Timeline of Finnish media art – the 1970s

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The 1970s

In the 1970s, connections between art and technology are made using domestic customized computers and sculpture art is electrified creating moving photokinetic works, some of which also produce sounds. Domestic video art takes its first steps. The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yleisradio adopts colour video technique (PAL) for TV use in 1971 and regularly produces electronic compositions and radiophonic works in its new Experimentation Studio. The Elonkorjaajat group performs Fluxus art, happenings and technology experimentation. The group Dimensio aims to humanize technology and raise environmental awareness rather than technology belief. Erkki Kurenniemi’s Digelius Electronics manufactures synthesizers with computer technology, user interfaces using sensors and interactivity. At the end of the 1970s, the breakup of the politicized arts field begins to sprout an alternative culture fuelled by punk and the environmental movement.


  • The first major exhibition of Finnish kinetic art Kineettisiä kuvia (translates as Kinetic images) opens in Tampere. The exhibition tours in eight cities. In addition to Op art and kinetic paintings, the exhibition features Eskolin’s electro-kinetic installations, Esa Laurema’s electrified, motion based “jousitanssi” (translates as Spring Dance), Osmo Valtonen’s and Ruutsalo’s light mobiles and Ruutsalo’s experimental films.
  • The impetus for founding the Elonkorjaajat group are the group’s first meeting and the joint exhibition Todelliset valheet (translates as True Lies) at the Kluuvi gallery. The exhibition presenting conceptual art and underground art features Pekka Airaksinen, Antero Kare, Olli Lyytikäinen, J. O. Mallander, Ilkka-Juhani Takalo-Eskola and Peter Widén.
  • Erkki Kurenniemi builds DIMI-A and founds Digelius Electronics Oy, which produces a series of innovative DIMI digital music instruments in the years 1970-76.
  • The special issue of Iiris magazine for young artists (1968-1971) has reflections on art and technology by J. O. Mallander and presents the latest international trends in Fluxus and intermedia art.


  • During the Elonkorjuupäivät event at the Old Student House, Kurenniemi presents the DIMI-O Video Organ to the public for the first time and performs with dancer Jaakko Vartia. No tape is used in the interactive performance, the audience follows the real-time video art performance from separate monitors and the sound of the instrument can be heard from loudspeakers. The event also presents video technology and commercial videocassettes, a panel discusses “cassette television” and cable television.
  • The DIMI Ballet (Kurenniemi, Riitta Vainio dance) documentary is realized on the DIMI-O and filmed at the YLE studios and the instrument is presented at the Nordic TV and Radio Conference.
  • Riitta Vainio’s choreography Hummerit ja Hummarit, set to Osmo Lindeman’s electronic music, receives first prize in a television idea competition.
  • Artist group Pythagoras builds installations that combine computer-controlled electronic music and coloured lights. The members of the group, which functioned until 1973, are Osmo Valtonen, Erkki Rajulin and Heikki Toppila.
  • J. O. Mallander’s 1222 oikein (translates as 1222 right) is based on the artist’s lottery numbers and opens Elonkorjaajat group’s Halvat huvit (Cheap Thrills) -gallery.
  • Yleisradio’s Pop Story (1971–1972) is the first programme in Finland to be produced using colour video technique (PAL). Music performances are recorded live and background projections during the performance and graphics and quick editing cuts in the inserts are used in ways, which are new to television.
  • The Camera Art Department of the School of Art and Design relocates to the Pasila water tower at the beginning of the 1970s. The filming studio is equipped with i.a. Sony video cameras and Sony’s black-and-white tape recorder for half-inch video tape.


  • Antero Takala’s experimental TV video work Romeo and Juliet. Takala designs a Video Colouring device for modifying the video signal. This he later calls “the first Photoshop”. Romeo ja Juliet is the first Finnish video work made on tape to be shown in a gallery (Pinx gallery 1974).
  • Osmo Lindeman wins the International Society for Contemporary Music ISCM’s composition competition with his electronic piece Ritual.
  • The Dimensio group of experimental art and interdisciplinary expression is formed. They make their debut at the Museum of Modern Art Tampere.
  • J. O. Mallander writes about the generation of TV-artists in Taide magazine.


  • Kokeilustudio (Experimentation Studio) is opened at Yleisradio and YLE’s centralizes the production of electroacoustic, experimental and radiophonic works to the studio. During its 40 years of operation, the studio produces around 400 works.
  • Digelius Electronics Oy manufactures Finland’s first general-purpose microcomputer DIS-System based on the Intel 8008 processor.


  • Otto Romanowski, Ilkka Niemeläinen and Esa Kotilainen found the electronic trio Neum.
  • Osmo Lindeman publishes the book Elektronisen musiikin teknologia (translates as The Technology of Electronic Music) and starts teaching computer music at the Sibelius Academy.
  • Veikko Eskolin’s Vesikehä (translates as Water Ring) is the first computer-controlled artwork in a public space in the Nordic Countries.


  • Amos Anderson Museum’s Fotomedia exhibition showcases Italian video art.
  • Dimensio organizes a seminar on the relationship between art, technology and ecology in Hässelby, Sweden.


  • Philip von Knorring from Elonkorjaajat builds a video installation Bevakad (translates from Swedish as Guarded) using security cameras, monitors and tripods. The work is shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
  • Annikki Luukela and Ritva Lindfors project abstract images and silhouettes of the dancers’ movements onto a cloth in the performance Refleksio. Among others, Leena Gustavson and the electronic trio Neum participate in the performance. Luukela and Gustavson’s collaboration continues with several performances, which combine light, dance and sound.
  • Esa Kotilainen’s Ajatuslapsi (translates as Thought Child) is Finland’s first electronic ambient album.
  • Timo Aarniala becomes inspired by the possibility of modifying slideshows and produces visualizations for the Helsinki Song Festival’s Dylan night and Suomi (Finland) night. 
  • Uuden ajan Aura  magazine begins to appear. It is published by the association Oraansuojelijat ry, founded in 1973, and the editing office is located in the spaces of the defunct Halvat Huvit (Cheap Thrills) gallery.


  • Mervi Kytösalmi-Buhl (previously Deylitz-Kytösalmi), who studied under Nam June Paik in Düsseldorf, realizes the first video performances exploring physicality Laastari and Silmä (translates as Band-aid and The Eye). In 1979 she participates  with her works in two large exhibitions of contemporary art in Germany and presents video art in Taide magazine.


  • The association for live music Elmu and the youth of the city occupy the Lepakkoluola building in Ruoholahti. Lepakko becomes a venue and breeding ground for subcultures.
  • Ö-ryhmä group’s first exhibition in Lepakko. The group, which combines environmental issues and punk attitude, is founded by Erkki Pirtola together with Roi Vaara, Harri Larjosto and Pekka Nevalainen.
  • Cinefilm enthusiast Pasi Myllymäki’s Sleeping is “an reviving stab in the rheumy eye of the dozing Finnish cinefilm scene”. He adopts the nickname “Sleeping” from his work and starts to publish the polemic and punk-spirited magazine Maanalainen kaitaelokuva (translates as Underground cinefilm).

The Early Stages | 1920s to 1950s | The 1960s | The 1970s |
The 1980s | The 1990s | The 2000s | The 2010s