Cover story Misc

Is Gaia angry at us?

You have probably heard about the Gaia Theory, whose name was
given by the famous writer William Golding, but who is the man behind
it? His name is Lovelock, James Ephraim Lovelock and he happens to be one of the most controversial scientists of contemporary


NASA's genius inventor

Lovelock was born on July 26th, 1919, in Letchworth Garden City in the
United Kingdom. His curriculum is quite impressive: He graduated as a chemist
from Manchester University in 1941 and in 1948 received a Ph.D. Degree in Medicine
from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1959, he also received
a D.Sc. Degree in Biophysics from London University.

However, his major achievements began the following decade when
collaborating with NASA. “In 1961, having heard of these new detectors, NASA
invited me to join with the team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who were
developing lunar and planetary landers,” he explains. “Initially, the
invitation concerned the development of methods for analysing lunar soil but
soon I became involved with NASA's quest to discover whether there was life on

Lovelock has developed more than 50 patents of different gadgets, mostly
for detectors for use in chemical analysis, and NASA has even used some of his
inventions in different explorations. One of these, the electron capture
detector, was key in the development of environmental awareness, since it
revealed for the first time the ubiquitous distribution of pesticide residues
and other halogen bearing chemicals. It has also helped to discover more about
the levels of nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. This
information enabled Rachel Carson to write her famous book Silent
Spring, a milestone in understanding and raising the awareness of
environmental problems in society.

His proposed approach to searching for life on Mars, based only on
chemical analysis of the Martian atmosphere, led to reflections about the
utterly different and remarkable atmosphere of our own planet. The stable
persistence in the Earth’s atmosphere of gases that quickly react with each
other could only be possible with some kind of ‘control system’, thus the Gaia
hypothesis was born.


From hypothesis to theory

So what is the Gaia Theory about? In Lovelock’s own words, “Gaia
is a theory about the Earth. It sees it as a self-regulating system keeping its
climate and its chemistry always comfortable for whatever is the contemporary
biosphere. Its major difference from older evolutionary theories, such as
Darwinism, is that it sees organisms not just adapting to the environment, but
changing it as well.”

Encouraged by Margulis, the theory was first publicly mentioned
in an article by Lovelock: Gaia as seen through the atmosphere in the Journal
Atmospheric Environment and was totally ignored during the first years
until publication in 1975's book The Quest for Gaia.

It is curious that the name of the theory did not come directly from
Lovelock, but from his good friend and neighbor, the famous writer, William
Golding. He commented to Lovelock that if he would have ever had a good theory
about the Earth, he had to find a suitable name and there was nothing better
than the Greek goddess Gaia.


Let’s go nuclear!

If you expect that Lovelock had softened his position and ideas with the
age, you could not be more wrong. Quite the opposite, the English scientist, now
in his 80s, has become even more aggressive in his words with the passage of
time. His most recent book The Revenge of Gaia, which offers quite a
pessimistic view of the heating process that the Earth has been suffering, is good
proof of his unwavering opinions.

Lovelock does not see much hope in a continuation of the balance on
Earth. Our planet will become more inhospitable during the next 100 years, and
natural disasters will lead to most of the human civilization perishing. However,
Lovelock sees this apocalyptical future as just a natural way, “Too little too
late? It may be too late to save civilization, but people will survive and
there will be another one.”

As almost the only solution, Lovelock energetically defends nuclear
power as the most effective way to solve problems, thereby following the French
model. He considers that people’s fears of nuclear power are unreasonable.


Controversial figure

Often, Lovelock’s theories are criticized and people are advised to
approach his theories with sceptism. For example, even though he invented the
machine that helped us understand the dangers of CFCs, he also dismissed those
dangers by arguing that they couldn't do enough damage to matter. Sherry
Rowland and Mario Molina received the Nobel Prize for continuing
their research and ignoring Lovelock’s lack of concern, highlighting the fact
that the science community does not take his theories for granted.

His thoughts have encouraged open debate and there are many recognized figures
who openly disagree with him, such as For Doolittle and even Stephen
Hawkins himself. One thing is for sure though, the Gaia Theory involves such deep and
controversial thoughts that it will continue to be discussed for many years to
comes…unless Lovelock’s worst predictions come to fruition.

Interviews Music

Apulanta breaking the law

We have an animated talk with Toni (vocals and guitar) and Sipe (drums) about their history and their new album that was released that same day.

Why the name Apulanta (fertilizer)?

Toni: When we formed the band we were very young. I was 13 and he was 15. We were punk rockers at that time and we just decided to choose the worst possible name for the band. I think we succeeded pretty well…

Sipe: What can you expect at that age…? The first point was that it had to be easy to remember and the second point was that it was funny.

Toni: There have been one or two occasions when we came to regret the decision; it is an ugly child, but it is our child!

How did you get to know each other?

Toni: We went to the same high school.

Sipe: And we were basically the school outcasts. When you are an outsider and you do not have friends, you seek out similar people. So, we met at a disco where we both were trying to get girls, but instead we met…

{mosimage}And you formed a band!

Toni: We both come from this small town called Heinola. At that time, in the early-90s, there was nothing going on there, no sub-cultures of any kind. We were the only guys at the high school who were wearing band t-shirts, as we were into heavy metal, trash metal and death metal at that time. It was kind of a “t-shirt” incident that led us to meet each other. I saw that there was one guy with almost the same kind of t-shirt that I was wearing, I said: “Hi, what is your name? Do you play anything? Why don’t we form a band?” So actually, that was simple.

It was like a Aki Kaurismäki dialogue…

Toni: Yeah it was.  A couple of months later {quotes}Sipe stole his first drum kit{/quotes}

Sipe: Actually, this is the first time we say it in public!

Toni: It was actually a place owned by city of Heinola. It was a nasty thing to steal those drums, but years later I think we have paid it back with taxes and so on, so it was a kind of “investment”.

How was it living in Heinola?

Toni: Actually, Heinola is a nice place and I would like to return there at some point. I get my dose of “action” on tours, and, for example, we will perform over 100 this year, starting this Friday and will probably end in November, so after spending so long in rock clubs I really need peace. Well, when you are a 19-year-old guy in a rock band you need more than peaceful countryside, so Heinola was good for growing up, but it was also good to get out of there.

We have seen Apulanta live several times before. It seems that you love having these acting shows, such as being disguised with strange costumes.

Sipe: There is a lot of time to kill on the tour bus…

Toni: I kind of like it. It keeps us occupied, we do it for ourselves. A couple of times we have gone over the top with it and the show became more important than the music. Once we had this outrageous theatrical thing: knights versus orcs…Lord of the Rings style.

Sipe: Sadly, there were only seven or eight songs in our festival set…. But playing punk rock songs is basically “the thing”…

Toni: At the end, punk rock is the thing. Not the other things. It was fun for one summer. Then we changed the line up and we couldn’t hide behind masks anymore. We had to come back to our roots, do what a band is supposed to be doing and that is rocking, writing good music and entertaining the crowd. We had to leave the costumes.

Sipe: Well, since the tour starts on Friday, we have to concentrate on music. So no costumes… for few months at least.

We know that Toni likes to appear in movies, making small cameos, such as in Kuutamolla (Lovers and Leavers), or playing a role, like in Pitkä Kuuma Kesä. How was the experience?

Toni: Yeah, I did some of those in the late-90s and early-2000. It really was not my thing, it was more arrogant attitude. When you are a young guy and all of a sudden you become successful, you think you can do everything. You can do a movie; put together an art gallery… I realize now that I completely suck as an actor.

I like the name for the film’s band you led, Vittupää

Toni: We actually wrote the songs for the movie. We went to Lahti, 30 kms from Heinola, by bus and wrote three or four songs on the 30-minute bus ride to the Lahti studio, so in the whole process of getting our asses on the bus in Heinola, going to Lahti, recording some songs, mixing the songs and back to Heinola took two hours. It was very fast and very fun, kind of very punk. I really liked the songs. In fact, we still cover those. There is one very good song, which translated means: ‘Cop is a Nazi Bastard’. Where did we steal that riff, Sipe? We stole most of the riffs for those songs…

Sipe: I think that was a Black Sabbath riff reversed and played.

Do you feel you have softened your style?

Toni: In the late-90s we went in a softer direction, but lately we are back to our roots; I think that is a natural evolution of a rock band. You kind of walk a circle, as simple as that. I don’t really feel like going soft. I really enjoy playing the new album – it is quite hard with technical riffs and very aggressive. I enjoy aggressive music these days. {quotes}We are in pretty good shape to play aggressive music these days.{/quotes}

You have two albums in English in your discography: Viper Spank and Apulanta. What can you tell us about them?

Toni: When we started to sell big amounts of albums in Finland, we generated interest in other countries like Germany and Spain. They asked us if it was possible to make some translations – that is basically what they wanted us to do, so we did these couple of albums. Viper Spank is a collection of hit songs with the re-recordings, and it was nice. We had some success, not anything big, but we went to different countries to play and it was nice to do.

You have a very long discography already. Do you feel pressure to release new albums often?

{mosimage}Toni: We live through music. We are both music lovers. It is natural to work a lot. Of course, when you do nine albums, you have to reinvent yourself because you do not want to make the same song over and over again; that would make it very uninteresting for people and for us. With the latest album we worked very hard to make it a living breathing album, and I think that we succeeded in that.

Sipe: We are very proud that Apulanta is a band with roots. There are not many bands with 16 years of history, and every year doing better and better. The previous album, Kiila, that was released a couple of years ago, was the best album we ever made and stuff like that, so it created a lot of pressure, cause you never want to do an album that is not better than the previous ones.

Sipe: It sounds like a cliché, but our fans seem to be a pretty loyal bunch of people, so we really do not want to let them down. We want to do things with a lot of heart.

Toni: I think that the respect for the fans is one of the things that keep us trying new stuff. The loyalty and dedication they have given to us. The fans have bought me my shoes, my t shirt, my car…it is for all those people who decided to spend 20 euros on my album that I have these things, so they deserve the best they can get.

I think it works both ways, that you are one of the bands in Finland you take more care of the fans. In concerts there is always a great feeling. You put in a lot of effort.

Toni: I think that is due to the punk scene we come from. It has always been about interaction with people. We had this crazy Japanese girl who flew from Tokyo just to see us, she spent all the money she had just for that, that was crazy dedication. We got to know her pretty well and she ended up spending several weeks with us on the tour bus.

Sipe: We obviously took care of all the expenses…

Toni: Of course, when somebody says that you have a nice 19-year-old Japanese girl who wants to join you…you cannot say no…

Sipe: I have one reference case of a thing like this. In 1993 in Provinssirock, my “gods” Bad Religion played there and we had a chance to meet them, they spent 2-3 hours with me, and I was just a teenager from Heinola, so that was sort of a lesson for me: being a rock star does not mean that you have to be an asshole.

You have been playing for 16 years. Starting so young, and after so many albums and songs, is there a point you could feel “burnt out” in the music business?

Toni: At this point…when you complete an album you can feel empty, but at the moment, it has been a very refreshing experience… You never know what the future brings, but I do not see any point in quitting at this stage, when the band is still at the top.

Sipe: We still have lots of ambitions. We want to do better shows, better albums, know how to play even better, when we started we were not the best musicians in Finland, and we still have a lot to achieve. I think that our band is needed in the Finnish scene; I think that it is our duty to be here.


Pick up your copy of FREE! Magazine to read more of the interview with Sipe and Toni 

Photos by J.M. Rodríguez

Antonio's blog Blogs

And they say students hate them

The guy was
sharp on the phone and not very eager to do much, even when I gave him freedom
of speech (as we always do, having a magazine called FREE!… 2+2…). He gave me
some excuses saying that he has to be tomorrow in Estonia, and that he could not be
reached by phone, and obviously was not going to check the mail there. The way
he talked about Tallinn,
I could have thought that he was flying to Nepal or to Mars…  I happened to have lived in Estonia during
6 months last year…and I appreciate among other nice features of our beloved
Baltic neighbour the great access they have to wi-fi connections in every
corner of the city and every café.

I chose the
option of just sending a quick mail at 13:00
in the afternoon, was asking for a very general opinion about the theory I am
interested in reporting, and the guy had a perfectly clear idea that he was
going to receive an e-mail mail in the next hours. It is almost 01:00 at night. No answer.

I don’t know
if it is by chance, but in the short history of FREE! Magazine, it does not
happen to be the first bad encounter with university professors. When preparing
our first issues, we had negotiations with a famous academic from the History
department, about the possibility of having a monthly column in FREE! He agreed
once and again, promised to send the material, the deadline came closer and
closer…and we never had farther news from him.

Not exactly
that University teachers are in the “top 10 of beloved professions”, I would
say, quite the opposite. Obviously not still at same level that my personal “number
ones”, the transport tickets inspectors, famous for their “friendly attitude”
and “exquisite courtesy”… With these attitudes, professors are climbing fast
in the ranking as well.

I encourage
to the nice professors and people from academic world in Finland (they
really exist my friends, keep the faith) to participate and collaborate with
FREE! Help us to spread the knowledge not only inside the classrooms, but
everywhere else!

Antonio's blog Blogs

Between guerrilla and rock stars

I was introduced
to Edén Pastora a couple of days ago during the party held by the Finnish Film
Foundation, where they had an overview of the Finnish films that will be
released in the present year. Being honest, I had no idea that Edén Pastora
himself was coming to Helsinki
to assist to the Documentary festival, and I neither had much idea about the
history behind him.

Once I met him, I
felt thirsty to know about his actions and biography, so I researched a bit in
Internet. I got impressed, not only because the man is a real legend, but also
because even my parents knew very well about him!

Once more, this
teaches me that there is no day I go to sleep without having learnt something
new. And this is exactly what I love about the journalistic job: To have the
chance to meet so many different people, with such interesting background, and
be able to communicate that to the readers. To find that interesting angle,
anecdote, history, detail or whatever else that I would love to have learnt
myself if I were on the other side, as the reader of the article or the
listener of an interview.

Half an hour after
shaking hands with Edén and wishing him all the best, I am on the phone,
involved in a long distance call talking to Mick Cervino, top class bass
player, who has worked with huge names of rock scene such as Blackmore or
Mamlsteem. Recently, he visited Finland
as a member of the Swedish guitar player’s band, but this time the interview
was centered on his personal new project “Violent Storm”. You will have soon
the exclusive interview available the web page of FREE! Mick was very nice, and
we had a relaxed chat in English and Spanish (since he was born in Argentina).

I suppose that
these days , and the feeling of having the unique opportunity to be a
privileged one to get to know so much interesting people compensates the big
effort that is to start with a new publication in a foreign country. It is
really hard and stressful sometimes to take so many decisions, or even
yesterday I almost froze when I got lost in Vuosaari trying to find a place
where I had to make some business related to FREE!, but on the other hand, I
feel so satisfied that my curiosity for getting to know new stories, new people
and new angles to offer to the readers is totally fulfill with this project
that I hardly can sleep last nights, just thinking what new and exciting
encounters we will have in the future. And of course, you are very welcome to
be there to read it!

Books Interviews

Mikael Niemi: A warm writer from the North

We have the good luck to meet him in the
offices of his Finnish publishing house, few minutes before flying back to his
home in the Swedish Artic Pole. A trip of 10 hours leading him to his village
of  only 2000 citizens not far from the
Finnish border: Pajala. Mikael has spent the week end in Helsinki promoting his
new book: The man who died like a salmon
(Mies joku kuolli kuin lohi), and
feels surprise about how the author of this interview, coming from a southern
warmer country, can live in Finland’s capital. I wonder the same about his life
in such a remote place as Pajala is.

“I am a typical northern person, so my
mentality is from the north. I was growing up there, my father is from Pajala
and my people too. We have our minority there, we speak Finnish , my surname is
Finnish “Niemi”, my father first language was this typical Meänkieli, different
from the Finnish spoken in Finland,
but still related, and it is about my roots. I love to be there. I love skiing
for example. I do 1000 kilometres in total during the winter and of course, and
then I also write. I have my family there, I have 3 kids, and I like that they
are growing up in my own culture, and I think I am lucky to live there. When I
was younger I was living in Helsinki
for one year, because I had a girlfriend here. I also lived in Stockholm, but I think that Pajala is

must be a very beautiful place to live

I like it, but some people say that it is
too dark and too cold, but we are very warm people, to balance the situation…

have now this new book whose title in Finnish is
joku kuolli kuin lohi, The man who died like a salmon. In Popular Music book, we
could find also a funny title in the Finnish version (The title literally
translated meant Popular Music from the cunt). Is it your personal choice when
choosing the titles?

Yes, I always make my own title, and it is
very important to have a good one, I started as a poet, and it is very
important that the language contains a lot of poetry. I was also a very bad
musician, I was composing my songs, so I work a lot with the titles, and I am
very satisfied with this one. I think that is poetic, but a bit brutal and
strange at the same time.


write your originals in Swedish. Why not in Meäkieli, the Finnish dialect
spoken in Tornionlaakso, the region where Pajala is?

Because it is not my language, it is my father’s
language. But in 1960´s, people were ashamed of using it, cause of the
oppression from the state. They were afraid of us speaking Finnish, so we would
like to have independents thoughts. It is about history, so Sweden was very
nationalistic years ago. This is the same case all around Europe,
but we never wanted a nation or our own land or belong to Finland, We
only wanted to have our own culture and feel proud of it. When I grew up, my
father never taught me Finnish. I learnt from the streets, from my friends,
from speaking when I am hunting with my friends, so I know a bit, but not too
well to write it. Meänkieli did not have a written language, and efforts
started very recently to try to write down this language. So people are
developing the grammar, or rules to spell the word.


So it
is a language under construction…

Yeah, it is under construction,  and you have to make that with every word, so
it is complicated but very interesting at same time. That also means that we
have very few books written in meänkieli. Some authors are writing in
meänkieli, very few, but then you have the problem that people cannot read it,
so they are not used to see their language in letters.


father spoke Meänkieli, your mum Swedish, you grandmother Sámi, and you are
married to a Dutch woman. What language do you speak at home?

At home, we have 3 children and we decided
from the start that she should speak only her language to the children. It is
not Flemish, but Frisian, a minoritarian language too in the north of Holland, so we have the
same situation in that aspect. So my children speak Frisian and Swedish, and
then we try to learn a little more of meänkieli too.


with your wife, do you speak English?

No, my wife speaks perfect Swedish; she is
very good in languages. My oldest son, who is 9 years old now, is very good in
languages, so he can learn now other languages like English. He goes to Holland and talks to
people there in good Frisian, so it is fantastic to see how he can speak much
better than me. This could have happened to me, I could have had fluent
knowledge of meänkieli and Swedish, but it was not allowed at that time. It was
considered to be bad.


you explain us a bit more about the plot of your new book?

{quotes}It is a criminal story, so it starts with a
murder of an 89 years old man in Pajala.
{/quotes} He was working in the customs when he
was younger, to guard the border between Finland and Sweden, and he
is very aggressive to the minority language. He is a symbol of the oppression,
although he belongs to the same culture as well. So he is murdered and a woman
comes from Stockholm,
a police officer called Therese Fossnes and she starts the investigation. She
cannot speak any Finnish and does not know anything about the culture. She is
watching reindeers for the first time in her life. So she is in her own
country, but it is like another world for her. I am using here the conflict of
culture collision, conflict of woman against the man “macho” strong society, and
she is a very strong woman as well. She meets a man from Pajala whom suspected
to be the murderer and then they start to get to know better, so there is love
in the story as well. The book will be translated soon to English.


grade of self involvement do you have in the novel?

I am much involved too. I put a lot of real
people in the book. I am using around 40 real people of Pajala in the book, and
for instance, at the beginning there is a woman who takes care of old people,
and she finds the dead body, and she is an existing person


Mikael looks for some papers and show us
pictures of real people and places in Pajala that appear in his novel.


is the reaction of the people when they see themselves in the story of your

Well, I ask them for permission, I always
say “Do you want to be in my book?” and everybody says “yes!” I had also a
chapter about hunting, I am a hunter too. My father is in that chapter and my
hunting friends too. They appear with the real names. And everybody gets a free
copy of the book…


So at
the end, the entire village wants to appear in your book!

Yeah, some people told me “Why am I not in
the book? You should put me in the next one!


you said, there is not much written tradition for Meänkieli, it is coming
mostly from oral tradition and stories. So which are the sources from where you
get to hear the stories?

In our culture, in some special occasions,
people start to tell stories, and then I always listen with “big ears”. Now I m
starting to tell them myself, cause when you are getting a bit older, I am 47
now, then you start to tell stories also, about people who lived there or
special things that happened in our area. It is really wonderful, and I get a
lot of energy from that. So I tell to those people that they are authors also,
they do not write books, but they have the language, the ability to tell.


was your father also telling you stories?

Well, my father was a quiet man. He was
telling sometimes. He was a policeman, and actually that is also a great
motivation for me to write the police story in this new book. Sometimes he told
me about some dramatic things that happened during his police job. Many times
he told me “you must never write about this!” “It is a secret” and I always
answer, ok, I will not write about it now, but I don’t know if I can keep this
promise forever, because they were very good stories, so as a writer I feel the
need to collect them.


you satisfied with the
Popular Music movie version?

Yes, I like it. Of course it was much
shorter than the book, but well, some people said to me that the movie was ok,
but the book better, so I could just answer to them “Thank you!


the book became so popular, no bigger company made you an offer to film
something with bigger stars?

Yes, I had propositions, but I wanted the
movie to be recorded in Tornionlaakso, I wanted to be shot there, and I wanted
also to have some Finnish meänkieli there. It was important from our culture,
and the producers from other big countries like Germany or Denmark wanted it to
be shot in south Sweden or in studios, and they wanted to dub the actors, so I
preferred to do it in Pajala, and it was very good, many hundreds of people
there participated in the movie. For example, my mother was in 2 scenes, my
wife also appeared in the movie, and a lot of young people who could be actors
for first time in their lives, so it was fantastic to see that experience for
the people.
{quotes}As an anecdote, when they were making the scene for the sauna
competition, they had a real sauna, and it was real hot.
{/quotes} It took many hours to
film it.
The director said to one Finnish actor “Could you do it like if you
were dying”, and the actor answered “I am dying!”, and he fainted, he was
really ill, and was taken from Pajala by ambulance to reanimate him. They were
going to stop the filming, but they had still one important scene to do, so the
actor came back to the sauna again. That really showed some Finnish “sisu”!.


or Rolling Stones?

I prefer Beatles, but I also like the
Stones. We played with my band covers like Brown
. When I saw the Stones in Stockholm,
they started the concert with that song, so I felt a high feeling, like if they
were playing it especially for me.


are The Beatles your favourite all time band?

I would say yes, but I listen to a lot of
music. I can listen to hip hop, techno, hard rock, trash metal… I also follow
new bands, and when I have the opportunity to go to a concert, I try to see
them on live, because I love live music and rock and roll.  I play also some harmonica, accordion,
guitar, piano, just for myself. But I think I am a better writer than musician
(laughs). But I love music and it is very important for me in my lifestyle. For
example, I also love Hendrix, he was a genius! In my science fiction book,
there is one part where people go to heaven, and there is a Jimi Hendrix’s gig
every night!


you feel pressure when releasing a new book into the market?

I felt some pressure when I wrote a science
fiction book after Popular Music (Nahkakolo), but now it is not like that
anymore. With this new book I did not feel pressure. Writing is my hobby more
than job. I get a lot of good feelings, it is fun to sit and be many hours
writing and writing. Many people do not understand it, but I love it, it is my
life!. That is why I write, and then of course I try to publish. When Popular Music book was finished, 2 big
companies said no to the publication (it was not still a success in Sweden),
they thought that sounded very strange, and the 3rd company was Like
who took the risk. So it was not easy to publish in Finland first. But it is a good
question how you deal with expectations. I stopped to read reviews, I do not
read them anymore, because they change my mind in a bad way, and I do not want
to write for money, but for my heart. My creativity should come from my heart
and from my soul, so that is why I try not to think about money or success.
That is very easy in Pajala. They ask me how is to be famous in Pajala, and I
say that in Pajala, every one is famous, I go in the street and I talk like
them, I act like them, I go hunting like them, so I am only one more there.

Art Features

Raimo Utriainen: mind vs passion

{mosimage}Now, for the
second round of Spring exhibitions, that will open from 8.2 until 29.4, that
path has been followed introducing one of the most remarkable figures in contemporary
Finnish art, and follower of the mathematical and geometrical lessons that
Malevich helped to spread around the world: Raimo Utriainen (1927-1994).

Utriainen´s fame
has crossed the national borders. His work can be contemplated in countries
such as Israel,
or Sweden,
and he was venerated in Japan,
where his abstract sculptures had an immediate success and exhibitions were
organized in Kamakura,
Kobe and Sapporo during 1978.

EMMA has had the
Raimo Utriainen Foundation Collection since October 2006, and with the upcoming
exhibition, the visitor will have the opportunity to contemplate a huge
different amount of material from the artist: 150 sculptures, drawings,
paintings, bronze portraits medallions and some other personal stuff that comes
mostly from the old artist’s studio that was located in Pitäjänmäki. In
addition, the WeeGee building itself, where EMMA museum is, appears as a
perfect surrounding for Utriainen´s work, having been designed by the artist´s
old friend, Aarno Ruusuvuori.

The opportunity
not only of observing his more famous side as sculptor, but also his paintings,
gives us an approach to a more personal drama in his lifestyle. Being proud of
his education with a solid background in mathematics and architecture,
Utriainen tried to hide his more romantic side as painter, where he could break
the limits that the formal structures in his sculpture represented. It was not
until 8 years before his death, in 1986, when he became older, that he allowed
this other side of his artwork to emerge in the public sphere, and show it in

Utriainen, born in
Kuopio, was
mostly interested in developing public sculptures that would suit in open
spaces. He did not make many portraits, although the few ones conserved give a
clear example of his mastery in all kinds of art fields.

{mosimage}Another of his
major influences was the Italian artist Brancusi,
and belonging to the generation of artists that studied and wrote about public
monuments after the Second World War, he remained as quite a strict defender of
the Constructivism and Modernism theories. Even when the formalities of size
and design are very much remarked upon in his work, the forms that the light
reflects in some of his sculptures are very sensual and expressive. Some of the
works you can contemplate inside the exhibition reach around three meters high!
Some others even had to be kept out of the exhibition for lack of space.

As well, the
exhibition would give a unique opportunity to take a look at his development in
his work with different materials. From the bronze used in some works during
the 1960s, like his famous “Ida Aalberg Statue”, dedicated to the actress, to
the steel and aluminium of the 1970s with his particular and personal style of
statues perfectly balanced in size, and formed by slats.

And for the
visitor, a last surprise. Not only Utriainen´s influence can be seen inside the
EMMA walls. If you just pay attention, close to the main entrance, there is
surrounded by trees a statue based on Utrianen´s miniature design.

Cover story Misc

Finnish design all around you

Finnish design has reached all kind of levels in our everyday life. You
can see it in the latest model of mobile phone, or carried in the form of a bag
by the trendiest teenager in a fashionable pub late at night.

{mosimage}Roots & wings

Marimekko is the leading Finnish textile and clothing design company,
which is also well known outside of Finland’s borders. They design and
manufacture high-quality clothing, interior decoration textiles, bags and other
accessories. Some of the greatest Finnish designers have collaborated with the
company, such as Jukka Rintala. He
started his career 30 years ago and is well known especially for the evening
gowns he designs. But they are not the only thing he does; he is a versatile
designer, and
he has done costumes for theatre
as well as
interior and clothing design.

Marimekko has been one of the most important Finnish success stories
over the decades, in fact ever since the company was established in 1951. Some
of their products and prints that you will see on the shelves of the shops
today are as old as company, but nowadays more in style than ever!

So, what’s new in Marimekko? Something very unique and interesting is going
on: the company has signed an agreement to start cooperation under license,
concerning the decoration of elevator car interiors. The agreement that was made
with KONE, a large Finnish machine manufacturer, provides an opportunity to
apply Marimekko design to elevators by decorating the internal walls of an
elevator car with a decorative laminate. “These two strong international brands
will strengthen each other and provide architectural planning with a new
dimension,” says Matti Alahuhta, the president of KONE Corporation. And
according to Kirsti Paakkanen, the president of Marimekko, “the agreement
reflects the goal of both parties to make design a part of people's everyday
lives”. And you can even change the laminate, so your elevator is stylish for
every occasion! You wouldn’t have guessed that the manufacturer of elevator
cars and one of the hottest clothing design company have anything in common, would


Camping spirit

Finnish designers are very ingenious. If Marimekko designs interiors of elevator
cars, the designer of IVANAHelsinki gives the key of her apartment to her
customers. What is going on? Isn’t the regular shop enough? 

Wait, we have to go back in time first. The company was founded by
designer Paola Suhonen and her sister Pirjo Suhonen in 1998. There is a new
trend called Fennofolk, which is a mix of Scandinavian pure and simple lines,
and IVANAHelsinki represents this new style, which is a combination of modern
Scandinavian and Slavic style with a new twist. The style was born in Finland and the
oddness of the Finns is big part of it. That means that the clothes are a bit
absurd, in such a way that you will wonder if some part of the design should be
like that or not.

There is lot of going on in IVANAHelsinki these days. Paola Suhonen’s
designs are well known in Finland,
but also internationally. One country that particularly adores IVANA´s style is
where the company has a huge market. Just recently, the Suhonen sisters paid a
visit to this oriental country to assist to several exhibitions of their

But one more domestic and slightly unusual promotion is happening here
in Helsinki:
Paola Suhonen opened her home to her customers! According to Paola’s sister and
business partner, Pirjo Suhonen, “the idea was to bring the shop into home,
totally the opposite to the normal way of thinking when home products are in a

The apartment, or should I say home, is in trendy, but rough,
neighbourhood called Kallio, in Helsinki.
It is open for the loyal customers, who will get the key and can visit, spend
time and shop when they have time to do it. What makes this concept unique is
the level of trust. The idea is to make the customers to feel like they are at
home. There are 10 keys available and one of them could be yours for a month!


The bear is back!

Karhu, which means 'bear' in Finnish, makes sports gear, and much of
their range has remained unchanged from when it first appeared. The story of
the company was almost coming to and end when Karhu teamed up with an
advertising company and decided to do something: improve the marketing and tell
consumers about Karhu’s long journey. This is Karhu’s second success story.

The company was established in 1916 and the picture of a bear was
already used in the company logo. In the beginning, discus and javelins were the
most important products, but running and track shoes were also manufactured. In
the 1930s the product range expanded even more.

{mosimage}Due to the Helsinki Olympics (in 1952) Karhu became a significant sports
equipment manufacturer and earned its international reputation as the leading
manufacturer of athletic shoes. An interesting fact is that Karhu sold its
three stripes trademark to one – these days well-known – man, whose sport brand
also uses the same trademark. According the story the, price they got was two
bottles of good whiskey and about 1,600 euros. Over the next decades Karhu
became a well-known trademark for athletic shoes for top runners worldwide and
it developed the first air cushion system for its trainers in '70s.

Even though the design and quality were excellent, the marketing of the
products wasn’t very good and that is why the brand was pretty much forgotten around
the late '80s and '90s, until the beginning of the millennium when the Karhu
Originals collection was launched. The company co-operated with their advertising
company and they spent lot of money on marketing the trainers and bags and it
was worth every penny, because today Karhu is a big name in fashion; the
products have huge retro appeal and are extremely trendy nowadays. Karhu’s long
history and high quality are the things which attract the buyers today. Another
nice fact is that Karhu Originals are hand-made in Europe.


The plastic pioneer

Eero Arnio represents very well the innovative Finnish spirit. Born in
1932, he studied from 1954 to 1957 at the Institute of Industrial
Arts in Helsinki.
Not long after opening his own office, he designed the famous “Ball Chair”. The
fiberglass material and shape used supposedly a great novelty at that time. He
was and is also a pioneer in the way he works with the materials; for example,
he developed “rotation molding”, a particular method of working with plastic
(medium density polyethylene) that offers the same possibilities as fiberglass
in terms of quality, but at a lower cost.


Houseware magicians

The disillusionment at seeing the lack of creativity at the tableware section
of the Ambiente fair of Frankfurt led to former friends from the University of
Art and Design in Helsinki
Tony Alfström (1972 Finland)
and Brian Keaney (1974 Ireland) to found Tonfisk on December 17th,
1999. And no
wonder that the founders raise their glasses filled with Finnish vodka to mark
that day every year. Things are running smoothly for a company that
nowadays exports
their products to more than 30 different countries. This
dynamic and youthful
spirit appears clear when you take a look at their designer´s most creative
; they all radiate refreshment of ideas and a joyful spirit. If you have
the chance, take a look at the 'Oma' lemon squeezer by Jenni Ojala and Susanna
, or the milk and
sugar “Newton” set by Tanja Sipilä.

And obviously, once
you start to transform your kitchen into
your own personal Finnish design museum, the experience can be fascinating. Shapes
that you would never imagine appear in concordance with the environment in the
design of small details to which you had never paid attention before. If not,
take a look to the curvy modern forms of Majamoo wooden trivets (
a three-legged metal stand for
supporting a cooking pot over a flame)
, trays or
chopsticks. The user may be tempted
to use their small beautiful
pieces to eat, or just to preserve them on the table as a timeless decoration


125 years anniversary

But undoubtedly, when
referring to homeware design, special mention goes to the Iittala group, with
125 years of existence, which – apart from their own company
 also has strong presence through their brands
Arabia and Hackman. Its story dates back to 1881, when a glass factory was
established in Iittala, a small Finnish village north of Helsinki. Iittala has
25 shops around the world, highly concentrated in Holland, where you can find
10, and a new one was
opened to the public in Amsterdam.

As a highlight in the
company’s history, there is the world famous Alvar Aalto vase, designed in 1936
and still widely produced

. Even with the passing of the years, his designs do
not lose importance
; rather the opposite, they
look more appropriate now than ever.
Even the
director of the Aalto Foundation, Markku Lahti, is invited in November to
a series of conferences around
the USA, an example of the respect and veneration that the
Aalto´s work generates all over the world.

And that is not the
only link in
North American with Finnish design. In Madison, Wisconsin State, in the USA, you
can find the headquarters of Fiskars, a company that creates quality tools. The
name comes from the city with the same name located in west
ern Finland,
where Dutch merchants established a blast furnace. Soon, the company gained
fame for the
high quality of their iron products, and that fame
has remained until the present day. The characteristic Finnish commitment
to innovation and ease of use can be found even in their gardening scissors.

You would think that Finnish design is simple and clean, but in fact it
can surprise you: Just take an elevator car ride, go to your favourite
designer’s home and chill out or take a walk in the trendiest shoes on the
streets. It is Finnish design everywhere!

Art Features

Malevich: The Beauty Of Simple Forms

Born near Kiev in 1878, Malevich is with no doubt one of the pioneers of abstract geometric art. He was inspired by Cubism and Futurism until he gave birth to a new stage not only in his work, but in the whole history of art: Suprematism, a concept that alludes to the supremacy of form.

Hannele Savelainen, researcher at Emma museum, explains us: “Malevich was a great thinker, and behind his work there is a complex philosophical and artistic theory. He was filled with a great sense of mysticism. For example, the concept of “zaum”, which refers to things beyond the reach of rational, is very present in his art’s theory. In this way, the surface of the painting is considered as a field of energy, where the colours are alive. The surface becomes sacred”.


In the current exhibition you can see some of the most famous of Malevich´s work: the black square, the cross and the circle on white background. Although arranged on different walls, the group looks like it could possibly be a triptych (a work of art done in three separate panels, which usually would be hinged together). There, the energy is clear and condensed in the black surface, while the white background represents emptiness. As a peak in Malevich´s Suprematism theory, he even painted a white surface on a white background. Unfortunately, EMMA could not get any of these works.

Malevich was so immersed in his Suprematism philosophy that in the early 1920s he left painting for several years to focus on teaching. The new Soviet system under the Totalitarian control of Stalin never allowed him to come back to such radical Suprematism ideas, but he always managed to walk on the edge between the official art, and his own vision and theories.

He focused on basic geometric forms and bright primary colours. Observing the different periods and stages of his life and work through the exhibition in Espoo, you realize that he never abandoned the use of the same colours in his palette. {quotes}It can be an abstract composition, or the portrait of a peasant, but the same primary colours remain there as a very personal touch in his work.{/quotes}


The exhibition has more than 50 paintings of the artists, most of them borrowed from the State Russian Museum, which has collaborated very closely with EMMA. The different periods of the artist’s work are widely represented, from their cubism compositions, to his more radical Suprematism period, and coming back to depicting figures, in concordance with the Social Realism art that was sure to follow. But many other aspects of Malevich´s creations are covered as well: drawings, costumes designed for the futurist opera Victory over the Sun that was played in Uusikirkko, on the Finnish side of the border (and with a strong resemblance to the Harlequins painted by Picasso during his earlier period), sketches and designs for buildings and other objects, such as a curious teapot.

In contrast with the geometrical compositions, the portrait of his mother, painted in 1932 – three years before her death – shows a very warm image of a person who always supported him all throughout his artistic career. There, a more humanized concept is in his latest creative period, with a style that approaches the great classics of the Impressionism.

An amazing feature in Malevich´s work that the visitor can contemplate all through the current exhibition is that he was able to master different styles without ever losing his own personal perspective of art, and that is why he is and will always be remembered as one of the fundamental figures in contemporary art.

Cinema Features

Fox Days: The Size Does Not Matter

All of the films shown had English subtitles, so Fox Days makes a perfect occasion for the non-Finnish speaker to get a better idea of what is going on in the Finnish short film scene.

{mosimage} Short length does not necessarily mean low quality; rather, just the opposite. The authors try to show fresh and condensed ideas, and universal feelings like love, betrayal, or loneliness, and hot topics like couple relations or social integration were very present during all the days that the festival took place. There was also time for good sense of humour and Finnish irony in films like Järvi or Heitelläänhän Kääpiötäkin.

List of winners

Best Professional Documentary: Paanajärven Anni – Lasse Naukkarinen
Best Student Documentary: Nimeni On Alma – Johanna Vanhal
Best Professional Fiction Film: Luonto ja Terveys – Panu Heikkilä
Best Student Fiction Film: Painajaiset – Jan Forsström
Best Animation Film: Polle – Sara Wahl
Best Film not exceeding three minutes length: Äijät – Working group from the children and youth cultural centre Vernissa in Vantaa

Books Features

Helsinki Book Fair

The fair became a paradise for book lovers. The biggest names of the industry placed huge stands where you could find all the newly-released books, but there was also plenty of time to visit smaller stands where attendees could chat in a relaxed way, or even go inside a library bus where information about the city library network could be found.

Altogether there were more than 850 authors and speakers telling about their work, from big consolidated names as Arto Paasilinna to younger authors with big success like Riikka Pulkkinen. The readers had a chance to get a book signed by their favourite author and exchange some words, because the companies always try to create a good climate of communication between the visitors and the writers.

There was also place for big international names as the Swedish Mikael Niemi, or exotic authors like the Chinese Jung Chang and his controversial biography of Mao.

If reading is one of your passions, do not miss the fair next year!