News | 15/11/2016

The last guests of the year arrived at the Saari Residence accompanied by a light fall of snow.
From left to right: MIRKO NIKOLIĆ, MARIKA TROILI, ANA MEJIA MACMASTER, SERENA CHALKER, MARJUKKA ERÄLINNA, HILJA ROIVAINEN, ALEXIS DIAMOND, MATTHEW COWAN, MIKEL R. NIETO and SAMI HILVO. Photo: PIRRE NAUKKARINEN

Unfamiliar spaces, climate change, chaos and harmony explored at Saari Residence

Dance artist Serena Chalker (Australia), playwright and translator Alexis Diamond (Canada), circus artist Marjukka Erälinna, writer Sami Hilvo, visual artist Ana Mejia Macmaster (Colombia), sound artist Mikel R. Nieto (Basque Country), researcher, visual artist Hilja Roiviainen and visual artist team Marika Troili (Sweden) and Mirko Nikolic (Serbia) will work at the Saari Residence during October and November. Artist Matthew Cowan is continuing as the Saari Invited Artist.

Australian dance artist Serena Chalker is choreographing her new solo work From the Outside, In, a meeting point between written, place-specific and dance elements in the staff building in which she is staying at the Saari Residence. She will examine how a body moving from one place to another navigates when residing in “foreign” spaces. Chalker is also interested in how both text and the body can function as means of communication when we locate ourselves in the world. Over the course of a two-month period, she will focus on the process during which a place changes from foreign to familiar.

At the residence, Canadian playwright, opera librettist, lyricist and translator Alexis Diamond will work on the first version of the play The White Hotel, which is a sequel to the award-winning play Strange Land, which is set in Montreal in 1942. She is also planning new musicals with renowned Canadian composers Abigail Richardson and Stephanie Moore.

Circus artist Marjukka Erälinna will work on AYFL? (Are You Feeling Lucky?). The core of AYFL?is life´s randomness, how things sometimes progress at just the right time in just the right direction, while at other times everything seems sluggish when we come up against trials that test us to our breaking point. Erälinna works with an aerial hoop through which she explores chaos and harmony in the spirit of experimental circus art.

The aim of author Sami Hilvo’s artistic work is to change the reader’s world through reading. His three previous novels have dealt with past events from new perspectives, but in his new novel, under the working title of Noita palaa! – Spektaakkeli (“The Witch Returns! – A Spectacle”), he moves to the future. At the Saari Residence he will focus on the background work to and writing of his novel. Noita palaa! is set in a city called Helsinki in the near future, and describes the last stages of the life of inter sexual artist Maleshé. It is a story of how low despite all the rhetoricthe level of tolerance actually is in modern day Finland.

Colombian artist and university professor Ana Mejia Macmaster will continue her project Present Past in which she questions the inaccessibility of the present and the paradox associated with the impossibility of capturing it. At the residence, she will explore and capture shadows, surrounding light and changes in illumination.

Basque sound artist Mikel R. Nieto hopes for plenty of snow in the region of Mynälahti because his project Mara-Mara / Sataa lunta (or a soft hiss of this world) explores how elements are being lost from our modern language as environmental conditions change. The Finnish language has 40 words that describe water, snow and ice phenomena. These words are the basis for his work in which he records the natural phenomena in question through sound. He wants to draw people’s attention to the fact that these phenomena are absent or they cannot be recorded, as they no longer exist.

Researcher and artist Hilja Roivainen will work on the manuscript of her dissertation on art history. The subject of her dissertation is Utooppinen maisema pohjoismaisessa 2000-luvun maalaustaiteessa (“The Utopian Landscape in Nordic 21st Century Painting”). The study will provide both an art theoretical interpretation of the concept of the utopian landscape and a visual analysis of utopian landscape paintings in Nordic modern art. Her research method is iconographic and intellectual historical. At the end of November, Roivainen will also give a talk at the Saari Residence on the topic Maisemataiteen iankaikkiset ideaalityypit (“Eternal Ideal Types of Landscape Art?”), which will be open to the public.

Swedish artist Marika Troili and Serbian artist Mirko Nikolić will also be working at the residence on their joint project which deals with the requirements that self-help literature create for people today and considers tactics to resist them. Their project is not, however, ironic. Rather its aim is to test affirmative reversal as a method. The background to the development of the inverse idea it is their belief that we should get beyond the notion that the ultimate goal of life is survival.

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