14.10. — 6.11.2022

Elina Oikari:

  • Yassine Khaled: The Spiral of Exile

  • Elina Oikari: Synnyin

  • Yassine Khaled: My Long Pink Spring (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Yassine Khaled: My Long Pink Spring (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Yassine Khaled: My Long Pink Spring (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Yassine Khaled: The Spiral of Exile (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Yassine Khaled: Untitled (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Yassine Khaled: The Spiral of Exile (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Yassine Khaled: The Spiral of Exile (2022), photo: Anna Autio

  • Elina Oikari: Synnyin (2022), photo: Anna Autio

Yassine Khaled – The Spiral of Exile

The Spiral of Exile seeks for connections between today and past through an ambitious combination of different objects. This exhibition includes interactive artworks such as an installation, sculptures, paintings and busts representing writers.

With this exhibition, my aim is to share thoughts about our mental society, the complicated concept of our current co-existence and draw connections between different times.

Nowadays, we “immigrants” take a big part of our daily time with thinking about our self-identity and who we might be and how we might look for the society — not only for leisure but many times for the necessity. The Spiral of Exile  exhibition speaks about the current communicational culture, digitalization, alienation, sociocultural struggle, cultural
integration, diverse identities, inequality, adaptation, and the current situation of the world. The aim of this project is to give the audience a possibility to relocate themselves through multifaceted self-reflection.

From the books of the great writers who dedicate their lives to write about inequality, social struggle, immigration and racism, from Fatima El-tayeb, Ama Ata Aidoo, Abdul Rahman Munif, Franz Fanon, Edward Said, James Baldwin and Malcom X. These writers and thinkers have become also a cultural tool for immigrants to heal their pain and to draw their existence. Racism works many times as an invisible act, but if we recognize it and try to fight against it, it might change and develop our ways of thinking, living, and even being.

The Spiral of Exile challenges us to look at the objects assimilated to our time and our memories from the past. I want to explore possible effects when these objects are set together. I believe that the definitions of the objects will go through a fundamental transformation in the context of historical purpose. When the objects are juxtaposed with writers’ busts who have written about inequality, it will create connections between the objects and build new dimensions for their thematics. The objects create together a timeless engagement of communication and consciousness connected with our time. I am especially interested to explore how racism has changed our conceptions of distance and being close(d).

This exhibition has been inspired by the great British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge‘s book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2017), which has sparked a national conversation in Great Britain. According to Eddo-Lodge: ”Color-blindness is a childish and stunted analysis of racism – regardless of its good intentions”, because: ”Not seeing race does little to deconstruct racist structures or materially improve the conditions which people of color are subject to daily.” I think the problem here is the fact of a cultural struggle of belongingness in our time, which has nowadays been spread to many societies, cultures and countries.

Also I would like to refer to Franz Fanon’s well-known essay from 1956 Racism and Culture, which re-engages with the question of blackness and “others”. Fanon has written that racism is never a super-added element discovered by chance in the course of the investigation of the cultural data of a group. The social constellation, the cultural whole, is deeply modified by the existence of racism.

My exhibition The Spiral of Exile deals with mechanisms of existence in our global society, which can create several mental crises, especially for minorities living in the Western societies. I am interested in exploring the struggles connected with identity and cultural background. My idea is to create a concrete link between art and communities, and to explore how art can be an integrational tool for minorities to participate in the surrounding culture.

The artist’s work has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Kone Foundation, the Greta and William Lehtinen Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, the SPACE Art + Tech Residency in London, the Saastamoinen Foundation and the TOP Foundation.

Yassine Khaled is a visual artist based in Helsinki. His work focus on digital communication, freedom of movement and societal power relations. Khaled aims to visualize virtual communication and an individual’s experiences about comfort and insecurity. Khaled’s Monitor Man received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2018, Austria.

Elina Oikari – Synnyin

The film installation Synnyin examines a human being’s existence, paradoxical relationship with nature and the seasons shaped by climate change. The main figure of the work yearns for nature, but is continuously surrounded by the artificial.

The basis of the intallation lies in the central idea of existential nihilism, according to which ”each individual [i]s an isolated being “thrown” into … [the] universe, barred forever from knowing why yet required to invent meaning” (Alan Pratt: Nihilism, 2001). Referencing these themes Synnyin presents visual considerations of the meaning and meaninglessness of existence in the context of urban natural environments in the 2020s.

Synnyin examines how the environment influences us and our condition. The work has just a touch of the absurd to it as it examines what experiences with nature will be like in the future, and how they are experienced currently: contrasting forest landscapes in gas station toilet stalls, gardening boxes amongst concrete as well as machine-made snow covering ski trails alongside open golf courses. 

My goal as a filmmaker is to create a work of ”haptic visuality” as in other than vision and hearing based experience. The purpose when shooting the film was, together with the cinematographer Pietari Peltola, to find the angles in which the spectator is nearly able to smell, taste, and feel in their fingertips that they are there at the place of the shot.

The sound design and music is created by Jyri Pirinen. His sound plan is a meeting point for musical-spatial differences.

Elina Oikari is a Helsinki-based filmmaker who works with fictional, documentary and alternative film as well as photography. She graduated in 2014 with a Master’s degree in Arts from the Aalto University, majoring in Documentary Film Directing. Oikari’s work focuses on challenging stories by using reflective visual narrative and unconventional sound design.

The exhibition and the making of the work are supported by:
The Central Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, AVEK – Center for the Promotion of Audiovisual Culture, the Finnish Film Foundation, and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland

Film installation working group:
Director, screenwriter, editor: Elina Oikari
Producer: Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen, Zone2 Pictures
Cinematographer: Pietari Peltola
Sound designer and composer: Jyri Pirinen
Dramaturg: Mikko Myllylahti
Assistant director and set designer: Moona Pennanen
Recorders: Jyri Pirinen, Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen, Támara Aalto
Animation: Gabriel de la Cruz
Cast: Yassine Khaled, Raine Siiriä, Petra Lakhdar