.

Her previous positions include guest curator for Vooruit arts center, Ghent with a multidisciplinary arts program “With Pleasure” in 2019.

In 2017-2019 Eva was the Artistic Co-Director of Santarcangelo Festival. Founded in 1971, Santarcangelo is the oldest Italian festival dedicated to contemporary performing arts, with an audience of 25.000.

Before that, she worked as the Director of Checkpoint Helsinki (2015), an institution focusing on producing large scale site- and context-specific public art projects, and Baltic Circle Festival (2009-2014), as well as theatre producer at Korjaamo (2007-2008).

Eva holds MA in Arts Management and BA in Art Criticism. For her work, she received two TINFO awards for innovation in the theatre field as well Finnish PEN’s Freedom of Speech award.


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Nastja Säde Rönkkö

Nastja Säde Rönkkö is sitting behind the desk. Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Nastja Säde Rönkkö, media artist

At Saari Residence, I will be working on the scripts for my new video installations. During my residency, I will ponder the role and importance of text and writing in artistic work in more depth. Through my writing, I explore eco-anxiety, the future of the planet, crises and surviving them, the importance of slowness, finding alternatives, community, ecology, power relationships, listening, humanity, and the relationship between all these themes and the digital age. My video scripts borrow their form from poetry and songwriting. During the residency, I also want to see if it would be possible for my texts to serve as independent works, such as poems or books. My expectation for the residency is to have peaceful working conditions that allow me to focus on my writing and the associated work and investigation of the subject.


Nastja Säde Rönkkö has been active in the international art scene since 2005. Rönkkö’s works have been widely displayed in private and group exhibitions, at festivals and biennials both in Finland and abroad. In recent years, she has participated in exhibitions at Kiasma, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, FACT Liverpool, the Sydney Opera House, the Somerset House in London and the UCCA Dune Art Museum in China. Among her latest solo exhibitions is for those yet to be at EMMA, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (2020). In 2019, Rönkkö was selected as the Finnish Young Artist of the Year. In addition to the scholarship and the publication of her book, the award included solo exhibitions at the Tampere Art Museum and Aboa Vetus Ars Nova in Turku.

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Tanja Tiekso

Tanja Tiekso is standing in a pale light of sun in the spring. Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Tanja Tiekso, Ph.D., researcher and artist

At the Saari Residence, I will work on my artistic research project and its three vocal performances that examine experimental composition, as well as the associated research article on silence. I will also work on my book of essays which will be published in February 2022 (Kustantamo S&S).

At the moment, I’m particularly interested in the possible histories of eco-feminist philosophy of art and the thinking related to it, especially the Renaissance concepts of the relationship between women and animals. I’m also fascinated by medieval bestiaries and herbariums, as well as by post-structural animal philosophies.

Both when writing and composing/listening, I explore the boundaries of knowledge. When writing, these boundaries are perceived in relation to things and beings seen and experienced, whereas when composing/listening, the search is directed towards internal experiences, the composer’s intent and what meaning composing can hold in general when human-centred thinking is abandoned.


Tanja Tiekso is a researcher and artist who specialises in the philosophy and techniques of experimental composition, as well as in avant-garde theory and history. Tiekso received her doctorate in experimental music from the University of Helsinki’s Musicology programme in 2013. She has a certificate in deep listening, a method developed by American composer Pauline Oliveros, from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY, USA, 2018). Tiekso has previously worked as a researcher at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki and at Columbia University (NY, USA). Currently, she is a researcher at the Performing Arts Research Centre of Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy in a project funded by Kone Foundation, called Autiomaiden äänet: kokeellinen säveltäminen hiljaisuuden jälkeen(Desert Sounds: Experimental Composition after Silence, 2019–2022).


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Alejandro Valencia-Tobon

Photo: RI Velez-Ruiz

Alejandro Valencia-Tobon, PhD
artist, biologist, anthropologist

Based on artistic, biological and anthropological evidence gathered throughout previous interdisciplinary projects in rainforest ecosystems in Colombia, during this residency programme, I aim to reveal that bioacoustic data, sound recordings and participatory art can offer a way to enact the multiplicity of relations between humans and non-humans as multispecies entanglement, while at the same time translating scientific knowledge into the public domain. The main product of the residency will be a series of public art strategies (textual, sonic and visual) that simultaneously reveal biological, social and artistic perspectives to encourage creative dialogues and appreciations of biodiversity.

I believe that simultaneously promoting academic, cultural and artistic research is key to drive social change. The Saari Residence is an excellent opportunity for me to develop bold initiatives around new critical and aesthetic engagements with nature. I aim to show how, in disciplinary terms ‘biodiversity, ‘public art’ or ‘bioacoustics’ are inherently valuable. Still, when combined, in the context of a bio-rich, post-conflict-landscape Colombia, they can produce new relations, expertise and development opportunities.

I deploy multi-modal practices of participatory sound recording and process-based art to translate science methods of tracing, sampling, recording and analysing species into sensory ‘ways of knowing’ to address the threats to biodiversity. For example, at the moment, I coordinate the work of Cucusonic (, a multidisciplinary network interested in exploring how acoustic and ultrasonic vocalisation records can be used to promote change in people to appreciate animals like frogs and bats as living beings with extraordinary capabilities, rather than simply seeing them as despised animals.

I work at the intersection of public art and biological science, drawing on a combination of participatory methods and sonic and visual (film) modes of representation to translate urgent questions about the natural world into social action. I conceptualise public art and participatory strategies for understanding the diversity of relation between humans and non-humans. With a background in biological sciences at the University of Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia), I received a Master of Arts degree in Visual Anthropology with Sensory Media in 2012 and a PhD in Social Anthropology with Visual Media in 2016, both from the University of Manchester (UK). 

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BoiBlacc, recording artist

During this residency period, I’ll be working on a single theme – introspection.

I am looking forward to a mentoring programme that will help improve my artistic skillset, and I expect to connect with like-minded creatives and not only share but also learn from our collective experiences, adding to and tapping into the creative opportunities presented by taking part in the home residency programme.

My working process involves, but is not limited to, collaboration with fellow songwriters and use of reference tracks for purposes of illustration and research. These are usually my most effective techniques when writing.


BoiBlacc is a producer and recording artist from Buruburu, Eastern Nairobi, Kenya, and a living embodiment of his work that fits seamlessly in this digital age while touching on the large influence that the Golden Age of Hip-hop has had on him. He has been producing music since 2017, with the most notable collaborative appearances being on KiliHippie’s mixtape ‘Beloved B-Sides’ and the latter debut album ‘Hii Si Demo’. In 2020 BoiBlacc released his debut album ‘The Blacc Circle’ produced by KiliHippie. Using a unique combination of Sheng’ (a local Kenyan creole) and English, BoiBlacc weaves together tales of struggle and hope that command the attention of any audience.

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Leif Holmstrand

Leif Holmstrand
Artist, writer and musician

I am writing a novel, my fourth, dealing with secular magic, queer and partially psychotic shamanistic rituals/games/objects and prostitution, also about deleted friendship narratives, loss, and alternative family structures. The most important theme of the novel is weird joy, joy in the field of possibilities that being broken might provide. I have no intention of completing this novel during the residency, but I want key scenes to achieve structure and shape. What I really want to complete during the residency is a series of art objects (sculptures, images, props for rituals), text sound compositions, short films/video pieces, et cetera, all feeding upon the material provided by my growing novel and research.

The themes in my working during this residency are rituals, ceremonies, happenings, secular magic, totemistic objects and images, non-straight experiences of prostitution, of psychosis, of selling sex and queer friendship and queer love.

I expect from my residency period to get input, new angles and perspectives, solutions for art object production and exchange of experience.

My working methods are diverse: often my writing starts outside language with physical work in the studio – thinking with the hands. The opposite is, though, also plausible: many of my art pieces or happenings start as written text.

Leif Holmstrand (SE) was educated at Malmö Art Academy from 1997 to 2002, and then joined the school’s Post-graduate programme in Critical Studies in 2002–03. Holmstrand is a non-straight writer, musician, and artist whose work has been shown in Vladivostok, Seoul, Tokyo, etc. His approach is ritualistic and expansive, rooted in harsh bodily experiences and a psychedelic view of materials and techniques. 

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Elina Juopperi

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Elina Juopperi, visual artist

At the Saari Residence, I will return to drawing. I will use the flood of images on the Internet as my source material, focusing in particular on the landscape and the images provided by map and satellite services. I will travel on the Internet. In my work, I’m interested in the pain points of society, and this way of thinking follows with me and gets reflected in my drawings. I’m particularly interested in breaking points, or points where a seemingly peaceful landscape is, in reality, a stage for something destructive or questionable or for a conflict of some kind, the source of the conflict or where the landscape has been dramatically moulded to meet the narrow-minded needs of humans. I try to sketch out the traces, consequences or open questions that we leave behind in the landscape, nature or in society. The flood of information on the Internet is often contradictory, noisy; I don’t expect to create a straightforward path leading to a clear analysis in my drawings. I will mix the footage I print out from the Internet with my drawings. I will experiment.


Elina Juopperi is an artist from Northern Finland. They studied visual arts at the Paris Cergy National Graduate School of Art in France, graduating with a master’s degree in art, i.e. a DNSEP diploma, in 2005.

Juopperi considers themself as a documentary artist. In their works, they deal with issues such as nature, culture and world news, often interweaving they themes together into works whose message, instead of being preachy, leaves room for the viewer’s experience. Juopperi uses several techniques in their work, including photography, video, drawing, collecting and installation. Their works have been shown, for example, in Finland in the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida in Inari, Korundi in Rovaniemi and Kajaani Art Museum, as well as in la Galerie Noisy-le-sec in France, Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico, Lesjöfors Museum in Sweden and Arte Actual Flacso in Quito, Ecuador. Juopperi’s work has been made possible by grants they has received from Kone Foundation, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, etc.

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Hip-hop music producer and artist

I’m KiliHippie. I’m a hip-hop music producer and artist from Nairobi, Kenya, here to work on The Blacc Canvas with work partner and musical soul mate, BoiBlacc. The Blacc Canvas is a follow up to The Blacc Circle, which is available on all streaming platforms.

Our music is rooted in finding truth and reflecting it so that it may nourish the lives of those whose ears it finds. It’s naturally introspective art that’s guided by God through an inward journey. The result is a uniqueness of lyrics and sound that shows itself naturally and effortlessly.

I’m expecting to learn different perspectives to approach my way of making my own art even beyond The Blacc Canvas. I hope to understand the different contexts that my Saari Fellows come from and use that as inspiration to be more open-minded to humanity as a whole, with the expectation that the knowledge this evokes in me will make me a better human being first, then a better artist and musician.

I treat my artistic endeavours as someone dedicated to an 8 to 5 job would treat their work. This is because my mind tends to desire structure and to understand my environment; it also helps me make the most of my day as the schedule I adhere to keeps me productive. True to my hip-hop roots, I sample obscure music the world over to make my beats that I then share with the writers and vocalists I work with. I spend my days year-round making and mixing beats – a continuous cycle of working on different kinds of projects with rappers and singers and working to fit my duties as a mixing and mastering engineer into my schedule. It can be gruelling, and I work hard, but what I do never really feels like work to me.


KiliHippie is a hip-hop and R&B producer from Kilimani, Nairobi, Kenya, and an alien in his own right who makes music that fits seamlessly in this digital age while touching on the large influence the Golden Age of Hip-hop has had on him. He has been producing for three years and released his first project ‘Tending to Infinity: 1’ in June 2017, just 3 months into his self-taught production journey. He considers himself a ‘late-bloomer’ to the music scene as a creator and contributor, but has had a deep connection with music since childhood. His ‘aha’ moment came when he dropped out of university in 2017, a turning point he considers as a divine awakening!

KiliHippie is influenced above all by the greats of hip-hop production J. Dilla and 9th Wonder. He puts it best, ‘Picture it. If 9th Wonder & J. Dilla had a baby and that baby made classic Hip-hop that moves with the times. That’s me. I’m that baby.’ His lush sound is characterised by idyllic samples backed by fat, crisp drums, while the vocalists he works with display sharp lyricism that reflects their thought-provoking poetry.

KiliHippie has kept the music coming with numerous releases. His latest EP, ‘1447, Vol. 1’, with Nairobi rapper The Swamiii, captures his sound in its prime. This sits pretty alongside his other 2020 release, ‘The Blacc Circle’ with BoiBlacc as well as his 2019 EP and album releases, ‘Beloved BSides’ and ‘Hii Si Demo’. He describes himself as an artist subservient to the art, and the beauty this approach brings is exemplified in these aforementioned bodies of work.

He is a recipient of the ‘Goethe Talents Scholarship’, an annual music scholarship organised by the Goethe-Institut, as well as an upcoming ‘Saari Fellow’ of Kone Foundation, where he will occupy a residency in Mynämäki, Finland, in January and February 2021 alongside his musical soul mate BoiBlacc.

KiliHippie continues recording and writing music every day while exploring further creative expression as a music entrepreneur attempting to go above and beyond where those before him have yet to. His is a mission to inspire!

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Meeri Pulakka

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Meeri Pulakka

I’m a classical singer, a soprano, living in Helsinki. My work includes a lot of Baroque and contemporary music, and I also love performing lieder and opera. What I love the most about being a singer is the variety, collaboration with other musicians and composers and the insights great music provides. I’m currently particularly interested in implementing a solo performance and exploring the instrumental possibilities of sound.

During the residency, I will work on a solo soprano concert programme consisting of contemporary compositions. I will rehearse the pieces in it and prepare a concert out of them that will combine sound and movement into a comprehensive performance. At the Saari Residence, I will find the right ways for me to work that will broaden my artistic expression and also explore the themes arising from the pieces as part of my rehearsal process. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the other residents and look forward to an exceptionally good opportunity to focus and delve deeper into my own, independent work in the peaceful and inspiring surroundings of the Saari Residence.


Soprano Meeri Pulakka’s versatile skill set ranges from the Baroque to contemporary music, and she feels at home both on the opera stage and with chamber music. Pulakka has performed as the soloist with several Finnish orchestras and bands, such as the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Central Ostrobothnia Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and the Uusinta Ensemble under conductors such as Juha Kangas, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Andrew Lawrence-King. Her opera roles include Vitellia in Mozart’s la Clemenza di Tito, Cleopatra in Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare and Madame Euterpova in Menotti’s opera Help! Help! The Globolinks. 

Meeri Pulakka is a much sought-after performer of contemporary music whose musical and precise work stems from the violin and singing lessons she began in her childhood. Her contemporary music performances include the role of Tyttö in Riikka Talvitie’s Prix Italia award-winning radio opera Kylmän Maan Kuningatar (2017), as well as performances at the Avantin Suvisoitto festival, Kallion nykymusiikkipäivät event for contemporary music, Uuden Musiikin Lokakuu festival and the Musica Nova Helsinki festival. Pulakka also likes to sing early music and has performed as the soloist of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and in Barocco Boreale’s production Kuningatar Kristiinan jalanjäljissä.

Meeri Pulakka graduated with honours from Sibelius Academy’s degree programme in vocal arts (Master of Music, 2018) and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (Master of Arts, 2017) and her most recent singing teachers are Marjut Hannula and Gabriele Lechner. She has participated in numerous master classes under Barbara Hannigan, Soile Isokoski, Anne Sofie von Otter and Karita Mattila, among others. Pulakka performed her debut concert, which focused on contemporary music, at the Talven Nuoret Taiteilijat concert series at Musiikkitalo, Helsinki in January 2019.

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Harrina Räinä

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Harriina Räinä
Visual artist

At Saari Residence, I will work on my artistic research project “The Other as Matter” using woodblock printing, sculpture and text. Through the medium of woodblock printing, my project examines the ethics of making art and human beings’ connection with non-human animals on a larger scale.

“The Other as Matter” reflects on the role matter of animal origin plays in the process and end result of woodblock printing from the point of view of animal studies, ecocriticism and ethics. Developed in Japan, woodblock printing is a non-toxic and ecological method of graphic arts that has recently grown in popularity in western countries. The technique contains an exceptional amount of matter of animal origin: brushes made from horse, goat and deer hair, pigment ground from oyster shells and glue boiled from deer bones and cow skin, etc.

At the residence, I will immerse myself in the essence of the materials used in woodblock printing, make wooden printing blocks and explore the possibility of reducing matter of animal origin. In addition, I will read literature on animal ethics and research relating to it and prepare an academic paper that I will present at the International Mokuhanga Sumi-Fusion Conference in Nara, Japan, in December 2021.


I am a visual artist based in Helsinki. My interests lie in physicality, the event of observation and the animal issue, i.e. humans’ relationship with and attitudes towards non-human animals. My work typically focuses on combining various media, such as moving images, printed art and sculpture, into a spatial whole. I studied in the graphic arts programme and graduated with a master’s degree in fine arts (2019) and a bachelor degree in fine arts (2017) from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

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Karoliina Sjö

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Karoliina Sjö
PhD student

During my residency in Saari, I will focus on writing my doctoral thesis, which explores the writing of diaries and the way Kirsti Teräsvuori composed a story about herself, her life and experiences in the diaries she wrote at the beginning of the 20th century. So far, I have worked intensely, for example, in an archive poring over diaries and now it’s time for the next stage: intensive writing. The residency provides an excellent setting for this – it’s great to have the peace to write. On the other hand, I’m also interested in the relationship between research-based knowledge and artistic, creative work, as well as in the possibility of finding new ethical ways of remembering and narrating. That being so, I also use the methods of art to analyse the material I’m studying, and the Saari Residence is a great, natural environment for this artistic part of my work as well.

Karoliina Sjö is a doctoral student of cultural history at the University of Turku. Her research interests include autobiographical sources (such as diaries), biographical research, connections between life and narration, the cultural history of writing, the history of (mental) illness, gender history and girlhood studies. Sjö is also interested in the relationship between art and research, the opportunities it offers and new ways of producing information. She is working on her doctoral thesis with the help of a grant from Kone Foundation.

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