The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes are delighted to announce that the full programme of the Together Again Festival is now live. The festival will be hosted by writer, actor and performer Jani Toivola. The programme explores collective processes of making socially engaged art through exhibitions, keynote lectures, artist talks, screenings and performances online and onsite. The keynote is given by London-based Turner Prize winning collective Assemble. The festival will be opened by Susanna Pettersson, CEO of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Taking place in Helsinki Central Library Oodi and online on the 8th of September 2023, the festival is free and open to all. During the festival, audiences, artists and cultural professionals are invited to come together and discuss what being together means at this moment in time.
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Together Again includes four new commissions from artists Matti Aikio, Minna Henriksson, Uwa Iduozee, and the Kairos Collective. In addition, projects by artists Aapo Nikkanen & Léa Domingues, the Post Theatre Collective and the Soft Collective are further developed.
Karoliina Korpilahti from the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland and Elina Suoyrjö from the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York form the curatorial team for the project. Monica Gathuo works as the Executive Producer of Together Again.
The Helsinki festival culminates the two-year international Together Again art program produced by the institutes, where community-based art projects have been created in Amsterdam, Helsinki, London, Madrid, New York, Oslo, Paris and Porto.
Elina Suoyrjö, part of the curatorial team for Together Again and Director of Programs at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York shares:
“In the “post-pandemic” era, localised, long-term and sensitively supported processes are more important than ever. The community-based works that are produced as part of the festival seek to create impact and support structures for communities, specifically locally in Finland and in the countries where the institutes are located”.
Karoliina Korpilahti, part of the Curatorial Team for Together Again and Programme director, Arts at Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland says:
“I hope Together Again will contribute to the Finnish Institutes being trusted partners, advocating for fair practices, safer spaces, equality and diversity. Being more inclusive and accessible takes a lot of work behind the scenes. It is a constant learning process in our predominantly white and able-bodied Institute network. During the process we have had workshops and training.
Together Again is a big endeavour for small teams scattered across many countries but I believe the project is a fantastic example of the power of working together, that by taking risks and being forward-thinking our work can be a meaningful catalyst for positive change.”
Together Again Festival Programme
Sámi artist Matti Aikio’s working process during Together Again has focused on the so-called “neo-Lapp movement” in Finland and settler-colonial attempts at claiming Indigenous identity. Taking into consideration Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, Aikio looks past individual violations to question the structural and large-scale implications of this movement as a counter-strategy to the political mobilisation of the Sámi. Aikio’s practice considers the ongoing conflict between the Sámi culture and the Nordic nation-states’ use of natural resources. Matti Aikio’s commission has been realised in collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and Frame Contemporary Art Finland.
Minna Henriksson’s work The Kiila Feminist Archive is an archive-as-artwork. It involves a long-term and ongoing process of research into the early years of the Kiila artists’ and writers’ association in Finland, which has been running for over eighty years. A public intervention is realised into the shelves of two public libraries in Helsinki: Oodi Library and Rikhardinkatu Library. Between 8-17 September 2023, it will be possible to find a series of booklets that will be inserted into the fiction and poetry sections of each library, holding translations in English and the original Finnish texts of excerpts from selected short stories, novels and poems by four authors: Tyyne Maija Salminen, Elvi Sinervo, Iris Uurto and Katri Vala. These are texts that have gone out of public circulation; and have been largely neglected, both in Finnish and international literary history. Minna Henriksson’s commission has been realised in collaboration with the Showroom Gallery and Frame Contemporary Art Finland.
Uwa Iduozee invites audiences to discover his work “Not yet, but I like painting”, which he developed during a six-week residency in Bairro do Cerco on the outskirts of Porto, Portugal. Pairing portraiture with Google translate conversations had with the youth of Cerco, the work explores spaces of dreaming, imagination and community, and the ways in which they intersect with the concept of “growing up” in an environment of economic and social precarity. After being exhibited at Bienal’23 Fotografia do Porto and PHotoESPAÑA this summer, the exhibition will meet audiences in Helsinki at the Embassy of Portugal in Finland. An interview between The Finnish Cultural Institute in Madrid and Iduozee will be screened as part of the main programme.
By the bend is an orchestrated coincidence to meet again, brought to audiences by Kairos Collective. The work is a performative installation that hosts a social gathering. Guests are invited to share food and drinks and company. Spontaneous performances are weaved into the evening as gentle disruptions that connect the ephemeral and the tangible. Kairos Collective’s work is realised in collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and Frame Contemporary Art Finland.
Aapo Nikkanen & Léa Domingue of HAVE/NEED bring Roll in Circles to Oodi. The video piece directed by Nikkanen and Domingues, and edited by Mariia See explores the notions of documentation from different perspectives. The baseline of the video is a poem written by FRAN, a Paris-based poet and musician. Nikkanen and Domingues invited FRAN to document the HAVE/NEED Forum that took place in collaboration with Institute finlandais during the summer. FRAN’s reading is mixed with the original music from River Yarra, who was invited to compose a score for the same event. The visuals of the video are sourced from the author’s personal archives, inviting the viewer to a meditative trip toward the emotions the co-authors have shared during the project.
The Post Theatre Collective launches Season 3 of the Middle Eastern Bloc Podcast at the festival, commissioned by the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute. Norway-based Nelly Winterhalder and Finland-based Lois Armas have been selected as the writers of this season. The podcast continues to reflect on the global pandemic through the eyes of people belonging to cultural and linguistic minorities. The episodes are sound designed by Saku Kämäräinen, directed by David Kozma, with Noora Sointu Vuorela and Timo Torikka in the main roles.
Caroline Suinner and Meriam Trabelsi that form the Soft Collective share reels from their Safer Spaces for Unhad Conversations workshop held in Amsterdam in May 2023 in collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux. The work created together with Zulu Green, a black, queer, rapper, singer and songwriter from Amsterdam references community caring, with an emphasis on plant medicine and musical healing.
Geography of Empathy by Finnish empathy artist Enni-Kukka Tuomala invites participants to join a guided exploration of the emotional landscapes around the city centre of Helsinki, and the Kurkimäki neighbourhood in East Helsinki.
During three discussions, Together Again artists will be joined by cultural experts to take a deeper look at Making art with and through communities, Collective and community-based art practices and their political potential, and Collaborative practices from an arts organisational angle. The sessions include Yvonne Billimore, Lily Hall, Ali Akbar Mehta, Julian Owusu and Giovanna Esposito Yussif.
The main programme takes place at Helsinki Central Library Oodi, chosen for its central location and accessibility to the public. The programme is enriched with side events and interventions in collaboration with Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Rikhardinkatu Library and the Embassy of Portugal in Finland.
The festival closes with an afterparty hosted by MYÖS Collective.
Visit togetheragain.fi for the full programme.
The programme takes place 10:00-17:00 on the 8th of September at Helsinki Central Library Oodi. The festival is free and open to all.