Lilli Haapala Searching for utopia: Dreamers

Video installation
Group Lilli Haapala & Juri Jalasmäki

MUU Gallery

Opening ceremony on Friday, 11 September 2020, 17:00–19:00. Welcome!

Dreamers is a journey of exploration into utopias, dreams and meaningful incidents and by following them I felt like I was approaching hidden secrets.

It all began without any effort, by chance. In February 2016 I was at the Örö residency, leafing through photographs of Siberian shamans and indigenous people taken by the linguist Artturi Kannisto. One image stopped me on my tracks: the woman in the picture bore an uncanny resemblance to me.

Nakhodka in English means “lucky find”.

It was in Nakhodka in the Russian Far East that Finns set up the utopian community of Amurinmaa, where my relative Erika Wilhelmiina Henrikintytär (who went by the name of Knaapi or Knappe in Russia) lived from 1859 with her husband, children and 39 other people who had moved there from Southwest Finland. In June 2018, I and media journalist Juri Jalasmäki took the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok to attend the Zarya CCA residency, situated about 200 km west of the city of Nakhodka.

While Dreamers documents our journey into the history of that utopian community, at its core it is lies an entirely different world, one of symbols, of the unconscious and instinct. It is an attempt to trace an invisible network. Where will it take me, and how far will I be able to see?

The work was produced with Juri Jalasmäki (videography, sound design, and more) and Anne Haapala (background and genealogical research).

Lilli Haapala’s (b. 1984) works primarily with media art and installation. She is interested in utopias, images and our evolving relationship with nature and reality. She earned a Master's degree from the programme in time and space art at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2017. Prior to that she studied in the photography programme at Turku Arts Academy (2011–2015). Haapala was awarded the Promising Young Artist grant by the Art Foundation Merita in 2018. She has worked in residencies in the Turku archipelago, in Vladivostok in Russia, and in the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova residency in Turku.


Nakhodka Museum and Exhibition Center, Nakhodka, Russia
National Archives of Finland, Helsinki
Finnish-Russian Cultural Forum

This work has received support in 2018–2020 from the following organisations:

Finnish Cultural Foundation/Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund, TOP-Säätiö, Oskar Öflund Foundation, Turku Art Society, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Zarya AiR