In my view, Sonia Boyce’s presence in Helsinki is complicated by Finnish institutions’ treatment of black people in Finland. This essay thus considers the conditions of possibility that Boyce’s presence catapults for black cultural productions in Finland. To be clear, I am not implying that for black cultural production to make sense in Finland, outside-Finnish-borders blackness needs always to be present; instead, I want to trouble this very tendency that many Finnish institutions seem to rely on.READ
Noise, Sound and the Ongoing Project of Black Cultural Production: An Essay Reflecting on Sonia Boyce’s Recent Visit to Finland
Milka Njoroge on the fraught dynamics that structure the relation between art institutions and black people.
With this text, I’m probing into ongoing processes at Aalto University in the last five years, which, among other things, led to the administrative decision to remove the University-Wide Art Studies (UWAS) program in 2021. The story starts in 2016 when something quite special was cooking in the Art, Design, and Architecture School, and a truly radical form of transdisciplinary education was lived and enjoyed by many, thanks to UWAS. I want to make sense of the sad fallout from such dream; a fallout that happened despite countless protests at different levels of the organization’s pyramid.READ
Transdisciplinarity in Higher Education: Wicked Problems, Dreams, and Nightmares
On the ongoing processes at Aalto University in the last five years that led to the administrative decision to remove the University-Wide Art Studies (UWAS) program in 2021.
When I reflected on the works from Speed Records, I questioned if there was supposed to be an element of parody. Was the use of the candy-colored paint intentional to comment on the glorification of US mass consumerism, specifically within the subculture of motorsports? Many works were created out of resin; was this to comment on the permanence of US-American mass culture? Or even the permanence of US-American cultural hegemony within the vast amounts of consumed nostalgia? Like consumable products, cultural media omnisciently persists through microplastics, carbon emissions, or successful propaganda.READ
When Home Follows You Home: A Review of Anssi Kasitonni’s Speed Records
Gabriella Presnal review focuses on reflective versus restorative nostalgia and the Americanization of Finnish visual and contemporary culture.
The exhibition opens with a series of sculptural elements installed in the first of Titanik’s two exhibition rooms. The dominant colour is a peachy orange, and the materials range from glazed ceramics to smooth silicone and fluffy fake fur. Some objects are similar to everyday things related to keeping cats, a climbing tree, climbable shelves on the wall, and cat beds. This everyday impression gets nudged toward the uncanny by some extra elements. From a shelf of the climbing tree, some sort of goo is dripping onto the floor, like a cat had lost the surface tension holding it together and became shapeless matter.READ
The Unbearable Existence of Kittens: A Review of Reija Meriläinen’s Snugglesafe
Sympathetic resonance in music is the reactionary sonar vibration in an object caused by the vibrations of a different object: It is like the awakening of a note in something that is not actively made to sound. When I see the newest paintings by Aishe Vejdani, this is what I feel. The visual resonance sounds a similar chord in my retina, and I feel emotional waves ripple through me.I am intrigued by how the paintings look, both ancient and new. These works reference Aishe’s ancestral past, including the hardship of her forefathers.READ
From Memory to Memorial: A Conversation With Aishe Vejdani
Anna Ruth interviews Iranian artist, Aishe Vejdani, on how literature, history, music, and social dissonance influence her artwork.
Sonia Boyce is a pioneer of the British Black Art movement. Her practice stems from the visual arts but has grown in so many directions that categorizing her work into any single art form feels oversimplifying. Then again, that is partly the nature of Black Art: the need and ability to be multiple things and escape definition simultaneously. Sonia and I are from different generations; we work with distinct art forms in different contexts and very different parts of Europe. Despite these differences, we almost immediately find a common language. In our discussion, we define it as the language of blackness. Working as a black man in northern Finland, it is a rare opportunity to have a tête-a-tête with my elders. It can even be hard to recognize my elders. Sonia called it systemic amnesia, how our environments erase our lineages and make us think we are alone.READ
Dreaming Utopias Into Existence: A Conversation With Sonia Boyce
On the simultaneous decentralizing and contextualising of the self, and lightening the burden of representation.
After going missing for three months, Lisa, Suddenly appears at my midnight window. “I have an idea. A very bad idea” She whispers through the bars. I, both waking and dreaming Forgot to ask the important questions. “What? Tell me”.
A poem by Aleena; with audio reading.