Residency guests

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Canan Yucel Pekiçten

During the two months of residency in the Saari Residence my intension is to complete creation of three solo dance pieces inspired from one lied and two arias.

The first piece is a work in progress and a first prize award winning solo dance piece called Der Zwerg/The Dwarf, which is inspired by the Schubert’s lied called Der Zwerg, D.771 and the novel of Pär Lagerkvist called Dvärgen. In this two months period this solo will be given the last touches.

I will start creating the second solo piece during the first month of the residency period. The second solo is based on the Madam Butterfly opera and inspired from the life of Madam Butterfly, a Japanese geisha who marries a soldier from Unites States Navy and her sad story that her husband leaves and comes back after many years with a new American wife. I will contemplate on Oryantalism and Japonism and by having a feministic approach to the character; I intend to create moments in which Madam Butterfly takes her revenge. While doing it, a Japanese geisha image is planned to be transformed to a horror movie character image with long black hair till the heels, sewing a real big heart of a calf on to her white silk nightdress.

The third solo piece will be based on an opera by Oskar Merikanto called Pohjan Neiti (Maiden of the North). It is the first opera composed in Finnish language and it is known that it is inspired from the 19th-century work of epic poetry called Kalevala which is compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology. Since these three solo dance pieces and their creation process is the subject of my doctorate thesis, in addition to the times I’ll pass in the dance studio working on the pieces, my intension is to focus on writing my doctorate thesis during the residency.


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I’m a Belgian filmmaker, working as a freelance animator, set decorator and prop maker for stopmotion series and short films.

I also make short animated films with children. At the ‘Anidox Residency’ in Denmark I made ‘Mr Sand’: an animated documentary about the dangers of early cinema.

At the Saari Residence, I want to take up the challenge of animating ice.

The snow covered world and nearby frozen sea will inspire me to do the visual resarch for a short experimental film called ‘Freeze frame’.

The film invites you to a subzero slumberland, where time passes differently and things captured in ice get reanimated.

When we take pictures, we freeze time and try to preserve things for eternal life. But even images are fragile.

Old celluloid starts to decay, like melting ice.

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Photo: Andrei Shapran

I examine the impact that the music of the indigenous peoples of Russia has on the way music is heard and perceived. Through playing the violin and composing, I endeavour to explore what archaic, memory-based music can bring to my own musicianship. During my residency, I plan to begin composing for the concerts included in my degree.

Archaic music hints that music does not necessarily have any certain direction or even a beginning or an end. Music may stop playing but it still continues. I make experiments in order to study music that is always “there”, flowing through our subconscious.


Pia Siirala has studied violin at the Sibelius Academy and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and she is the concertmaster of the Ensemble XXI chamber orchestra. She has made collection trips to Sakhalin, Kamchatka and Chukotka in the Russian Far East where the archaic music traditions of indigenous peoples are still alive, and composed music based on these traditions.  In autumn 2016, she enrolled in doctoral studies in the University of the Arts Helsinki, in the Folk Music Department of the Sibelius Academy.

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I want to create works that show the world and the audience how people live in Iraq and other war zones. I use my works to tell how innocent people are killed for nothing.

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Silence is essential for a conductor when learning new repertoire because one must hear every instrument separately and then collectively in the conductor’s score. To find such silence is a constant struggle in today’s world. I wish to use this residency to study and learn the repertoire for Ensemble XXI’s concerts in 2017. This will include the World Premiere of the Finnish composer, Pia Siirala’s composition, Ulita’s Walk, based on the songs of the indigenous Nivkh people of Sakhalin.

I am also translating my former Professor, the great Russian conductor, Gennady Rozhdestvensky’s book, Fingerings for Conductors (known in Russia as the ”Conductor’s Bible”) under his supervision. It is a practical guide to conducting all the symphonic works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich and the Ballets of Stravinsky.


The Irish conductor Lygia O’Riordan studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory as an orchestral conductor. During her studies, she founded the Chamber orchestra Ensemble XXI, with which she has toured throughout Russia, Europe, Australasia and the Americas and conducted several world premieres amongst which is Arvo Pärt’s Trisagion.  Her recordings include many of the major works of the 20th century repertoire for string orchestra. Ensemble XXI also has a long history of reaching out to communities who for either geographical or financial reasons, have never had the opportunity to hear live classical music.

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Kuva: Otto-Ville Väätäinen

Photo: Otto-Ville Väätäinen

At the Saari Residence, Mäki intends to concentrate on writing two books. Underway he has his fourth collection of poems and a book of essays, continuing his doctorate thesis Darkness Visible—Essays on Art, Philosophy and Politics. The essay book will discuss the societal task of art, freedom of expression and its potential limits, the relationship between art and economy and between art and the climate change.

“In addition to concentrating on my literary work, I expect two things from the residency. First, I expect that the countryside surrounding the residence and wandering in it will be a great source of joy and inspiration for me. Second, I like the blind date aspect involved in the residence concept: I won’t know in advance which other scholars will be there with me at the same time. I believe it will be surprising, challenging and fun with them,” Mäki explains.


TEEMU MÄKI (1967–, born in Lapua, Finland) is an artist, director, writer and researcher. He is a Doctor of Fine Arts (Finnish Academy of Fine arts 2005). Since 1990 he has been an independent, freelancing artist, except for the years 2008–2013, when he was the Professor of Fine Arts in Aalto University.

Mäki describes his activities in the following way: I work in the fields of art, philosophy and politics by whatever means necessary. The results are usually some kind of visual art, literature, theatre, film or theory. For me art is the most flexible, versatile and holistic form of philosophy and politics.

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I am a doctoral candidate at the Department of Social Research of the University of Helsinki. My project, titled ‘Securing the living – governance, materiality and understandings of life during biological emergencies’ aims at understanding how biological emergencies, such as pandemic threats or bioterrorist attacks, are governed in a global context. To do this, it looks at how such governance includes the creation of new knowledge, a definition of what is life and how such life is affected. During my stay at the Saari Residence I will be working on my thesis monograph. The objective is that, by the end of the stay, I will have a first draft from which to keep working and submit my thesis for defence towards the end of 2017.


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The project is titled ”36 Scenes Or Their Traces”. It is experimental short film based on a biography of the author and made in a video essay genre. The approximate running time planned as around 20 minutes. The film is grounded on the art research in contemporary philosophy. The project as itself is a visualization of a personal story of some female protagonist in a light of what French contemporary philosopher Lyotard called “unrepresentable”. Under this philosophical category means human’s memories of some traumatic event which always remain objectively unrepresentable for (artistic) representation as well as for people’s articulation. According to the script idea, the author refers to the event of some violence act happened with the heroine a decade ago one August day in a sea-cost hotel of Koktebel, Crimea, former Ukrainian territory. 10 years later the heroine decides deliberately fall into the same reality, getting into the same August time and into the same place. She chronologically reproduces the situations and actions of that day and place there, trying to get a ”victory” over the memory of that place and time. She reenacted the mentioned event of her own using such artistic approach as estrangement (according to Victor Shklovsky), by this way leading to be released from the past.

The shooting of the film will be holding in Crimea (former Ukrainian territory).

My expectations for the residency period are, among some others: getting close with the Finnish independent art-film scene. I would like to get an access to a kind of film archive (experimental films, video art, independent feature films, art house films) and to watch the Finnish films of the past years as well as films made recently.  By this kind of research i plan to get a general impression of the Finnish contemporary film scene and to get some useful notes for my own film practice. I plan this as a practitioner and as a theorist. Afterwards, it is always a chance to organize some screenings of the Finnish films in my countries (Ukraine and Russia) to make the Finnish film art more close to our audience.


Liza Babenko (1988, Ukraine) has been making experimental films as well as contemporary theatre plays since 2013. She has got the degree in history of arts and philosophy. For some years before film practicing she was working as an art and film critic and curator. In 2013 she directed a theatre performance in collaboration with New York based artist Anton Vidokle at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Lately she has studied film directing at the Gotland Film Lab (Sweden). She was film director’s assistant of Svetlana Baskova (Russia) and Sarunas Bartas (Lithuania-France). For now Babenko is studying at the Moscow School Of New Cinema and working on her two short feature films.   

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