Cover story Misc

Tense territories and asphalt gardens

{mosimage}Two new and interesting exhibitions will delight the lovers of photography from January until March at the Finnish Museum of Photography.







The Asphalt Gardens exhibition brings together photographs of Helsinki from 2007–2008 by photographic artist Taneli Eskola. Eskola (1958) is a Helsinki-resident photographer specialising in landscape and photographic art who has photographed kinds of secret gardens, views that we come across when, at the right moment, we take an oblique look, bypassing standard viewing angles and emblematic places.




The exhibition coincides with the publication of Julia Donner and Taneli Eskola’s illustrated non-fiction work Löytöretki Helsinkiin, paikkoja, polkuja, puutarhoja (“Exploring Helsinki, places, paths, gardens,” published by Multikustannus). The book prompts us to look and to experience gardens in places where we do not normally see them. The author himself will discuss about his exhibition on Wednesday 18.3. At 7pm. (In Finnish language)

ASPHALT GARDENS – Paradises beneath the urban fabric

Photographs by Taneli Eskola

Finnish Museum of Photography 22.1- 24.5.2009




The Tense Territories exhibition, which investigates the concepts of personal space, control, ownership and identity, offers multiple views of new forms in contemporary photography. The exhibition is made up of four solo exhibitions and is part of Helsinki Photography Festival 2009.


Mohamed Bourouissa, Sini Pelkki, Carrie Schneider, Sauli Sirviö

Finnish Museum of Photography 22.1–24.5.2009




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Flow Festival – A Journey into Sound

{mosimage}This summer Finnish music lovers have been treated to an unparalleled slew of world class bands in more off-center genres. Helsinki's very own urban music festival Flow was definitely a culmination of this streak, boasting a promising lineup of artists from cutting edge electronica to vocal jazz. Practically the only thing missing was anything mainstream or middle of the road.


Since its humble beginnings as an annual series of club nights, Flow has profiled itself as a music festival for those with an eclectic and contemporary taste. But since it has grown into a big open-air event it has also drawn recurrent complaints of poor arrangements. To be sure, most of the people were there for the music, and the festival attracted a bare minimum of hangers-around. But with equal certainty, if the voluminous lineup with overlapping performances did not necessitate a pick-and-choose approach, the sheer impossibility of moving around in the area did.


Rarely have I seen such poorly organized people flows (ironically), such unnecessary bottlenecks, and such bathroom queues stretching off into eternity. While the two makeshift club venues were pulled off well with nice industrial-chic atmosphere, it was damn near impossible to get in for the first hour after the doors opened. And having the festival catered by a fancy restaurant might sound like the perfect idea for an event likely to attract the tragically hip. But those also include bohemian types with less cash to throw around, and lack of low-cost nutrition was a frequently overheard bitching point.


But despite obvious shortcomings, the music and the spirit of enjoying it made the festival a success. Altogether 22,000 people found their way to the old Suvilahti gas plant, attracted by the veritable smorgasbord of interesting (and fashionable) performers.





Friday evening kicked off with Jamie Lidell, a UK producer-turned-soul singer. His antics were amusing, but ultimately lacked the necessary hooks to heat up the crowd. He was followed on the main stage by Norway's soft-as-fleece Kings of Convenience. Their bittersweet laments were at first lost on the crowd of philistines gathered at the back, whose incessant chatter betrayed their lack of interest in the subtleties of the band's songcraft.


Fortunately the duo stepped up the pace towards the end with an added viola and bass kicking in, and for the last three or four songs they had the audience eating from the palm of their hand. It became very clear from that performance, what the role division is between the two: brown-haired Eirik Glambek Bøe is the quiet sensitive type, while bespectacled Erlend Øye is the fun-loving aloof type (with an uncanny ability to imitate a trumpet, apparently).




The other main event on Friday evening was Iceland's Múm, who provided an equally subdued but wondrous experience. On record their fairy-tale folktronica relies heavily on floaty ambient soundscapes and electronic buzzes and clicks, but in a live setting the rhythmic and dramatic aspects of their music came to the fore. Finnish percussionist Samuli Kosminen did an excellent job replicating many of the glitchy and crackly rhythm elements heard on Múm's records.


Performing with all the playful naivety of a nursery full of fairies, the band thoroughly charmed at least the army of indie pop geeks amassing front of the stage. But such a trippy experience was no doubt less effective towards the back, and the main stage could've used a more party-friendly performer to top up Friday's lineup. 

The sound in vogue in electronic music right now seems to be something of an offshoot of the electroclash (whatever that was) trend from a few years ago, with dominant retro samples and synthesizers and punky shouts for vocals. This scene was well represented at this year’s Flow, at least judging from the scores of kids dressed in combinations of neon and black. Finland’s juvenile delinquent duo Jesse and girlie squad Le Corpse Mince de Francoise heated things up in the smaller tent stage through the day, while the main stage features such soft and gentle performers.


After Múm had closed the day on the main stage, a definite promise of Friday night mayhem was in the air as the crowd oozed its way to the smaller tent stage to prepare for one of this year's most talked-about newcomers, Canadian electro duo Crystal Castles. But Crystal Castles' old-school computer game samples are apparently incredibly difficult to replicate on stage, for the show was a full 45 minutes late, presumably because of technical problems. Meanwhile the audience, who clearly numbered more than the small stage could take, were left holding their breath packed like sardines. Sadly, this reporter must admit that about 40 minutes into the wait I gave up and left, grumbling something about nothing being worth this cr*p. According to eyewitness accounts the band did eventually appear on stage and played a gripping set of five or six songs with fierce energy, before stepping down as swiftly as they came. 






Saturday dawned rainy and grey, but none of the music lovers seemed to mind too much. The festival area was packed, with the day sold out and a series of promising performances ahead. Moving around was even harder than Friday, and it felt like a good idea to park oneself in the clearing around the main stage and forget any foolish dreams about shuttling between stages. One of the day’s most anticipated artists was French pop eccentric Sebastian Tellier, whose show was advertised as an – ahem! – erotically charged experience. Tracks from Tellier’s rather explicitly  titled new album Sexuality promised a lot, as did his outfit of pink hobo-pants and sparkly jacket in sexy burgundy. However, the drizzle-drenched audience was left rather cold by Tellier’s orthodox synth-pop, and instead of the promised tantric sexual meditation we got some bland guitar masturbation. If the audience was moistened more by the rain than Tellier, party-friendly Brazilian electro-pop group CSS (short for Cansei de Ser Sexy, or “tired of being sexy”) wrote a different story.


With the rain finally giving up, frontwoman Lovefoxxx climbed on stage in a Hawaii-print catsuit and beat the crowd into shape. Evidently there’s a lot of love between CSS and their Finnish fans, testified by the crowd’s reaction to the song Left Behind which mentions Helsinki no less than three times. While some snobs might have found relying on fireworks to provide the final masterstroke a sign of weak musical content, the confetti-shower provided by CSS' effects department was definitely called for, and added to the carnevalesque feel of the show. The Roots closed Saturday on the main stage. With over 15 years of experience and eight albums of organic hip hop under their belt, the band provided a surefire riot. It is not every day you see an ocean of people busting moves all the way back at the mixing booth. One song fluidly merged into another, and at times turned into protracted jams on a single theme.


Regardless, the energy level was kept high throughout the 1.5 hour show, with no unnecessary self-indulgent solos or aimlessly wandering jams. The party was set to continue in club Voimala next to the main stage, but the DJ performers turned out rather disappointing. Brooklyn-based sound system Massive B did play some fine reggae tunes, unfortunately only in occasional 20 second bursts. Every few seconds they would mute the music, shout out some slogans, and – if the music was any good – most likely change the track again. This not only made dancing pretty much impossible, but also felt akin to something else premature (and equally disappointing). I say, play some damn music and keep your paws off the mute switch!  The final performer was advertised as one of the must-see events of the festival. I couldn’t tell you why. DJ Funk’s name certainly promised more than what he delivered: some run-of-the mill smutty, unfunny ghetto house. The man’s apparently a luminary of the genre. I shudder at the thought of this being the cutting edge of club music.






Sunday was the laid back day, with smooth jazz and light pop on the menu. Kicking up a tight jam session was the now near-legendary Flow mainstay Five Corners Quintet, with drummer Teppo Mäkynen stumbling through some of the summer’s funniest song introductions. They were followed on the main stage by Señor Coconut’s humorous computerized mambo versions of recognizable pop gems. Meanwhile, Stockholm-residing Norwegian native Ane Brun made a bunch of new friends with her passionate girl+guitar folk songs. I predict she’ll be back to Finland sooner or later, judging by the expression on her face when the first roaring applause bellowed out in the tent stage. A personal highpoint of the whole festival was without a doubt living legend Martha Reeves, who had the massive crowd dancing to some worn out Motown standards like they were the freshest thing out there. Although her voice is not what it once was, she performed like a true entertainment professional with over 50 years of experience. Reeves and The Vandellas did not provide the most interesting sound experience of the weekend, but certainly one of the most fun ones. Despite some weariness in her voice and appearance, Reeves kept up an amusing banter with the crowd and seemed to enjoy her time on stage. As the sun went down the feeling of an impending end to the three day party crept in.


{mosimage}But events like this must go out with a bang, and late addition to the roster, Australian synth-popsters Cut Copy were there to light the fuse. Within the blink of an eye they had beat the crowd into a dancing frenzy.  a blend of artificial sounds from the past two decades, a stock of sing-along-able melodies, and enough flare to make the gas plant parking lot feel like a proper stadium. Their music is far from revolutionary, and perhaps not even that contemporary, but it's pure well-executed pop –  catchy and infectious. A perfect Sunday night closing act. 


The festival weekend provided so many fantastic musical experiences it’s hard to imagine another Finnish festival to measure up to it. On the other hand, the lineup was highly eclectic, and it was at times hard to imagine if there was a collecting theme to it. And, while the time and place – mid-August in an old industrial compound – has its atmospheric perks, it does have some disadvantages compared to festivals held in more natural surroundings, not least the set-up of people flows and green areas for sitting around. Having the festival area in the middle of the city is a great idea, but unfortunately organizers blinded by greed did everything they could to keep people from slipping outside to eat and drink.  


Next year Suvilahti won’t be an option anymore, so we shall have to see where Flow will land next. Let’s hope the organizers continue to learn from previous experiences. The idea of having club venues inside the festival area is definitely a good one, and hopefully they will continue to bring in DJ performers as well. In terms of artistic quality, Flow has every chance of becoming the Finnish equivalent to Sweden’s Accelerator festival.


Photos by Vilhem Strösjöm

Cover story Misc

Tampere is a party!

{mosimage}Same than every year on summer, Tammerfest will be held in the middle of July, from today 9th until Saturday the 12th, in the city of Tampere. An unique occasion if you have nothing better to do to come here and enjoy with a huge selection with some of the best Finnish bands and musicians that make the city centre to become a huge party of music!


Tammerfest offers this year fun for everybody. It is easy to move from one venue to the other, since most are located in the city centre, and distances are short. You can easily go walking, and pray for a bit of good luck and the rain not “watering” the fun during the week. The main stage is place in the central square “Keskustori”, while the second main stage “Vuolteentori” can be found a few meters away on the other side of the river. All the most important clubs and pubs of Tampere are also involved offering concerts and special programmes, such as Klubi-Pakkahuone, Yo-Talo, Ilves, Laterna or Ruma.

{mosimage}If you like some good classics of Finnish music, you can enjoy the gigs of bands like or Kauko Röyhkä & Riku Mattila and Tuomari Nurmio. For the fans of hard rock and heavy metal the list is really extensive, highlighting formations like Mokoma, Negative, Stamina, Lovex or Apulanta. Also the successful folk-rock of Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu will be present in town, together with the glamour of the Von Hertzen Brothers. And if you prefer the most intimate atmospheres of small clubs, we recommend you to pass by Laterna on Thursday and take a look at Messengers, the new Dave Lindholm´s project together with Joe Vestich.

If what you prefer is a female touch in your life, Tammerfest counts with some of the best (and prettiest) female singers coming to rock your boat: Jenni Vartiainen, Mariko or the sweetness of Idols mega star Anna Abreu. But if her show turns to be too full of sweetness for you, you can always aim your steps at Ruma and see some bad ass rock by Stalingrad Cowgirls on live.{mosimage}

There is space also for the youngsters and children during Tammerfest. For example, on Friday Negative´s gig has no age limit and hours before the little ones can also enjoy shows of clowns and different activities for free in Vuolteentori. Teenage metal sensation Sturm und Drang will be present at the festival too playing before Uniklubi, but paradoxically the age limit is 18 for their gig…

So if you don´t know how to spend this week and want to have a taste of the friendly city of Tampere drown by music in every corner, or you live here and you want to have more exciting experiences than just trying to forecast if there will be rain next day or not, walk the city, enter its clubs and choose the jam that floats your boat! There is music and fun for all kind of tastes!

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Theatre days

Today opens the 5th edition of the international theatre festival Baltic Circle. Until 17 May the programme offers an array of contemporary theatre performances and exhibitions from the Baltic region and central Europe. In addition this year the OFF Circle programme showcases contemporary productions from Finland.


ne of the most surprisingly performance will be the the interpretation of Finnish drinking culture in Delirium by the group Plasma. The strongly anti-capitalist Swedish production Ebberöds bank by Teater Tribunalen will give some food for thought to the audience. And the photo exhibtion Miss Landmine Angola 2008, by Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, will not leave anyone indifference. Traavik will also present his new street theatre performance Remember Me.

The special programme OFF Circle offers twelve domestic performances. The popular Finnish director Kristian Smeds presents Radio Doomsday, in which Houkka Bros. give Luther a hard time in a three-hour live radio broadcast imitating a talk show. These performances will have English subtitles.

Completing the festival there are other activities like the three-day Fuck Off Festival Club, which will become a platform for Finnish and Estonian theatre professionals to perform with their bands. Also the international workshop for critics Mobile Lab for Theatre and Communication is organized as well as the open seminar about Finnish theatre reviewing today (held in Finnish).

For further information:


Rimini Protokoll (Switzerland / Germany) CALL CUTTA IN A BOX | 9.5.-25.5. & 3.-15.6. Tue – Sun, starting times:15.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00, 19.00 & 20.00 | Kiasma | in English 
This intercontinental phone play which unites for one hour an Indian call centre operator with a spectator in Helsinki was realised as a co-production between eight European theatre organisations and the German-Swiss Rimini Apparat.
Plasma (Switzerland) DELIRIUM | 9.5. and 10.5. at 19:00 as well as 11.5. at 15:00 | Viirus | in German, Finnish and English simultaneous interpretation
The source of Delirium’s inspiration was the Finnish bar culture which Plasma encountered during their visit at the Baltic Circle in 2003. Delirium brings the spectators to the other side of consciousness, to the continent which remains between last orders and locking up. The production creates a unique experience by moving between the boundaries of theatre, music and visual arts.
büro für zeit + raum  (Germany) WAIT HERE FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS | 14.5. at 19:00 | Koko Theatre | in German and French, Finnish simultaneous interpretation
In their first work which was born out of the research of time and space the German group discusses the philosophy of waiting. Only few words are spoken but communication takes constantly place through danced expression and with the help of physical theatre. Wait here for further instructions raises the question: what are we actually waiting for?
büro für zeit + raum (Germany) PAST IS IN FRONT OF EGO | 15.5. at 19:00 | Koko Theatre | in French
Past is in Front of Ego was inspired by the research of Professor Rafael Nuñez from the University of California. Büro für zeit + raum researches in this highly artistic work the native American Aymara tribe’s concept of time where the future lies behind the present.
NaBi (Sweden / Norway) REMEMBER ME | 16.5. at 18:00 as well as 17.5. at 13:00 & 15.00 | in English
Remember Me is a crusade based on Swedish artist Joaquin NaBi Olsson’s dairies and travels to his birth country Korea and the USA. It takes a strong stand on the current situation of arts and society. It is a performance that does not embellish but speaks out for genuine human happiness.
Teater Tribunalen (Sweden) EBBERÖDS BANK | 17.5. at 19:00 | Q-Theatre | in Swedish | Finnish simultaneous interpretation
Ebberöds Bank is a purely political theatre performance which treats the problems of global market economy. Who’s controlling the markets? What happens to the human values when the word “value” becomes strictly synonymous with monetary value? In its artistic work Teater Tribunalen tries to expose, criticise and condemn political and economic power.
AKSELI ENSEMBLE | Disco Pigs | 12.5. at 19:00 | KOM Theatre, Kapteeninkatu 26 | in Finnish
Akseli Ensemble’s Disco Pigs pulls the spectators into the enclosed realm of the two youngsters Possu and Kisu who feel neither empathy nor worry about tomorrow. The performance is a wild stride in the midst of the pains of growing up. Emotionality and insensitivity struggle as opposite extremes, love is eternal and friendship demanding.
EUROPEAN THEATRE COLLECTIVE | KinkyZone Finland | 11.5., 12.5., 13.5. at 21:00 | Restaurant Belly | Uudenmaankatu 16 | in Finnish
Etc’s absurdish, cabaret-like comedy is the sequel to the pilot project which was performed in Bucharest in 2005 / 2006 and since has reached cult status. The performance will have its premiere at the Baltic Circle.
FISCHES NACHTGESANG | Das Fliegende Spektakel | 15.5. at 19:00 & 16.5. at 12:00 | Klockriken Theatre, Erottajankatu 7 | in gibberish
This performance based on the texts of German nonsense poet Christian Morgenstern searches for theatrical expressions which don’t rely on language as the essential means of communication. Out of the world of silent movies emerges a dissident music spectacle which exploits not only movements, poetry and music but also lights and video art.
HOUKKA BROS | Radio Doomsday | 14.-16.5. at 15:00-18:00 | Semifinal, Urho Kekkosen katu 6 | Wed and Thu in Finnish, Fri in English
The third piece by Kristian Smeds’ Houkka Bros. gives Luther a hard time in a three-hour live radio broadcast imitating a talk show.
KLOCKRIKE THEATRE | Soup Theater | 9.5. at 19:00, 10.5. at 12:00, 14.5. at 12:00, 16.5. at 19:00, 17.5. at 12:00 | Erottajankatu 7 b | in Swedish / Finnish
Klockrike’s Soup Theatre unites artistic and culinary pleasures. Three groups of artists serve poetry and music with dinner and lunch.
KOKO THEATRE | Kana (The Hen) | 11.5. at 19:00 | Kokoteatteri, Unioninkatu 45 | in Finnish
In his play The Hen the indisputable father of Russian contemporary dramatic writing, Nikolai Koljada opens the doors to the wings of a small Siberian theatre where the arrival of a young actress causes the ruffling of many feathers. In this self-ironic play the borders between Siberia and Helsinki slowly start to blur.
KOKO THEATRE | Man-Machine | 9. & 10.5. at 19:00 | Kokoteatteri, Unioninkatu 45 | in English
Already in the year 1997, Garri Kasparov lost against the IBM chess computer Deep Blue. For how long can artificial intelligence really challenge humans? Man-Machine unites dance, theatre, electronic music and video in a performance where humans and computers act both with and against each other.
MAUS&ORLOVSKI | A Performance With an Ocean View (And a Dog) – II Memo on Time | 11.5. and 13.5. at 17:00 | starting place: Kiasma, Mannerheiminaukio 2 | in Finnish or English (to be chosen)
A Performance With an Ocean View (And a Dog) is the second part of Tuija Kokkonen and Maus&Orlovski’s Memo on time series. The performance’s points of departure are the weather, time and potentiality.
OBLIVIA | Entertainment Island 1 – work in progress | 9. and 10.5. at 17:00 | Q-Theatre / Puoli-Q, Tunturikatu 16 | in English
Entertainment Island is a three-year project with which Oblivia researches popular culture and different kinds of entertainment. During the Baltic Circle Oblivia presents a work in progress version of the production which will have its first night in October. Entertainment Island 1 holds the magnifying glass over those structures on which popular culture and entertainment are based.
PROJEKTORI-RYHMÄ | Elmo | 10.5. at 14:00, 11.5. at 14:00 & 19:00, 17.5. 14:00 | Valtimonteatteri, Aleksis Kiven katu 22 | in Finnish
Sport unites and divides nations. In Projektori group’s interpretation of the well-known play by Juhani Peltonen, Elmo, dives into the world of sports fanaticism and the ecstasy of winning. The biggest part, however, is played by a sense of community.
Q-THEATRE | The Tin Drum | 13. and 14.5. at 19:00 | Q-Theatre, Tunturikatu 16| in Finnish, with English translation
The events of this play, based on the novel of Nobel-prize winner Günter Grass, take plays between 1924 and 1954. Oskar Matzerath is the main character and narrator who at the age of three decides to stop growing in protest against the absurdity of adult life. Q-theatre is the first Finnish theatre who is performing The Tin drum in Finland.
TEATTERI NAAMIO JA HÖYHEN | Alice ad infinitum | 13.5, 15. & 16.5. at 19:00 | Naamio ja höyhen, Korkeavuorenkatu 17 | in English
Teatteri Naamio ja Höyhen’s Alice takes the spectators on a trip to the Wonderland, mirrorland, into psychology and the parallel universes of our world.

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The wings of Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna, the sea fortress located in front of Helsinki, is one of the most visited spots of the Finnish capital. There you can relax walking around, enjoying the excellent views from its old walls or finding an isolated place where to feel the past of history.

A place with a special charm


vision of an impressive fortress salutes to the thousands of people that travel by ferry to the Finnish capital every year, just a few minutes before arriving to Katajanokka:  the watchmaker against the threaten of past Russian invasions, Suomenlinna, also known in Finnish as Viapori and originally named in Swedish Sveaborg, is a quaint place included in UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991 (there are only 7 places in total  in Finland that had deserved such a distinction so far), with an area of 80 hectares, and certainly represents an important part of Finnish history and national identity, full of surprises and new experiences to be discovered. From every of its corner the unexpected can happen.  You can get lost through its narrows streets and discover the small pleasures of its library or the six museums scattered around, or take a look at the Finnish Navy´s Naval Academy, or even you can find rock stars in glamorous and colorful clothes desperately running not to lose the last ferry that connects to Helsinki (as I saw with my own eyes last year happening with the legendary Finnish glam rock band Hanoi Rocks). Nonetheless one of the best music recording studios in Finland is located there.


The fortress has even been the improvised location for some adult Finnish movies, hidden from the looks of the local authorities. But it can also be an excellent place to find a quiet spot to read a book in peace or have a romantic summer picnic. For the lovers of Julio Verne´s tales, nothing much better than taking a look at the last surviving Finnish submarine: Vesikko, that has also found its resting place in Suomenlinna. It is not by chance that the island receives around 600.000 visitors per year, overall on summer season, when the ferries provided by Helsinki City Transport Office that connect often and efficiently Helsinki ´s market square with Suomenlinna in a short trip of around 20 minutes are totally crowded with tourist from all over the world.A town within a town, Suomenlinna has 900 inhabitants and 400 people work there all over the year. 8 kilometers of walls surround the barracks and buildings of the fortress, with 105 cannons that remind you of less pacific times.


The visit of the death

Not everybody can say to have a sweet memory of the island. Actually, when the Finish civil war broke in 1918, Suomenlinna was used as a death camp for red prisoners. From January to May 1918 the bitter war left death and hate inside Finland. The final victory of the right wing (The Whites) left 80.000 Reds convicted to captivity. Around 10.000 prisoners were stored like animals everywhere in the barracks and buildings, with a total lack of hygiene, and the tiny space of the island suffered the grimmest period of its history.

Conditions were inhuman and many did not survive there; it is estimated that around 1.500 died during these months due to executions (80 prisoners) and overall to the hard conditions that made them even to have to take turns for sleeping due to the limited space Finally a general pardon came at the end of the year, and with it, the end of the suffering. The fortress remained as a restricted military area until 1948, but its public exposure was improved due to the Olympic Games of 1952, when started to be promoted as a touristic attraction by the Finnish government, with better traveling connections. 

Spread your wings and fly away

The island was one of the most extensive projects of defensive construction during Swedish rule, considered as a kind of “Gibraltar of the North”. Nowadays, the visitor can enjoy an interesting exhibition in The Suomenlinna Museum about the vessels built in Suomenlinna´s dock from the seventeenth century to the present.


But not only has Suomenlinna strong bonds with the sea. For many people and foreign population that have immigrated in the past decades, it is an unknown fact that Suomenlinna also housed a plane factory. In 1921 the Air force Aircraft Factory (Ilmailuvoimien Lentokonetehdas) was established at Suomenlinna, and some years later, in 1928, a second factory under the new name of Valtion Lentokonetehdas was opened at Santahamina. The works lasted there until 1936, when the factory was moved to Tampere. These companies are actually the old ancestors of the actual powerful Patria Finavitec Oy, the leading Finnish company in building war material. During the decade of the 20s, airplanes like the A.22 were produced in the plane factory of Suomenlinna, being the first industrially manufactured aircraft, copied from the German design of the Hansa-Brandenburg W.33

The first Finnish –built Hansa made its first flight on November 4, 1922, and you can still see one surviving model in the Finnish aviation museum at Vantaa. It is certainly a shocking experience to see Finnish planes decorated with the sadly infamous Swastika (The Finnish used the symbol already before Hitler). The first models had two melons shaped under French Lamblin radiators and a rounded nose, and shared many features, like the FIAT engine, with the Breguet 14, that was the backbone aircraft of the Finnish Air Force at that time.

It is well known that you have to face the past in order to achieve a better future. Finland´s capital, Helsinki, faces its history with its dark and bright periods just few miles away in the small but important territory comprised in Suomenlinna´s fortress. If the noise of the (otherwise calm and quiet compared to other European capitals) city disturbs you too much, make a small escape to Suomenlinna fortress and enjoy the secret and epic stories that its walls can whisper you: tales of planes, war, love, death, music, poetry, adventure and conquer.  

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Finnish game industry

{mosimage}Video games are not children’s games any more. They belong to one of the major entertainment industries in the world. With almost a hundred companies developing games, Finland is becoming an important player in this sector and it delivers one of the country’s specialties: mobile phone games.






It is a Tuesday night in a pub in the center of Helsinki. The place is crowded with young people playing… video games. It is the monthly gathering of the Finnish chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA Finland). This time there are free drinks sponsored by an international computer processor manufacturer and the attendees show their skills in a competition playing the racing video game Project Gotham Racing 4 and the popular Guitar Hero 3.

It is a young crowd, most of them are in their mid or late twenties, and it represents the fast growing game industry. In Finland there are around 80 companies developing video games in any format, from mobile phones to the latest generation consoles and PC. The oldest game firm was established in 1994, so the Finnish game industry is still relatively young. Nevertheless last year, the turnover of the industry was around 75 million euro and the number of employees was more than double than in 2004. Nowadays around 1,000 people work in game development, in offices in Finland and outside Finland.

KooPee Hiltunen represents Neogames, the member organization of the industry. According to him, there are very easy reasons that explain the success of this sector in Finland: “There is a good gaming culture, and good technology and infrastructure that secures the product delivery and a good price-quality ratio”, Hiltunen explains. “Also we enjoy good subsidies from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation”.

During 2007 Tekes supported the industry with 6 million euro. This means that Finland invests in the game industry more any other country in Europe. Public investment in the games industry relative to the population is now 1.1 euros per head, compared with about 4 cents in the EU region.

The quality of Finnish games is well represented in the production of international hits. Espoo-based game studio Remedy Entertainment is responsible of the successful Max Payne saga. The first part of this third-person shooter video game was published in 2001 and it became a best seller world wide that even reached Hollywood. The production of the Max Payne film is about to begin with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. Meanwhile in Espoo, Remedy is well into the production of a long awaited new title which might be released this year. Developed exclusively for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista, Alan Wake is described as “psychological action thriller”.

Another success in the brief story of the Finnish game industry is the online game Habbo Hotel, developed by Sulake. It started as a free-time project in 1999, but nowadays Habbo is recognize as international brand, localized in 31 countries with six million users visiting the Habbo communities and playing the game. The company employs around 300 people in 14 different offices around the globe.

With these successes in mind, the industry is growing fast and Neogames predicts that the game industry will become a major export sector in the next few years. “Most of the Finnish game companies are growing faster than the market”, Hiltunen explains.

{mosimage}Pocket gaming

One of the characteristics of the industry in Finland is that game developers have chosen mobile phones as the platform of choice. Due to Nokia’s strong presence, Finland has been a pioneer in mobile games, a market that is expected to grow over the next few years.

Many Finnish companies like Digital Chocolate / Sumea, Rovio, Universomo or Mr Goodliving are among the top developers of mobile games and they served their games to operators across the world. These companies produced several titles a year and they must  port them to the hundreds of difference mobile phones models.

Markku Hakala is the managing director and one of the founders of Universomo. For him, developing mobile games was the logical path to follow. “At the beginning, we did not have any prior experiences in the game industry, so PC and console game was too far ahead us”, he says.

Mobile gaming opens the doors of game development for a young generation of gamers. Hakala mentions the demoscene culture and Nokia as the main reasons that lead programmers and developers to the mobile games. Demoscene is a computer art that specializes in producing non playable demos of games to showcase programming and artistic skills. Finland hosts Assembly, one of the largest international demoparties that gathers around 5,000 participants every summer. Since 2007, the event has also a winter edition which this year will be held in Tampere from 22nd to 24th of March.

Established in 2002, Universomo is the only major game developer outside the Helsinki area. The main office is in Tampere, although recently the firm opened a new one in Helsinki. “When we started, we didn’t think we would grow so much, so Tampere was fine”, admits Markku. Indeed Universomo has doubled its personnel every year and developed games for well known brands like Star Wars and the film 300. In 2007 the company was acquired by THQ Wireless, one of the major mobile phone publishers.

Sumea is another mobile games developer that has attracted foreign investors. Sumea was founded in 1999 and in 2004 it was acquired by Digital Chocolate, a California based company founded by Trip Hawkins, one of the pioneers of computer games and founder of Electronic Arts back in the early eighties.

Digital Chocolate is one of the top 5 mobile phone publishers and its main office and game studio remains in Helsinki and it employs more than 100 people coming from many different countries. Soon the company will also start operations in India. This rises the question if game development might move to more affordable countries. KooPee Hiltunen sees no threat: “India is at the moment very good place to make large volume,"bulk" games, but only European game developers can make European (Western) games. This is a little bit like film industry. Making Hollywood films in Bollywood would make economical sense, but still that doesn’t happen”.

The game industry in Finland is flourishing and growing at a fast pace. “We are a visible industry already and we get the attention we deserve.However, we are still a small business and we would like to get more investors that truly understand the peculiarities of this industry”, concludes Markku Hakala.

Cover story Misc

There goes the family

{mosimage}Last summer the directors of programming at the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) needed a soap opera to fill the hours of the summer afternoons. They chose a Spanish series featuring a loud speaking and eccentric, yet traditional, family. Surprisingly, Los Serrano (Serranon perhe) became so popular that in autumn, YLE needed to rebroadcast the series from episode 1 and to reschedule it to the more convenient weekend afternoons.


In Spain, the first season of Los Serrano was first produced and broadcast in 2003. Soon it become one of the most successful Spanish TV series ever. The second season, the one currently broadcasted in Finland, reached an average audience of seven million viewers and an audience share of 38% in evening prime time.

The series follows the successful and original formula that Spanish TV series developed in the mid 1990s. This formula goes beyond the tradition one-hour episode. They are usually 75 minutes long allowing much room for commercials and covering the main programming slot in the evenings. The theme is not exactly drama or comedy, but a balance between both that differentiates the Spanish series from the American productions. The popularity of these series is based on its portrayal of middle class characters and families. The viewers can feel very close to the situations and stories told in the plot.

Médico de Familia
(Perhelääkäri) was the first big hit of this genre and it was the first Spanish series to be broadcast in Finland. Daniel Écija, the producer of Médico de Familia, is also the man behind Los Serrano. This time there are no doctors, but school teachers and tavern owners involved. The Serrano family is formed by Diego Serrano, owner of a typical Spanish tavern with his grumpy brother. Diego is married to a school teacher called Lucía Gómez. Together they formed a big family with three sons and two daughters from a previous marriage. To make a long story short, the series is about  the common problems and not so common adventures of the family and their friends and relatives at home, school and at the tavern. As it should be, there's love: flirting, humor and also some touching moments. 

The popularity of the series in Finland is quite surprising. It seems too Spanish for a Finn. First of all, the language is complicated. Characters are very expressive, they speak loud and they curse a lot. A team of eight translators is in charge of writing the subtitles for YLE. They have a lot of work. It takes one week for a translator to translate one episode. The heavy use of slang does not make the job easy. Every episode is a window to the less glamorous, but friendly, Spanish way of living.

The leading role of Diego Serrano is played by popular actor Antonio Resines. Born in 1954, he has a long experience in cinema and television, especially in comedy parts. But the series has also been a tool for promoting new talents. When the series started young actor Fran Perea, who plays the old brother Marcos Serrano, became an idol for teenagers. Also his musical career was built around the main theme of the series that he sang. For some time he topped the charts, but at the moment he is more focused on his career as an actor and has participated in several feature films, including Antonio Banderas' El camino de los ingleses (2006). In any case, every other episode there is an opportunity for Perea showing him playing a song with his acoustic guitar.

In Spain, the last episode of the sixth season of Los Serrano was shown. The series has reached more than 120 episodes and in January there will be a new season. There have been many and surprising changes in the plot, but Finnish audience still needs to wait what happens to this peculiar family. Meanwhile, to avoid unpleasant spoilers we recommend not to google Los Serrano.

Los Serrano – Serranon perhe

Weekends at 14.45 YLE

Fran Perea is visiting Helsinki this week. He will be signing autographs at the Anttila Megastore in Kamppi: 27.11 at 18:00

Cover story Misc

Happy Birthday, Suomi!

{mosimage}It's Finland's birthday! Today the country celebrates its declaration of independence from the Russian empire. It has not been an easy way down the road since 1917. One civil war, a war against the Soviet Union during World War II and a severe economical crisis at the beginning of the nineties before joining European Union have been the major obstacles in 90 years of sovereignty of the Republic of Finland. The recently released DVD Itsenäinen Suomi describes the most important events along this long road.

Nowadays Finland is a healthy country that enjoys an established welfare state system, ranks at the top of technology development and also at the top of the lists about education among youngsters. But how did it all begin? That's what Itsenäinen Suomi (Independent Finland) tells. By the way, don't be scare if you don't speak a word of Finnish, the dvd has English subtitles to reach a wider audience.

The documentary begins with a birth. At the same time as the parliament declares the independence of Finland, a baby is born in a house in the woods of Finland. She's Aino and her life, the life of an average working class Finn in the 20th century, will be told while history is being made for Finland.

Aino tells about the Civil War, about Paavo Nurmi and the mighty Finnish long distance runners who won so many medals at the Olympics, the "Lotta" nurses during the Second World War, the reconstruction of the country, the alcohol prohibition, the beggining of the electronics industry, the relations with the Soviet Union and the leftish opinions of the students in the sixties.

But this is not Forrest Gump. No fiction here. The film is based on archival footage. For a foreigner it will be very thrilling to see the White Army march through the streets of Helsinki or to see President Kekkonen  establishing good relations with the Soviet Union or the old cable factory in Ruoholahti or lots of rubber boots being made by Nokia. All the typical Finnish symbols can be seen.

Itsenäinen Suomi
was written by Antti Tuuri. It as a light tale, though. There are no deep political analyses or historical findings. But it is a nice introduction to the recent history of Finland. In spite of not being marketed for foreigners and tourist, this documentary would be appealing to those who cannot easily find images about Finland and its story. For Finns, it might not bring anything new, just a recognition of well known images and story from History class.

Cover story Misc

Bringing theatre people together

{mosimage}Theatre lovers do not often have many opportunities to enjoy good plays in other languages than Finnish. The 4th International Baltic Circle Theatre Festival will bring temporarily a solution to the problem.

Finnish and foreign audiences have an excellent opportunity to discover artists from different places in Europe in the International Baltic Circle Theatre Festival, since one of the goals of the festival is to build a bridge for theatre lovers, companies and actors all over Europe.

 The quality of the plays featured this year is really high. Latvian director Alvis Hermanis, who won the European Theatre Prize this year, will show his play Ice, an extraordinary tale focused on a sect that hunts for “living hearts”, a stage adaptation of the Russian author Vladimir Sorokin. Meanwhile, Belarusian group Free Theatre, that is also a European Theatre Prize winner, will perform three plays, one being a world premiere. The three performances are subtitled in English. Lithuania is also represented in the festival with the Theatre Laboratory Atviras Ratas, visiting with its play Open Circle, aimed at being an open forum for the young actors.

Not only Baltic groups come to the festival, but also many others with a great presence of Scandinavian ones. The Swedish Teater Terrier will perform its brand new performance Dallas, and the Norwegian Verk Produksjoner will bring on stage a work from the most famous Norwegian dramatist, Finn Iunker. All these plays are in English.

The Slovenian director Janez Janša will bring some polemic to the festival with his interactive movie DemoKino, dealing with topics like abortion, cloning, etc. The audience can vote in favour or against each topic and decide how the movie continues. This is a totally innovative concept, a “choose your own adventure” book idea  turned into a film.

Apart from plays, the festival offers much more for those interested in the world of theatre. Jeff Johnson, an American theater scholar, will give an international theatre seminar where the present situation of theatre in Baltic countries and Finland will be discussed.


Rīgas Teātris (Latvia)
Directed by European Theatre Prize
winner Alvis Hermanis.

18-19.11 – 7 pm

Being Harold

Free theater (Belarus)

The play is based on the text of Nobel prized author Harold
Pinter. The plot lines are held together by one central theme: the
problem of violence in its many diverse forms.

18.11 – 5 pm

Legends of

Free Theater (Belarus)

The play is based on the personal stories of the
16.11 – 8 pm, world premiere


Free Theater (Belarus)

A monologue about jeans, rock music and freedom.

17.11 – 7 pm

Verk Produksjoner (Norway)
dramatist Finn Lunker ponders the reasons for war in his adaptation
of Euripides’ classic.

17.11 – 7 pm
– 3 pm


Akhe & Theatre Satire on Vasilyevsky Island (Russia)
A tender
and bitter story about the universal loneliness, the ideal of
happiness – and the impossibility of it.

21.11 – 7 pm

Open Circle

Ratas (Lithuania)
The goal of the Open Circle’s young
Lithuanian actors is to talk straight theatre language abiding by the
rules of theatre.
21.11 – 7 pm
22.11 – 4 pm

Best of Dallas
Teater Terrier
The greatest cliffhanger in television history will be
solved: Who Shot J.R.?

23-24.11 7 pm

I Do Not Speak of
Love Here

Teatr Cinema (Poland)
A visually formal and physical
study of loneliness.

16.11 – 6 pm

17.11 – 5 pm


/ Janez Janša (Slovenia)
DemoKino makes the audience interact giving answers to the questions of life.

21-23.11 – 7
24.11 – 3 pm

Kinoteatr.doc (Russia)
Kinoteatr.doc presents five movies from its repertoire.

21-22.11 – 7 pm

Baltic Circle 2007: 16-24.11 IN HELSINKI
For more information and full schedule with the list of venues:

Cover story Misc

Moving pictures experience

Every year, when it’s dark and cold,
the Avanto festival presents the most innovative tendencies in music
and visual arts. This year’s edition focus on films under the title
of International Free Cinema. The festival is held this weekend in
several venues around Helsinki.


Like dancing to the rhythm of
free jazz, the moving pictures shown at the Avanto festival question
traditional ways of making and watching films. The festival has
invited two pioneers of experimental filmmaking: the Canadian artist
Michael Snow and the Austrian artist Peter Kubelka. Both will be in
Helsinki and present a retrospective of their essential works.

year the festival paid tribute to the local experimental filmmaking.
This year’s programme turns to the neighboring countries and brings
some rarities of Swedish and Russian experimental cinema. Curated by
researcher John Sundholm, the series Närä ögat
features a wide selection of Swedish experimental films from the
1950s and 1960s. On the other hand, the series Stekliannoe pole shows
the most vanguardist filmmaking currently done in Russia, in a
programme curated by filmmaker Masha Godovannaya.

Avanto has
also room for more widely known films. The festival offers a unique
opportunity in Finland to watch Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, a
visual tour-de-force about the French football star, directed by
Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno.

The festival also
premieres Esko Lönnberg’s documentary Saturnus Reality, a film that portraits the Finnish band Circle, and the recording
sessions of the album Miljard, where the group has coined the new
genre of NWOFHM (The New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal) that can mean
“mean fragile atonal piano improvisation or catatonic one-note
walls of sound”.

The music side of the festival is
offered in co-operation with the Äänen Lumo and the
Potlatch clubs. The first was founded in 1995 to promote
electroacoustic and experimental music and sound art in Finland.
Within this framework, Avanto will feature the comeback gig of the
synthesiser pop band Organ, one of the pioneers of Finnish electronic
music, and from Japan, the noise band Pain Jerk. The atmospheric
bonfire organ music of the Swedish trio Tape will counterbalance the
noise experience.

The Potlatch club brings two British
and two Finnish acts to the stage that base their music on
improvisation to achieve different goals. Eddie Prévost and
Alan Wilkinson take free jazz as the starting point of their journey
while Volcano the Bear take their arsenal of instruments to create
“ritual out of absurd humour and free association”. Collective
Avarus and female band Kuupuu represent the new Finnish underground.

The Potlatch club will bring two British and two Finnish acts to
the stage. The four acts all base their music on improvisation, but
the results are wildly divergent. Eddie Prévost and
Alan Wilkinson take free jazz as the starting point for a
journey into the core of heat. With their arsenal of instruments,
Volcano the Bear creates a ritual out of absurd humour and
free association. The Finnish collective Avarus confounds the
audience with its concoction of spontaneous and energetic
improvisation, while Kuupuu investigates rich textures of tone
and timbre, representing the female power of the new Finnish

Avanto Festival

Full programme:

Cover story Misc

The grandchildren of Bodom

{mosimage}In the summer of 1960 three teenagers were savagely murdered while
camping by the shore
of Bodom Lake, in Espoo.
47 years later, the case is still unsolved, but not at all forgotten by the
Finnish public opinion.


Catchy name for a metal band

For most of the people, especially the non-Finnish readers and those
living outside Finland, the tragedy of Lake Bodom is known mainly by the huge
popularity of Finnish metal band Children of Bodom; while searching for
an adequate name in the offices of Spinefarm, their record label, in
Helsinki, somebody advised them to relate the band’s name to Bodom (the band
members lived near the area and had heard stories about the Bodom legend since
their childhood). Of course the quality of the music did the rest, but it
cannot be denied that their particular name got them immersed in a much
appropriated mystic aureole that would involve their music in a dark and
mysterious spirit. The band dedicates in every album at least one song to the
events happened almost 5 decades ago, and amazingly they had never been sued or
received a formal complaint by any relatives of the victims about the use of
such a macabre name. 

But probably, many of you cannot have much clear idea of what really
happened there, apart from the fact that some youngsters were killed. The
number of victims was 3:  Maila Irmeli
and Anja Tuulikki Mäki, both 15 years old at the time and Seppo
Antero Boisman
, 18 years old at the time. There was a fourth young guy camping
there: Nils Wilhelm Gustaffson, 18 years old at
the time, who survived with notable wounds, and did not remember much of what
happened when woke up at the hospital days later.


Many hypothesis, not clear answers 

Police never was able to solve the case, and there have been theories
for all tastes: a person who was working in a kiosk near the murder scene
alleged just before dying that he had committed the crime, but he had a clear
alibi that night. In 2003 Jorma Palo, who had worked at a hospital when
the murderers took place, published a book where he accused Hans Assmann,
a German spy with residency in Finland
that appeared with some strange injuries and blood in his clothes some days
after the Bodom´s tragedy, and whose guilt was never investigated by an
overwhelmed police corp.

Some others have developed even weirder ideas just like the hand of more
than one killer, or the participation of non-human creatures that would inhabit
near the lake. The bomb really exploded when in 2004, 44 years after the
murderers, Nils Gustaffson was arrested on the suspicion that he committed the
crime. But the accusers could not prove anything, and it was hardly to believe
that he was able to self-inflict so many injuries as he had when being found
just without losing consciousness first. The trial was massively followed by
the yellow press, as it could not had been otherwise, and at the end the
Finnish state had to pay a big sum of money to Nils for the damage and pressure
he had to face being trial for something that (supposedly) he did not commit,
far from his previous quiet life as bus driver in Espoo.


{mosimage}The legend of Bodom once more 

End of the Bodom case? Not a chance. Not guilty killer has been found,
no soul of the victims can rest in peace. The last approach to the case has
just been released in DVD under the title Bodomin Legenda (literally: The
Legend of Bodom
). A Finnish film in black and white directed by Tapio
and produced by YLE. Not the greatest film in Finnish history,
since sometimes looks more like a parody than like a real representation of
true events (the characters look so over-stereotyped: the bald mean Russian
spies from the Embassy, the ambiguous German Hans with mental problems who
seems to be drunk during half of the movie… ), but it serves you to jump back
to the 60s and live an unique period in Finnish history with president Urho
feeling the breath of the Communist neighbours behind his neck. Forget about finding much veracity and clarifications for the Bodom Lake´s case, and focus 
better on some special and very Finnish details, like the friendship expressed with
just a few words but strong actions between Police Chief Oiva Keto (Juha
) and his partner Ilmari Hallanheimo (Pekka Huotari), or the
simplicity of decorations and dialogues that can make you feel for some moments like watching a new Aki Kaurismäki´s movie. The DVD counts with
English subtitles, so it is easy to follow for the non-Finnish speakers, but
probably it will be not so easy to understand for those foreigners who have not
lived a period of time in Finland. A movie mostly aimed at the local Finnish market.

For those of you who live near Helsinki
area, Lake Bodom is quite an accessible point, just
22 kilometres from the centre. If not for the macabre happenings that took
place more than 4 decades ago, it can be worthy to visit just to spend a
relaxing camping day (with no knives disturbing the peace). The tragedy of
Bodom marked forever a nation that during many decades, never saw safe enough
again to let their young children camp and wander the lakes and forests without
the fear settled deep inside their hearts. Probably, as in most of the
mysterious killings all over the history, the real murderer will be never
revealed, unless that the science will prove the opposite, but what is
undeniable is that Lake Bodom killed not only 3 children, but a big part of the
Finnish nation’s innocence.

Cover story Misc

India in Helsinki

{mosimage}One more year you can get a taste of exoticness and discover a bit more
about the
 Asian country in the festival Colours
of India
that will be held next Sunday, 30 September in the Cable Factory,

Everybody in Finland
seems to complain lately about the lack of time to dedicate to other activities
due to the amount of work, even if many people leave their offices at 4 or 5 p.m.  This is not the case of the brave volunteers
who formed the non-profit organization Aarambh, who are able every year
to dedicate some extra hours for a good cause: the promotion of primary
education and basic health care for people with limited access in the remote
regions of developing

The idea came some years ago from some people coming mostly from India and Pakistan, well
settled in Finland,
who wanted to take advantage of their network and privilege situation to make a
difference and help others back in the harsh reality of their native countries.
As Rajive Acharya, one of the responsible of the project explains to
As the
principle of synergy works wonders, Aarambh through the mobilization of
well-meaning and dedicated individuals aims at doing something for the
impoverished in the developing countries”.

So what the visitor
can expect from this year festival? The organizers seem to have activities for
all kind of tastes. If you like Indian food and products, or you are planning
to make a trip there in the near future; this is an excellent opportunity to
get to know all what you need. Meanwhile you can assist to the performance of Bharatnatyam,
a form of Indian classical dance, get close to the marvelous world of Indian
cinema industry with a special Bollywood dance by Etnofit dance
group or try your abilities in the “Sports Corner” playing some Indian Street
games (we have not been informed that this would involve messing around with
tigers or elephants, so you can play them safe!). The children of Steiner School
will take part in the festival as well with a theatrical presentation

Instead of sleeping
all Sunday and watching again the boring TV, do something different and fun and
drag yourself to the Cable Factory in Helsinki
to enjoy all the excitement that India and its culture can offer to

Colours of India on 30.September.2007 at Puristamo, Cable Factory.
The event is open
between 11:00 hrs – 18:00 hrs.
Entry ticket: 2
euro for adults and 1 euro for Children aged 7-13 years.
More information about Aarambh activities in:


Cover story Misc

The experimental accordion

{mosimage}Kimmo Pohjonen, one of the most experimental artists
in Finland, will present his work UNIKO once again in Helsinki. This
performance (25 September, Savoy Theater) will serve as a warm up for the US
premiere on October.

Uniko is a crossover work by Kimmo Pohjonen and
Samuli Kosminen. It features an instrumental line-up that includes accordion,
voice, percussion-sampler, and a string quartet. On top of that electronic
sound processing provides the essential strand of the work.

The piece was world premiered at the Huvila tent
during the Helsinki Festival in 2004. It was performed by Kluster duo (Pohjonen
and Kosminen) with Kronos Quartet. After that it was performed three times: with
Kronos Quartet in Moskow and Modle Norway and with Proton String Quartet in Leigo,
Estonia. Samuli Kosminen and Kronos will be
substituted by Juuso Hannukainen
and again by Proton.

{sidebar id=24}However,
the original line-up will travel to New York in the beginning of October. Uniko
will premiere in the United States on 3 October at the Brooklyn Academy of
Music for a total of three performances.

February 2008, Kluster and Proton will perform Uniko at Köln Philharmonie.


Kimmo Pohjonen –
accordion, voice
Juuso Hannukainen – accordion samples, string samples, voice samples
Teppo Ali-Mattila – violin
Siiri Rasta – violin
Maarit Holkko – viola
Veli-Matti Iljin – cello
with Heikki Iso-Ahola – sound engineer, sound design
Mikki Kunttu – light design

Tuesday 25.9.2007 – 19.30

Savoy Theater, Helsinki
Tickets 20/15e



Front page photo by Milena Strange

Cover story Misc

Sport 2.0

{mosimage}Is it a sport? Is it a reality show? It’s
Leet! A couple of years ago, a young Finnish entrepreneur Jaakko Mäki-Petäjä
thought that it would be a good idea to create a new sport. But how to make
people play it? Easy! Recruit teams around the world, take them to a reality TV
show and offer a one million dollars reward. That’s the Leet challenge.

What it looked like a crazy idea late at
night, which would be soon developed into an adventurous business opportunity.
Jaakko and his partners at Spring Sports Ltd, Keni Simola and Iiro Lahdenranta,
met with top executives of the sports and media industry, like Formula 1 chief
Bernie Ecclestone and British television producer Mark Burnett. A few months
later, they were ready to present Leet to the world.

Justin Chacona, Marketing Manager for
Spring Sports, is the first face in front of the Leet cameras. He briefly
explains the concept of the new game: “
The sport itself is played with a plastic stick
with which players can receive, carry and pass a rubber ball. Two teams of up
to ten players, only four of which may be on the playing surface for each team
at any given point, must try to surge past their oppositions’ defense to reach
the goals located high in the air at each end of the fifty-five yard long

concept reminds Rollerball, the old sci-fi film from the seventies, but Leet is
not about smashing heads and slaughtering the opponent. “While essentially a
non-contact sport in nature”, continues Justin, “Leet is specifically designed
to exploit the best of one’s speed, agility, and hand-eye coordination. Hard,
rough, and full of non-stop movement, Leet can be enjoyed and played in your
backyard (where ‘Street Leet’ rules apply) or on top of the world in the
international Leet arena.”

{sidebar id=11}Start training

But before the competition, it was
necessary to create the rules and have someone to instruct the players. The
Leet team needed a trainer so they hired Coach Flanagan who became the fourth
member of the company. He spent one thousand man hours creating the rulebook,
travelling to China to test the prototypes of the sticks.

To spread Leet, the necessary equipment
(the stick and the ball) will be sold through the web in January. Then everyone
can start training and preparing for the TV show. Filming will start in the
autumn of 2008, but you can already pre-register your team at There you can already take a glimpse
of what Leet is about, but expect a full launch of the website in less than one

Cover story Misc

Are you in a game?

stake-outs and penetrating high security areas may seem like a list of
television themes but you may find yourself caught in the middle of one of them
without even knowing. Some may say that the era of pervasive gaming is upon us,
where digital mobile technologies mean that we can interact with unseen
opponents 24/7. However, the fact is that pervasive games, or games which
transgress the “magic circle” of traditional games, have existed as long as street



gaming aims to break the boundaries (the “magic circle”) of what are considered
traditional games. These boundaries include: place, the games can be played
anywhere; time, although the gamer may choose when they want to consciously
interact with the game, the gaming never stops; and people, individuals may not
even know that they are a part of a game.

Researcher Jussi Holopainen, a key
collaborator and planner of IPerG (Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming)
recalls stories where people have played roles in pervasive games without even
knowing that they are doing so. Holopainen, who has researched the
relationships between technologies, gaming and play since 1998 at Nokia
Research Centre, recalls one scenario where the challenge of a game was to
penetrate a high security area of a hotel. Gamers were trying to persuade staff
to allow them into the area. Unknowingly, the hotel staff had become
characters/obstacles in the game. In another example, gamers were required to
obtain a specific artwork from an art gallery. In this scenario, the unaware
staff had considered the scenario so far-fetched that they began “playing” with
the gamers.

anywhere may be consciously or not involved in a game, whether through pure
spatial circumstance or due to the technology that they utilise. Holopainen
describes how traditional games generally had a start and an end, whereas
pervasive games are continuous. In Citywide games, non-players may also become
spectators, particularly when gamers have drawn attention to themselves through
actions out of the ordinary. Through these scenarios professionals such as
performance artists have capitalised on the combination of a live audience and
real-space, and the capabilities of broadcasting online via wireless
technologies, to bring art out of the gallery. On rare occasions, unaffiliated
bystanders have been hijacked through gamers mistaking them for other gamers.

IPerG began
in 2004 and will continue until 2008. It is a collaboration between the University of Tampere,
Nokia Research, Interactive Institute, Swedish Institute of Computer Science
(SICS), the University of Nottingham, Fraunhofer Institute, Sony NetServices, Gotland University and Blast Theory. IPerG is
devoted to supporting research in pervasive gaming which spans topics such as
analysing how new technologies can be incorporated into pervasive gaming, what
the ethical implications are of pervasive gaming, how gaming may be developed
in terms of entertainment and feasibility, and what the social impacts of the
gaming are.

Holopainen’s own research looks at how PDAs (Personal Digital
Assistants) and regular mobile phones may be utilised for gaming purposes. A
characteristic which makes gaming via these mobile devices more significant
than via regular PCs is that they have been designed specifically for personal
usage. In other words, the mobile phone is an individual’s trusted belonging
containing highly personal information such as SMS:s and phone numbers.
Holopainen cites research of mobile phone games from the older Nokia 3310, 3330
and 5110s Snake Game (incidentally the most played mobile phone game in
history) to games which utilise all the functions of a phone such as the
calendar and alarm.

In regards
to the future of pervasive gaming and pervasive game research Holopainen
speculates that in the future, more so than now, games will be running all the
time. Where now the idea of observing grown men secretly handing large brown
envelopes and intercepting other’s telephone calls may seem peculiar or
criminal, in the future there is the possibility that continuous real-space
gaming may become as normal as SMS, or even the Snake Game itself. Interfaces
are constantly being re-developed which may make even virtual space more
tangible to the user. One field that Holopainen suggests should be expanded in
regards to research is the investigation of ethics. One workshop that covers
such a theme is Ethics of Pervasive
, to be delivered at the PerGames conference June 11-12th
in Salzburg, by
Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros and Annika Waern.

November, IPerG will be releasing a new game called Mythical: The Mobile Awakening, you will find information
about this at

To find out more about IPerG and their research see: