Returning from an intensive tour with waters. Between 22.-24. September we complied a project with Tea Andreoletti commissioned by the Instytut Kultury Miejskiej organisation for the opening of their new facilities at Kunszt Wodny in Gdańsk. For the opening event, we prepared and bottled 300 flasks of “Wypij Morze!” (Drink Sea!) carbonated mineral water which was served for guests from a “Bar (Słono)Wodny” meaning (Sea)Water bar. In all we produced 250 litres of the bespoken drink and supplied the audience with tap waters from around the city. There were a lot of performances, architectural light shows and sound/music at the opening event… Most of which referred to the sea and waters in different ways. The building is at the site of a historic watermill.

We prepared the project during the summer and we visited the city in August for research. The recipe of Wypij Morze! was drafted on the first trip in a meeting with Institute of Oceanology PAN scientists (Tymon Zielinski, Tomasz Kijewski & Aleksandra Koroza) and the Gdańska Infrastruktura Wodociągowo-Kanalizacyjna (GIWK) staff, who are responsible for the city drinking water affairs. The project was curated by Anna Mitus and produced by Anna Kwiatkowska (IKM) who handled both the production and the intensive field excursions, which took us all around the city between the strange shoreside of Rewa (where we collected seawater for consumption) and suburbs of Urunia. Natalia Cyrzan (IKM) worked on the back end of the project establishing and facilitating exchange with GIWK, the Institute of Oceanology and a tip:tap, a Berlin based NGO also working on a (tap)waterbar initiative. In addition to the performance we also took part in a breakfast seminar discussing sea & drinking water affairs and hosted a workshop for children where they could design bottle labels.

Ingredients for Wypij Morze!

1l/g Instytut Kultury Miejskiej Tap Water
NaCl (Table salt) 2,4
MgSO₄ (Epsom salt) 2
NaHCO₃ (Baking soda) 1,1
CaSO4 (Gypsum) 0,4
Mg(OH)2 (Magnesium hydroxide) 0,4
Ca (Calcium) 0,2
KC₄H₅O₆ (Cream of Tartar) 0,1

Our project explored the diversity of tap waters, water as commons, infrastructures’ relationship with domestic spaces and how changes brought about by rising sea levels will affect the latter. Gdańsk has a complex history with water (featuring sewage innovations), wells, mills and canals which were introduced to by GIWK.

For me and Tea this project was a continuation of the previous Waterbar/Spring -excursions but the scale of what we prepared for Gdańsk was grandiose and depended on a close exchange with local artists. This facet of the project was elegantly planned and organised by Mitus. The Bar (Słono)Wodny, which served as a main stage of our performance was built to the main hall of the Kunszt Wodny building. It was a geology inspired bastion-bar-counter built for the project by artists Krzysztof Surmacz and Daniel Sobański. Wypij Morze! was served to people in three different fancy glass bottles which prints were designed by artists Alina Mielnik, Kamil Kak and Karol Polak. Each produced their own design but they all contained the same drink.

Mielnik’s illustration offers hope for a submerged city, Kak’s bottle design performs the sinking of Gdanśk on every gulp and Polak produced a semiotic atomisation which broke the heavy content of the drink into a digestible mess.

At the Bar (Słono)Wodny, Tea shared their skills in tasting and we presented the raw minerals of Wypij Morze! explaining it to be “the taste of the future”. In exchanges with guests we explained that the drink had “magnesium for stamina so that we can hold your breath under water” and that it had extra calcium to “make your bones into beautiful fossils”. These macabre sales speeches worked as a segue to imagine the current state of the Baltic, contamination and future of coastline cities. The Institute of Oceanology predicts that Gdańsk may be swallowed by the sea as continental ice sheets melt. Inviting people to drink sea, as a responce to climate change gave me gothic-horror-thrills and the narrative was backed by an installation with various mineral and high pressure gas equipment placed on the bar counters. During our August trip we carried the carbonisation tools with us when exploring the city, appearing as scuba divers.

At the bar we also handed out tap-water drinks, the most popular of which was “Domowa od Ani z lodem” (Anna Kwiatkowska’s home tap) and “Jaskinia Batmana (Orunia)”, which was inspired by our visit to the Stara Orunia Reservoir, which currently serves as a bat dormitory. Our August visit to the reservoir was facilitated by GIWK who provided us with a detailed history of the city’s drinking water infrastructure. “Domowa od Ani z lodem” drink was the centrepiece of our bar-installation, illuminated by a led lamp and luring people like a lighthouse. A simple and effective flopping of public and private spheres, the added tension of all the waters being prepared by the same public infrastructure company.

The bar also included a soundscape which consisted of processed sounds of carbonisation (benjolin&twinpeaks&delaynomore!) and wave-drinking sounds. Tomek the light/sound designer is also to thank for the look of the bar. Anna M. also published a text on the project later on which is available in Polish.

Returned from Gdańsk on a bus (26h) and prepared an installation for Drifts -festival which was led by artist directors Giovanna Esposito Yussif & Soko Hwang. On the opening day on Saturday I presented the “Our Grand Water Treatment Plant” installation composed of ceramics, minerals and pumps. A centre piece was a makeshift water filter system which circulated tap water through natural stones collected from the Kurängen spring, altering its composition. I also prepared pebbles for people to taste. The modular installation was exhibited on old water pumps found at the “Filterhall” room of the Museum of Technology in Vanhakaupunki. The filterhall is the site where the drinking water of Helsinki was supplied from before the Päijännetunneli was opened. I guess the theme of the festival called for our own water infrastructure initiative.

Our Grand Water Treatment Plant was built from the same building blocks as the installation at the The Surface Holds Depths -exhibition at Lappeenranta Art Museum (curated by Miina Hujala) and wooden frames first used as props for the “The Forest Spring Affair” performance in Sipoonkorpi late 2022 . One frame showed ceramics made from wild clay collected with the Nomadic Kiln Group (Monika Czyżyk & Elina Vainio) and I also included a ceramic whisk which housed a bacterial cellulose membrane (which removes oil traces from the water) that was prepared under the supervision of artist Alexey Buldakov.

On Sunday I gave a lecture performance discussing drinking waters using the same notes as during the Kiilan äänipäivä performance in 2022 (I think I’ve now performed everything I can imagine with this piece) and I also supplied the audience with 22 liters of Wypij Morze! during the festival.

Drifts succeeded in inviting a lot of great artists and managing large crowds. My absolute favourite was bela from Berlin who hardcore screamed through a theatrical act. The sound system of the space (or perhaps the curatorial plan) favoured descant tones and most concerts utilized some kind of whipping clash-crashes. This served bela well and Kaino Wennerstrand’s phaser effected acoustic guitar riffs too! Most of the sets were didactic and deployed aestheticized glitches for the spoken word bits. Most performers used automated computer processes. There was no rage in analog form. The bass was good too but most complex and interesting events took place in high registers.

An Tul was a touching new act for me. They performed outdoors with intensive charisma establishing a stage by their mere stances. They showed humour with out joke and offered intuitive nature interactions (a flock took their set as a cue for starting their winter migration). I had very high expectations for Nkisi on Sunday because I just learned about their work from a Techno at the End of the Future, Episode 1: London podcast. The set had a positive-gabber vibe but I didn’t get on a rhythm high.

There was a screening too. The Otolith Group’s “Hydra Decapita” (2010) was great to see and served as a perfect finale for my water-tour-vibes because they utilized short wave radio tones in their artistic documentary detailing Drexciya (Our Bar (Słono)Wodny soundscape also had a SW segment!).

Personal Decamerone (2022)

Originally published on No Niin magazine in April 2022 issue 10. Edited by Elham Rahmati.

I think it’s brave and curiously decadent to work with sex; I mean, working with sex in any form, as a creative theme or performing sexual acts. I’ve never felt comfortable exploring my sexuality, and I think I need to engage in this aspect of my creative life. I’m worn, strained and feel a need to revitalise myself. What I’m doing here is an attempt to come to terms with my curiosity. But I might be overdoing it. Instead of working with my issues, I’m jumping in headfirst and committing a public sex act to get over it. We all have to start somewhere, right?

When I began thinking seriously about sex, reading and writing about it, I started imagining myself as a sex worker. This helped me establish a professional distance from the topic and made my engagement with it less personal. I might have a hard time exploring my body and how it feels, but I know how to work. So, approaching sex and sexual expressions as a project made it feel less intimidating. I’m confronted with the realisation that I don’t think I know any sex workers. At least no one has confessed this to me; perhaps they fear I’d judge or misunderstand them. I don’t think I would. I’d have a harder time coming to terms with a friend admitting they were paying for sex than learning that someone was doing it for a fee. It turns out I’m a prude. I’ve fostered a belief that money taints sex, which belongs to a private domain.

What I’m exploring here as sex work also includes novelists who write about it and others who have sex without pleasing. I’m inspired by artworks and performances that deal with sex or are arousing to the extent that I’m left asking: “Did I just see a striptease act, or is there something wrong with me?”.

These are my angles on sex as work. Well, honestly, these and online porn. I haven’t paid for any of the porn I’ve consumed. I guess this makes my relationship with the performers less professional. My taste in online porn is polarised. I like over-the-top performances that feel unreal and show unrealistically fit bodies. This establishes a distance, which helps me feel less ashamed of my gaze. I guess a lot of online porn works this way. The categories sites use for organising their content give a bigger rush than the videos they link to.

60fps, amateur, babe, babysitter, behind the scenes, brown-in-pink with vertical rotation, casting, clean, double penetration, euro, exclusive, fingering, liquid on porous, pink-on-pink, public, red-grey-opaque, rotating up with veils under limbs, shaking soft with mass, squirt, toys, untitled 2#

I’m scared of sex; categories appeal to me because they help constrain it. The craft of controlling a body at will and the will to control another body is frightening. Imagining this power makes me view people as tactical flesh machines, as mechas or robots, operated by desires. I fear I would be easily exploited.

Is it vain to work on a sex project as pandemics and wars are crippling the world? Perhaps. But in all honesty, this is the best response I have come up with. I’m working as an artist, performing a public act and even getting a grant for it. It’s a COVID-19 art grant intended to help creatives pass the social distancing related to businesses and government agency shutdowns. The grant is for relieving economic stress.

Emerging as a sex-artisan

Beautiful agony, a little death. Powerful names for an orgasm. One is the name of an online sex community. Beautifulagony.com has been up and running since 2004. I’ve followed it occasionally over the years. Contributors share videos showing only a tightly framed image of their face while having an orgasm. Simple, stylish, and elegant. Confusing too, a community for sharing the faces of enjoyment, for the enjoyment of others. There is a small fee involved for the contributors, but the biggest payoff seems to be that contributors gain full access to the archive and become part of the community. It feels innocent, but the website’s forum is banal on a closer look. Performers are referred to by their submission number and discussed as flesh.

“Ms. 4161. So nice to see her again. Her orgasms are so natural and unaffected that I have to smile when I see them. I particularly loved the contributions she made with her partner.”
“I agree. The Friends’ contributions are some of the best on the site.”
“All their videos are excellent, and I hope she contributes more with or without 4160”
“In her confession video, she explains her synchronous masturbation technique.”
“I love watching clips with men, and it turns me on. Sometimes I jerk off and try to orgasm simultaneously with the man in the clip. If it works, then it is great and very relaxing.”

There are sample videos available for free, and I was drawn to them because the people in them look sincere. The way they are shot leaves a lot to the imagination. They only show a happy face moving in syncopated rhythm, unintentional utterances, and audible skin friction. In the grant application, I wrote that I would make a contribution to the site as a way to explore the changes we experience in intimacy due to COVID countermeasures.

At first, Emmi was curious. When I presented this idea, her immediate reaction was that it was fun, but then it dawned on her that the production of the work would take hold of our lives. We’ve been together for almost twenty years. Keeping work and family life separate has been challenging. When I get a project going, it engulfs our home. I use our living room and closets for storing art gear and talking about what I do nonstop. She feared that she might have to start sleeping in the living room when I would be working.

She asked, “On which dates do you need to keep the camera rig in our bedroom?” I promised I’d shoot the video in a hotel. But there wasn’t time for it that summer. I took a temporary job working as a gardener. It was a hard job, and I lost my appetite for art, sex, and life. I grew bitter and spent the free time I had sulking.

Later, during the fall, she reminded me that I should complete the project, and sometimes after sex, she would make a joke about filming the highlights. I think the sex part of the work made her feel a bit proud of me. I haven’t been shy about sharing details of this project with friends and colleagues. But they don’t ask about it either. As it stands, my solo sex performance is putting Emmi and the kids in an odd position. Weirdly, the sexual act I’m planning will be more relevant, more understood, and discussed by strangers than my friends and colleagues. Having an orgasm publicly makes me lonely.

When preparing for the shoot, I read the Beautiful Agony website submission guidelines and the release form they wanted me to fill out. There are a lot of technical demands on video quality. They recommend that I use “natural light” and have specifications for the audio quality. The demands feel vague and rigid simultaneously, like an open call for a student film festival. Suddenly, making the video starts to feel like work. They want me to submit two recordings shot in two different locations. This is so that they can select the performance that fits their brand best. They also want me to include a 15-minute “Confession” interview, a monologue in which I share a depiction of my first orgasm and notes on my sexual desires. I’m not feeling many things right now. Anxiety over precarious work conditions hardly counts as a sexual desire.

The confessions segment feels like a mandatory artist interview that an art festival might expect an artist to provide. Something organisers assume the funders of the event want to hear: A juicy display of complete submission. I think I’m not paid enough to offer one, and I doubt anyone cares about my sex life.

The confession videos are only available to members of the community. So I can’t see how other contributors are responding to the demands, but judging from the thumbnails, people look fresh and as if they have stories to share. I’m pressured to make something up. While reading the guidelines, I started to think about the easiest ways of executing the work, just like I would plan for a regular work commission. This stress, bundled with figuring out the logistics for the sex act, made the entire project feel frustrating. Doing sex as a performance is boring because, while the actual sex can be exciting, there are a lot of office tasks.

We went past the second peak of the pandemic, and I ended up working in logistics for Posti. Later, I went for a job at a food courier company and was offered a position working as a shopping centre security guard. I was saved from these by a small commission. Emmi started expecting our third child; I got vaccinated three times and scavenged a small grant for a different project. Life moved on, and masturbating for strangers felt like a vain thing. Eventually, I postponed the project for two years, and it lost its urgency for me.

Two years later, together alone

The archivists of the Beautiful Agony site forums seem very committed and ready to scrutinise the quality of my submission, from the tone of my voice to the blush on my cheeks. Will they like me? They will refer to me as a number, and if they do, I hope I get a good one. A series of odd numbers would feel like a good luck charm. The value of life, our capability for empathy, and our rationality are assessed using numbers. The numbers display statistics of the virus’ spread and the death tolls. The pandemic and the culture that statistics feed into are turning us into cyborgs. We are connected through data, and I hope for a high number of views.

Kaino told me that they had read somewhere that there hadn’t been as much poetry or artistic depictions of “the plague” as historians expected. People were busy surviving, we reasoned. I imagine a lot of “plague art” was made while the disease reigned in Europe, but after the disease had its way, the artworks lost their context and were neglected. Poetic depictions of the colours of boils don’t make much sense to people who can’t read the progress of infection from them. Masturbatory Covid-art falls into this category too. It only makes sense when nothing else does.

I hope you are feeling relaxed and relieved. I have a shoot to prepare. Thank you for this moment. I feel like I’m ready for work now. I’m not passionate about what I have to do, but I feel more equipped to handle it. I hope you are too. Bye.


Future is Feudal? (2021) Kaino Wennerstrand. An expose of creative precariat life in Finland and a strong call to get organized! Their analysis of the academisation of arts feels accurate. By plotting events which lead to the academization of the engineering profession, we can identify that the elitism which universities advocate is fuelled by a “pursuit of a higher class status”. Many are into arts and academia to escape the burdens of their class. Following this, I agree that artists don’t categorically benefit from higher education. I think academic conventions can even be disturbance if the practitioner does not have broader academic interests (meaning that they want to be employed by universities teaching something else then art). Art offers more radical modes of thought and organization then academic practices. Hence, it is more equipped for leading change and yet… Almost all my leftists traits stem from art education in universities. #☭

The Finnish art scene at large has betrayed its working-class sympathies, to which they keenly pay lip service, and opted for upward mobility instead of class solidarity. The academisation of art that has taken art education and discourse by storm during the last twenty years has been a death blow to artists’ working class sympathies.

Although not the point of the text, I’m digging the portrayal of audio (or any performance related) technicians as service providers, who are tasked to elevate the habitus of their clients and to maintain the flow of events. Technicians preserve status quo. I’m reminded of all the times I’ve operated a mixer at events: Ultimately as a technician I’m responsible for a master fader. I serve as a media-police-officer, a security element which adds to the professionalism of the occation. Technicians make spaces safe. The power of the technician was also addressed in a recent performance by Timo Viialainen. For me a key element of the In the What did you do as a child when the thunder cut the power? (2021) performance, was a gradual process of cutting the main power of the performance venue.

A designer sells proof. The client doesn’t have to worry whether their publication looks amateurish, since a graphic designer has selected the font, or if their launch event’s atmosphere is dodgy, because a sound designer has curated the playlist. Another thing we trade in is client safety. Being protected from being deemed uncool or unprofessional also includes a kind of class guarantee.

Most of the artists I know and have worked with in Finland arrive from lower working class backgrounds and have survived (or are surviving) poverty. I share Wennerstrands optimisms and belief that trade unions are our best assets for developing egalitarian societies. I strongly believe that trade-unions have the responsibility for reaching out and aligning to the needs of the precariat labourforce. Like Wennerstrand I’ve only paid union fees and due to short term contracts, I’ve never received any direct benefits from my involvement. My membership in the Trade Union for Theatre and Media Finland, Teme is a performance of onside solidarity. I know and respect the work unions do in advocacy and policy making but their concerns feel remote.


Taiteilijana yhteiskunnassa – Kuution jälkeen, osa 6 [In the Society as an Artist – Post-Cube, part 6] discussing art practices in public spaces, artist-as-gig-workers and labour unions with Maija Kasvinen & Kaino Wennerstrand in a Taike podcast. I confessed that my mother forged recommendation letters for my high-school application.

Assembled a Befaco Instrument Interface i4. Mixed the R16 – 820 Ohm 1% and R115 – 820k 1% resistors. Figuring out the issue behind the problems was difficult (VU meter didn’t work and Envelope Follower didn’t trigger). The tight component placement made the swapping the resistors hard but I made it.

Reading manuals every night. Currently following casual M8 related chats on discord and watching three hour long M8 get-togethers.


In Finland artists grants for individuals are called “apuraha”. I think a direct translation for this would be “support fund”. I like the term a lot: A fund intended to support an artist, such a beautiful idea! I imagine the name stems from an era when artists made their living primarily by selling artworks. The state and private foundations would grant their unconditional support when an artist wanted to take a break to develop their style.

Right after the covid lockdown was announced, the state and almost all Finnish art supporting foundations started developing covid relief packages. These were aimed for artists and creatives who lost their income in the first wave. Some of these arrangements were announced within two weeks after the lockdown and the first grants were given almost within a month. This was a great effort!

The covid grants which private foundations offer are also called “apuraha” (support fund) but in inspection, none of their open calls are meant to support artist unconditionally. The funds are aimed only for development and innovation. A prime example of this was a recent Kone foundation open call (mentioned earlier), which was criticized by Maria Ylikangas (among others). The fatigue caused by inventing creative responses to covid related calls has been criticized by Kaino Wennerstrand (among others).

In short: Private foundations want artists to produce innovation. The are specifically looking for “digital-leaps” and ways to adjust artistic practices to new digital platforms. As pointed by Ylikangas, the foundations are looking for black swan-opportunities! And this happens without shame at a time when people most affected by the lockdown, have very little freedom and very little to offer.

I think the funding private foundations offer should not be called “apuraha”. They should be called for what they are: “Development funds” (kehitysrahoitus). The covid period will serve as a historical reminder that private foundations have very clear political aims and specific agendas. They never support artists unconditionally.

I’m fine with this but the problem is that in Finland, foundations seldom announce their political agendas directly. They are clearly after something but their programmes are unarticulated. The public is left to interpret what a foundations mission is by reading their open calls and by mapping who they have funded before. In inspection they are seeking abstract nonsense such as “boldness” or “digital leaps”. What do these calls actually mean, what kind of a society are they working for? Their current, wittingly drafted press-releases, underline universal humanistic ideals and creative freedom. But don’t actually say anything: Which means that they are for maintaining status quo.

I think this needs to change. If private foundations do not clearly announce that they are working for social justice, equality and to maintain the welfare state, then they are not. #☭