8.9. — 1.10.2023

Marja Viitahuhta & Ánnámáret, Ilkka Heinonen ja Turkka Inkilä:
Bálvvosbáiki (2023)

Bálvvosbáiki is part of a series of works that is the result of a Sámi-Finnish collaboration between media artist Marja Viitahuhta and musicians Ánnámáret (yoik), Ilkka Heinonen (jouhikko) and Turkka Inkilä (electronic music). The working group has been convened since 2019 by the Sámi musician Ánnámáret. The video works visualise the objects and concepts of the yoiks, working together with the soundscape intertwined with them.

According to Ánnámáret, the background of the yoik heard in Bálvvosbáiki (place of worship) is a reflection on how the Sámi worldview manifests itself in our contemporary time. According to it, people are part of their environment, not its owners but its users and carers, taking into account the heritage of past generations and preserving the conditions of life for future generations. The land, plants, animals and people together form a whole, the components of which are interdependent. Places of worship played an important role in the nature-centered worshipping and religion of the Sámi people in the pre-Christian period.

However, in this yoik, the place of worship is not located in a single site or signifier. Instead a question arises, whether it could be located in one’s mindset and relation to the environment.

The video work also depicts a journey, not a single point of arrival. The work wanders from the gorge towards the spaciousness on top of an arctic hill. Marja Viitahuhta, who spent her childhood and youth in Inari, uses images dissolving with one another and slow motion to reach for the memory of how it feels to experience a sense of loss of time, often felt by her while spending time in the northern forests, fells and hillsides. The overlapping and blending of images, their visual effects, the accentuation of surface texture, the distortion of colors, the camera’s fixation on the details of plants on the one hand and the wide views over the landscape on the other, and also the way a person (Ánnámáret performing herself in the video) walks and looks at her surroundings, are Viitahuhta’s visual dialogue with the music and its qualities.

The fabric of sounds created by Turkka Inkilä is like the imaginary and the real landscapes in which Ánnámáret’s yoik floats, also depicted in the images of the videowork. Ilkka Heinonen’s jouhikko is singing alongside the yoik, both conversing and taking turns with it. Through these audiovisual means, we describe an experience that combines a different sense of time caused by long walks in nature, a sense of meaningfulness independent of the obligations one might feel, a combination of searching and presence.


Marja Viitahuhta is a Helsinki-based media artist and filmmaker originating from Inari. Her works have been films, videoworks performances, installations, photographs and collages. She holds a BA degree in performing arts from the Turku Art Academy and an MFA degree from the Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts. She has been awarded internationally at Cannes (Cinéfondation), Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Mediawave and L’Alternativa film festivals. Several of her works have been acquired for the collections of art museums, including her early film “99 Years of My Life”, which is in the collections of both MoMA (New York) and Kiasma Contemporary Museum of Art. “Nieguid duovdagat”, a video work also created in collaboration with Ánnámáret, Turkka Inkilä and Ilkka Heinonen, was acquired for Kiasma’s online collection in 2021. Three videoworks made by them are also currently available on Yle Areena. In addition to her artistic work, Viitahuhta has worked as an art teacher at Aalto University, among others.

Ánnámáret, aka Anna Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman, is a Sámi artist based in Nuorgam. Her yoik album “Nieguid duovdagat” was released in 2021 and was voted Folk Music Album of the Year and nominated in the Etno Emma category at the Emma Gala. Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman has worked as a soloist, musician and teacher in many productions of Sámi music.

Ilkka Heinonen is a musician and composer specialising in folk music, playing the jouhikko (finnish bowed lyre), G-violone and double bass. In addition to ensembles influenced by European folk music cultures, Heinonen has performed as a soloist as well as a member of orchestras in contemporary and early music concerts and projects.

Turkka Inkilä is a multi-genre musician and composer. With his band Tölöläb, he has sought to create electroacoustic music that breaks the supposed conventions of music scenes, blending the unpredictability of contemporary music, sincere pursuit of beauty and the embodied experience of electronic dance music with one another. He is currently studying the shakuhachi repertoire of the Japanese Kinko school under his teacher Gunnar Jinmei Linder, and is active in the Helsinki-based Eloa ry as a composer, arranger and flutist.

Mediabox is Forum Box gallery’s space dedicated to media art. The program is created together with AV-arkki.

There are three steps to the media art space Mediabox, but the work is also available for viewing on a tablet by request. Please don’t hestitate to contact our staff if Mediabox is inaccessible for you.