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Diving into arts in Helsinki

Posted: 2008-10-31 01:08:50, Categories: Travel, Finland, Hospitality exchange, Helsinki, Literature, Movies, 730 words (permalink)

Computer art installation at Alternative Party. When traveling, I'm breathing in a new environment every moment. In Helsinki, I'm familiar with the surroundings and how the system works. Part of that is easy access to information what is happening around. As a result I end up going to more concerts, festivals and other cultural events than during my travels.

The most interesting event happened through a CouchSurfing guest. I hosted Kevin who came from Berlin for the Helsinki Festival of New Juggling. The opening show was officially only for festival participants but the organizers kindly let me in with him. That was one and a half hours of most amazing juggling — in a nearby school gymnastics hall. :-) You could really feel the good vibes in the whole crowd. I also went to both public shows attached to the festival. The French group Compagnie Non Nova's Jongleur pas confondre on Saturday was a disappointment, but Ville Walo's and Kalle Hakkarainen's Puun syy was beautiful.

Love and Anarchy film festival took over the screens as usual in late September. The Icelandic comedy Astrópía offered the best laughs and was my favourite this year. Death Note came second by exploring the dark side of human mind in somehow very Japanese way. Some fans of the Death Note manga (comic) didn't appreciate the movie too much though. I should also mention the animation Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) which is one of my favourite movies and comic books from all times. It was in the festival program, but as I had already seen the film and the hour of the screening was bad I skipped it this time.

Last weekend my friend Tuula came in Helsinki and we went together to the yearly book fair. Lectures were the most interesting part of the event. As adventurers and explorers in our own lives we both connected with the theme Vieraat kulttuurit suomalaisin silmin (Foreign cultures through Finnish eyes), and talks about happiness and personal choices in life. Marketta Horn told how she loved meeting people in the lively cheapest classes of trains during her travels in Asia and Australia. – Tän pitäis olla Kela-korvattavia asioita (This should be subsidized by the Finnish social security system), laughed Risto Lindstedt about the therapeutic value of his motorcycle travels. Parliament member and avid cyclist Osmo Soininvaara sitting besides him seemed to agree. – Hulluus tarjoaa helpotusta (Craziness offers relief), suggested Timo Airaksinen in his lecture. – Naisen sydän ei ole yhteensopiva nykymaailman kanssa. Voisiko hän muuttaa maailman sydämellisemmäksi? (The heart of a woman is not compatible with the modern world. Could she change the world into a more heartfelt one?), asked Hilkka Olkinuora, who touched the audience telling how women in particular submit too easily into the busy life expected by the society.

Tuula also joined me on Saturday to Alternative Party, where people come together to celebrate weird computers, music and funky digital arts. This year's event was bigger than ever but it had managed to preserve its friendly atmosphere. Front 242 did a great live concert on Friday night and Brad Templeton from Electronic Frontier Foundation was the guest of honor on Saturday. To my surprise Tuula also found the visit interesting and funny. She was probably more open minded towards the event than me. I realized how I had categorized Altparty as a nerd gathering which others wouldn't understand, and presented it as such.

During October I've also visited the Ateneum Art Museum, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum in Helsinki, plus Museum Centre Vapriikki in Tampere. It was a good reminder that museums are not static: all had plenty of new things to see. I particularly liked the Japanese wood prints in Ateneum and some works playing with light and colors in the Full House exhibition at Kiasma. Hint: Entrance to both Ateneum, Kiasma and Sinebrychoff Art Museum is free of charge on the first Wednesday of every month at 17-20 in the evening.

Settling down after the summer travels has been faster than it was after spending a whole year on the road. I've been meeting with friends, family and relatives, participating in club activities and spending countless hours reading and writing email, as usual. I also have a job again, but will write more about that later.

1 comment

Comment from: Pirkko Teräs [Visitor]
Hei Arto, Mukava taas kuulla sinun tekemisiäsi. Olimme pari päivää Hesassa viime kuussa ( syysvapaa) ja kävin Lissun kanssa Ateneumissa katsomassa japanilaista puupiirrostaidetta; kerrassaan upeaa. Aikaa oli rajoitetusti ja Mika Waltarin näyttely jäi joululomalle. Meillä on jo vähän lunta ja pakkasta on ollut ihan reilustikin,eilen iltapäivällä 13 astetta. Tulevalla viikolla meillä on pieni remontti: kaikki talon ikkunat ja takaovi vaihdetaan. talomme täyttää ensi vuonna 30v joten uusiminen on aivan paikallaan. Mukavaa viikkoa sinulle t. Pirkko
2008-11-02 @ 18:32

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