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Rainio & Roberts

02.12.2012

Studio Mustanapa
Jorma Eton tie 6, Rovaniemi, Finland

Open
Tuesday-Thursday at 12-18
Friday at 11-17
Saturday at 12-16

Some we kept, some we threw back

Minna Rainio and Mark Roberts combine media art, conceptual art and documentary to deal with social and political issues, and to investigate the impact of these on people's individual experiences and histories.

"Some we kept, some we threw back” draws a parallel between the migration of Finns to Minnesota in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the migration today of people from developing nations to the West.

The film depicts a man in contemporary times, making preparations for a sauna in the backwoods of Northern Minnesota. As he carries out his mundane tasks — chopping wood, pumping water, lighting the sauna fire — a woman narrates a series of experiences dating from her childhood when she and her parents left Finland to start a new life in America.

The woman recalls the reasons her parents left their home country: famine, unemployment, political persecution. She reveals how her family and other Finns were treated upon their arrival in the U.S.; how they were called “Dirty Finns”, classified as non-white, and treated as unwanted refugees.

Through its use of a dramatized narrative, the film draws clear parallels between the experiences of immigrants and refugees arriving from Europe in the past with those traveling from further afield today.

The film illustrates that not so long ago, the countries that today employ controversial rhetoric in the simplistic discussion of immigration were once themselves subject to the same pressures and circumstances that lead people to leave their homes in a desperate attempt to find a better, safer life.

More information: Rainio & Roberts