Sonja Jokiniemi (1983) is a performance artist and choreographer currently based in Helsinki, Finland. She makes transdisciplinary work with research interests in thing ecologies, language and thinking, neuro and psychodiversity. She is interested in subjective inner worlds that unfold patterns of larger sociopolitical structures. Her attention on stage is in deviant, disobedient and intimate practices.
Her educational background is in contemporary dance, choreography and performance. She is also self-taught in drawing and has an early background in classical music. Her interest in language, harmony and rhythm stems from this basis. Jokiniemi graduated from DAS Theatre (previously DasArts) MA Degree programme in Performing Arts in Amsterdam 2013. Prior to this she has completed BA degree on Contemporary Dance at Laban Centre in London 2006 and taken part at Daghdha Mentoring programme in Limerick, Ireland.
Sonja Jokiniemi's work has been supported by STUK - House for Dance, Image & Sound, Zodiak - Centre for New Dance, Dampfzentrale Bern, Kiasma Theatre, Workspace Brussels, Regional Dance Centre of Eastern Finland. Jokiniemi has been awarded two grants by Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike): a one-year artist grant for 2017 and a three-year artist grant for 2018-20.
Sonja Jokiniemi's work
Sonja Jokiniemi's work is a constant dialogue between the artistic and other spheres of life. Social interests are involved in all of her work. For her it is important to investigate different windows to emotional and political life. Hence there is no real separation between the work with direct social engagement and the work in theatres and art institutions. At times of immense categorization, separation and squeezing of ideas of normality, it is an important aspect for Jokiniemi to work with bridges and attempt to understand through difference.
In 2014-2015 Jokiniemi worked with autistic young adults exploring subjective language systems under a project named Without an alphabet. From this process she published a book called PA A and composed a duet performance work with participant Veera Kivelä. Their duet TU premiered in June 2015 at Eastern Finland Regional Dance Centre in Kuopio. She also Jokiniemi worked at Helsinki City Council as one of eight artists involved with community-based artistic projects and practices. Part of her work was at Alvila Home with people who have mental health conditions.
Latest solo works
OH NO (2013), a work for two pens and a human giant that tackles into the complex ways in which we try to make sense of the world around us and shifts between acts of destruction and re-construction.
Hmm (2015) examines playful processes of language formation with sounding objects. In Hmm speech sounds, physicality, touch, repetition and accumulation as linguistic actions.
RRRRR (2016) is a performance project looking into hallucinatory, delusional and derailed structures as choreographic maps. In the work Jokiniemi explores construction of truths and fantasies through the spectrum of the subjective and the collective.
Jokiniemi's current project Blab (2017) is investigating amorphic bodies.
We have gotten tired of been manipulated. Storytelling implied by The Society of the Spectacle is everywhere: from cellphone marketing to political strategies via healthcare products, TV series or war justifications. At a critical moment where artificial intelligences are more and more used in those efficient technics, cleverly, many artists have understood that their main values do not reside in their challenged narrative skills but in the urgency they have in building their own sensible, complexe yet unmanipulated version of those topics.
Sonja Jokiniemi’s odd world is an utopia. Against growing normalisation and soft fascism, she proposes a very personal version of counterculture, where the inhibited, different, unvoiced side of each one of us would be seen as optimistic hope for revolution. Inspired by her collaborations with so called asocial, disabled or psychotic individuals - who she would prefer to describe as overgifted bearers of alternative creation technics - her playful performances set up intimate new explorations of semantics, vocabulary and thinking.
Patrick de Rham, Director, Les Urbaines
Artist Sonja Jokiniemi: jokiniemisonja @ gmail.com
Producer Riikka Thitz: riikka.thitz @ gmail.com