Taidelinja, HKL’s culture festival, ends with artist Anne Roininen’s work Kuulitko? (‘Did you hear?’), consisting of station announcements in 16 different languages and dialects.
These include the Finnish dialects of Oulu, Ylihärmä, Kittilä, Pori and Helsinki, as well as the Russian, Georgian, Lithuanian, Arabic, Farsi, Estonian, Somali, Turkish, Inari Sámi and Romani languages. The announcements can be heard at Helsinki’s metro stations from 21 December 2015 to 10 January 2016.
Roininen hopes to create something that is simultaneously unexpected, yet familiar and identifiable. The piece is based on Roininen’s own experience at St. Petersburg’s railway station:
‘I once spent six months as an exchange student in St Petersburg. I didn’t know the language before I got there, and communication was an everyday challenge. On my way back home, I heard an announcement at St. Petersburg’s station in Finnish, and it made me cry, because it was so wonderful to finally hear a sentence I could actually understand. This is what I’m hoping people will be able to experience here: familiar moments.’
Roininen says that people have been excited to join in this project and have put a lot of work into preparing their announcements. Each announcer has been free to choose what message they wish to send at the platform. The Finnish speakers have taken the opportunity to use the most peculiar vocabulary possible, specific to their dialects, and many have wanted to tell something about their home. Roininen says that in this respect, these announcements are like little moments of ‘meanwhile, somewhere else’ that take you briefly to another part of the country or the world. The youngest announcers are children, the oldest is 70. Among the participants are school children and, for example, a metro driver.
The full name of Roininen’s piece: Kuulitko?Duydun mu? Kas kuulsid? Pittääkö toestoo? Kuuliksie? Hunnehako? მომისმინეთ? Snaijaatsä? Ar tu girdėjai? Kuuliksä? آیا شنیدی؟ Miyaad maqashay? هل سمعت؟ Kuullih-uv? ты слышал? Kuulikkonää? Kuulik sää?