Connecting Points (Finland-Russia Exchange)

Connecting Points- programme has come to an end  in 2023. A warm thank you to all collaborators and participants during the years.

The research project Reside / Sustain (2021-2023/2024) that examines the role of residencies and sustainability will continue further. The project is done together with Angelina Davydova – a journalist focusing on environmental agenda and Adel Kim – a curator that has been active in the residency field in Russia. The project is funded by the Kone Foundation.

In 2022-2023 Connecting Points- programme directed its resources in aiding the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. This was mainly done by supporting the Solidarity Residencies within HIAP. 

Connecting Points -programme aimed at strengthening the collegial activity in artistic and cultural realm in/within Finland and Russia. The programme was coordinated and curated by artist-curator Miina Hujala (from 2016 until 2023, and until 2020 together with Arttu Merimaa – who both also run a display window space called Alkovi in Helsinki).

Previous program has included:

In 2023 Connecting Points- programme presented an exhibition ‘Pinnalla on syvyyksiä / The Surface Holds Depths’ in Lappeenranta Art Museum between 4.2.-21.5.2023 based on a research project conducted within the programme during the years 2017-2022.

As as a part of Connecting Points-programme we have had a focus in examining the role of travel in relation to art field activity. Especially related to residency practices and focusing on the long-distance land- and sea-based travel. The aim is to think how durational and shared travel experience as a group could accommodate working, exploring and collaborating together. This has been supported by The Finnish Cultural Foundation (2019-2023).

In 2022 events in support of political prisoners in Russia within the framework of the international solidarity movement Uznik Online took place on the 29th of June 2022 and on 11th on November at HIAP’s Villa Eläintarha Residency.

The aim of the event was to show solidarity with and support for the imprisoned, as well as bring public attention to the topic of political struggle and censorship in Russia. The participants of the workshop created postcards and wrote letters to political prisoners based on the artworks and poems received from prisons.

The event was organised by Anastasia Artemeva (HIAP alumnus) and Arlene Tucker from Prison Outside, together with cultural producer Tatiana Solovieva. The workshop was supported by HIAP’s Connecting Points programme.

Organisers:Prison Outside is an independent international artistic research project focused on the role of the arts in the relationships between people in prisons and people outside

Co-organizers:UznikOnline is an international movement in support of political prisoners in Russia

In 2020-2021 due to the pandemic international travel was restricted and focus on the program was dedicated in strengthening the connectivity locally and inviting artists with Russian background as residents. Ilya Orlov was a resident in October-November 2020, and Anastasia Artemeva was invited for spring 2021. We also supported the publication ‘Inventing Everyday Life’  that documents the five years of the international site-specific exhibition project ‘Local Library Window: Contemporary Art about Everyone for Everyone’, which took place in St Petersburg between 2013 and 2017 and was curated by Andrey Shabanov. Connecting Points- program collaborated and participated in the project in 2016.

During the years 2017-2020 program focused on research project called ‘In Various Stages of Ruins’ which developed as an examination of the concepts of knowledge formation, information distribution, landscape, travelling, memory, history, museums and ruins. It was an artistic research project – tackling the methods and means that artists work with when embarking on a mission of discovery and expedition. Project was done with the support of Kone Foundation (2017-2019) – initially starting as a project dealing with propaganda and disinformation as themes – and with the support of The Finnish Cultural Foundation (2019-2020) focusing on east-bound train travel as an opportunity for artistic work.  Artists Elina Vainio, Eero Yli-Vakkuri and Iona Roisin were invited as partners working in the project. Assisting in the trips and production was Katja Kalinainen and as graphic designer was Matti Kunttu. The exhibition ‘Collapsed Mine’ at Alkovi by artist Jussi Kivi was also part of the project as well as presentations at ASI SPACE at CCI FABRIKA and at  ZARYA Center for Contemporary Art in Vladivostok. More info can be found from Alkovi’s website and the project’s blog publication:

The Connecting Points -programme had as one of the founding principles the desire to explore the interrelations and specific aspects of different sites and locations as well as understandings between them. A location can provide a source for action and commitment but also provide a setting from which to reach – intense and temporal – as well as profound and enduring connections.

In 2019, as a collaboration with Alkovi, artist Kirill Savchenkov visited in relation of his exhibition ‘Horizon Community Display’ with Daria Kalugina. St. Petersburg based curator Anastasia Skvortsova stayed in residency for the month of February in Suomenlinna Island. Anna Titova and Stanislav Shuripa from Agency Of Singular Investigations/ASI were residents in April. Utilizing new spaces in Eläintarha villa, program has had a visits from the curators Leyli Aslanova in January and Margarita Osepyan in April both by invitation from the Finnish Embassy at Moscow. The program collaborates regularly with the Finnish Embassy in Moscow especially with the Annual Internship Program for Young Russian Curators that is organized by the members of the EUNIC -network (European Union National Institutes for Culture) and in 2019 the participant was Anna Ivanko who visited the Ateneum Art Museum for two weeks on October. We had also a residency exchange with Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, situated in Vladivostok, where artist Hanna Kaisa Vainio spend the months of September and October and artist Elizaveta Konovalova was a resident at HIAP from September to November.

Connecting Points-programme was committed to thinking about the role of travel in artistic and cultural activity, and focuses on developing models for land-based methods of traveling taking in consideration the need to find alternatives for fossil-based forms of energy production. This focus is connected to the research project thinking of eastbound train-travelling. Here is link to a blog posting on the travelling Trans-Siberian (from 2018):

In 2019, we also did two exhibition events related to our ongoing project dealing with knowledge production and information distribution – at 4th of September at ASI space at Center for Creative Industries / Fabrika, Moscow and at 21st of September at Zarya Center for Contemporary Art in Vladivostok.

In 2018 the program has included a residency stays by artist David Ter-Oganyan, a historian and curator Ilya Budraitskis and Polina Kolozaridi, a sociologist and a junior researcher in Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

In relation to Ter-Oganyan’s stay there was an exhibition at Alkovi. In connection to Ilya Budraitskis’s residency we invited filmmaker Dimitri Venkov to present his work Krisis (2016) in Helsinki on March followed by discussion between Budraitskis and Venkov. Also during Polina Kolozaridi’s stay at HIAP, a discussion event was arranged in collaboration with Titanik gallery / Artist’s Association Arte situated in Turku. The topic was ‘Digital disengagement and nostalgia: did the internet have any alternatives’.

In 2018 EUNIC participation was done partnering with the Design Museum and having as a participant curator Tatiana Kudriavtseva. In 2017 EUNIC-collaboration was with the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and participant curator Natalia Fuchs.

In 2018 in relation to Connecting Points program we invited three practitioners from the contemporary art field in Finland to visit Moscow and also had an excursion by train to Vladivostok in relation to our reserach project dealing with knowledge production and distribution as well as media and information tactics.

In 2017 program consisted of residencies that were for the most part related to our collaboration with the curatorial collective TOK / Anna Bitkina & Maria Veits. Playwright and journalist Mikhail Kaluzhsky was invited to work on a new play in the beginning of the year and artists Lado Darakhdvelize as well as Alevtina Kakhidze were residents during August 2017. The activity of 2017 in the program focused on the States of Control- exhibition that took place in HIAP Augusta gallery and events curated by Bitkina & Veits. The new productions of Kaluzhsky’s play ‘Like, It Fake it’ and Darahvelize’s exhibition ‘Cooking the New Planet” were done in collaboration with Kiasma Theatre’s URB 17- festival.

In 2017 the program also organized a research trip to the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial in Yekateringburg, Russia for curators and art professionals based in Finland. More about the excursion can be read form a posting in HIAP’s blog:

In 2016 program included inviting a Moscow-based artist Irina Korina to take part in the programme by doing a residency in HIAP and making an exhibition in Alkovi as well as a project called ‘In-common’ / Что-то общее, that took place in a library in the suburb of Saint Petersburg. The project was a collaboration with art historian and curator Andrey Shabanov who has organized exhibitions in this local library during summer-time from 2014. Artists Crystal Bennes, Tanja Kiiveri and Mikko Kuorinki were invited to take part by presenting each a work in this context.

Helsinki Design Residency curated by Martin Born has also been a part of Connecting Points-program supporting the visit of Russian based designer and in collaboration between STRELKA (Moscow).

The original concept for this Finnish-Russian Exchange program (then titled Changing Places)  was developed by curator Marita Muukkonen. In 2014 curator Jenni Nurmenniemi took over the programme responsibilities and it was retitled as Connecting Points.

Finland–Russia Exchange was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.