Finnish artist & photographer – Milla Koivisto

  • Sarah Surgey
  • Tagged , , , , , , ,
  • 5th February 2016
  • Kaikubanner

    Nordophile was very excited to come across Finnish artist & photographer, Milla Koivisto. Not purely just because of her breath-taking artistic view of the Nordic landscape but also because of her natural intensity when relating back to her audience her vision.

    Milla Koivisto is an artist, photographer and author from Finland. Her focus is on the natural world and our connections and relationship with it. Milla studied both illustration and visual communication at the Arts University of Bournemouth. She also studied classical flute and music theatre in Finland. She works with several artistic disciplines and her interest lies in narrative structures and storytelling. She currently divides her time between Finland and the UK.



    We were keen to understand more about the Kaiku project from this Finnish artist and find out how this would translate to peak the interest of Nordophiles, with a certain attraction to the Nordic arts, in all genres.

    Kaiku is an audio-visual project, structured around a core narrative. Set in and inspired by the Nordic landscape of the Finnish archipelago, Kaiku tells the story of a reclusive Shaman, a flute playing girl called Aino and her echo Kaiku. The protagonists of the story face the harshness and the isolation brought by the landscape and each of their lives is a manifestation of learning and surviving by the stipulations of nature. Music and sound in the natural world become ways of connecting, coping and conveying feelings in the dialogue-less story of Kaiku.

    In the Kaiku project traditional storytelling is combined with modern narrative technique. The project combines words, images, recorded sound, compositions and video. The Kaiku project will be released in a series of exhibitions, events and talks during 2015-2017.


    The Kaiku Series

    The first short film in the Kaiku series, ‘The Old Woman’ is an exploration of solitude through sound and image and portrays the landscape of an old woman called Aino’s soul. The film was shot during a three month stay on a treeless lighthouse island of Bengtskär in the Baltic Sea in Finland.



    The Kaiku book

    The first part of the Kaiku project is an illustrated, fictional book. Set on a small island where the winter days are short and the summer sun never sets and life must adapt to the changing seasons. A vision of two women with the same face sets a reclusive shaman on a journey from his dark forest cabin to the barren, windswept shores of a lighthouse.

    In Kaiku our relationship with nature is explored through sounds and seasons. Set over the course of a year in the isolation of a small island Kaiku  is the result of a long-running fascination with traditional narrative, folklore and the natural environment.


    To order the book and find out more about Milla Koivisto head over to

    Milla talks about the origins of the Kaiku project on her site which gives us an insight into her thought process and how the idea was born.

    “A story had been brewing in my mind for some time, not leaving me alone. On the last day of December 2012 I sat down at my desk in my apartment in Brighton and started to write. I have always been writing stories, but never been mature enough to sit still long enough to finish a longer piece. Writing a book is of course more then just an endurance sport -it is about finding a story you believe in, are passionate about and know is true. For me there was only one thing I could write about. I had to write about the sea and the island I grew up on. The project became a love letter to the landscape I knew. I was brought up on a small island called Kemiönsaari in the south coast of Finland, in the Baltic Sea. At the time I started writing Kaiku I had been living in the UK for seven years. I realised how little was written or known about the Finnish culture outside Finland. It became clear to me that the story needed to be written in English, so I added this on to my challenge and started writing in my third language.

    I started to write about an island, about a Shaman, a girl called Aino and her echo Kaiku. Kaiku in Finnish is both a name and the event of a sound caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener – an echo. What I wanted to portray in the story was the interconnection with the natural world and the people. It was important for me to show the integral connection between the people and their land. It also became a story about solitude, isolation and loneliness, themes I feel are close to the Finnish people through our characteristics, the geographical location of the country and perhaps even through the dissimilarity of our language compared to most other European languages.



    From the very beginning I wanted to create a whole world around the story of Kaiku. I wanted to not only to tell a story with words but also to make it come alive with sound and images. Kaiku became a multidisciplinary project structured around a core narrative. It is a project combining words, image, sound and music and video. So far the project has taken me to three small islands in Finland. In Summer 2014 I spent a month on the island of Kökar, in the Baltic Sea in Finland, living in the old post office that was converted in to an artist residence. My purpose was to compose and collect natural sounds for the project. I returned to the island in January 2015 to further compose and collect, this time the sound world of the Nordic winter. In summer of 2015 I divided my time living in Kemiönsaari and the small lighthouse island of Bengtskär at the Baltic Sea where I filmed and recorded natural sounds.

    Kaiku is an ongoing project which will be completed in 2017. The first part of the project, is a book titled Kaiku.”

    Contact Milla here

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