Timeline of Finnish media art – the 2000s

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The 2000s

The field of media art is diversifying rapidly, specialized organizations and events are being established frequently, and new networks are created both domestically and internationally. With the rise of Nokia, Finland is showing itself as an international model country for mobile technology and communication, where mobile art and urban space applications interest artists. Electronic subcultures thrive at clubs, festivals and demoscene events, and Helsinki is the mecca of European experimental culture. Eija-Liisa Ahtila is the pioneer for the international renown of Finnish media art. During the decade, media art also receives domestic recognition in the form of the AVEK award and in the nominations of academician of the arts. Reports on media art with proposals for support measures in the field are produced for ministries.


  • Seppo Renvall’s feature-length experimental film Film1999. The 3-channel installation Wallpaper is based on it, and is shown at the São Paulo Biennale and the Museum of Photography in 2002.
  • The F2F Finnish Media Art tour presents interactive art from artists Laura Beloff, Hanna Haaslahti, Juha Huuskonen, Teijo Pellinen, Kristian Simolin, Tuomo Tammenpää and Heidi Tikka. In 2000–03 F2F tours Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Toronto, Montreal and Brussels.
  • Media art in Helsinki’s European Capital of Culture programme: Maari Fabritius’ mobile work Katumuisti (translates as Street Memory), Continent exhibition of interactive art at Lasipalatsi building, a performance of Finnish sound art broadcast live by YLE from Suomenlinna island, Kauppatori market square and Lasipalatsi.
  • Avanto festival is established. The first festival opens with Ilppo Pohjola’s film Routemaster with live accompaniment by the Japanese noise musician Merzbow.
  • The Là-bas festival is held for the first time at Helsinki’s Cable Factory under the leadership of Irma Optimisti and Pekka Luhta. The programme includes media performances and experimental music.
  • Outoäly (translates as Odd Intelligence) exhibition in Kiasma presents new and historical media art curated by Erkki Huhtamo, as well as art and science projects.
  • Akvaario (translates as Aquarium), an interactive television programme directed by Teijo Pellinen and produced by the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design. The programme runs on YLE’s night broadcasts throughout March. The audience of the programme can control the development of the relationship between the main characters with phone calls.
  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila given the van Gogh contemporary art award.
  • EVE (The Experimental Virtual Environment), an interactive virtual space project, where the participator controls visual events in 3D space with head movements, is launched at the Technical University.
  • Medic culture organization M-cult is founded. 


  • Liisa Lounila’s Popcorn is the first film in a trilogy in which movement and time are modified using a pinhole camera and time slice technology.
  • Petri Kuljuntausta: Aurora Borealis 1. The first sound work made using the electrical sound phenomena created by bursts of northern lights.
  • Mikko Maasalo: Permasound. A web-based sound program that generates sounds from changes in the data speed of the user’s computer and its web browser and modem.
  • Leevi Lehto publishes the Google Poem Generator.
  • AV-arkki starts the VIEW Festival, which presents new Finnish media art and promotes the visibility of the works in Finland. The festival continues until 2009.
  • Tapio Mäkelä establishes the book and internet cafe Mbar in Helsinki’s Lasipalatsi building. Operating until 2015, Mbar develops into an important club for electronic music, where media art is also shown.
  • MUU ry becomes a member of the Artists’ Association of Finland. 
  • The Arts Council of Finland establishes a media art council, which operates until 2011. In arts administration, media art still belongs to the category “others”.


  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s retrospective exhibition Fantasized Persons and Taped Conversations at Kiasma. The exhibition is presented at Tate Modern in 2003.
  • Annette Arlander’s The Year of the Horse is the first in her series Eläimen vuosi (translates as Year of the Animal), named after the Chinese zodiac, which continues until 2014.
  • Aurora Reinhard’s video work Boygirl receives the main prize of the Karlsruhe media art competition.
  • Homage to Erkki Kurenniemi at the Avanto festival. In the programme “Pan Sonic plays Kurenniemi” and Dimi-O as well as Mika Taanila’s documentary Future Is Not What It Used To Be.
  • Pikselähky Festival starts. The programme of the first event includes do-it-yourself technology workshops and clubs. The 2003 edition focuses on VJ art.
  • Significant media art exhibitions: Future Cinema and Demo.Skene at Kiasma, produced by the ZKM Center, and Game On, which presents games and art, at the Helsinki Art Museum.
  • Finnish electronic music and media art are featured in the Viva Helsinki programme of the international Sonar Festival in Barcelona.
  • Laura Beloff is elected professor of electronic art at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Beloff and Erich Berger’s online work Spinne receives an honorable mention in the Vida 5.0 Art and Artificial Life competition.
  • The Crucible Studio research group, led by Mika Tuomola, is established at the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design. The research group studies interactive narrative and operates until 2017, producing several experimental productions and projects.
  • The m-cult.net information service of digital media culture is opened. The service gathers news and discussion from Finland and abroad and updates a database of deadlines and actors in the field until 2009. The bilingual site has an international following.
  • Petri Kuljuntausta’s book On/Off. Eetteriäänistä sähkömusiikkiin (translates as On/Off. From Ethereal Sounds to Electric Music), published by Kiasma and Like.
  • The Media art – Domestic Actors and International Models report for the Ministry of Education and Culture, edited by Tapio Mäkelä and Minna Tarkka.
  • Uusi mediakulttuuri innovaatioympäristönä: kotimainen ja kansainvälinen tutkimus (translates as New media culture as an innovation environment: domestic and international research (ed. Minna Tarkka, Tapio Mäkelä, published by M-cult).
  • the Ministry of Education and AVEK start a separate project to distribute development money for the production of content for digital terminals. Since 2006 the funding has continued under the name Digitaiset Demot (Digidemo).


  • Risto Jarva award for Veli Granö’s film Tähteläiset at the Tampere Film Festival.
  • Hanna Haaslahti’s interactive installation White Square is presented at Kiasma and receives an honorable mention in the Vida 6.0 Art and Artificial Life competition.
  • Mia Mäkelä’s live cinema project Ramscapes is shown in Vienna and Helsinki’s Pixelache.
  • Fanni Niemi-Junkola’s work showing Roma horse culture SVART at Kluuvi gallery.
  • Heidi Tikka realizes the participatory mobile works Syntymiä (translates as Births) and Imaginary Journey in cooperation with Radiolinja.
  • Read_me 2.3 Software Art festival presents software art and publishes the Runme.org online archive for code-based works. Curated by Alexei Shulgin and Olga Goriunova, co-produced by NIFCA, LUME and M-cult.
  • The Nordic workshop series Re-Approaching New Media ends in Suomenlinna with Juha Huuskonen as the producer. The publication of the workshop Survival Kit presents internet and open source practices for the art field.
  • The interdisciplinary science and art online magazine Mustekala is published. The purpose of the magazine is to provide a forum for art criticism and to stimulate cultural discussion. The magazine’s founder Irmeli Hautamäki is the editor-in-chief until 2012.
  • The Nordic media culture: Actors and practices – publication maps media art and digital culture actors in the Nordic countries. Implementation by M-cult in cooperation with CRAC (SE), Pnek (NO), Culturenet Denmark (DK) and Lorna (IS).


  • In Monaco, Nokian Connect to Art! presents short video and image works commissioned from artists for mobile phones. Finnish artists include Kati Åberg and Juha Hemanus. The programme also cooperates with the Pixelache festival in 2006.
  • Pia Lindman’s Learning from Domo series of artwork is created in collaboration with artificial intelligence and robotics researchers at MIT.
  • Under the artist name HK119, Heidi Kilpeläinen starts consumer-critical performances combining multimedia and performance art in London clubs and releases her debut album in 2006 under One Little Indian Records.
  • Tiletoy by Tuomo Tammenpää and Daniel Blackburn is an electronic block game and an early Open Source Hardware project. Tiletoy receives an honorable mention of the jury at the Japan Media Arts Festival 2005.
  • ISEA2004 symposium, the largest media art event in Northern Europe, organizes an electronic music cruise in the Baltic Sea and an extensive exhibition and conference programme produced by M-cult and the Tallinn Art Academy.
  • The documentary series Rajapinna – 5 x new media culture is shown in the opening programme of YLE’s digital channel Teema. The series is a joint production of Koskela Art and Media House and M-cult and is based on extensive interview material of media art practitioners.
  • The book Demoscene: The Art of Real-Time edited by Lassi Tasajärvi is published.
  • Heidi Tikka receives the AVEK Award for media art, which is awarded for the first time.


  • Heli Rekula’s retrospective exhibition Autiomaa (translates as Wasteland), works from 1989–2004 at Kiasma.
  • Complaints Choir, the collective media work of Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, begins its world conquest in Birmingham and Helsinki.
  • The Live Herring Festival focusing on new forms of media art is held in Jyväskylä for the first time. The festival continues until 2014.
  • The Nokturno.fi online publication of digital and experimental poetry is opened.
  • MUU ry and the Association of Photographic Artists organize the annual contemporary Art Fair for the first time.
  • Ulla Taipale and Monica Bello establish the Capsula curatorial group to promote international art and science projects. Capsula ry is registered as an association in 2010.
  • Magneetti Northern Media Culture Association is founded in Rovaniemi, with Jetta Huttunen, Minna Rainio and Mark Roberts as its founders.


  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila at MoMA New York, Ahtila wins the international Artes Mundi award.
  • Sami van Ingen publishes the 3 Films DVD, which includes the films Texas Scramble, The Blow and Days, which use found footage.
  • Markus Renvall starts media art Medialeikki (translates as Media Play) project for children, which will run in dozens of kindergartens until 2019.
  • Tässä talossa, näissä huoneissa  (translates as In This House, In These Rooms) -exhibition at the Rauma Art Museum presents the results of the video art production project ITU with works by artists Tanja Koistila, Marko Lampisuo, Elina Saloranta and Lena Séraphin. ITU, a joint project of AV-arkki, MUU, YLE and the Satakunta Art Committee, is produced by Tuuli Penttinen-Lampisuo.
  • The Lens Politica Festival of social impact film and art is held in Helsinki until 2015.
  • Muu Gallery starts regular exhibition activities in its gallery on Lönnrotinkatu. The Muu for Ears sound art publication series starts.
  • Titanik gallery, run by Turku Artists’ Association, starts the Sumu media art residency program.


  • Installations and video works by Pia Euro, Tanja Koponen and Elena Näsänen at Kunsthalle Helsinki.
  • Sähkömetsä – Videotaiteen ja kokeellisen elokuvan historiaa Suomessa 1933–1998 (translates as Electric Forest – The history of video art and experimental film in Finland 1933–1998) is published. Editor Kirsi Väkiparta and Perttu Rastas
  • FixC cooperative is established to produce and distribute media art.
  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila as professor of time and space arts at the Academy of Fine Arts until 2010.


  • Charles Sandison’s facade work Manifesto (Proclamation Solemne) on display at the Grand Palais in Paris.
  • Sasha Huber’s Rentyhorn renames a mountain peak in the Alps named after racist scientist Louis Agassiz. The work starts a long-term project about Agassiz, done in collaboration with an international network.
  • Bioart Society is founded and the association opens the Ars Bioarctica residency program at the Kilpisjärvi biological station.
  • Shinji Kanki’s Silakkaradio starts on local radio channel Lähiradio in Helsinki. The programme presents Finnish creators of experimental music and sound art weekly until 2012.
  • M-cult opens M2HZ – open urban television channel, which follows the events and creators of urban culture and media art, e.g. in The Media Artist of the Month series. The content can be seen on the cable network and online.
  • Hanna Ojamo to chair the Artists’ Association of Finland. Later, she will be followed in the task by media artists Markus Renvall and Teemu Mäki.


  • Kari Yli-Annala starts the pedagogical project Nomadic Academy of Experimental Arts. The project organizes discussions, workshops and events about the philosophy and practice of experimental art.
  • Domestic techno review, the annual event of electronic music and vj art, is organized for the first time.
  • Jyväskylä’s Live Herring group selected as regional artist for media art.
  • Asko Mäkelä’s report Mediataiteen mahdollisuudet (translates as The Potential of Media Art) suggests the formation of a Media Art Information Centre and a new form of subsidy in the Ministry of Education to improve the field’s operating conditions.
  • The Finnish Media Art Network is established in Helsinki with the aim of promoting cultural policy in the field and cooperation between actors. The association publishes its first statement on Asko Mäkelä’s report.
  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila receives the title of Academician of Arts.

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