#29 Niko Hallikainen, Mind the Gap Residency 2023
50 opportunities for 50 years
“I’ve never attended an artist residency before in my career, because most residency facilities don’t appeal to me, they’re often located in rural areas, designed as non-spaces to fit the needs of artists who wish for extended periods of introspection… for me it’s extremely important to work in a lively urban environment like the Fire Station in Poplar, because it makes my work and life more reflective.”
Niko Hallikainen is a performance poet and novelist born and based in Helsinki. He writes prose in Finnish and performance poetry in English. In his intense and transgressive solo shows, Niko observes the ambivalent intersections of class, sexuality and spirituality, while reading his lyrical writing against ambient soundscapes.
Niko was selected by an open call for the Mind the Gap residency, a new programme supported by The Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, intended for a Finnish or Finland-based artist facing additional barriers to their practice, whose work is aligned to the 2023 Res Artis conference, Mind the Gap: Designing residencies for everyone.
“The streets of London appear labyrinthine to me, there are constantly unexpected pathways that don’t show or make sense on a map, you really have to live your way through the city, which raises kinesthetic awareness. I’m more present in my body here.” Niko Hallikainen
Niko will be staying at the Fire Station for three months, and he plans to work on two different novel manuscripts and two different solo performances. He describes the studio itself as “a gigantic poetic opportunity” and says that even in his first week he witnessed this location finding its way into his writing and general awareness.
“I happened to arrive here on the day of the Full Supermoon in Capricorn, it was the first of the four consecutive full supermoons happening in the next few months, the last one will take place a day before I leave London. I can’t predict what will happen during this time, but the accompanying special lunar season already accents how important this period will be in my life. I don’t take a single day here for granted.”