Autumn’s first Saari Fellows have arrived

At the beginning of September, the Saari Residence received several guests who will be staying for two months: composer Saed Haddad (Germany), media artist Victoria Keddie (USA), poet and writer Jyrki Kiiskinen (Finland), poet Robert Powell (Great Britain/Canada), writer and cultural producer Zarmina Rafi (Pakistan/Canada) and dancer and performance artist Leyya Mona Tawil (USA/Syria/Palestine). In addition, playwright and director Kevin Doyle (Ireland/USA) began his eight-month long period as the Saari Invited Artist.

Composer Saed Haddad will spend his time at the residence composing a work for the violin and cimbalom. In this work, the Jordanian-born Haddad who lives in Germany will contemplate his Arabic-European double identity: how the past and his roots affect the present moment and how the memories of the past are filtered through the present. His music allows him to bring out his own identity as “the other” both in the European and the Arabic cultures. The different elements of the two cultures blend into and enrich the music, creating a harmonious entity, and it is this positive attitude that Haddad wants to introduce to general dialogue about ethnicity.

New York-based media artist Victoria Keddie will examine the space junk circling the earth and use it to create an acoustic and pictorial language and work of art during her residency period. In the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), there are currently more than 20,000 pieces of space junk amidst functioning satellites and other systems. The majority of the junk comes from space rockets and dysfunctional satellites and is created when objects collide. In her work, she utilises the TLE coordinates of NASA and ESA, which allow her to track space junk. Keddie has created a visual database, which she uses to convert digital information into 3D and audio form.

During his residency, writer Jyrki Kiiskinen will work on two poetry anthologies. He says that poetry forces you to pose questions, such as: Do an individual’s small life and the great philosophical questions fit into the same picture? How could an individual become connected to the world and feel like a significant part of it? Are meanings created within an individual’s closed inner world, or do they arise out of lightning-quick relations with the outside world?

Poet Robert Powell is interested in the River Aura and its significance to the people living along it. Born in Canada and currently living in Great Britain, Powell will engage in a public discussion at the Turku Book Fair on Friday the 7th of October together with Euro-MP and the Chair of the Saari Residence’s Board, Sirpa Pietikäinen. They will discuss his work involving the theme of the river and he will read excerpts from his poetry.

Pakistani-Canadian writer and cultural producer Zarmina Rafi will make the most of her time at the Saari Residence by writing short stories that are linked to each other and studying the production of new media art in Pakistan for her next essay.

The American Leyya Mona Tawil is also known as Lime Rickey International and she works in the fields of dance, sound and performance. At the Saari Residence, she will work on the Lime Rickey International’s Future Faith solo performance, which cuts across art forms. Lime Rickey International presents fictitious folk dances and sings about a homeland that doesn’t exist yet. The auditory and choreographic basis of the work lies in the Arabic makam, the dabke dance, noise and abstract movements.

The Saari Invited Artist, American-Irish playwright Kevin Doyle started his residency in September. During his eight month long residency, he plans to find solutions for how the theatre can fill the hole between the media and reality. The gap between what we see in the media and what is actually going on is growing all the time. At the Saari Residence, Doyle intends to write some plays that he has been developing for about two decades now. He also wants to work on some smaller pieces: plays, installations or media works. You can read more about Kevin Doyle here.

Read more about Saari Fellows