Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jyväskylän kesä - Jyväskylä summer

Jyväskylän kesä got off to a sunny start today.

I managed to catch one of the free performances that were offered on Kävelykatu, the pedestrian district downtown. Circo Aereo delivered an entertaining performance to a large crowd.

The Romanian beggars that migrate to Finland every summer managed to make the performance not-so-wonderful, since every few minutes I had to shoo a different one away, keeping track of my cash and camera at the same time. Aside from the distractions, I thoroughly enjoyed the acrobatic entertainment of Circo Aereo.

The Haihatus (Nonsense) art crew installed several pieces in Kirkkopuisto, the park around the downtown church. Part of the festivities included a leaf-blower orchestra and a dance-printmaking performance piece, neither of which I remembered to photograph.

I did manage to take some pics of some of the installations. Let's start with the pieces that the artists actually took some time to create, and most likely even thought about for a while.

Dinosauruksen muna - A dinosaur's egg
Kalle Turakka Purhonen

Sopeutus - Adaptation
Heikki Hämäläinen

Puu - Tree
Mauri Korhonen

Then there were the installations that just made me crabby. I guess they managed to get some reaction out of me. It just seems like the artists just put things off until the deadline and then managed to whip something up at the last minute and then give it a quirky name...

Puusta sinä olet tullut - From the tree you have come
Pekka Suomäki

Hyönteiselämää - Insect life
Outi Markkanen

I decided to put two unofficial installations into the Haihatus mix. Here are my entries.

Jyväskylän kaupunki - The City of Jyväskylä
Willie Lahti
found-object mixed-media dada sculpture

Kahvitauko - Coffee break
Willie Lahti
found-object mixed-media dada sculpture

I managed to create both of these works of public installation environmental art without the assistance of grant money or public funding. I hope you enjoy them.


  1. Well, I liked your installations the most, no matter how interesting were the others.

  2. During the 24 hours I was in Finland, I had a couple of run ins with the Romani;some negative, some entertaining. One had a false arm holding a tray with some braided necklaces on it. She came right up to my side, frantically trying to get me to buy one, and then I felt some fingers in my empty pocket--it was like something out of a movie! Then when I was walking down the parkway heading towards the Sibelius monument there were dozens of them with trained cats jumping through hoops. It was sort of surreal.

  3. I wish the Romanian Roma that come through Jyväskylä had cats jumping through hoops - I'd give up some coins for that. Unfortunately the only ones that show up here are either aggressive rose vendors or people would-be musicians with no musical talent torturing passersby by playing broken accordians. The Finnish Roma don't seem to want anything to do with them.

  4. I'd never seen anything like it before, nor have I seen anything like it since. What was especially fascinating was the looks on their faces when people didn't respond to their feline performances. Horrified Desperation. I'm not sure if it was part of the act...probably. The cats were amazing, huge long haired maine coon type cats and they were doing things that no ordinary cat would do, at least no cat with any dignity.

  5. We were horrified too - it seemed like we saw the same group three times in Helsinki and Naantali during our two-week vacation. But please don't call them Romanian; it kind of mixes them up with us ethnic Romanians, most of us are nothing like that.

    Oh, and what are the Finnish Roma like? I heard that Finland had about 10,000 of them. One of the women we kept running into had a very distinctive black skirt - we thought she was Roma from Romania, but we've never seen anyone in Romania wear a skirt quite like that. I wondered if she was one of the Finnish Roma (only her group was annoying and trying to rob people).

  6. There are approximately 400 Roma from Romania begging in Finland this summer (2010). Occasionally members of this ethnic group are arrested for shoplifting, burglary, and pedestrian robbery.

    I doubt that the Finnish Roma would have tried to rob you. Their violence usually stays within community. Quite a few Finnish Roma women wear distinctive black skirts - they seem to be made of several meters of black velvet. I've heard that the skirts are super-heavy.