Att döda en koltrast (2011)

A joint exhibition with Emma Rönnholm took place in Galleri Sinne, Helsinki, September 2011. Our theme was encounters with animals in the urban space, especially concentrating on the wild animals of Helsinki. Exhibition consisted of individual works and a series of sculptures, ‘Striptease’, we created together.

Staden är konstruerad av människor för människor, men inom dess ramar existerar många andra samhällen, konstruerade av andra arter. I en stad som Helsingfors finns i själva verket tiotals städer, nästan osynliga för varandra. Ekorrarnas Helsingfors, måsarnas, kråkornas, duvornas Helsingfors, ändernas, sparvarnas, koltrasternas, råttornas, kaninernas och igelkottarnas Helsingfors. De har levt vid människans sida i århundraden, fullt synliga men ändå osedda. Som en slags andra klassens medborgare, en slags spegling av människan och urbaniseringsprocessen vi gått igenom under vår historia.

Att slå sig ner och granska dessa andra helsingforsbor är att betrakta förhållandet mellan grupp och individ, djur och människa. Hur vi förhåller oss till varandra och hur staden formar oss alla och envar. Utställningen “Att döda en koltrast” närmar sig dessa teman via videoanimationer, skulptur och installation, med fördomsfritt sinne och öppna ögon.

Kaupunki on ihmisten rakentama tila ihmisille, mutta sen sisällä on lukuisia pienempiä, hyvin erilaisia yhteiskuntia. Helsinki ei ole vain ihmisten kaupunki – on oravien Helsinki, lokkien, pulujen ja variksien Helsinki, sorsien, rottien, kanien ja siilien Helsinki. Nämä eläimet ovat asuneet ihmisten rinnalla jo vuosisatoja, läsnäollen mutta usein katseelta piilossa. Ne ovat kuin toisen luokan kansalaisia tai varjokuva ihmisestä ja hänen läpikäymästään kaupunkilaistumisesta.

Jos keskitymme näihin näkymättömiin kanssaeläjiimme, kohtaamme suuriakin kysymyksiä; mitä on yksilö suhteessa yhteisöön, mitä eläin on suhteessa ihmiseen, miten kohtaamme ja kohtelemme toisiamme. Miten kaupunkiympäristö muokkaa asukkaitaan? Näyttely pohtii näitä kysymyksiä animaation, veistoksen ja installaation keinoin, avoimella mielellä ja ennakkoluulottomin silmin.

Taiteilijat Saana Inari ja Emma Rönnholm aloittivat opiskelun Kuvataideakatemiassa samalla vuosikurssilla 2004 ja työskentelevät nyt kuvataiteilijoina Suomessa ja ulkomailla.

The city is a space constructed by humans for humans, but within there are many other societies, constructed by other species. Helsinki is not only a city of the humans, it is also a city of the squirrels, the seagulls, the crows, the doves, as well as a city of the ducks, the sparrows, the blackbirds, the rats, the rabbits and the hedgehogs. These animals have lived alongside the humans for centuries, visible but at the same time invisible. They are as second-class citizens or as a reflection of the humans and the urbanisation process.

When observing these other residents of Helsinki one is facing big questions. What is an individual in relation to a group and what is the animal in relations to the human. How do we face and treat each other? How does the urban environment shape its inhabitants? The exhibition examines these questions with an open-minded attitude.

List of works:

Striptease, mixed media

A human in a naked animal. He is physically unprotected without feathers, fur or a shell, but is surrounded by many synthetic covers; clothes, walls, city structure. With these extensions of the body we define ourselves. But what would a rabbit be without her fur? A bird without the feathers?
Sculpture series ‘Striptease’ is a playful study about nakedness and eroticism – which here refers to the history of the gallery space as a former sex shop – but also about vulnerability, empathy and individuality.

Peephole, Split-screen video, 1 min LOOP

From the peep-holes drilled on a wall-element we can follow two different videos. First one shows two squirrels chasing each other aggressively around a tree. Other one stops to look at the camera and stomps with its pawns while making a loud clicking sound. Second video shows two rabbits running around in the bushes until they suddenly stop and instead of fighting, start to mate. Videos are revealing the intimate side of wild animals that we normally don’t see.

Paparazzi, HD video, 0.45 min LOOP

With his work ‘Night watch’ Francis Alÿs introduced an idea of city-animals as the second class citizens. They are living among us but hardly anyone notices their existence. Line animation reveals the reaction of an animal when it becomes aware of being exposed by a human. Normally city animals do not pay attention on people walking by. It’s unnecessary, people don’t notice them. But when a man stops and focuses his sight on the animal, it will feel threatened and take a position of a pray. The video piece de-romanticizes the encounter of a man and an animal. Nature is escaping and hiding.

Sparrow flock as – no sound – HD 01.05 min LOOP – version

Links: Helsingin Sanomien arvio

Video copyright: City Portal AB
Kinetic installation Days Gone By: Emma Rönnholm

Self portrait with a deer (2011)

The video draws a story about a mental dilemma, the protagonist is trying to escape by adopting the roles and forms of different animals. After several failures she has to accept her own limitations in order to be able to continue her journey.

I use real encounters with animals as metaphors and a frame for the story based on my personal reflections. The name ‘Self Portrait With a Deer’ refers to a photograph which is used as the title of the video. In addition of visual elements, both deal with the connection to wild animals. On the picture I´m holding a deer, on the video a deer represents fear.

Video was shot on the location of Kunstraum Bethanien in Berlin on April 2011.
Duration: 10:48 min
Shooting format: HDV 1080/25p
Camera: Tiago Bartholo
Sound: John Blue
Advisor: Simo Kellokumpu
Else: Saana Inari
Thanks to John Holten for helping with the translation from Finnish to English.


Trailer :

Don’t Go Home With Satan (2009)

“Mom bought us candies and we got to stay up late. But then my brother said we need to go to bed. He’s annoying sometimes. But then came the Satan and I thought he will eat us. But then he didn’t.”
(Aaron, 4 years)

Don’t Go Home With Satan is an experimental short animation. Story is based on a haunting song I heard in my dream. When waking up I could not recall the song anymore but after several months it suddenly came to me again. I found a scull from a forest, perhaps a fox, mice had eaten some of it, I turned it around and saw something creepy, face of the Devil, and as walking back to a house I started to sing a song; ‘Don’t go home with Satan, he will eat your children’.
Scull became a character and I build the story around it.

Year of production: 2009
Duration: 03:55 min
Master: 2K, stereo sound
Puppets/Animation/Editing/Etc: Saana Inari
Sound: Stephane Leonard
Music: Margo Zalite and Mimosa Pale
Funding: AVEK

Tehdas | Factory (2006)

Originally made for the Hanasaari A -photo exhibition. I used the old power mill as a background for the story, that remains bit unclear, dream-alike. It can be about intensity and insanity of ‘6 days week’ hard physical factory work, about tearing down the old building or even about violence.
Still images, stop motion and line animation by Saana Inari. Sound by Jukka Hiltunen.

Animaatiopalkki | Animation Block (2005)

Site-specific video installation from 2005, with two synchronized projectors for a long wooden block above a bar counter. It was made for a music festival that took place on Cable factory in Helsinki. Animated characters were running and jumping through the block. Here’s some examples: