UNDER THE INFLUENCE
THE FINLAND ISSUE - WINTER 2008/09
UNDER THE INFLUENCE PUBLISHING LTD.
Susan Connie Marsh
Mark O’Sullivan Only thirty two years before the birth of Nokia, in eighteen thirty five, the
Edward Lane undoubtedly influential first edition of the Kalevala was compiled and
Susan Connie Marsh edited by Elias Lönnrot from ancient folk and oral poetry he had collected
throughout Finland and Karelia, thus creating Finland’s definitive epic.
Christophe Pérez This fascinating poem crafted around the mysteries of nature, the origin
Sanna Saastamoinen-Barrois of all things that be, the enigmas of human tears, embodies the entire
Jussi Saastamoinen wisdom and accumulated experience of a nation. The Kalevala had a
Jeremy Barrois deep everlasting impact in bolstering the Finn’s confidence and faith in
Finnish fashion pioneer Ritta Immonen’s passing away last august the possibilities of their language and culture, even more so than the
Typography came after our decision to explore Finland as the inspiration behind Beowulf song in the anglo-saxon countries, the founding act of finnish
Futura Std the winter issue of Under the Influence. We felt it was only right to touch identity as well as the start of a national awakening process known
upon her role in Finnish fashion, the collaborations the brand she co- as the Karelianism vogue. Nokia might just be the notch of pride that
founded continues to nurture with local designers and artists, as well as topped it all.
prominent aspects of the country’s history, culture and mindset.
Press With an ever increasing surface of a seven square kilometers a year
KDpresse.com Indeed, the “grand old lady’s” Marimekko brand helped to bring growing rate and an extreme and often unforgiving climate, it is no
“national” design to a worldwide audience through her boldly patterned wonder nature has such a great impact on every aspect of the people’s
exportpress.com cotton clothes - Spring/summer 09 will see the premiere of British based, shape of mind and spirit. Nature is there, it is strong. It IS. The incessant
half Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka’s collection for the brand. Another brightness of the summer light and contrasting perpetual darkness
example of the vitality of the brand is controversial Finnish artist Miina of the cold winter experienced in the far north is as unforgiving as
Thanks to Äkkijyrkkä’s successful ongoing collaboration with Marimekko to bring omnipresent. That’s maybe why the Finn’s needed a sweeter folklore
her work to a wider audience. with the moomins, a new little world that would serve as a gentler
postcard in order to reach out to the expanding modern world.
Another well documented Finnish success story is that of Nokia, the
powerful industrial conglomerate which started out in eighteen sixty In effect, when looking closely at some of this fashion season’s most
ISSN - 1759-121X striking moments, one might find finnish folk art and design pattern
seven as a paper mill on the banks of the Nokianvirta, went on to
Printed in Poland produce a century later the brightly colored ‘Kontio’ rubber boot traces as well as kinship with the sami’s reindeer fur clothing. The John
before becoming what we came to recognize as one of today’s biggest Galliano autumn/winter 08 collection is a perfect illustration of this,
worldwide communication networks, thus setting a huge contrast with moreover when you consider the resemblance its quirky make-up and
what might be pictured as the local way of life. Finnish people indeed hairstyle bears with the colours found in Sanna Annukka’s Kalevela
live in a land of marshes and mountains, lakes and rivers, seas, gulfs, inspired maidens. Whether conscious or not, these nods to the sami
islands and inlets inhabited with trolls, hunters and legends. This lush herders and their bright bold outfits hold the promise of a rising trend
but often harsh natural environment has bred a long tradition of folklore rooted in the most specific aspects of Finland’s heritage.
which started out in the earliest age of Suomi with the worshiping of With designers such as Marimekko, Ivana Helsinki and Iittala enjoying
even the least conspicuous elements of nature, your regular animist success on an international level, our aim was to reach for the roots of
society, almost in the same fashion as Japan. The Sun, Moon, Stars, Finland as our source of inspiration for us to commission and produce
Earth, Air and Sea were to the ancient finns living self-conscious beings, new works influenced by the folk, fairytales, colors and contradictions
when not gods. Then came the moomins, but that’s a different story… of the Finnish landscape and spirit.
Photographer - Edward Lane
Stylist - Sandrine Goncalvès
Make-up - Akiko Sakamoto
Hair - Ramona Eschbach
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Previous page: Dress Dries Van Noten, Scarf Paule Ka, Jewellery Maison Martin Margiela.
Left page: Dress Dries Van Noten, Jacket Ines & Marechal, Belt Maison Martin Margiela, Boots Pierre Hardy.
Right page: Dress & mittens Paule Ka, Hood Christian Lacroix, Necklace Moutoncollet, Tights Maison Martin Margiela.
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Cape Sylvia Rielle, Top Christian Lacroix, Boots Pierre Hardy, Bag Maison Martin Margiela. Top & Sleeves Maison Martin Margiela, Pants Wolford, Necklace Helene Zubeldia.
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Trousers & Shoes Maison Martin Margiela,
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Top Jean Luc Amsler, Jacket Dries Van Noten, Neckalce Moutoncollet, Ring & bracelet Soaz, Pants Wolford. Same as previous page.
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Dress Paule Ka,
Scraf Dries Van Noten.
The tacky old express train seat feels safer than the pendolino one and I can’t
help picturing Eeva running after cows and away from goblins right here only
sixty years ago. Hiitola is no longer part of Finland. The eastern Karelia of the
Maiden of Finland ceded to Russia in the Winter War. Karelia is never forgotten
in politics but how many people remember the area in general? Does anybody
go there anymore?
Suddenly my computer makes a weird noise. I try pushing the buttons, nothing.
Battery checked. Wire checked. Electricity! I swear out loud and seek for
sympathy. Communal complaining anyone? In a surprise move, people are
smiling. A gap-toothed man behind my seat hands me a strawberry. A young
blond nerdy hick asks with a wide accent if I need help. I have a sudden flash
back of a zombie movie. Are they drunk? High? Mental? No, they are simply
friendly. Welcome to Savo, Eastern Finland.
Next to me a family, wearing matching Marimekko striped t-shirts, are eating
Karelian pies, hard rye crust filled with rice pudding. It takes a long time and
patience to make them, but in the end it’s worth it. An allegory of a Finn.
After passing Pieksämäki, the unhappiest town in Finland voted by the public
for many years now, the contradiction of this part of Finland is in your face.
The nickname Land of a Thousand Lakes derives from here. The landscape is
absolutely beautiful with glittering water and branches swinging in the wind.
Joyful and friendly people who haven’t heard of the words stress, burn out, nor
hurry. Or maybe it just seems like it. Rather than happiness, unemployment,
alienation and high suicidal rates are characteristic of this area. Finland is the
only country in Europe in which anti-depressants are the most popular medicine
sold. The lighter it seems, the darker it gets. One precautionary provision is
always there to help and hinder a Finn. The plague is called alcohol.
In the restaurant wagon many happy passengers have red noses already. A
couple of older lads are laughing their hearts out with their pints of Lapin Kulta.
Young art student girls with big wooden pearls around their necks giggle and
gulp dry ciders. A stiff lady sitting straight, with a silky Marja Kurki scarf, is
eating meatballs and mashed potatoes with a plastic fork. In one corner a smelly
hillbilly sings the Finnish national anthem and toasts himself repeatedly. I sit by
the window by myself and guzzle my beer. Here we are, the miniature Finland
packed in one wagon sitting next to and talking to each other without a problem.
It’s like in the sauna. Finns are losing their inhibition of talking. In a cruise boat
on the Baltic Sea they loose it all.
A short guy wearing a four-cornered hat is winking at me. Oh please shoot me.
- 24 - I. He’s moving closer. – I own reindeers, he says with pride and sits in front of me. - 25 -
This must be a) a hidden camera show b) a new reality TV-show or c) a horribly
Helsinki train station at noon. It’s a Friday in July and the sun will be up for tacky bachelor party. – And some huskies, if you ever want to come for a ride
nineteen hours today. Two pairs of statues hold the spherical lamps on either some day, he adds. I can’t help but ask him if he’s serious. And he definitely
side of the main entrance designed by Eliel Saarinen. I’m taking a good look at is. According to his ID, Erkki is a 31 year old fellow born in Inari who each
the art nouveau genius’ work when the smell brings me back to reality. – Don’t autumn takes part in a reindeer roundups near Rovaniemi, the city of the two
believe what they say about us, a staggering man whispers, raises his eyebrows most famous Finns, Santa Claus and Lordi.
and offers me a sip from his bottle of black Salmiakki booze. I pass. But the guy What is a genuine Lapp doing in eastern Finland? To my surprise he tells me he
has a point. What is a Finn made of? spent the week in Helsinki teaching Sami to linguistic students in a university.
Track eight. About a hundred passengers are already standing next to an empty Overwhelmed I try to make a joke about his hat. C’mon, nobody wears a
track, staring quietly in the direction of travel like robots. No one is talking. I try four-cornered hat below Oulu, or even there for that matter. – I’m proud of my
to scan what’s happening, nothing, of course. This is a country where people background. Kippis! And just like that Erkki, one of the rare 3000 who speak
plan everything in advance. You rarely see a Finn running to a train at the Sami, a dying language, as their mother tongue and who actually still makes a
last minute let alone missing it. When the French deal with a leaking pipe it’s living out of reindeer, is gone.
already causing water damage, a Finn would never have allowed the pipe to The joke is on me. I feel incredibly ridiculous with my Ivana Helsinki dress and
leak. Precaution is the key, for better or worse. I’ve even seen a Finn marking a high heels. I want to go to the bathroom and wash my face, put on rubber
hangover down on a calendar. I gobble up raw peas, a Finnish summer goodie, boots, a threadbare t-shirt and baggy trousers, wear a scarf in my hair and sit
and join staring. in a hammock, pick blueberries and breath the fresh air. The further away from
The white and blue clinical looking wagon is in chaos for a minute. Everyone Helsinki you go, the more exposed you feel. And little by little it starts to feel
wants to find their place at the same time. Passengers get welcomed abord the good. It feels like home.
train in Finnish, Swedish and English. Stiff businessmen push the buttons of their V.
hi-fi laptops, some stare out the window. Nobody smiles nor talks. Kids fingering
their mobile phones are desperately trying to look as hip-hop as their idol, 50 The phone rings. My brother wants to know if he should make me a birch switch
Cent. I ask the lady behind me if it’s ok to recline the seat a bit further. I guess for the sauna tonight. While staring at the lakes rolling by outside, I wish I were
stiffening and looking away equals yes. in the heat already, by the lake of our summer cottage, naked, dipping into the
Outside tall yellow houses begin to change to yellow crops surrounded by thick water, under the glowing sun that doesn’t go down until 11 pm. I want to be
dark green pine forests. Here and there you get a glimpse of a wooden red throwing more water onto the heater where a sauna elf sits guarding the spirit
house and black and white cows. As soon as the landscape changes to grey, you of traditional place.
know you’re in the city of Lahti. Businessmen step out. The train to Kuopio through – He’s an elf, a guy whispers in my ear and bursts out laughing so that I almost
Eastern Finland takes about five hours. I lay my head and close my eyes. spill my beer. I beg your pardon? Timo is a friend of Erkki’s and according to him
II. the reindeer caretaker is also working part-time as an elf in Santa Claus’ office in
the capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi. I see. This is a work trip to Saint Petersburg,
Mikkeli – St. Michel. The conductor comes and demands us to leave the train. then to Tallinn to bring as much booze as possible back to Finland. – Watch out,
Apparently Finland’s pride, the fanciest and fastest pendolino train has some he might be under your window next Christmas if you don’t behave well enough,
technical problems, as usual. Old rusty express one is picking us up. It seems Timo prattles with a wide smile and for a while I believe him.
that I’m the only one who’s irritated even a bit. Other passengers shake their
Photographs - Sanna Saastamoinen-Barrois heads, but kindly get up and step outside. No making a scene, no swearing, –We will shortly arrive in Kuopio. Thank you for traveling with us and welcome
no raising your voice, no I want my money back. But Finns obey only in front aboard again, the official tape announces. I gather my belongings, say good
of authority. Outside on the platform the art of Finnish communication begins: bye to the elves and jump out of the train. I breathe my lungs full of the fresh
communal complaining. How can they do that? I need to be at home on time. summer night air and head to the sauna.
We should file an appeal. I participate with one of my favorite lines of the genre: VI.
I hate pendolinos. People nod with sympathy. An old Finnish lady turns to me and
asks: – Which city are you from? After a relaxing weekend in the summer cottage, built by my grandfather himself,
Eeva, a Finn turned Canadian with curly gray hair and lightly slanted eyes, I feel I have energy to once again face the urban life in Helsinki. Lau Nau is
begins telling me how she’s going to meet her grandchildren she hasn’t seen in singing to my ears: I’m of the sea, I’m of the sun. In two ways, staying from a
ages. Toronto called her at the age of sixteen, during the Second World War. He place. The railway station is full of noises, Greenpeace volunteers try to persuade
was half Canadian, half German and they decided to get away. – You see that people to join them and there’s always a baby crying somewhere. I walk through
rock over there? She points to the forest next to the light blue wooden station. – I the lobby to the main gate and bump into at least five people.
know who put it there, she adds and nods convincingly. I’m starting to wonder When waiting for the 3T tram I can smell Chanel. A girl with white graphic
if I’ve met a psychic. hair and bright red lipstick is checking her phone with one hand and smoking
– The goblin from my hometown Hiitola has been here. Ok, just a mental case, or a Vogue with another. Her legs are covered with flower print leggings and the
maybe not. She tells me a long story of a malicious goblin called Hiisi who lives black Iloa dress is fantastic.
in the Finnish forest. Beardless, ugly Hiisi is always dressed as a scoundrel and is She might be a graphic designer or fashion assistant but inside, she’s a berry
found near ominous crevasses, large boulders and other amazing geographical picker. She’s probably heading to the trendy bar Erottaja and is going to drink
features. some glasses of fair-trade red wine from South Africa and sing along to Le Corps
–When we were evacuated from our home because of the war, my family took Mince de Francoise’s “Cool and Bored”, but she knows how it feels to sit in a
all the cows and goats to the train. I remember guarding them while staring hammock and ride a bike to school when it’s minus 25 degrees. She knows how
outside, looking at the woods terrified that I could see Hiisis travelling in a noisy it feels when the first snowflakes of winter are falling down. She remembers the
procession, attacking people who did not give way to them. I knew we’d have first spring day.
to get away from the woods, to the cultivated area where the Hiisi would never The girl probably takes trips to Berlin, Paris and New York every now and then
step foot. Then I saw a big boulder and I thought I was going to die. But I never but secretly she wishes she had time to make lingonberry juice herself and see
did. Not yet. Eeva giggles and before I have the chance to say anything, she’s the Northern Lights more often. Urbanism is only a mask. A Finn is always, and
already wishing me a good trip and jumping into the old rusty express train. A will never cease to be, a forest-dweller inside.
corner of Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot is popping out of her bag.
M - K ER
AK A - K
E- TIE AT
H UP BU JA
AI - R H
R NI NE EN
- C T T
M SHI HO T A SC
O N LA T H
DE YA W EL
L - F HA W
VE UK MI W
RO AM LTO .KA
N I N TIE
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VÄI- Walking to aeroplanes is something we
probably won’t be allowed to do very
soon. I could run among these aircraft
and disappear, any moment I want. I
suppose that makes this little walk roman-
ce. I bent down and scooped a handful
of runway snow into my mouth, and it
was still dripping from me as I passed
the identikit air-hostess on the steps and
gave her the most manic look I could
find, wouldn’t want the little aeroplangel
feeling too comfortable in her job. The
cold ice burnt my tongue and tasted
bitter and filthy.
I’d chosen this flight carefully; it meant
not flying over the Baltic Sea. I could ne-
ver dare to look at it again. It is not like
other seas, it forgives nothing, no life that
does not belong there can last more than
a few moments. I had to be away from
it, the suction I felt every time the tide
went out, pulling me towards it. I’d lost
- 48 - my sister there, that’s why I was running, - 49 -
that’s why I wanted to be in there. I lost
her…we were walking, holding hands,
an unusual thing to do but it was cold.
We walked along the coast a while. A
stranger to her but a face I knew came
to me and felt me with his gun, pushing
bits of my flesh and boner. «Come with
me to the ashes of the old boathouse, I’m
sure we’ll find something in common»,
he said. There, he wanted to kill me.
Story by MGW Lahiffe I couldn’t remember why, there were
probably a lot of reasons. I wouldn’t
have time to ask more than one ques-
tion, I decided. «What’s your name?» I
asked. «Väinämöinen», he said back.
He changed his expression and looked
at my silent sister, her mouth open and
showing her tongue. «I will let you go if I
can have her», Väinämöinen said.
I will never trust my mouth again. It said
yes. It is like when a beggar stops you
in the street for change and your pockets
are full and you see the hunger in his
eyes, and you say no. What will you do
with that change? Throw it on a desk or
in a jar until some turbulent day needs
calming by sorting it and changing it for
better money. I said yes and I saw the
grim evil in him as he moved to her. She
ran though, good girl I thought, and she
kept running. Into the November sea,
into the furnace of cold that is the Baltic,
her hair splayed like seaweed as she
Photograph - Jussi Saastamoinen
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PHOTOGRAPHER EMANUELE FONTANESI AT LAREVOLUTION.IT
STYLIST AMANDA ERICSSON
MAKEUP HUGO VILLARD
HAIR CHIAO SHEN
DRESS DREAMANDAWAKE, JEWELLERY TANJA MALO.
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JEANS CHEAP MONDAY, SHIRT RALPH LAUREN VINTAGE, COAT MARTIN MARGIELA. JEANS DOCTOR DENIM, SHIRT WOOD WOOD, SUNGLASSES MOSS LIPOW.
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PREVIOUS PAGES THIS PAGE
LEFT: JEANS CHEAP MONDAY, VEST MARTIN MARGIELA. ABOVE: COAT MARTIN MARGIELA, DRESS DREAMANDAWAKE, TIGHTS WOLFORD.
RIGHT: JACKET MARTIN MARGIELA, SHIRT THE STRAY BOYS. RIGHT: JEANS DOCTOR DENIM, SKIRT KATHERIN HAMNETT.
Aki Kaurismäki was born in Orimattila in southern Finland in 1957. After an initial apprenticeship co-directing
his elder brother Mika’s films, he directed his first film in 1983. Among his films are Leningrad Cowboys Go
America, Ariel, I Hired a Contract Killer, Drifting Clouds and The Man Who Wasn’t There, for which he was
nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. His films, mostly set in Helsinki, are stylised accounts of
working-class and marginal life. He is widely considered to be Finland’s greatest ever film maker.
Still taken from the film Drifting Clouds by Aki Kaurismäki.
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the same: he allows them one day of rehearsal and
no more so their performances never become too
‘actorly’; they are always pitched between natu-
ralism and the expressive passivity that wheedles
the secrets, sorrows and emotions out of characters
that are summoned as if from thin air. It’s not for
nothing that Kaurismäki is the only major film direc-
tor for more than 75 years to have made a silent
film, his 1999 adaptation of Juhani Aho’s classic
Drifting Clouds, like all of Kaurismäki’s films, is
neither blindly optimistic nor masochistically des-
People with hangdog looks are two a penny in Kaurismäki films but in Drifting Clouds he pairing. But it recognises the simple desires of peo-
chose to hang one on an actual dog. Pietari perches on the ironing board, attentive to his ple; to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, all its characters
master and mistress’ needs and concerns. He is ever present throughout the film and goes want something, even if it’s only a glass of water.
OLIVER FARRY everywhere with Lauri and Ilona. He provides the sort of unstinting, unwavering loyalty
that only a good dog can. And Pietari’s performance – for that is his name in real life – is
Some people might claim that Kaurismäki resolves
too easily some of the problems he sets himself in
impressive. the film but the clouds of the title drift, they never
The objects we see in the picture are significant in both the film and in Kaurisamäki’s completely disappear. It’s not a perfect film but few
work in general. The retro kitchen appliances are commonplace yet they are more than good films are perfect. He allows his characters to
simply kitsch nostalgic signifiers for the director who was born in 1957. In the lives of be, as well as essentially good, naïve, stupid, mean
They’re probably a couple, looking out at what seems to be the middle hire purchase, including the big colour TV that Lauri surprises Ilona with his characters, these clunking, CFC-wheezing, lead-lined hulks are the only constants. and wrong. But he is always on their side and the
distance, until you realise that there’s a mirror placed, at an unusually early in the film. «Trees still grow,» says Lauri defiantly after he loses his job. But the appurtenances of a one thing that is never excluded in a Kaurismäki
high level, half-obscured by a pile of tea towels or some such linen, their But after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Finland’s contented domestic life are less assured. The new colour television gets repossessed as film is hope, because that, no matter how mispla-
ease of access indicating they’re called on a lot in this household. The number one trading partner the cold winds of recession blow over the the couple fail to meet their payments. The furniture follows. But the old vacuum cleaner, ced or impossible it might be, is what people do.
couple is Lauri («not yet fifty», as he says in this very scene) and Ilona country. Both lose their jobs. First Lauri, who keeps his redundancy a toaster, radio and TV remain. Neither are the truths of the world assured, Ilona, at a job
(38). There’s a studiousness about them that suggests a moment of some secret from Ilona for a month («Most the routes don’t make any money. interview, says that the Dubrovnik was the ‘best restaurant in town’ only to be cruelly told,
importance. Ilona, with her dressing gown belted like a corset and her Half the people drive and half take the Metro. The rest can’t afford to ‘yes… after the war.’
1950s kitchenware, looks like the doomed heroine of a Douglas Sirk walk.») Then Ilona, whose cherished restaurant Dubrovnik is bought out The ironing board appears throughout the film, as emblematic as the ironing board in
melodrama. But the era is the early 90s and Lauri and Ilona are the by creditors. Both find it hard to adjust. Lauri loses his license – and a John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger was. But with Osborne, it was a symbol of stifling do-
protagonists of an Aki Kaurismäki film, Drifting Clouds (1996). It is a job driving tour buses – when it is found he is almost deaf in one ear. mesticity. With Kaurismäki, it is indicative rather of domestic order and reassurance: when
film in which the characters and the viewers sense the musty shroud of Ilona is told she is too old to work in restaurants – «But I’m only 38,» Lauri leaves Ilona briefly, ashamed at being unable to stand up to her thuggish employer,
poverty creep up on them. But for all that it is not unburdened of hope. she says, only to be told, «exactly, you could drop dead any minute,» the saddest pointer to his loneliness is the fact that he is forced to iron his shirts on the top
The strange high angle of their kitchen mirror allows them to rehearse by a man who is over 50 but «has contacts». of a bedside locker. The ironing board is part of the film’s tribute to work, not a grimly pu-
the hopeful stance that they find themselves assuming for so much of the The couple are childless but during the film we see briefly the portrait of ritanical or Stakhanovite valorisation but a eulogy to the simple efforts of ordinary people
film their necks are likely to seize in an eternal crick, if the continuous a smiling boy, whose identity is otherwise unexplained but can easily in their everyday labours and the dignity that goes with it. Lauri cleaves so tightly to this
setbacks they experience don’t knock them back out of shape. be guessed at. Kaurismäki provides a twist that would be lost on many ideal that he proudly refuses to draw the dole, further imperilling himself and Ilona.
The moment of import is a job interview, for which Lauri has scrab- viewers – the child in the photo is Matti Pellonpää, his regular leading Kaurismäki’s characters inhabit a world that flits in and out of the actual one, it’s not real
bled together a semblance of formality. At the start of the film, both man, who died relatively young the previous summer. Ilona’s grief is fur- but it is realistic. Like Fassbinder, he plots only the salients of his drama and his characters
are employed, Lauri as a tram driver and Ilona as the maître d’ in an ther hinted at when she leaves off cleaning, saddened by news reports bud as the films progress. His films lead off from a standing jump; the characters, like the
old-fashioned restaurant. They seem happy but ultimate happiness is of a tsunami in the Philippines and the execution of the Nigerian poet hero of his best-known film The Man Without a Past, have no past history to begin with. It
elusive,kept at one, two, three, four removes. Everything is paid for on Ken Saro-Wiwa. fills itself in gradually. His method of working with actors (usually the same ones) is always
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Mohair Cardigan By Malene Birger, Pantie Wolfoord, Necklace Corpus Christie. Hair - Pascal Wolfert at LeBigOne, Make-up - Estelle Jaillet at LeBigOne, Model - Sophie at Major.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTOPHE PÉREZ
“foxfire”, is the Finnish name for
the Northern Lights. It comes from the Sami
legend in which the tail of a fox running along
snow-covered fells strikes the snow drifts, sending a trail
of sparks into the sky. This magnificent natural phenomenon,
like dancing curtains of light in the night sky, is actually a result
of charged particles, electrons and protons, accelerating in the
earth’s magnetic field and colliding with air molecules. Light is
created when these particles give up a part of their surplus energy.
The oxygen in the atmosphere produces the vibrant green, yellow
and red colors commonly associated with the light, whereas the
rarer blue and violet hues are due to the nitrogen. Paradoxically,
the sun is the culprit of these nighttime spectacles, whose
eruptive activity and solar flares catapult particles of matter
out into space at speeds of 1000 km a second on solar
winds. The floating particles in the atmosphere
from the sun’s boisterous flare-ups create the
lights, much like the soft thrashing of
a furry tail in the snow.
Red sun just above the horizon,
pink light kisses the fells desi-
gned by the last ice age.
Scenery continues until at last
dissolves into sky.
As the wind changes direction, the
reindeer turn their heads against
the blow and start moving.
Their natural instinct leads to new
Finland Lapland Samiland
For centuries reindeer herders
have followed their stock with
their dogs and handmade skis.
The reindeers’ yearly migration
leads the people to move along
with the stock.
When reindeers are doing well,
people are doing well. Reindeers
make the people live, they offer
shelter, food, transportation,
Nature has offered everything
needed. There was no waste.
Words & Photographs
There is longing.
There is leaving.
There is coming back.
There is leaving again.
There are the faces of loved ones,
always a bit changed.
A new line here.
Couple of kilos there.
The boobs have boobed out,
A hair is getting longer,
or the hairline higher,
sometimes there is no hair.
And sometimes there just is no more.
beyond –i don’t know what.
There is the blue moment,
just before the darkness
all is blue.
There is a rotten coloured ground,
that shimmers when the frost arrives.
There is this everywhere reaching whitness,
that leaves nothing,
but a naked nature.
There is the green
that comes through all the death.
And everything is full of the bright life again.
Sometimes i and the silent lake
the circling monoghramy of the landscapes.
If all that would be the macrocosmos of a living being,
if the nature would be the body,
would the colour be the spirit ?
TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS
H U N T E D H U N T E R
PHOTOGRAPHY & ART DIRECTION
SUSAN CONNIE MARSH
C H R I S T I A N B E R N A R D - C E D E R VA L L ( M U S I C I A N )
S A N N A S A A S TA M O I N E N - B A R R O I S ( A R T I S T )
RAMONA ESCHBACH WITH BUMBLE&BUMBLE
S U L K AWA
PIHLA HINTIKKA (WRITER)
Miina Äkkijyrkkä is no stranger to controversy.
The Finnish sculptor has never followed the
mainstream, nor given up on anything she
believed in. She says what she thinks and she
What is your normal day like?
says it loud. In 2002, the uncompromising artist
received a State Art Award for her talent of using Either a normal day doesn’t exist, or every day is normal. It
contradictory elements in her art. The sculptures depends on the season. In spring, when the overwhelming steely
of cows are combinations of agriculture and Scandinavian light spreads everywhere, I draw as much as
“high” culture. She is famous for connecting her possible. It’s the time for calving and I run to the cow house all
passion for cattle-raising and the visual arts as the time to check if new calves have been born. It’s hard, I sleep
well as gluing together performance art and too little, but I want to be awake. During the summer, I’m welding
respect of traditions. Today, in addition to creating or preparing my exhibitions. This summer was different since I
performance and sculptural works, she is involved was trying to find myself a new place to live. I realized that none
of the countryside villages attract me anymore because of the
in a rich collaboration as a textile designer
fear of darkness and the lack of stimulus that surrounds the spirit
with Marimekko. Still, for some, and especially
there. It’s not my life. I’m in a hurry. I have a burning desire to
for officers of Helsinki, she is only a crazy cow
fulfill myself, to satisfy the intuition I have with cows.
woman who doesn’t obey the rules, uses too much
space, creates too much noise and damages the How is it to live in Finland as an artist?
town’s property. For the past 44 years she has
been an important advocate for the protection I’m almost 60 years old now and I have no place to live. Helsinki
of Finncattle, the native Finnish dairy breed. is trying to evict me and my cows, and to make sure that I won’t
Äkkijyrkkä currently resides in Helsinki, «On find any kind of home in my own hometown. Cows and my work
the 6th of November, the court announced that as a sculptor go so obviously together that it’s hard for me to
INTERVIEW - PIHLA HINTIKKA Äkkijyrkkä has to leave her home by the end of think that they would ever be strewed in different directions. My
PHOTOS - JEREMY BARROIS the year - and probably say good bye to her cattle ideas will probably change if I have to travel 100 kilometers to
too. This interview was made a couple of weeks the source of my inspiration. ‘Operation Eviction’ wouldn’t be
excruciating if I was really depressed and slouched in bed all
before the verdict.»
day. In that case it could be good to move for a change. My
kids have flown the nest and it would be the perfect opportunity
to create art. I’ve recently had exhibitions from New York to
Tokyo, and suddenly I have no place where I can unpack my
bags, think things through and continue to work. I want to live
45 minutes away from the centre, or else in another country or
planet. I often visit Paris but I couldn’t bring my cows there either.
I’d love to find a place somewhere in France with pastures, not
too far away from Paris. I just want to be somewhere with my - 107 -
cows. People don’t seem to understand that success is always
a result of hard work. It doesn’t happen easily or by chance,
like a seagull pooping on your head. You have to say no to so
many things in order to walk on the right path that will lead you
Why cow’s? to success. If an athlete wins a golden medal, the town treats
him like a hero. As a sculptor I use a lot of space, which is
The first steps of a calf are untouched, they are moments of Sisu inconvenient, and the town wants to get rid off me. If the police
(Finnish strength) and coming to life. Calves are careless, I’m attempt to shoot my cows, it will be a very big deal.
inspired by their braveness and their power, they fill me with a
fanatic joy and drive. A calf bursting into life is more abstract Is art a battle?
than an elegant gazelle, it breaks all the rules of finesse and
that is why it’s at the heart of all my art. I can infinitely use its How to keep the artistic spark alive is a personal battle. An
abstract form. Also, the cow’s status has changed over the years. artist needs to express himself but he has to be able to reject all
The cow used to be a part of the family, but nowadays it’s only the impulses from his surroundings in order to stay focused on
a number code. We have lost the real contact with the animal. the substance. If a creative person becomes famous in a small
I’ve been researching all the instances in the world where cows country he gets approached continuously and in many different
have had a direct relationship or impact on a human being. ways. This takes a great deal of energy, and may shape the
I’m particularly interested in the cow’s ability to learn, I find it personality. It’s not good. There are always admirers and haters,
unbelievable how little people actually know about it. but every artist should have a safe place to be calm and alone.
Sometimes I feel like I’m carrying a vulnerable artistic spark in
You’ve been called Äkkijyrkkä (Abrupt) and Lång (Long). What my arms and I would like to take it home to all my colours and
do these names stand for? papers, but then somebody interrupts me by asking how many
cows I own. They usually get pissed off because I don’t grant
Liina Lång (Long Rag) is a signature name because I received them enough time or a proper answer. Unfortunately, I don’t
a State Art Award and lost everything. I wanted to have an have five secretaries and ten doors like the officers of Helsinki.
anonymous name. I didn’t use it for a long time because it didn’t I can’t sneak out from a back door, I work outside and anyone
work for anyone, it was too soft. I am, and I’ll always remain can grab my arm without any respect for my privacy. It’s no
Miina Äkkijyrkkä (Mine Abrupt). I came up with this name wonder that in Helsinki some people think I’m a “horrible bitch”
because it’s funny, like a fence made of brushwood, visually because I don’t have the energy to explain the simplest things
too with all its consonants. My family has always been all about to everyone who asks. I often yearn for the kind of peacefulness
name-games. A name is never just a name; it expresses the that Paris could offer, millions of people around and nobody who
essence of a person. I would never want to have a common knows me. The mass is like a forest, filled with different stimulus,
name. I’m already indignant that there are two other Äkkijyrkkäs glamorous colors and all in life that strikes me. I can close my
in Finland, and that I’m receiving their mail. Äkkijyrkkä is a big eyes and listen to all the noises like a billowing race, a storm. I
name and it shouldn’t belong to just anyone. love metropolitans. If I’m really depressed, I fly to New York.