• Helsinki Savonlinna

Ilmari Säävälä, Jaakko Ruuska

Helsinki – Savonlinna

Pikkujätkä 9.5.-24.5.2015

Jaakko Ruuska & Ilmari Säävälä
Helsinki – Savonlinna
Galleria Huuto Jätkäsaari – Pikkujätkä

Video installation by Jaakko Ruuska and audio essay by Ilmari Säävälä, at Gallery Huuto, 9.5.–24.5.2015

The installation is an account of a journey from Helsinki to Savonlinna undertaken by Jaakko Ruuska and Ilmari Säävälä on foot and by canoe over the period 16.7.–12.8.2013. Ruuska grew up in Savonlinna but now has his home in Helsinki, and the idea of the hiking and canoeing expedition was to get to know the space in between these two places, a space that the two men had previously seen only through the windows of a car or train. The motivation for this lay in a desire to appreciate the nature of surroundings, which, looked at through a window, are often simply written off as ”forest”. The hikers chose their route so as to avoid roads wherever possible and to use forest tracks and footpaths. In the end about 300 out of the 450 kilometres of the journey were covered on foot and the remainder by canoe. They took the necessary equipment with them for spending the nights in the forest and for preparing their meals, and they asked for water when necessary from the houses that they passed and bought food supplies from shops. Otherwise they lived off berries, mushrooms and fish.

Helsinki–Savonlinna consists of a 15-minute single-channel videoed performance produced by Jaakko Ruuska in the course of the journey, together with two maps and Ilmari Säävälä’s readings from the notes that he made at the time, entitled Disappearing over the Horizon. This latter study, written during quiet moments on the journey, compares the experience of two people, one who disappears and the other who witnesses the disappearance.

Helsinki–Savonlinna will take place simultaneously at two venues, Gallery Huuto at the Jätkäsaari Video Corner in Helsinki (9.5.–24.5.2015, opening ceremony on 8.5.) and the Finnish Forest Museum Lusto at Punkaharju in Savonlinna (8.5–16.8.2015, opening ceremony on 7.5.). It arose originally out of Jaakko Ruuska’s documentary film project completed during 2015 with the working title The Nature of My Heart.

The performance has received support from:

The South Savo Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Finnish Film Foundation, the AVEK Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture and the VISEK Centre for the Promotion of Visual Art

For further information, please contact:

Jaakko Ruuska, tel. +358 50 346 3424

Jaakko Ruuska (born 1981) is a film director, photographer, video and performance artist and recent father living in Helsinki who gained a master’s degree in the filming of documentaries from the Aalto University in 2012. He has been a member of the Helsinki collective of performance artists Toisissa tiloissa (Other Spaces) since 2010.

Ilmari Säävälä (born 1982) is studying puppet theatre at the Turku Academy of Art and is at present on a student exchange in Porto, Portugal. His recent works have also been performances.