Looking Back: 2018
This year FCINY highlighted the importance of circular economy and sustainability, switched the perspective to outer space and approached the challenge of deconstructing cultural binaries. We also had the pleasure to work with an inspiring group of visual arts professionals through our residency, fellowship and mentoring programs in New York and Helsinki.
PROJECTS: FOCUS ON SOCIETAL ISSUES
For New York's design week, NYCxDESIGN in May 2018, the FCINY invited chefs from the Helsinki-based Restaurant Nolla to bring their zero waste food philosophy to New York. Co-curated by Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth, the temporary bistro was built on themes of circular economy, new material innovations and sustainable design. The space, designed by Linda Bergroth was built entirely of recycled and recyclable materials, using sustainable design pieces – iconic Finnish furniture and tableware that last from generation to generation. The four-day program of Zero Waste Bistro featured tasting sessions for breakfast, brunch and lunch, as well as daily talks and workshops on the themes of zero waste and sustainability.
In January we collaborated with artists Terike Haapoja and Ryan Hammond, and The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) to present Beyond Binaries: Towards New Constructs of Personhood and Gender, a symposium that approached the challenge of deconstructing two central binaries of Western culture: binary gender and the human-animal divide. The one-day event included presentations by Haapoja, Hammond, Heath Fogg Davis, and Syl Ko, alongside a genetic modification workshop led by Ryan Hammond.
MOBIUS: INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIONS
The Optics of Space, a project by MOBIUS fellow Aily Nash, presented newly commissioned moving image works by Lucy Raven and James N. Kienitz Wilkins produced for the planetarium format. The world premiere of the works was organized at the Heureka Science Center in Vantaa, Finland in August 2018. The project was co-commissioned by The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York’s MOBIUS Fellowship Program and PUBLICS.
We also initiated new MOBIUS collaborations between independent curator Amanda Schmitt and Helsinki Contemporary; as well as Caitlin Murray, the Director of Marfa Programs at Judd Foundation, with Archinfo Finland. Schmitt organized a lecture and screening around Paul Ryan’s work in Helsinki in February, while Murray made her first research trip to Finland to explore Alvar Aalto’s work. MOBIUS fellows Shannon Mattern and Jussi Parikka engaged in conversation with artists Samir Bhowmik, Tuomas A. Laitinen and Jenna Sutela at PUBLICS in June. The Library’s Other Intelligences, curated by Mattern and Parikka, will open at Helsinki’s new Central Library Oodi in January 2019. Schmitt’s and Murray’s MOBIUS projects will also manifest in Helsinki and New York next year.
RESIDENCIES: research, projects and networking
FCINY was founded in 1990 to enable residencies for Finnish visual artists, designers, and architects in New York City. Throughout the years over 700 professionals have participated in the program. The nature of each residency period is customized: some of the architects, designers, and artists focus on cultivating their practice through research and networking, while others have more production-based approach.
This year we worked together with several residents and organizations on joint projects, such as TRIP, a multi-sensory installation by Laura Väinölä and Ezra Gould presented at the Triangle Arts Association in June; and Designing Futures, a symposium with Liam Young, Catherine Pease, Eero Lundén, which was part of architect-in-residence Eva Geitel’s research project on the future role of the architect.
We also continued to collaborate with other residency organizations in New York: artists Eero Yli-Vakkuri and Iiu Susiraja worked at the ISCP – International Studio and Curatorial Program for six months, and Niko Luoma for two months as the first artist in the new alumni residency with the support by Alfred Kordelin Foundation. As part of the ongoing collaboration with the ISCP and Kordelin Foundation, we also joined forces with Frame Contemporary Art Finland to start a curatorial residency. The first Finnish curator to participate in the program was Elina Suoyrjö.
Antti Nyyssölä and Tuula Anttonen were granted with three-month residency periods at the Triangle Arts Association in Dumbo, Brooklyn. These residencies were supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Inspiring encounters at Design Criticism Intensives
what we write when we write about design, a new mentoring program for visual arts writers kicked off in New York in May in conjunction with the annual NYCxDESIGN, followed by a second weeklong intensive in Helsinki in September. The professional development intensives included rich and thought-provoking programs of behind-the-scenes visits and lively discussions. The Chief Mentor of the program in New York was Allison Arieff and the Chief Mentor in Helsinki was Katja Lindroos. The mentoring program is organized by the FCINY and funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
COMMUNICATIONS: Alumni Spotlight & Creative Conversations
Liisa Jokinen continued to conduct the Creative Conversations interviews in 2018. The series sheds light on the lives of New York-based Finnish visual arts professionals and features newyorkers who have passion for Finnish art, design, and architecture. Interviewees include Cara McCarty, the Director of Curatorial at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and electronic musician Johannes Auvinen who organized two public events in respect of the late Mika Vainio. We also launched a new series highlighting recent projects of our residency and fellowship program alumni: the first interviewees were architect Asmo Jaaksi and curator Jenni Nurmenniemi.
The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York wants to warmly thank all our supporters, collaborators, partners, and audiences for a wonderful year – we are looking forward to seeing you next year!