Kiia Beilinson (b.1986, Espoo, she/they) is a freelance graphic designer and artist based in Helsinki. She DJ’s by her alias Cute Cumber and is a co-founder of MYÖS, a collective and non-profit organisation promoting accessibility, equality and safer spaces in electronic music & club culture. Currently, Beilinson is also working part-time teaching in Aalto University and as press coordinator for Baltic Circle festival and fills her daily duties as a caregiver to a rescue dog.
I recently moved houses from the city to the suburbs in Helsinki. Relocating my home to a previously unknown area has forced a habit of navigating and mapping this new living environment into my days. Biking through the gravely forest routes to and from my new home base at the edge of the city has quickly turned into a sort of meditative routine of routing and transitioning. I’ve always struggled with the traditional (still, silent, mindful) meditation practices and have instead been able to reach meditative states in rhythm and in bodily movement. Generating this monotonic, looping motion from the body to the pedals to move the vehicle has an effect on the body–reminiscent of dancing at a rave? – that enables my mind to go blank in between affairs and locations.
Altering and discovering new routes, surroundings and means of transitioning to and from home feels grounding: no matter the route I take, at the end of the day I find my way back to where I came from. It seems like the act of return strengthens my sense of home in this new location. As the familiarity of the routes and surroundings leading to and from home grows, along with it comes a feeling of permanence, stability and safety–home as a point of return.
For anyone belonging to a cultural diaspora, a sense of home is not necessarily a given, not to mention the privilege of having a home to inhabit and return to. Nevertheless, calling a place home does not always come with a sense of belonging either. Sometimes the sense of belonging can strike far away from home, in a completely unfamiliar place and cultural habitat. Sometimes the sense of being home-sick for another home, longing for the sense of belonging can be felt even in your own home. At times it seems a sense of home is not to be found in the physical realm at all, but rather in the embodied.
I return home after a day and lay down on the couch. I lie seemingly still but become aware of my body being still in motion. My chest keeps rising as I breathe, I feel my blood circulating, my skin still slightly sweating from pedalling. I listen to my own heartbeat and the fluids stream in my gut system. There is a pace in the body that resembles musical elements; there’s loops, rhythmic patterns, melodic streams, there’s ambience. There is constant rhythm and movement inside the body as there is outside of it, in the earth, in the stars, in the wind, in the waters. In living organisms breathing and generating energy, in dying organisms decaying and fertilising the soil. In mushrooms, in weeds, in forests, in seas. There is a fleeting sense of belonging to a world where everything is in constant flux, in motion, moving and dancing to a complex choreography in unison, connected. There is a sense of a home within the body among the bodies of others.