It aims to publish rigorous and engaging writing on current ideas, debates, and disputes around contemporary art and culture. Co-founded and co-edited by Elham Rahmati and Vidha Saumya, it functions as a platform for commissioning writers of any background to express their thoughts in the form of essays, exhibition reviews, interviews, images, poetry, fiction, podcasts, and playlists. Each issue includes texts and multimedia content commissioned directly by the editors, as well as pieces originating from pitches submitted through an Open Call.
The idea of NO NIIN started with wanting to have a dedicated space where ‘what people do in the Arts’ can be documented and promoted in a serialised manner. When we started talking about it we realised there were common experiences and desires that we shared through the actual and combined experience of working as a gallery coordinator (Third Space), exhibiting at museums and galleries in Finland, founding a cultural centre (Museum of Impossible Forms), curating and producing an academy (Academy of Moving People and Images), editing publications, writing articles, voicing our critical statements on panels and forums. We have observed, through our personal experiences, how minority groups are often pigeonholed by art institutions and cultural projects to express their thoughts and ideas only when it comes to matters related to their minority status. It is thoroughly frustrating to be made to feel that individuals belonging to minority groups have nothing more to offer beyond their trauma and struggles. Additionally, we see it as a space where members of minority groups feel free to write and share their insights on what they find urgent. NO NIIN is the space where individuals can perform any aspect of their multifaceted identities as they choose.
We aspire for NO NIIN to be a critical locus for discourse, welcoming difficult conversations that develop over time and questions that can help the artistic community grow and look at their practice from different perspectives. In the words of Kaino Wennerstrand, “this lack of coverage reminds one of a family that lives together but doesn’t speak to each other”. At present, Finland does not have an English-language publication focused on contemporary art. Most exhibition spaces, especially artist-run galleries and experimental spaces don’t have the time or the resources to dedicate to the promotion of the artists’ work through formal media channels. As a result, a majority of artists remain less known to the Arts scene as news about their work has no proper channels to reach a large audience. Either this is so because artists don’t have wide networks or they lack marketing and promotion know-how because these skills are not taught in art education institutions.
We hold a special place in our hearts and our magazine for works done by art students during their studies. In these formative years of living, working and collaborating as students, there is a sense of unrestricted exploration, passion and genuinity which for us is no less significant or valuable than the highly focused and systematic methodologies of writing and artmaking that one develops as a ‘professional’.