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Again, instead of one cultural personality, we present an entire team: TaikaBox is a hybrid organization of dance and technique, which does research and performances, and creates art for stages, digital platforms and public spaces.

The main members of the team are choreographer and dance artist Tanja Råman and artist, DJ and designer of interactive systems John Collingswood. Furthermore, journalist Lölä Florina Vlasenko is a part of the core team of TaikaBox, being responsible for visual marketing, documenting text and audience work.

Råman and Collingswood originally founded TaikaBox in Cardiff, Wales in 2010, and in 2015 the organization was registered as an association in Oulu.

 

TaikaBox, how does life look like and feel now during these exceptional times?

“We are living an astonishing time, which means it’s good to reflect again on the values of life and art and think about ourselves. The pandemic has made us appreciate each other and everything else too more than before. Right now, it’s a good time to be in Oulu – it feels as if art was reborn here, moving the community further north and making it more creative, social and ecological.”

 

How does Oulu look like through your eyes right now?

“Covid hastened the process of utilizing technique in communication despite distances. Although it has challenged the field of art it has also strengthened it by launching new research. Together we can find new ways to collaborate, survive, think and create possibly more freely than ever before, and break the current borders by innovating.”

 

Oulu, together with 32 other municipalities, is bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture (ECoC). Why would northern Finland be suitable to win the race?

“Oulu has a rich tradition in technological research and a profound and enlivening art sector that follows its own paths. The union of technology and art makes Oulu an attractive European Capital of Culture. Although it may sound paradoxical, Oulu shows through its artistic-technological ecosystem how the concept of centralizing is indeed outdated.”

 

What does our leading theme, cultural climate change, mean to you?

“Actually, every community is a cultural capital – when it is based on consciousness, solidarity, collaboration and research, and has been enriched by the spirit of adventure and the freedom of expression. All of this is found in Oulu. There are ways to keep in touch and create art even when separated due to kilometers, time zones and borders. This is how we see cultural climate change!”

 

Image: Lölä Florina Vlasenko