Residency Artists 2019


Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Visual artist and art-based researcher Sasha Huber is a Swiss-Haitian resident of Helsinki who has been working at the Saari Residence in September and October 2019 in a different way than ever before. ”This is the first time for me at an artist residency where I am focusing entirely on reading and writing, instead of developing and producing new work. I will be reflecting on and writing about the work I have done as part of my practice-based PhD project, which is about my artistic engagement in the Swiss cultural-activist campaign Demounting Louis Agassiz. I will also be working on co-authored chapters for publications about visual activism in the 21st century together with Dr. Temi Odumosu, and on rethinking the visual landscape in Finland together with Dr. Faith Mkwesha.”

She expects the residency to give here the opportunity to concentrate fully on herself and her work.  The remote location of the Saari Residence and its peaceful nature close to the sea has meant detachment from her everyday habits.

”It allows me to focus on myself once again and on getting my writing work moving forward, which can be challenging at times when I am in the city and have work and the family. It is also a place where I expect to be able to recharge and recalibrate in peace,” she says.

Although Saari represents breaking away from the everyday, Sasha has already created new routines for herself at the residence. ”I have been starting my days early as usual, but here I do yoga routines daily before breakfast. Then my working day of writing and reading starts with daily walks in nature, watching the birds gathering in the bay as they are getting ready to head south again now that autumn has arrived. This, combined with the weekly gatherings with fellow residents, is inspiring and gives me some social life, but not too much, which is perfect.

Sasha Huber (1975, Zurich) is a visual artist and art-based researcher of Swiss-Haitian heritage. She lives and works in Helsinki. Her multidisciplinary work is primarily concerned with the politics of memory and belonging, particularly in relation to the remnants of colonialism in the environment. Sensitive to the subtle threads connecting history and the present, she uses and responds to archival material in a layered creative practice that spans video, photography, collaborations and performance-based interventions. She has also laid claim to the compressed-air staple gun, being aware of its symbolic significance as a weapon, while it offers the potential to renegotiate unequal power dynamics. She is known for her artistic-research contribution to the Demounting Louis Agassiz campaign aimed at dismantling the glaciologist’s lesser-known, but contentious racist heritage. She holds an MA from the University of Art and Design Helsinki and is presently pursuing practice-based PhD studies at the Department of Art and Media at Zurich University of the Arts. Huber also works in a creative partnership with artist Petri Saarikko. Together they have initiated the long-term project Remedies Universe (since 2011), which explores methods of self-help and medical healing in different geographical and cultural contexts, and has led to invitations to artist’s residencies around the world. Huber shows her work solo and collaboratively in Finland and internationally (29th São Paulo Biennial 2010; 19th Sydney Biennial 2014; 1st Riga Biennial 2018, with Remedies Universe) and is represented in various public and private collections in Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.  In 2018 Arts Promotion Centre Finland awarded her Finland’s State Art Award in the visual arts category.


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Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

During her residency, writer and creative writing tutor, Dr Victoria MacKenzie is studying and writing a book about plants called Vegetal Souls. The name derives from Aristotle’s division of the soul into the human, animal and vegetable, with the vegetable being the least sophisticated, lacking the ability to move or perceive.

“Yet recent botanical research suggests plants have far more awareness than they have been given credit for. They perceive their environment in many different ways, being responsive to light, sound and smells, but they have other senses that humans lack, such as the ability to sense water and minerals at some distance, and then grow roots towards what they need. They also respond to their environment in many different ways and even change it – in ways we are only just beginning to understand,” Victoria explains.

“Through a series of interconnected poems, short stories and essays, I’m responding to some of these ideas about what it might be like to be a plant, to have a ‘vegetal soul’ and to experience the world vegetally. I’m interested in thinking about how this new understanding of plants might have implications both for how we treat plants and for how we understand what it means to be alive. How should we respond to this new knowledge and these new ways of thinking? Could it inform how we live as humans?” she asks.

On arrival at the Saari Residence, Victoria hoped to be able to slow down and settle to work. “I’m hoping for a long stretch of time in which I can read, think and write. I really enjoy talking to other artists, so hope to share ideas and have fruitful discussions with the other residents about their work too. I’m also hoping for the unexpected – that can sometimes be the best part of a residency!” she says.

Victoria’s working methods during her residence mean a lot of reading, but also walking and exploring the local forests and gardens, observing the plants and living with them one day at a time.

Usually she begins her day in Saari with a plate of porridge served with cloudberry jam. “I usually try to read something, often poetry, to get my thoughts ticking over, and I try to keep away from emails and the news for as long as possible. I have my notebook to hand and jot down things while I’m reading, such as ideas for poetry or fiction, or just concepts I want to think more about. This is pretty much what I do all day, apart from taking breaks for meals and a late afternoon walk to the bird tower to see what the geese are up to. I’m also enjoying getting acquainted with the Finnish sauna habit!” she describes.

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Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Tampere-based artist Henriikka Kontimo is spending her time at the residence continuing her work on a text-based, spectator-driven, interactive piece created a few years ago which deals with the similarities and differences between our relationship with nature and a significant human other. In addition, she would like to create a work designed specifically for the Saari Residence. Henriikka is currently studying to become a cabinet-maker and, during her time in Saari, intends to also ponder ways to combine carpentry with her artistic work.

The way she works is usually tied to the place and situation, and she is interested to see how the residence as a place and social situation can inspire her. “It’s wonderful – unlike in my everyday life – to be able to focus in peace solely on my own artistic work. I have worked in many residencies, and those periods have been extremely important for my work and my development. A new environment generates new ideas and new connections with old ideas. I hope I will be able to complete some unfinished things and start new ones during my residency,” says Henriikka. ” In Saari, I have particularly enjoyed the long walks and how far you can see here; how expansive the landscape is.”

In the early stages, Henriikka’s artistic work usually takes place at the level of thoughts and ideas. “I turn my works over in my mind for a long time and give them a conceptual form before they achieve their tangible, physical shape. When I engage in thinking or I’m writing, I prefer to work in periods of two, three hours and between them I take a walk, feed myself, meditate, knit my jumper and read. I let my brain rest. When I’m working on the physical implementation of the work, on the other hand, I may carry on for long periods at a time,” she says.

Henriikka Kontimo (born 1981) is a Finnish visual artist who graduated from the department of space-time art at Uniarts Helsinki in 2008. She is currently studying cabinetmaking at the Ikaalinen College of Crafts and Design.

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Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

At the Saari Residence for artists, the independent curator of contemporary art and writer Rob La Frenais is working simultaneously on two themes: the Moon and Water. ”I have created a ‘Moon Room’ in the Barn where I am collecting material about art and the Moon, from time to time I am inviting the other fellows to come and watch films about the Moon (I have the first flim night last night) and add their own comments and ideas for research. I am working on an extended essay ‘Mirroring The Moon’ that will be the basis for a book that has been commisioned by Intellect Books. I am also working on a young adult fiction novel ‘Wild Way To The Moon’,” he says.

His second project involves exploring the archipelago surrounding the Saari Residence. ”In the harbour, I am using the Saari vessel the “Lovisa” to explore this part of the Archipelago. I have already taken some of the fellows on an expedition to a small island in the middle of the sea. I am hoping to research a new project that will be realised in Finland about artists floating vehicles. I am hoping to do some active research on a new floating vehicle in the harbour, weather permitting,” he tells.

During his time there, he hopes to combine thinking and pondering in his own workspace with exploration of the Saari Residence’s environment. In his work, he utilises action research, dialogue with the other artists at the residence and surveys. In Saari, Rob starts his day by going to the Moon Room. Weather permitting, he will go to the shore of the island, the bird observation tower and other interesting places. In the evenings, he continues his research in the Moon Room.

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V. S. Luoma-aho

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Jyväskylä-based poet V. S. Luoma-aho spends his time at the Saari Residence editing his fifth collection of poems, Safar, which will be published next spring. “In Safar, the themes are, if you insist on looking for them, artificial intelligence, human history and the time after humans, as well as game(theory),” he explains. In addition, V. S. Luoma-aho tries – alongside abundant reading – to write short stories for his short story collection.

In addition to advancing his book projects, he expects to outdo himself, to work on himself. “I have never spent such a long time away from home all in one go, which for a security-driven homebody like me with anxiety disorder is a bit of an ordeal in itself,” he says.

“On the other hand, I want to quiet down, I want to spend time in nature, I want silence. People work far too much in any case, or consume too much. The end result of this is evident, for example, in the IPCC report, as long as you take its overly optimistic viewpoint into account. So, should we do much less or exponentially more than ever?” he continues.

“The nature of poetry allows me to be always at work and never. When taking notes and thinking, it doesn’t matter what time it is, where you are or how many hours you’ve worked, for which you will, of course, pay with sleeping difficulties and your mental health. The flexibility of working hours and not having a boss is both bliss and devastatingly awful,” V. S. Luoma-aho says, describing his artistic work.

In Saari, he reads a lot and jots down outlines for poems. Nature has a special meaning for him at the residence: “I walk about watching birds and looking for mushrooms – while the weather still permits, I take more notes, watch movies or look at artwork. When the time is right, I sit down and squeeze out some text or edit intensively for a few hours, then I repeat the pattern. Sometimes I chat with the others here, or go to sauna.”

“I have written all my books using a similar method, although the possibilities of spending time in nature are quite different here than in the city. It’s as if I was on another planet.  Once the autumn and its grey rain begins, I move on to writing prose, because it requires much more sitting and putting up with yourself at the desk,” he sums up.

V. S. Luoma-aho (born 1984) is a poet and translator from Jyväskylä. He has studied literature and writing at the University of Jyväskylä and is also a founding member and editor of the cooperative publishing company Poesia. Luoma-aho has published four poetry books, “Ruumiita” (2009), “Remora” (2011), “Kronologi” (2014) and “Mantra” (2016), as well as the short work of prose “Luonteita” (2018), illustrated by Jaakko Pallasvuo. Luoma-aho has also translated into Finnish Sam Pink’s work, “I Am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It” (2013).

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Lotta Toivanen

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

During her residency, Lotta Toivanen, a Finnish literary translator from Helsinki, is translating the French Édouard Louis’s novel “Histoire de la Violence” into Finnish.

For her too, the Saari Residence offers an opportunity to focus on her own work. “This is the ideal tranquil setting for throwing yourself into creative work. While in Saari, I will try to achieve a fairly well polished version of my translation of Louis’s novel,” she says.

At the Saari Residence, breaking away from everyday routines gives you the freedom to work at your own pace, and as an early riser, Lotta begins her literary work in the morning and continues for several hours. In the evening she spends time outside, reads and exchanges thoughts with the other artists at the residence.

I have been interested in languages ever since I was a little girl and can speak several languages. As a literary translator, I dive deep inside the skin of the foreign author and convey the world they have created to Finnish readers. Through literature, I open new horizons of the world for Finns.

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Tessa Zettel

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Australian artist and writer Tessa Zettel is working with mushrooms during her residency in Saari. ”I’m working mainly on collecting different ways of being with mushrooms. By this I mean relationships that people have with mushrooms, the embodied cultural practices they develop around them, the often complex ways of knowing that come from reciprocal more-than-human dynamics involving mushrooms on the surface but underneath so many ‘others’ as well (plant, animal, forest, rocks, weather patterns, tonttu and so on)”, she says.

Over the past five years, Tessa has toured various international residencies and learned what can realistically be achieved in a short time in a new place.”I hope to find some people willing to share their stories and take me mushroom picking, and I’d like also to begin translating this material loosely into the format of a small publication. I know suppilovahvero and kantarelli from previous visits to Finland so would love to meet and get to know some new mushrooms this time”, she says.

Discussion plays an important role in Tessa’s artistic work, and the process and dialogue are of particular interest to her at the various stages of the project. ”Just as fungi are the communicators of the forest floor, I’m interested in how they could become catalysts of exchange above ground. This may entail literally trading dried mushrooms I’ve collected for stories from others. Always I read whatever feels relevant, from theory to fiction, to help shape my approach to the bodies of knowledge I’m connecting with. And I do sometimes set tasks like drawing a mushroom each day, since observing (the real business of drawing) is itself an interesting way of slowing down and attuning oneself to other beings and what they might teach us”, Tessa says.

In Saari ”I’m finding a rhythm in various combinations of walking, reading, drawing, cooking, breathing, watching, collecting, resting, listening, working, writing, sleeping, talking, eating and sauna-ing (no word for that in English!).”

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In life repetition is essential. Every gesture, situation and word is repeated thousands of times without ever being identical to the one before. In the performance characters metamorphose, their physical aspects change et their body deteriorates continually. Moving towards death or a transformation?

There is something in this re-commencement that speaks to us. The idea of always re-producing the same but never being the same. Having a total liberty of action and to still be condemned to eternally re-doing the same thing.

And then there is the exception. the moment that does not follow the rule. That is the moment of the jump, of mutation. Sometimes it comes after a long period of hesitations and failures but often it is instantaneous, brutal and irreversible.

We have a strong curiosity towards folklore, customs, traditions and beliefs of heathen and pre-Christian people. The folklore and traditions have exited our imagination and have entered into the creative process. We draw on something that is intuitive and that constructs us profoundly. Ancient beliefs participate in this because they often present archetypes, events and characters that can be found all over the world with variations and aspects typical to every location. Apart from this our interests are multiple (the atmosphere and aesthetics of the cinema of Tarkovsky).

Concerning the form and genre of this piece we take the liberty of using the forms of artistic expression that we consider most adapted to our needs.

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Katie Ward is a choreographer who is based in Montreal. Her performance scores are works that index reality, setting conditions for disrupting the way we see it so that our relationship to it may be re-imagined.

Katie is working on a co-danced project with Taru Miettinen called The Place of the Body and a group piece called Imagination Reality. Both works highlight performer’s subjectivities by accessing their own body archives. These works are minimalist – maximalist pieces in which Katie makes a place for things of all kinds: whole things,  parts of things, anythings…

Past works include Infinity Doughnut and Rock Steady , two ensemble works that treat interconnection. These pieces toured in France and England they were performed at Nottdance festival – hosted by Dance4, Festival Exit at Maison Des Arts de Creteil and Festival Via at Maubeuge. Katie created Matière Grise , a relational solo piece presented at Festival Trans Amériques in Montreal; and Human Synthesizer a solo with two additional performers about reanimating objects from the Theatre.

Taru Miettinen is a dancer and performance artist based in Helsinki. Currently Taru works in a collective formed by 10 artists called PRECARIOUS PRACTICES that organizes a performance- and artistic-research platform in Helsinki area. PRECARIOUS PRACTICES fosters the development of different bodily performative art practices and creates conditions for dancer artists to further their artistic thinking and expertise as something other than (only) hired bodies. Taru has also organized an open reading group/lecture practice, where current philosophers, artists and bodily thinkers lead conversations on topics such as post-humanism, gender, power and different choreographic practices.

Taru’s own artistic work can be described as the appearance of primordial shapes and forms emerging out of a physical research around fluidity, repetition and dark and lighter bodies densities. Taru works with how things come to be through weight, direction and human voice.

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A film story about a German woman married to a Serbian man that is coming for the first time to her husband’s native country, under stressful circumstances. The trip changes their relationship profoundly because she realizes her husband is not the man she thinks she knows. He completely changes his behavior and she is not ready to compromise with this new personalty he presents. This is a story about different views on the social and biological concept of family. It examines the archetypes and the role of women today, in different cultures. Told through a personal and emotional perspective, this is a film that takes on a wide social range of modern society and its mixed cultures. Within a family portrait, we confront the residues of ancient tribal and patriarchal social laws that are resilient to the changes of modern society with the liberal and conscious ways of contemporary lifestyle.

With the isolation that Saari Residence provide, and that is necessary at this stage of working on a film, we are planning to write the first draft of the script, the director’s statement, to create a mood board and preliminary production plan.

Through 4 weeks of work and using different method, such as structural constellations and personal testing rehearsals on dialogue list, we will shape the characters and map the structure of the film.

Two women that are authors gathered around one film project that deals with the topic which is a real problem in world of our country that is quite determined by its patriarchal issues and very hostile towards real gender equality both in private and public lives. This film story opposes a lot of prejudices about Balkan as a space of pure emotion and open hearts, since it becomes only fake image that almost the whole society supports since it is shaped to suit men more than women.

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Earth Tones looks to highlight the hidden, magical and often unseen elements of nature. Through melding digital technologies and natural materials the work allows audiences to see, hear and experience landscapes in impossible ways, with hidden ecosystems heightened and re-imagined.

Earth Tones melds locative data capture, field research, science and digital art.

The project begins as a journey mapped through a landscape where multiple techniques are used to capture a spectrum of data; ambisonic (3D) sound recordings, air, water, earth, bio and seismic data. The journey and corresponding data act as a time based footprint of the mapped ecosystems, that are re-imagined as a beautiful immersive installation for an audience to play within.

The resulting installation will be entirely responsive to the data captured, it may take place in a gallery space, in a site specific public space or both. We will build an interactive, sensory environment in order to represent the data in a beautiful digital/physical artwork, with an invitation to touch and explore the installation in order to affect it.

Earth Tones addresses issues of communication and proximity; how do we communicate complex environmental data in a way that audiences can not only understand but can build a relationship with. This work looks at how we can feel data, as opposed to reading and analysing it, evoking our emotional senses and a deeper understanding. We will meld data capture, field research, science and digital art, highlighting the unseen elements of nature and how quickly it is shifting under our influence.

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Landing Sites

“Landing Sites” is a performance commissioned for a 2020 premiere by the Chocolate Factory in New York City. It is an inquiry into experiences of reality and their consequences in our lives. It will look at the immediate and long-term effects that our perceptions of reality have on the way we produce meaning, belief systems, and changes on environment.

The piece is inspired by the writings of Helen Keller, an iconic figure in 20th century America, who was blind and deaf and a fervent activist for women’s and disabled people’s rights. It aims to zoom in and out between the intimate dynamic of one’s inner experience and the collective principles through which one’s experience develops into belief systems.

Choreographer Daria Fain will be 60 years old in 2020, and she feels she is at the end of a cycle. “Landing Sites” grows out of her need to manifest on an intimate scale her 30 years of research in somatic practice, social art experiments, and performance craft.

In the residency, Fain, Kocik, Laitinen and Konrad will engage in hands-on exploration of historical facts, interpersonal dynamics, and the subtlest sensory perceptions, and dialogue through action, movement, speech, text, architectural/material space, sound, and light.

The title “Landing Sites” alludes to the way reality lands as fragmented perceptions, one’s own experience of reality, as relative rather than absolute. Some cultures see the sun as masculine, and others, as feminine. It’s interesting to contemplate how each belief creates a different experience through thought process and action. As THEA in ancient Greek translates in TO SEE, theater becomes an “instrument of observation”. This can be a tool for transformation and hopefully liberation.

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Halil Balabin & Merava Kamel

Photo: Din Ahahroni

We are an artist duo, working together since 2012.

Our joined work allows us to move freely and to give up the elements identified with each of us, to transform ourselves through art.

Our works are divided into two types of practices – the first is sewing of dolls, and the other is site-specific installations.

Our installations deal with documentary and autobiographical content, through which we examine new possibilities of documentary representation.

In contrast, our work with dolls brings out an associative way of thought — the attachment of different organs born of amputations, hybridizations and compositions that create a new object.

During our stay in Mynämäki we would like to film a puppet show based on the dreams and nightmares of blind people.

The dreams we have collected and other dreams we will collect during our stay in Saari residency will become the basis of a film that will be composed of dolls and a set both created by us.


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Vice Versa -työryhmä

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Liinu Grönlund and Okku Nuutilainen

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Hypnagogia work group

Intruduction coming soon.

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Frankie Gaffney

Frankie Gaffney is a writer from Dublin. His bestselling debut novel, Dublin Seven, described by the Irish Times as “Love/Hate meets Ulysses”, was published to critical acclaim and controversy in 2015. He is currently completing a PhD in linguistics and English literature, and developing new writing for various media.

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Alexander Manuiloff

Alexander Manuiloff is a Bulgarian writer, playwright and screenwriter whose works have been invited to important theatre festivals and venues on four continents, among which Theatertreffen, Berlin; Under the Radar, New York; and L’Europe de Théâtres, Paris. Winner of the EURODRAM 2017 award (Mannheim, Germany).

Two separate Silver Lion prize winners at the Venice Biennale, Rimini Protokoll and Ferran Dordal, chose him to work with on their projects in 2016.

Alexander’s writing has been translated into ten languages so far and it is already studied in some university programmes in the US. (Georgetown University).

After his 2017 tour to Washington’s ForumTheatre/Woolly Mammoth, the DC Theatre Scene gave the show five stars, calling Alexander “a rare creator”, the Washington Post found his piece “exceptionally thoughtful”, while the Broadway World defined Manuiloff’s writing as being “akin to magical realism”.

Receiver of the Bulgarian Writers’ Guild Award for the best fiction debut book of the year (for the book “Film”, 2004), Alexander went on to publish some of his following works in Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, the USA, and France, while his journalistic writing has also received official accolade by the Association of European Journalists (2012).

Alexander has been granted scholarships by institutions such as the Charles University, Prague, the American foundation TFAS, Goethe Institut Munich and Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Heidelberg. The first Bulgarian writer to be ever presented with a text at Berlin’s top theatre forum Theatertreffen (2015).

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Erol Mintaş

Erol Mintaş is a filmmaker who was born in Kars and based in Helsinki. He completed his graduate studies in cinema—his MA thesis was about the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky. His first short Butimar, and second short Berf (aka Snow) received many awards, and competed in various important film festivals around the world. In 2014, Mintaş’s first feature, Song of My Mother, made a major splash on the festival circuit, playing around the world and being awarded plenty of prizes, including the Heart of Sarajevo award for best film and best actor, and numerous awards. He moved to Helsinki in January 2017, where his new project (“Earth Song (working tittle)” with collaborator Mikko Viljanen) is currently taking place, supported by the Finnish Film Foundation (Suomen elokuvasäätiö) scriptwriting grant. His documentary film, “From Mesopotamia to The North: Dzamil Kamangar”, received funding from Kone Foundation, and is in production.

For more info about my previous films you can visit

At the Saari Residence, mainly I will be working on these two projects:

HUMAN GAZE, which is an experimental film and video installation about the history of the human gaze. What if the first part ever of the human being was an eye? In the beginning there was only one eye and then this eye got a disease and because of this disease all our organs started to appear and we ended up with what we consider today a normal human body. This film tells us the experimental story of the human body from the point of view of an eye.

FROM MESOPOTAMIA TO THE NORTH: DZAMIL KAMANGER – The documentary film tells the story of Dzamil Kamanger, the grandson of the Khan (a title for a ruler in Kurdish society) born in 1948 in a small village in east Kurdistan- part of Iran-, became a well-known international artist in Finland, even though he had to start his life from the beginning many times. The film focuses on his life journey from Kurdistan to the Finland.

On the other hand I will be busy with doing many works for Academy of Moving People and Images as the founder and the artistic director of the academy.

Academy of Moving People and Images (AMPI) is a platform in Helsinki for mobile people. Our aim is to design a new learning model and a sustainable pedagogical platform where people who have arrived in Finland from different backgrounds get to contribute to the film industry, and initiate change.

We provide 1 year of hands-on, fee-free courses for participants. They will make their own short films under the guidance of mobile filmmakers and Finnish film industry professionals, performing all the essential roles necessary to release their films.

For more info about AMPI, you can visit our website:

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Meri-Maija Näykki

I’m Meri-Maija Näykki, a 27-year-old circus and theatre director.

At Saari Residence, I intend to create templates for three performance concepts. I’ll work in collaboration with the Rakastajat Theatre, the Minimi Dance Theatre and Tampereen Työväen Teatteri. My goal is to create performance concepts suitable for these theatres which will allow the circus and theatre to operate on an equal footing and engage in organic cooperation.

I see circus art as an opportunity to introduce modern forms of dramaturgy to the viewers of traditional theatre. At the same time, I believe that contemporary circus can act as a door to the theatre for new viewers and international audiences.

For me, the circus is about seeking and stretching the boundaries of prevailing conditions, such as gravity and social absurdity. Consequently, the budget and the theatre space, for example, are circus instruments to me, and I explore and stretch the possibilities they present. The theatre, on the other hand, I see as a show window of deficient human animals. The way I see it, the deficient animals of the theatre and the freaks of the circus can together give us a space in which to marvel at the absurdity of life and laugh at our own limitations. We need to welcome the state of marvelling and laughing together to be able to be merciful to ourselves and others.

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Dılşa Perinçek

I am a writer, cartoonist, digital artist from Diyarbakır. During 2004-2018, I worked on various productions in several disciplines such as writing, media and communication technologies. 2016-2018, I produced several cartoon films for Kurdish children.

Recently, I focus on the past, present and future, in order to bring traditional artistic content in to the new formats of the media art, to understand impact of the new technological productions and the new art perceptions on societies and in conclusion, to interplay with what has not yet taken place in the perception future of humankind that rapid technological progress has created in different shades of utopia and dystopia.

In Saari, I will focus on my readings, researches and experiments on digital technologies in pursuit of the best way of expressing. In the meantime, I want to enjoy all beauty of the meditating nature. And if lucky enough, I will be writing few poems.

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Timo R. Stewart

The past is a foreign country whose habits and thinking require interpretation. The historian’s task is not only to identify past events, but to make the thinking of the people from that time understandable. This becomes particularly fascinating when examining things that seem difficult to explain. For example, the fact that a group of English noblemen travelled to Jerusalem between 1909 and 1911 to search for the Lost Ark mentioned in the Old Testament, simply on the basis of a cipher discovered by a Finnish poet in the Book of Ezekiel, may sound strange today. But how did it sound to the noblemen’s contemporaries? Or to the members of the expedition themselves? And on what grounds?

It is with questions like these and an enormous archive of notes that I will be travelling to the Saari Residence. My aim is to revise my book, which is based on my historical research on Valter Juvelius and Montagu Parker‘s undertakings in Jerusalem, as well as on the concepts of the Lost Ark, science and myth that prevailed in Europe in the early 20th century. I’m an optimist, so I’ll be bringing my skis along too. If all goes well, my script will be pretty much complete at the end of February, in spite of the skis. Here is a short summary of my work in the form of a video presentation.

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Karen Werner

I am a radio artist & sociologist. I’m currently working on a series of experimental radio broadcasts called Strange Radio about the stranger, war, forced migration, and the intergenerational transmission of political trauma. During the Saari Residence I’ll be working with live performance and sampling of this material.

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Leena Ylä-Lyly

During my two-month residency at the Saari Residence I will be exploring the connection between the photograph and Zen meditation. I will be sitting on my zabuton with my eyes cast downwards, facing the wall in front of me. I will take walks in the manor grounds and photograph the pictures I find and write down the thoughts that the silence invites in.

More than anything in a photo, I have always been fascinated by its core characteristic: silence. Yet that silence is not quiet, but contains the power of movement and observation. Just like meditation, which holds everything for the person who dares to stop and really see.

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Kajsa Gullberg

Photo: Kajsa Gullberg

My name is Kajsa Gullberg. I was born (1977) and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden and moved to Copenhagen, Denmark after high school (1996) where I have been based ever since.  

Photography is my main media but I hope to integrate text more in my production.  

The project I am going to work on in Saari is one project including two products. One book with images and one book with text.  

The headline for the project is: The swinger club – the ultimate sexual safe space for women. I place where she can go to have all (kind of) sex she wants without the risk of getting raped, assaulted or slut shamed.  

I have photographed women in a swinger club in Copenhagen for almost a year. In Saari I am going to edit the images and the sequence and create a text to it. The project is not documentaristic but a poetic and subjective comment on the social world outside the swinger club. 

The other book is going to be a document in text about my journey through this environment during one and a half years. 

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Tiia Kasurinen

Photo: Tiia Kasurinen

Tiia Kasurinen is a dancer, choreographer and artist who works between Helsinki and Stockholm. In her work, she explores the themes of identity, gender, power and pop culture, often through make-up and visual transformation. YouTube tutorials and somatic movement go hand in hand in her performances, creating identifiable aesthetics. When Tiia is not working on her own projects, she works as a dancer, performer and collabator for and with other artists.  

“At the Saari Residence, I will be exploring the encounter of make-up and movement. I’m interested in the bodily experience resulting from the direct or long-term effects of transformation. I’m particularly fascinated with changes in the quality of movement, but I also study the themes of gender, power and taking space in my practice.  

“The residence will allow me to engage in one of my long-term dreams and goals: to spend a large amount of time in bodily experiences inspired by make-up. When inhabiting a new body born out of make-up, it often takes hours for its potential to be revealed. This gives me the opportunity to exist, eat, interact, write, move and dance in a changed and moulded bodily entity – and consequently to explore the impulses for movement inspired by the transformation.  

“I will be carrying out new artistic research and working on the bodily experiences of two of my previous works: the drag queen character Vulva T from the performance Vulcano (2017) and the character Harmony from the work The Life of Harmony (2018), which drew its inspiration from objects and robots that look like women. I will also begin the process of creating a new solo.  

“Make-up and visual transformation are indirect ways for me to examine my position in society. Transformations unsettle my perception of my own power, identity and humanity.”  

Read more and follow Kasurinen during her residency: 

Instagram: @tiiagasolina  

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Teemu Korpela

I’m a painter who spends his days pondering ways to see things through art that can’t be seen. My particular area of interest are phenomena that define the way we experience our own existence. These phenomena are often abstract or formless, but through works of art they can be made visible and into something that can be tackled.  

I believe the cause for many of our universal and current problems relating to humanity are to be found in the relationship between our perception of the world and actual reality: we often interpret reality incorrectly, which results in us harming ourselves, others and the environment. Painting is a medium that offers a lot of possibilities for examining and presenting mechanisms of experience, since it brings together many different registers of observation and structure, from the sensory to the symbolic. Painting also offers numerous possibilities for expression, ranging from quick and intuitive to slow and analytical.  

I believe that through the reactions of observation produced by the works, I will be able to examine the way meanings and values are created. We are living in a time of an epistemological crisis of meaning and value. The ways in which we produce meaning in our lives have proven unsustainable. This is why we will have to reassess our relationship with reality. This requires the re-encoding of the symbolic values in our culture that govern our activities. For me, this re-encoding begins with striving to drive more sustainable values through the metaphoric example of my own practice into the reality existing outside the world of art.  

At its core, my work consists of examining the ways our perceptions of matter and concepts change according to how I design an object and whenever I add some other material to it; how the symbolic meanings of images and objects change depending on how and in which context I present them.   

My work includes theoretical research into how meaning is created and transmitted, studying the chemical properties of substances, analysing the effects of various production processes and examining the opportunities offered by new, ecological innovations in materials. I try to apply materials that in themselves contain various cultural meanings and that have a functional analogy with the contents I deal with.    

Although my motives are often didactic, it’s not my intention to limit the creative freedom of art and its content, but to find ways of creating works in such a way that the methods used have a philosophical, practical and ethical relationship with ongoing global processes. For many years, my works have been extremely large, but during my residency, I want to find ways to produce meaning with less material and smaller works.   

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Juhani Räisänen

Photo: Juhani Räisänen

I am a composer, poet and artist from Helsinki. I have long been fascinated with building electronic musical instruments. The possibilities offered by new technology in particular, such as sensors and touch screens, have captivated my musical imagination. In 2011, I completed my doctoral thesis  on this subject at the Aalto University.  

My new instrument is called Zorm, and I intend to focus on developing and improving it at the Saari Residence. I will try, for example, to use my own poems as part of the soundscape of the instrument. Zorm has a lot in common with the Sormina instrument I developed for my doctoral thesis; in a way, it’s an improved version of it. Its features include cordlessness and the use of audio synthesis methods for creating the sound. Its appearance has changed completely. 

I have already performed with the Zorm on a few occasions, both in the context of a performance and as a member of a group for classical music.   

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Maija Linturi

I’m a puppet theatre artist and director from Helsinki. My work usually lies within the broader sphere of the visual theatre, and puppet or object theatre is just one of the media I use. I’m interested in balancing between the interfaces of various art forms and have collaborated with artists from fields such as dance, theatre and video art.  

At the Saari Residence, I will be working on my future piece, Decomposition, which will be the first part of a series of three performances. At the residence, I will concentrate on the background research and script writing for Decomposition, as well as the concept design of this series of works. In this series, I will be investigating what the removal of focus away from the human and the human experience could mean in the context of a performance. Decomposition focuses on the world of decomposers such as insects, fungi and bacteria. During the process, I also want to study whether I myself can create a more empathetic relationship with these organisms.  

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Mireia c. Saladrigues

Photo: Mireia c. Saladrigues

Mireia c. Saladrigues (Terrassa, 1978) is researcher and visual artist at the Doctoral Programme of the Finnish Art Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki.

Via her research Behaving Unconventionally in Gallery Settings. Alteration in Cultural Practices for Rearticulating Relations among Makers, Objects, Audiences, and (Virtual) Museums, she documents and fosters human and non-human cases of alteration and strangeness in cultural practices by proposing an artistic and theoretical re-reading of nonconformity.

Her work participated the 2nd Research Pavilion in occasion of the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). She has also exhibited at: Espai 13 in Joan Miró Foundation (2011), Antoni Tàpies Foundation (2014), Centre Cultural Caja Madrid (2011), La BF15 in Lyon (2014), Centre d’Art Le Lait in Albi (2015), Videonale.13 in Bonn (2011), National Museum of Photography in Copenhaguen (2010), Kiasma Museum in Helsinki (2009), DIA Art Foundation (2008), Art Museum in Pori (2008), Onomatopee in Eindhoven (2015 i 2012), Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis (2010).

She has talked at the 9th Annual Conference of the Society of Artístic Research in Plymouth, 104th Annual Conference by CAA in Washington DC, the EARN Symposium at GradCAM@DIT in Dublin, KUVA Research Days in Helsinki, as much as others.

She has received numerous awards, which the most recents are Kone Foundation Research and Art Production Grant (2016-2019), KUVA Grants (2016, 2015, 2014), ETAC Artistic Research Residency (2014), OSIC Research and creation grant, Catalunya (2012).

Her work is represented by àngels barcelona gallery

She is a governing board member of Hamaca, Media and Video Art Distribution

She has co-founded the cultural association Trama34 and is its current president.


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Paul J. Kalemba

Photo: Paul J. Kalemba

Paul Kalemba’s (b. 1980, Melbourne) latest work explore the notions of nature and ecology in the Anthropocene though found object, still life compositions. His work takes inspiration from the natural sciences and contemporary ecological philosophy, as well as object based narratives, phenomena and the absurd.

Informed directly by constructing assemblages of found objects collected while walking in ‘nature’, Kalemba’s Still life compositions playfully tell contemporary stories of ecology and place. His multidisciplinary practice extends across drawing/work on paper, photography, new media and sculpture.

Since being awarded Honours in Digital art and Multimedia from VU and Master of Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, Kalemba’s work has exhibited in Australia, Korea, Germany, Finland and Iceland. He was awarded the Hume Art Award in 2018 and has been a finalist in numerous national art awards and prizes.

Through partnering with institutions including, Parks Victoria, The Department of Primary Industries, The Australia Council for the Arts, and The Icelandic Association for the Visual Arts, Kalemba has undertaken many cross disciplinary projects and arts residencies. He has produced temporary public sculptures for City of Melbourne, and Hepburn Shire and his drawings, sculpture and mural work are represented in Private, Public and Institutional Collections including Hepburn and Nillumbik shires, and Victoria University.

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Saddam Jumaily

Although best known as a painter, Saddam Jumaily is also an accomplished designer and a published author. Regardless of the art form, Jumaily’s works are characterized by their depth and philosophical nature. Memory and nostalgia are recurring themes in his paintings, and they are also frequent plot elements that he explores in his writings. His inclination towards nostalgia can be attributed to a sense of belonging he has often craved while moving from country to country.

In most instances, his paintings employ symbols as devices. In Jumaily’s own words: “Painting is an opportunity to emote.” The art he presents is a depiction of the ongoing chaos that the peoples of this region have experienced the past two decades.

Saddam Jumaily was born in Basra, Iraq in 1974.

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Kholod Hawash

Born in Basrah, Iraq, Kholod Hawash has a BA in accounting. After teaching herself art, she started painting illustrations for children’s magazines, then
turned to painting in the style of art nouveau. She later found herself involved in the art of quilting.
She held her first exhibition in Amman at the Jacranda Gallery in 2015 and her second at the Dar Al-Anda gallery in Amman in 2018.

“In my art I present the everyday craft of the people of Iraq and the larger region.
Women in Iraq have been manufacturing mattresses and rugs in the ancient tradition to produce
up cycled home furniture. Households historically embraced both the aesthetic and economic advantages of the craft.
For my work, I borrowed the techniques as well as the imagery of the popular folklore of Iraqi heritage in order to
intensify the relationship between technology and form, which contributes to the emphasis on the aesthetic and away from
the consumer industry, thus elevating it to contemporary art.”

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