Mox Mäkelä’s and Matti Harju’s short films in the international competition of International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Mox Mäkelä’s Thinking about That (2023, in featured image) and Matti Harju’s Ecstasy (2022) were selected for the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, held from April 26 – May 1 2023 in Germany.

Matti Harju’s Ecstasy is included in the screening International Competition 4, screened on Friday, April 28, at 17:00 in Lichtburg. Set in the darkest time of the year, a feverish and delirious film about a small and ever-shrinking island within – located somewhere between the search for pleasure and the inherently destructive powers of capitalism – the Ecstasy.

Matti Harju: Ecstasy (2022)

Mox Mäkelä’s Thinking about That will be screened in International Competition 6 on Saturday, April 29 at 15:00 in Lichtburg. What does she explain? Does she speak for herself? Her coat is poplin and its neckerchief is yellow like a canary. Whether she bumped into something when she came from the paradise of market, no one knows, but a group of torsos knows based on their own history that such a thing happens.

Mox Mäkelä: Thinking about That (2023)

AV-arkki’s Distributor’s screening

AV-arkki’s distributor’s screening will take place on Thursday, 27 April, at 22:00 in Sunset. The screening is presented by Hanna Maria Anttila, the director of AV-arkki – Centre for Finnish Media Art. The screening includes the following titles:

Elena Näsänen: Travel Exercises (2022, 10:13)

Travel Exercises is a short film about dreams, the desire to travel and our ability to alter the reality through imagination.

Hannaleena Heiska: Metamorphosis (2022, 07:19)

What happens when the audience and staff have left and the art begins to live its own life? The work suggests indulging in a viewing experience and surrendering to the introduction of non-verbal narration. Metamorphosis is an experimental short film shot on 16mm black and white film that combines painting and contemporary ballet. The film is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between visual artist Hannaleena Heiska and dancer-choreographer Minna Tervamäki. It was shot in the empty exhibition hall of the Espoo Museum of Modern Art EMMA.

Jonna Kina: Four Sculptures in Fifteen Pieces (2022, 05:39)

Four Sculptures in Fifteen Pieces reflects on issues relating to creation and destruction. The sculptures seen in the film are excavated fragments from the ruins of an Art Museum of Estonia destroyed during the bombing of Tallinn in the spring of 1944. The fifteen pieces are originally from four different classical marble sculptures sculpted by Amandus Adamson (1855-1929) and August Weizenberg (1837-1921). The work provides a montage of destruction and creation as it makes a connection to the role of museums preserving more than just the objects and artifacts. The institutional element of the museum is embodied in the actor of an actual professional art conservator operating the sculptures in the staged space of a film.

Jenni Toikka: Prelude Op. 28 No. 2 (2022, 08:25)

During a single long shot, we see two people taking turns playing the piano and listening alternately. The piece is the same on both times – Preludi Op. 28 No. 2 by Chopin – but when the performer changes, the interpretation of the song changes along with the perspective from which the song and its performance are viewed. The uninterrupted playing and single shot capture the event in one temporal moment, but as the camera moves and two people change places, time is equally layered. The performer becomes the listener and the listener becomes the performer. In one of the key scenes of Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata (1978), the mother and daughter take turns playing the very same Chopin’s Prelude. It is a piece that both are familiar with, so they are able to settle into the position of the other as they listen and watch the other play. A situation like this raises questions about the sense of reciprocity, simultaneity and synaesthesia. Could the roles become mixed from viewer and listener to the object of the gaze and listening? When watching the other playing, can you feel your own hands and fingers on the keys? 

Minna Suoniemi: I’ve been bad but I’ve been good too (2022, 06:12)

I’ve been bad but I’ve been good too intertwines the materiality of film with the materiality of the ageing body and transgenerational bodily experience of excessiveness and being in-excess. The child-like uncanny narration addresses the protagonist’s foremothers, and all women and mothers through generations and layers of history. The old film camera from the narrator’s birth year creates a parallel to the outdated film material and the menopausal body. The narration is directed to the grandmother but at times also to unknown foremothers hidden by the structures of control.

Mika Taanila: Epäonnistunut tyhjyys. Paikka (2022, 12:19)

The days are long. Their core is hot. Thermographic camera looks at a new residential area in eastern Helsinki. 

Lauri Astala: Sketch for the Last Map (2022, 12:50)

In the core of Sketch for the Last Map, overlapping translucent indoor and outdoor spaces relate to the multi-layered and placeless world in our digital era. Many faces of cities – private spaces, less “public” realities, cleared, restricted or fenced off out of sight – stay excluded from maps and the stream of images. The work was shot in several cities in Belgium, South Korea, India, France, Turkey and Uruguay.

Leda Vaneva: Minims (2023, 02:39)

Minims is a multiplicity of small things. A poem about the building blocks of our environment, and our sensations. Just as reality is revealed to us in layers, the video is a collage of different videos of small events, constructing a larger structure.

Oberhausen seminar

Salla Tykkä will lead this year’s Oberhausen seminar. The Oberhausen Seminar is an experimental course designed to explore contemporary artists’ moving image practice in the context of a renowned international film festival.

Salla Tykkä lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.  She did her MFA in Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki 1995-2003. During her studies she focused on photography and moving image as her main medium. In her video and film works Tykkä have utilized different formal strategies from short fiction to experimental feature long documentary. Her practise is rooted in the female experience especially in the act of looking and becoming to see and seen. Disassembling, reframing and rethinking images and scenes of images Tykkä unveils their connections with the political and structural power often hidden in everyday visual narratives. She is interested how through creative processes emotional, fragile, and personal can fuel political and critical stance to life and work. Since 2017 Tykkä works as Professor for Moving Image and Contemporary Arts in the University of Arts, Academy of Arts, in Helsinki.

International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, April 26 – May 1 2023, Germany

More information: ISFF Oberhausen

AV-arkki has promoted and distributed Finnish media art since 1989. AV-arkki’s promotional efforts have made the artists’ participation in this event possible.