The Resident

I have now returned home. Like Dido says, and how I always love to quote: I have returned to northern skies. That song is very much like Finland: sad and somber and when you listen to the words, it almost sounds like it's about something really unpleasant but then the melody is actually beautiful and meaningful.

If I tried to explain to people at the residency about how cold and dark Finland, with its distant and withdrawn people could still be achingly beautiful, nobody could really understand. I couldn't explain it right. If you're offered the option of sun and heat and sociable communities, everybody a one big family together, sharing everything, how could you prefer a freezing night under the stars with people that sometimes go for hours with without saying a word? Well, I do.

Sometimes. I like being warm, sometimes, I like being social, sometimes. But I also like this crazy country where I feel close to the stars and close to the nature. I guess there's something primal about the idea of surviving in here? There's something mystical about the darkness. I don't really have the words for why I love the weather and the nature of Finland. Possibly because this is where I grew up and this is what I compare everything against. I would like to think, though, that it's not so banal but that Finland is really a super-special place.

It's not that Finland is perfect, though. I often hear people saying that Finns are jealous, judgmental and petty and I used to just think like, bah, you're jealous and judgmental and petty for saying that! But now I can kind of see where people saying that are coming from. And I can also see it's something all of us Finns, including me, should work on.

One of the things I loved best about my time at the residency was the community we built, how we all worked together even if we were all working on our own projects. The atmosphere was truly inspiring because we all supported each other but we all still had the freedom to take our own space if we needed it. I never felt there was any kind of jealousy or competition going on, as such. We all respected each others as artists and let me tell you, that can actually be really rare. Working and living in the arts and culture scene, it can sometimes be incredibly exhausting. There are people willing to stab you in the back, try to push you out, take your job, take your innovation, take anything from you they possibly can. People who feel so insecure that they will not be able to share anything, not space, not inspiration, nothing. It felt pretty refreshing to be able to work with people who didn't think like that. At the residency, we all helped each other, we shared resources, we gave and we got feedback. There was no need to mark our territory because we all shared it.

And that's something I wish I could find in Finland. I luckily have many colleagues and friends who are incredibly easy and inspiring to work with. But there could be more and there could be a better atmosphere. I wish I could somehow transport that feeling from the residency. This is why I dream of my own little art space now, I guess. In fact, I kind of want to start a residency here in Oulu. But that's something that's not gonna happen overnight, not even in a year probably, so I'll just let that one simmer and see what happens.

I also want to bring all the resident artists from Studio Kura to Finland and show them what a lovely, extreme, inspiring country we have! Look at me, waxing poetic about Finland and Japan and everything. It's possible I'm still jet-lagged and just on some crazy high. My jet-lag feels a lot like an epic hangover: I have horrible nightmares, I want to eat all the time, I feel anxious and nauseous randomly throughout the day and usually have no idea if it's time to sleep or stay awake. But I'll survive. The cat is still a bit angry at me, but I guess that only means he cares?

So that's it for this adventure. Maybe in the future this blog will continue, if or when my travels continue. I will most likely start some kind of photoblog (again) at a later date, or revamp my old photoblog (again) or something. So you can stay tuned and I'll link it here. Or whatever.

Thank you for reading!


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