Cosmopolitics, Comradeship, and the Commons, Suoja/Shelter festival, Helsinki, Finland June 7-9, 2019 / by Alina Bliumis


This year the festival will consider some of the most pressing issues of our times under the conceptual umbrella of eco-feminism, queer ecology, environmental philosophy, and ecological resilience. Entitled "Cosmopolitics, Comradeship, and the Commons" the 2019 festival-laboratory will feature diverse works including performance, installation art, poetry, film screenings, as well as discussions, artistic research, and an online publication bringing together artists and cultural practitioners from the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic Region, Eastern Europe, Russia, and beyond. Drawing on Isabelle Stengers' concept of "Cosmopolitics," where diverse stories, perspectives, and practices connect to lay the foundation for new strategies and radical possibilities, the Festival will act as a temporary commons for diverse approaches to the ecological crisis and its economic, social, and cultural affects and effects.

The festival invited artists, activists, educators, musicians, and all cultural producers in the greater Helsinki area and beyond to propose projects at the intersection of deep ecology, climate resilience, environmental philosophy, ecofeminism, and socially engaged practice.

Russian performative and experimental musical collective Techno-Poetry (Roman Osminkin, Anton Komandirov, Marina Shamova); Sweden-based art-collective HAMNEN (artist and filmmaker Klængur Gunnarsson; artist Maria Safronova Wahlström; artist Josef Mellergård; award-winning filmmaker, journalist and writer Johannes Wahlström); ex-academic turned video essayist Natalie Wynn based in the US; artist, activist and filmmaker Oto Hudec based in Slovakia; collaborating Romanian artists Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan; artist and filmmaker Oliver Ressler based in Austria; curator and art critic Raluca Voinea based in Romania; Sami artist, author and journalist Máret Ánne Sara based in Norway; Polish poetic choreographer, performance maker, curator of experiences Valentine Tanz/ Vala Tomasz Foltyn based in Denmark; UK-based art historians and curators Maja and Reuben Fowkes; and Belarusian-American artist Alina Bliumis are amongst this year's participants.

More than 20 participating artists, musicians, curators and theoreticians were selected via an international open call: Anna Sopova and Antanas Jatsinevichys (Russia); Inês Tartaruga Água (Portugal); Ipek Burçak (Turkey); Collective HEXY (Justyna Jakóbowska, Roksana Kularska-Król, Justyna Stopnicka) (Poland); Lea Roth (Germany); Laurene Bois-Mariage (Finland); Maria Veits (Russia/ Israel); Andréa Stanislav (US); Axel Straschnoy (Finland); Vo Ezn (Georgia); Mathilda Franzén (Sweden); Natalia Skobeeva (Russia/ Belgium); Rabota (Marika Krasina & Anton Kryvulia) (Germany/ Belarus); Roman Golovko (Russia); Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu (Romania); Susi Disorder (United Kingdom); Saša Nemec (Slovenia/ Finland); Taisia Korotkova (Russia); Valerii Shevchenko (Russia); Vera Kavaleuskaya (Finland/ Belarus); Verneri Salonen (Finland); zh v yu (Natasha Zhukova, Katya Volkova, Dasha Yurychuk) (Russia).

The festival also presents the Suoja/Shelter Reader, a compilation of educational materials in conversation with the performances, art installations, films, music, and discussions taking place throughout the festival. The Reader has been put together by the festival curator and organizers. The reader also contains a themed glossary of terms.

Suoja/ Shelter is held at the Space for Free Arts under the Auspices of the University of the Arts Helsinki ( UNIARTS). It is supported by the City of Helsinki, the Finnish Cultural Foundation (SKR), and the Arts Promotion Center Finland ( TAIKE). Spanning three full days of programming between June 7-9 at the public shelter turned into the Space For Free Arts/ Vapaan Taiteen Tila in the Sörnäinen neighbourhood of Finland's capital, the festival is free and open to the public. It is curated by Corina L. Apostol, an independent curator and writer based in New York/US and Constanța/Romania, together with artist and curator Ksenia Yurkova (Finland/ Russia) and artist and curator Anastasia Vepreva (Russia).

Opening: June 7, 18.00

Address: Vilhonvuorenkuja 15-16, 00500 Helsinki

Space For Free Arts/ Vapaan Taiteen Tila