Residency Artists 2021

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 Arterritory.com, 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
curator

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 (www.cucusonic.net), 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

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

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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KiliHippie

KiliHippie
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

Meeri Pulakka
Soprano

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

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

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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