11.8. — 3.9.2023

Helka Heinonen:
Heartbeats (2023)

Helka Heinonen – Heartbeats (2023)

Duration: 20 min, Full HD, 16:9, sound: stereo, language: Finnish, English subtitles

Heartbeats is a poem about heartbeats, blood, birds and whales. It is a fragmentary story of growth that weaves together experiences, moods and thoughts related to blood and other species at different age stages.

In the work, the veins of humans and sharks pulsate, in it you travel through the depths of a seemingly empty pool of water to listen and imagine the senses of other species, to breathe with them. The narration combines the experimental with the narrative.

While making the work, I have moved towards areas that feel embarrassing and awkward. I have researched both familiar and distant themes, which I have struck me, which I have stopped at, or which have seemed meaningful.

I have dealt with areas that are sometimes considered feminine, such as physicality and the relationship with nature. I have described these sometimes mystified topics in everyday life, and drawn paralleles to other experiences that have been considered confusing, or presented as mystical topics.

The poetic work combines a staged moving image with stop motion animation. The animations consist of liquid surfaces moving over still images, color films, watercolor and lights. The work leaves space for the viewer to find the topics in the work that resonate with them.

The working group:

Script, direction, animations, editing, voice over: Helka Heinonen

Actors: Ruut Neves, Stella Massa, Iiris Torvalds, Piia Hiltunen, Leonardo Hiltunen-Capitao, Kirsti Tuokko

People in the still pictures: Iida Airasmaa, Selma Lindroos

Cinematography: Joonas Kiviharju

Composition: Lau Nau and Matti Bye

Sound design: Jyri Pirinen

Translation: Lola Rogers

Thank you: Teemu Lehmusruusu, Azar Saiyar, Juuso Paaso, Mari Viita-aho

The script writing of the work has been supported by AVEK – Center for the Promotion of Audiovisual Culture.


Helka Heinonen (b. 1982, Joensuu) is a visual artist living and working in Helsinki and Kemiönsaari. Her works have previously been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Finland, as well as at film festivals in Finland and abroad.

She is interested in themes related to narration, memory, relationships, identity, growth and relationship with nature. Her latest works poetically combine voice over sound, staged moving image and stop motion animation. The works draw out recognizable moments and at the same time create their own distinctive world, where thought-provoking, dark-toned, pastel light and ambivalent elements meet.

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.