The Russian Bar: Why Relocate? New approaches to neighborliness and interchange. Part 2

  • Marja Viitahuhta, ‘Greetings from Helsingrad’, postcard, part of the project ‘Immigration as Actualization’ by Taneli Viitahuhta, 2018
    1/4 | Marja Viitahuhta, ‘Greetings from Helsingrad’, postcard, part of the project ‘Immigration as Actualization’ by Taneli Viitahuhta, 2018
  • Ksenia Yurkova, Habitat vol. 1, 2018
    2/4 | Ksenia Yurkova, Habitat vol. 1, 2018
  • Sasha and Pasha, Penal Labor, 2018
    3/4 | Sasha and Pasha, Penal Labor, 2018
  • Ilya Orlov. The Very Last Futurist Exhibition (K.Malevich’s Suprematist composition affected by gravity). 2016. Oil, canvas, 40X40.
    4/4 | Ilya Orlov. The Very Last Futurist Exhibition (K.Malevich’s Suprematist composition affected by gravity). 2016. Oil, canvas, 40X40.
404">About project
О проекте : 


New approaches to neighborliness and interchange

Part 2.

August 27 - September 9, Helsinki, various locations

Project participants:

Alina Belishkina and Vera Kavaleuskaya, Sezgin Boynik, Ilya Budraitskis, Livsmedlet Theater (Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lingren), Kalle Hamm, Minna Henriksson, Katarina Lopatkina, SashaPasha, Kai Sadinmaa, Marina Shamova, Ilya Orlov, Ksenia Yurkova, Taneli Viitahuhta, Marja Viitahuhta.

The Creative Association of Curators TOK continues its project  The Russian Bar: Why Relocate? New approaches to neighborliness and interchange  with a series of events, exhibitions, lectures and performances. From August 27 to September 9, newly commissioned projects of invited artists will be presented in different locations in Helsinki including Kallio Library, former anatomy theater, Museum of Impossible Forms, the Russian-Finnish school, university campus in Vantaa and others.

During the first part of ‘The Russian Bar’, which aims to analyze changing conditions of global migration in recent years and the outflow of artists, academics, journalists, activists from Russia in particular, TOK invited the project’s participants and various audiences to discuss a number of issues related to the project’s problematics. Sezgin Boynik and Ilya Budraitskis spoke about  the legacy of the Cold War and its recurrent rhetorics in contemporary political life of both countries, their cultural policy and artistic and curatorial practices. In Monika-Naiset, a shelter for female newcomers and women experiencing abuse, the presentation of  Katarina Lopatkina  about feminist artistic practices stimulated a discussion about  challenges women face when they relocate to other places. A long-term project Speech Karaoke run by Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Julius Valve and a group of local artists became a platform for “The Russian Bar” to perform known speeches by politicians and scientists, letters, songs, and bits of articles in Russian, Finnish and English that touch upon political and human relations between Russia and Finland in the historical and present contexts.
Being nomadic and constantly changing locations is crucial for “The Russian Bar” because we aim to embrace many different audiences and engage with different contexts. Therefore, two performances by Livsmedlet Theater were presented in different places: at the bus stop next to Finnkino - a known and legendary spot for those who regularly travel between St Petersburg and Helsinki and in a private apartment of a Russian-Finnish couple. Relying on recent statistic and reserach articles Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lindgren performed two stories about Finnish-Russian cross-border migration of people and animals and how these processes affect our shared living and social environments. 

The second part of “The Russian Bar” tends to be more exhibition and performance-based and comprises the works that have been created specifically for the project. They will focus both on historical and very recent processes and transformations affecting Russia and Finland as well as their close and complex relationship. The participating artists will address the rights of LGBT community and its relations with the church, position of Ingrian Finns in Finland and the USSR, forced exile of intellectuals and their return to new political realities. The new works, many of them site- and context-specific will touch upon the state of transition and challenges of being a migrant artist or an academic nomad as well as strategies of integration into a new society through learning the language.  Russian-Finnish dialogue will also be revisited from the perspective of system of education, ideology and knowledge exchange. The format of all the events will also be very different - from pop-up exhibitions and durational performances to field trips and translation workshops.




August 27, 18.00
Culture for All Services (Kulttuuria kaikille -palvelu / Kultur för alla)
The Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1, staircase D, 5th floor
Kalle Hamm, New Icons, exhibition
In the focus of the newly commissioned series of prints by Kalle Hamm is the complex relations between homosexuality, gender identity and the institute of church as well as their representation in religion. The exhibition opening will be accompanied by the discussion with participation of Helsinki-based pastor Kai Sadinmaa, activist, writer and supporter of same-sex marriage in Finland, and a genderqueer person and body-oriented  performer from St Petersburg Marina Shamova, who will perform two manifesto songs related to queer issues and LGBTQ community rights.

The exhibition is open 31.8-19.10.2018 on Fridays 10.00-12.00 and 13.00-16.00, and on request on other days during office hours. Please contact Christine Langinauer if you wish to visit the exhibition on other times at 0403533234.

August 28, 17.00
Athena, Siltavuorenpenger 3A, auditorium 107
Minna Henriksson, Anatomy of Karelian Enthusiasm, lecture
In her lecture event Minna Henriksson will talk about similarities in discourses of ‘race’ in different periods of time in Finland toward Ingrians and other ethnically Finnish-related peoples in the Russian territory. The lecture will take place in the former Anatomy theater that is now part of the University of Helsinki.

September 5, 17.00
Kallio Library, Viides linja 11
Ilya Orlov in collaboration with Gregoire Rousseau, The launch of the 'Monument to a Scientific Error'
The new piece by Ilya Orlov presented in the Kallio library refers to literary theorist and critic Victor Shklovsky and his short period of exile in Finland. The sculpture is based on the early 1920s avant-garde visual motives and is dedicated to “Monument to a Scientific Error” (1930), the article that can be seen not as an opportunist text but rather a statement about the end of the formalist theory that didn’t fit into the new political reality. 

September 6, 19.00
Finnish-Russian School | Suomalais-venäläinen koulu
Kaarelankuja 2,00430 Helsinki, school cafeteria
Marja Viitahuhta, Greetings from Helsingrad, collaged postcard. 
The project will address the significance of the 1990s wave of immigration from Russia to Finland and the relations between the two countries through the prism of school education. Back in the 1950s, the school located in the suburbs of Helsinki long served as a an educational and architectural experiment of the Soviet Union in Finland. Since in 2019 the building will be demolished due to wearing out, Taneli (former pupil of the school) and Marja Viitahuhta directed a commemorative event that will be held in the format of a school field trip. The audience will be invited to take a bus together to the school and learn about how this ambitious political, ideological and cultural project shifted over the years. 
September 7-9
On the territory of Konepajan Bruno, Aleksis Kiven katu 17A
SashaPasha, Penal Labor, exhibition, performance

September 7
19.00 - opening of the project
19.30 - durational performance production

September 8 and 9
exhibition is open from 14.00 to 20.00
in both days performance runs from 16.00 to  20.00

Family story and collective memories related to the position of the Ingrian Finnish population during the WWII is central to the new project by Sasha and Pasha. Consisting of a performance, home videos, archival documents and found objects, the project revolves around the penal (pencil case in Russian) of Pasha’s grandfather that became a symbolic object for the family reminding about the deportation of Ingrian Finnish population both the Soviet authorities and the Nazis and hard labour of GULAG prisoners in the camps during and long after the war, which mainly dealt with tree cutting and woodworking.

September 8
Ksenia Yurkova, Habitat vol.1, series of interventions, photography, video
14.00 - artist talk on a territory of a campus Akanapolku 2, building H, club on the 1st floor
19.00 - opening of the exhibition at Museum of Impossible Forms (MIF) Keinulaudankuja 4 E
Through photographers, videos and produced newspapers Ksenia Yurkova documents the communication of students/residents of the University campus in Vantaa. In her project the artist studies the status of a guest and raises questions about vulnerable boundaries between notions of public and private, and conditions where hospitality turns into hostility. The idea behind the project is to stimulate communication and dialogue between the people who come to the transitional field (in case the university) using objects that for a short time become a work of art.

The exhibition will be open during public events at MIF through September and October, 2018

Alina Belishkina and Vera Kavaleuskaya will work with a community of recent migrants and analyze the process of integration into another society through learning its language. The project ‘Proofreading’ will accumulate stories of the Russian speakers in Finland about the challenges of their new reality and experience of learning Finnish. The final text created collectively through a series of meeting will be translated into Finnish and then proofread by Finnish speakers thus making the experience of newcomers translated and perceived by the locals.

The project is supported by Kone Foundation.


To see the 1st part program of 'The Russian Bar' click here