Category Archives: Politics

I do…

object marriage.

You do not need marriage to live a happy life, to be in a relationship, to commit, to have children or to nourish love. In fact, it’s an institution that discriminates people and increases inequality in society.

In Finland, for example, same sex couples can register their relationship but not marry. People living in a registered relationship do not have the same rights or duties as the people who are married. Registered couples do not have the right to adopt a child together, and it’s been possible only since 2009 to adopt within the family. Also, registered couples cannot take a common last name. These are just few examples, how same sex couples are not in an equal position in the Finnish law and one Finnish politician Oras Tynkkynen has written that it can be compared to a situation where we would have separate partnership laws for the Roma people, for Swedish speaking Finns or for different ethnic groups. Tynkkynen also points out that the current Finnish law leaves some sexual minorities in an inequal position, for example if you don’t identify as male or female.

But marriage does not only discriminate on the basis of gender. It is humiliating that all sorts of forms in Finland require you to state whether you are single, married, divorced, in a registered relationship or in common-law marriage. In all kinds of everyday situations you are treated differently and inequally, social benefits vary on the basis of marital status, couples who own something together but are not married do not inherit each other without special and often expensive special legal arrangements and so on and so on. And sadly, marital status does not have an impact only on your social benefits but in some cases also on your children’s benefits.

So all this, I cannot accept and I do not support.

This is Annie’s and Beth’s 15th wedding and of course I, like everyone else here, see and feel the love they have for each other, for Kallavesi, the Earth and for all of us. My friend Anniina who just got married this year, would argue that we need social rituals and gatherings where people publically declare their love and commitment to each other. This is probably true but instead of marriage, I would like to think that maybe we can imagine something new, something else and create something that spiritually unites and celebrates all forms of relationships and all kinds of bodies.

Like Barbara Carrellas wrote in Reasons “WHY MARRIAGE SHOULD BE ABOLISHED!!!”, I agree that the elimination of marriage would help create a fairer, more just society.

This was my wedding objection at the Blue Wedding to Lake Kallavesi by Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens on September 30th 2012.

This photo by Pekka Mäkinen was taken at the wedding which took place on Queen R on Lake Kallavesi in Kuopio.


-32.7 in Kajaani

Was teaching dance critique in Kajaani this weekend and really enjoyed it a lot. Inspiring conversations, lots of short choreographies as part of Kajaani Dance weekend, many collegues and good talks with Kira Riikonen and Sonja Pakalén for example. Busy and tiring but a great weekend!
Now waiting to get the results of the Finnish presidential elections…. As you may know, I’ve been in the support groups of Pekka Haavisto so it’s very exciting to see how the Finns have voted in the second round. But whatever the result, Pekka is the winner of these elections. He has brought very important issues into public conversation and I’m forever grateful for him for that. Pekka photographed with me in one of his campaign events in Kuopio by Savon Sanomat photographer Marko Happo:


some moments of the past week

On Wednesday I went to Helsinki to learn about the new EU culture programme proposal Creative Europe. But my train was 1h 35mins late and I missed the most important part. Great. Luckily I had scheduled a few other meetings so that my whole day wasn’t completely wasted.

On my way home I popped in the Iittala shop on Pohjoisesplanadi to have a look at their sale products. Nothing for me there but instead I discovered the new KoKo mug in lovely pale pink and mint! Had to buy one each, they are so beautiful and just what I’ve been missing, a bigger mug. I’ve been so in love with the thin Kartio (35cl) glasses that I bought another two in sea blue. By the way, Iittala still has -30% sale for their members until the end of January so use it! And if you are interested in the KoKo mugs, they are on sale -20% in Sokos in February… It was actually very funny in the Iittala shop – as you are a member you tell your name at the cashier so when I told my name, the sales woman asked me if I’m from Kuopio, and I said yes, and she said that she has voted me in the parliament elections some years ago!

I also popped in to the Minna Parikka boutique on Bulevardi and Minna herself was also there. We had a nice chat and she showed some pictures from her upcoming spring/summer collection which looks great by the way, colorful, bright and fun! She also said that she’s decided not to move to London at the moment which I think is great for Finland and Finnish design & fashion world.

Last weekend I made my first ever American pancakes and they were simply delicious! I put some blueberries into the dough and we had them with honey and whipped cream, ooh la laa…

The presidential campaigns are heating up in Finland and I’ve also participated in a few acts supporting Pekka Haavisto. He’s in Kuopio today by the way so come and meet Pekka if you are still hesitating who to vote! Check the schedule of his visit here.

These pictures of the flash mob by Pekka Mäkinen:

I have to get to cultural economics now…I am a great and productive researcher…

Have a great day!


cultural diversity and other thoughts

The first weeks of January have been a bit difficult and depressing. I didn’t receive funding from the Dance Council to produce my upcoming group choreography which has left me very puzzled. It’s again this situation where I’ve spent a considerable amount of time preparing this work, gathered most of the team for the work and now there’s not enough resources to produce it. What to do? Cancel the whole thing? Produce 1/3 of the plans? And what is that, artistically?

I’m still waiting to hear from few funds but somehow the situation doesn’t seem very promising. I have a similar situation with the international collaboration that I’ve worked on with Rebecca French. So let’s see what happens…

This week I spent two days thinking about multicultural cultural policy and cultural diversity in Finland. Multiculturalism has become more present in the Finnish society since the 1990s but why is it still in such an infant stage in the Finnish cultural policy? It’s about time for the Arts Council to reconsider and rethink their organization, structure, strategy, and funding decisions!

Minzi is one of my favourite clothing shops in Finland. It’s located in Jyväskylä where I spent a few days this week. Actually the first item I ever bought in Minzi, was a Lumi Accessories handbag a few years ago. It was on sale and advertised on their website. So I emailed them and asked them to send it to me to Kuopio – which they did. This is the kind of service I like! Since it’s the sales time at the moment, I went to have a look what they had in Minzi… and found this gorgeous Tiia Vanhatapio hat which I already had a look at earlier in the autumn but it was a bit too pricy for me. But now it was on sale and I’m a happy owner of my first Tiia Vanhatapio item.

My glasses by Kenzo, the woolen scarf by Marimekko.

And the silver ‘Carpe Diem’ pendant by Efva Atling.


response to the discussion about ANTI Festival in Savon Sanomat (in Finnish)

Kommentti Ari Savolaisen ja Pentti Tuovisen mielipidekirjoituksille

Kymmenettä kertaa Kuopiossa järjestetty ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival on herättänyt Savon Sanomissa vilkasta keskustelua taiteen merkityksestä, kokemisesta, osallistavuudesta ja rahoituksesta. Hyvä niin.

Taidetta saa ja pitää ihmetellä. On pelkästään positiivista, että festivaali onnistuu herättämään keskustelua ja ravistaa pohtimaan merkityksellisyyttään. Yhtä lailla iloitsemme niistä tuhansista positiivisista kohtaamisista, joita festivaali onnistui yli kymmentuhatpäiselle kokemastaan silminnähden innostuneille ja siitä nauttineille tarjoamaan.

Suomen perustuslaki takaa kansalaisille sivistyksellisiä oikeuksia, mm. kehittää itseään varattomuuden sitä estämättä (16 §). Vuoden 2011 hallitusohjelmassa todetaan, että ”taide ja kulttuuri ovat ihmisenä olemisen välttämättömiä perusasioita, joiden uutta luova vaikutus säteilee elämän kaikille alueille. Hallitus kehittää kulttuurisen moninaisuuden tunnistavaa kulttuuripolitiikkaa, jossa kulttuuri on kaikkien kansalaisten tavoitettavissa ja erityistoimilla parannetaan osallisuutta kulttuuriin nyt ulkopuolelle jäävissä ryhmissä”. ANTI-festivaalin keskeinen tavoite sen perustamisesta lähtien on ollut tarjota korkealaatuisia taideteoksia perinteisten taidetilojen ulkopuolella, lähellä arkea, ihmisen varallisuuteen tai sosiaaliseen asemaan katsomatta. Tämä mielestämme täydentää merkittävällä tavalla alueella toimivien kulttuuri- ja taidelaitosten sekä muiden tapahtumien tuottamaa tarjontaa.

Perinteisesti Suomessa merkittävä osa taiteen ja kulttuurin rahoituksesta tulee veikkausvoittovaroista. Taiteen ja kulttuurin osuus valtionbudjetissa on vuonna 2011 noin 426 miljoonaa euroa ja siitä 48 % rahoitetaan veikkausvoittovaroilla (OKM).

Vuoden 2011 ANTI-festivaalille erityisenä kohderyhmänä olivat lapset ja nuoret. Heille suunnatut teokset osallistivat lapsia ja nuoria itse tekemään, kokemaan ja ajattelemaan. Lapsia ja nuoria oli mukana myös satavuotiaassa rokkibändissä, jonka jäsenten ikähaitari vaihteli kuusi vuotiaasta 88-vuotiaaseen kuopiolaiseen Väinöön. Väinön lisäksi ikäihmiset pääsivät nauttimaan esimerkiksi festivaalin residenssitaiteilijan ja hänen ryhmänsä esityksestä Kuopion yliopistollisessa sairaalassa. Vuonna 2010 residenssitaiteilijamme työskenteli Monikulttuurikeskus Kompassissa ja vuonna 2009 Valkeisen sairaalassa. ANTI-festivaalin ohjelmisto on suunniteltu niin, että teokset tulevat lähelle erilaisia ja eri-ikäisiä kohderyhmiä heidän työpaikoille, kouluihin, ajanviettopaikkoihin ja joskus myös koteihin.

Kenen kokemus taiteesta on oikea?

Jokaisella on oikeus subjektiiviseen kokemukseen taiteesta ja siksi onkin virheellistä väittää, että ne ulkomaiset vieraat jotka matkustavat festivaalille tai tuhannet kuopiolaiset, jotka tänäkin vuonna riemuiten ottivat teokset vastaan, olisivat jotenkin väärässä. Useissa kirjoituksissa esiin nostettu TRYST-kollektiivin Avustettuja kadunylityksiä –teos oli tämän vuoden festivaalin yksi suosituimmista. Myös Pohjantien koulun 4c-luokasta muodostunut tuomaristo palkitsi teoksen useissa kategorioissa ja valitsi sen koko festivaalin toiseksi parhaimmaksi.

ANTI-festivaalilla kolmannen kerran vieraillut amerikkalainen Ohio University in Athens -yliopiston taidehistorian professori Jennie Klein kirjoittaa tämän vuoden festivaalikokemuksestaan: ”ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival tarjoaa mielettömän mahdollisuuden kokoontua eri puolilta maailmaa Kuopioon, kaupunkiin, josta monet eivät tietäisi yhtään mitään ilman ANTI-festivaalia. Naurettavan pienellä budjetilla festivaalin järjestäjät onnistumaan kokoamaan joukon kansainvälisiä taiteilijoita, joista säännöllisesti kirjoitetaan nykytaiteen ja teorian ajankohtaisissa julkaisuissa, kirjoissa ja lehdissä. ANTI-festivaalissa erityistä on myös se, että noin puolet taiteilijoista on suomalaisia ja osa näistä paikallisia. Olen kirjoittanut useita artikkeleita ANTI-festivaalista, jolle lähetetään vuosittain satoja teosehdotuksia eri puolilta maailmaa. Festivaalilla on hyvin positiivinen vaikutus Kuopiolle ja sen yrityksille.”

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival ry:n budjetista keskusteleminen ilman tarkempaa toiminnan ja työllisyyden arviointia, on harhaanjohtavaa. Taidealat ovat hyvin työvoimaintensiivisiä, ja ANTI-festivaalin saamalla julkisella ja yksityisellä tuella työllistetäänkin suuri joukko kulttuurialan tuotannollisia ja taiteellisia ammattilaisia. Festivaali työllistää tuottajia, taiteilijoita, teknistä henkilökuntaa, graafikoita, valo- ja videokuvaajia, ostaa erilaisia palveluita kuopiolaisilta yrityksiltä ja tarjoaa alan oppilaitoksille ja ammattilaisille työpajoja, luentoja ja konsultaatiota.

On epäkorrektia levittää valheellista tietoa festivaalin tapahtumista. Eva Weaverin pitkäkestoinen esitys ja sen lopputuloksena syntynyt installaatio Rönön sillan kaiteessa vuonna 2008 haluttiin yleisön pyynnöstä säilyttää esillä festivaalin jälkeenkin. Teokseen kohdistui kuitenkin ilkivaltaa, ja heti kun saimme yksityisen kansalaisen puhelinsoiton purkaantumaan lähteneestä teoksesta, lähdimme siltä istumalta purkamaan sitä. Purkamisen hoitivat kolme päivää festivaalin päättymisen jälkeen taiteellinen johtaja Johanna Tuukkanen, tuottaja Laura Lahti, tanssitaiteilija Antti Lahti ja valokuvaaja Pekka Mäkinen. Ketään kaupungin puistotyöntekijää ei purkamiseen osallistunut.

Johanna Tuukkanen
Taiteellinen johtaja – vastaava tuottaja
ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival

Liitteenä Eva Weaverin teoksen purkamisesta otettu valokuva 2.10.2008 ja kuva TRYST-kollektiivin esityksestä Avustettuja kadunylityksiä 28.9.2011 (kantajina kuopiolaiset tanssitaiteilijat Reetta Hyvärinen ja Matleena Kahilainen).

Kuvat @ Pekka Mäkinen.



an attempt

I’m trying to survive the shock of the ‘True Finns’ becoming one of the biggest parties in Finland. Since the elections, I’ve rejoined the Green Party, and certainly I’m not the only one in my community who is doing the same, expressing their political views more publicly.
One of the politically seriously questionable claim of the ‘True Finns’ is that the traditional parties want to Islamize Finland. I mean…WTF??? So when Tatu & Pekka were jamming last night, I couldn’t help but laugh with Anniina at their attempt to Islamize us…
Enjoy – but be careful!


Back to work and exercise routines

Last week has been so freezing in Kuopio, all over Finland I guess. The days are gorgeous though – bright, sunny and the landscape is covered by tons of snow but it’s sooooo cold. A couple of hours in the afternoon feel pretty ok after the sun has been shining all morning but as soon as it goes down again, the cold hits really hard. So it hasn’t been a real pleasure to spend much time exercising outdoors although I’ve done a few Nordic walks.

Since I came back from Australia, I’ve been getting back to my normal routines. The last three weeks I’ve exercised pretty intensively at the Functional studio and really enjoyed myself! Lots of Kinesis and Functional training but also Zumba, for the first time in my life! I’ve missed so much aerobic exercise that I was quite miserable until I realized that the Zumba classes work at least as well as a run. And it’s so much fun to dance and sweat to the holiday rhythms of calypso, salsa and reggae!

Do you remember when I wrote last autumn that I want a hybrid bicycle? Well, I’ve just bought one! Yes, it’s a bit crazy but I’ve thought about it so much that I’m convinced that this was a good investment. The sad thing is that it has been so cold that is has been practically impossible to ride much but I’ve done a few short tests and I love it! My bicycle is Merida S-Presso 700 with hydraulic disc brakes, beautiful matt black and sleek design.

Now that I have the bike, I realize that I also should have all kinds of gears to be able to take full advantage of it but I have to take it slow. I can’t possibly buy a whole set of wind stopper cloths, gloves, cycling bags and shoes etc. all at once! I’ve bought a helmet, for the first time in my life, and that’s pretty much what I can afford at the moment. But to be able to cycle to work on a regular basis, I need to get these Ortlieb panniers. I really love the white line!

About work

Some of you know that I’ve started to work with the support of the Arts Council of Finland’s three year artist grant in January. This year I will not be producing any new performances or shows but I’m doing a lot of research as well as touring and performing Twirling World and Acts of Clothing. I’m working on an international collaboration with Rebecca French from FrenchMottershead and I’m very very excited about it! The downfall has been that I haven’t been able to raise much funding for the project which is to premiere in 2012 and not this year. I find it rather disturbing and I’m not really sure how to proceed with the project. We’ve got 2 000 € from the Regional arts council of North Savo but you might be able to imagine that it isn’t much of anything for an international collaboration. So we’ll see how that goes and what the rest of the foundations say.

Tomorrow I start rehearsing Twirling World with Sonja and we have shows coming up in Kuopio in March. I’m a bit scared to return to that work which as a performer, was quite challenging for me. So I’ll see how I feel next week.

I’ve been also really really shocked by the City of Kuopio cutting ANTI Festival’s funding. We have a tenth anniversary of the festival and a lot of special programme planned to celebrate that in the city of Kuopio, a book coming up by a national publisher and the fourth year of A Space for Live Art project going on. So WTF???? I don’t really know what to think.


post holiday blues and travel preparations

There wasn’t much anything special about the holidays besides the luxury of time. The time to do things that in the normal everyday do not get enough attention, do not have enough peace around to be able to happen.
So I read books. I knitted. I made a lamp (pic to be appeared later).

I knitted a floor pillow. And not only the cover, I also sewed the pillow inside the knitted one. The carpet is Tempo 207 by Hanna Korvela Design.

Besides Australia & Sydney travel guides, I read quite a few books during the holidays. The best one was Raja by Riikka Pulkkinen and now I’m reading Luokkaretkellä hyvinvointiyhteiskunnassa which is quite thought provoking and inspiring.

I’ve made some preparations for the trip and finally bought a new suitcase! Love this Samsonite Aeris spin case:

And Sari from Visio cut & dyed my hair on Saturday. I think I’m slowly getting ready for the long journey to Australia…