In the darkness of a smoke sauna, stories and memories of womanhood come alive. A wordless mask and object theatre performance set in the heat of the heart of Finland. Masked bodies – naked memories.

That is the description text for one event of the Turku International Puppetry Festival called Sauna which we had a look at on Nov 22, just the day when everybody else was watching the ice hockey match between Turun Palloseura (TPS) and Kalevan Pallo (KalPa) from Kuopio … anyway, my friend Deissler visited me during this time, and at least now he has a nice story to tell (like »there was ice hockey, and guess what we had to see … puppetry theater!«).

So, fully excited about how this womanhood could come alive, we found our places in a beautiful park area of Kupittaa and waited for the show to begin. Actually, I was surprised that it seemed to be even booked out. Before everything started, we just had to leave the building, walk through the dark and finally re-enter the building from the other side.

Ok, after this adventure, the lights were dimmed and the even was about to begin. It takes place in a imaginary sauna. At first, we see a older woman, walking around and also having a sauna turn. She moves slowly and repeats details of sauna-bathing activities such as putting the water on the oven and using the vihta, which means hitting the body with birch branches.

After that, a second character appears. She is younger, more sexy. This woman is presented as rather shy and reserved. She hides her body and enjoys the sauna. Suddenly, both women are on the stage and near the oven. The old is hidden and the young is giving birth (?) to some white creatures that pop out of the oven (and are actually the only »puppets« in this play).

I am not sure if I got the plot right, and I am absolutely not sure what this wants to tell us. So, please correct and interpret in the comment area!


Last Saturday it was time for the first pikkujoulu (pre-Christmas) party this year. Me and Tiina did most of the preparation and spent days buying nice stuff such as decoration, the best Christmas tree in the world, sweets, glögi and other stuff to drink, Dominosteine (thanks again to Deissler to export them to Finland!) and … gingerbread. Well, what is gingerbread? For me as a German, it is the chocolate covered and soft version, Lebkuchen in German. Of course we took the very famous stars, pretzel, hearts box from Lidl 😀 But what do the Finns mean with this term? Right, this crumbling, but nonetheless very Christmas-tasty cookie called pipparit.

Anyway, before our own party began, there was the opening of the Christmas season (Turku is Finland’s official Christmas City), which took place at Vanha Suurtori and continued with a parade to the cathedral square. The Christmas tree was already in its position, but still dark. Before it got enlightened, we had to watch (or suffer?) some speeches and songs sung by a children’s choir. And then there was this giant elf, tonttu, who was entertaining the kids with his team (that consisted of presents and Mr., no Mrs. Sweety). He was a bit scary, indeed he looked like he would eat all the children. But still, we wanted to take photos with him, and those of us two who did not want to, were forced 😉 Photo shooting done, let’s have a short look at the Christmas Market! Said and done, and in fact, it was really short, because most of the huts were still closed.

So, back to our headquarters to pick up all that stuff we needed and took the bus to Haliskylä, our party area. Luckily, no guests were there, so we had still time to prepare everything. Laptop with music? Check. Pot to heat the glögi? Check. Rip open all the sweets and chips and chocolate and place them on cute little Christmas plates? Check. Finding a working fridge to cool the booze? Fail. But at least: dressing up in Santa’s hat and reindeer horns? Check.

Ok, the first guests were arriving, it could begin. The story is told quickly, we drank, sang, danced, had fun. But I want to say a few words about the game we played. Nothing special, just this famous post-it game where people get pinned celebrities’ names on there forehead and have to guess who they are. But thus we were a quite intercultural group, it was not easy for everyone to find out who they were. Our Donkey Kong was such an example and even the hint that it was a friend of Hong Kong did not really help. Same with the King, Elvis Presley himself. I tried to help, »singing« (or whatever you call it) some words of »Love me Tender« with my best Elvis voice, but that did not help neither. Ehem. I was by the way made of plastic, and my three-letter name started with a K. Wuhuu.


On Thursday, 20. Oct. 2011,  the 14th »Blackmarket for Knowledge and Non-Knowledge« took place in Turku’s wonderful Volunteer Fire Brigade Bulding. Blackmarket is a project by Berlin artist Hannah Hurtzig and its main idea is, that people can meet experts on a certain topic and talk to them. Experts and »clients« are sitting face to face to each other in a rather dark room, only with a light bulb above them. Some of the conversations are also »broadcasted« to a Black Radio, so that even people who were not able to book an expert are able to listen to conversations via headphones. The concept of Blackmarket sees »the transfer of knowledge as a communicative and performative act«, as the Turku2011 programme page tells us. With this theoretical background, we can discuss the question about what knowledge is and what makes it to knowledge (negotiation?)  from a more philosophical point of view.

However, the motto for this fourteenth episode of this project was »100 Conversations about being Silent in 4.33 hours« which appears paradox at first. But when you have a look at the list of the 50 experts taking part in this event, you quickly see that »being Silent« can have lot of different aspects and the perspective changes a lot, depending on the discipline that deals with that »being Silent«. For example, this time, there were sociologists invited as well as sound artists, musicians, literature and culture researchers, but also physicists, mathematicians and astronomers. Together with a sign language rap artist, translators and writers, they created a wide field of expertise. According to the event information, it took about three months to coordinate that and to create a timeline that puts the experts in a specific order.

Thus I did not book an expert (1 Euro per 30 minutes), I tried to listen to some conversation via Black Radio, but all the broadcasted conversations were … of course in Finnish. Anyway, I was proud that I could at least understand some words, haha! We played a game and tried to find out which conversation is broadcasted on which channel, so we tried to find the right pair for each.

Back home, I found out that there is a Blackmarket Archive online with more than 700 conversations! Amazing! I listened to some about language, see here:




Share the beer?

As this blog is part of my assignment for the course »The Social Web« at Åbo Akademi, I am expected to blog at least a bit about Social Media and the Web 2.0. So, this entry is dedicated to the course.

I was just buying some beer today for a home party with friends. And it is no secret, that I like to try new beers and that most of the times I never buy two of the same brand at the same time. So, through the years, I tested a lot of different beer (mostly together with my friend Deissler, hi!) and don’t have any overview on which I drank already and which not.

So it just came to my mind to look for some kind of a social web for beer drinkers where they share what kind of beer they drink, where and how they like it, of course! After a short Google search, I found the page ratebeer.com where users … well, rate beer! But as far as I see, there is no chance to share it via Twitter easily. So, Google again, and voilà, there it is: untappd.com. On this website, people »meet« in a virtual pub and share what beers they are drinking. You can also give comments and share your experience on Twitter, Facebook or Fourquare. And as on Fourquare, you can also »check in« for a beer and collect badges. I think this is quite a funny way. But of course, when you don’t use a smartphone (like I don’t) and thus don’t have the app, it might be hard on the next morning to remember what beers you had and check in …

Okay, this was a bit the fun entry for this weekend and I will try this untappd.com today. Oh, and what I also found is a website called Foamee where you can track who owes you a beer or coffee.

Gallery day: Class Photo 2000‒11

I decided to go to Valokuvakeskus Peri (Photographic Center Peri) today to see the Class Photo 2000‒11 exhibition showing photos by the Turku artist Vesa Aaltonen. He took photos of school children in 2000 and met the pupils again in 2011 to again take photos. That idea is not new of course, but still I think it is interesting to compare the children with the almost-adults. In most cases, you really see that they begin to care for their appearance. Some have even changed their hair color, but you still see that it’s the same person in some aspect. But on the other hand totally different from the child. Due to copyright laws, it’s clear that I can not offer you any photos, but you will find some on the linked page.

Ah, and on the way home, I stopped at the Titanik Gallery to see what they got there. At the moment there is an exhibition by Pilvari Pirtola named Dance in the Flames of a World Burning Down. I must say that when I entered the room, I immediately got a strange and concerned feeling. The paintings are mostly red, black and white, showing terrifying faces or writings like »AND I WATCHED YOU BURN« really created a depressing atmosphere. And even the names of the works were a bit weird. But have a look at Pitola’s gallery at Picasa!



Hello world. Or: The story so far

Welcome to my new »Stefan Suomessa« blog!

So, with a delay of more than four weeks, I start the experiment of blogging! I am here in Turku since August 25 and some nice things have already taken place. In this blog entry I will try to give you a short overview on what happened so far. But I guess that more detailed entries on some aspects might follow.

It all began around december, when I decided to apply for ERASMUS in Turku. After some time of waiting, I got the confirmation and started to plan all the things that have to be planned, you know that stuff. The really »hot« time began a lot later, let’s say in July. (mehr …)