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Lönnström Project 6

Fata Morgana

Milja Viita | 2022-2023

Photo: Still from the film Fata Morgana,
original material Super8 film, Sakari Leino

Fata Morgana will be an experimental film based on materials relating to the work of seafarers from Rauma. The materials will be collected from private home archives. The visual materials in the film will include small gauge films, videos and photographs taken by seafarers on the seas of the world, along with shared memories. The more recent materials will be digital, including footage filmed by the artist herself. All material will be collected between during 2022 and 2023.

Using the collected visual materials and interviews with the people who have given them on loan, Milja Viita will create her own interpretation of stories of seafaring. The final result will be a 35mm photochemical film, premiering in September 2024.

The project involves artistic collaboration with many partners. Instrumentalist, educator and researcher Juho Laitinen will compose experimental organ music for the film. Lecturer in music theory Kalle Kataja will produce musical soundscapes in workshops with Rauma Youth Band, to be performed under conductor Anne Lehtomäki-Koskinen. Foley effects will be produced in Rauma at a workshop for young people run by musician and sound artist Miro Mantere.

The title of the work, Fata Morgana, is a reference to a kind of mirage that occurs most often at sea. “The idea for the piece first emerged when I was travelling on a cargo ship across the North Atlantic to Canada in 2018,” says Milja Viita. “During the foggy week, I got to know the hard-working seamen who live on the ship for months at a time. Many of them talked about their longing and their families waiting back home thousands of kilometres away.”

Milja Viita (b. 1974) graduated in 2005 with an MFA degree from the Department of Time and Space Arts at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, where she currently teaches analogue film. Materiality and craftsmanship are central to her approach to filmmaking and treatment of footage. She won the prestigious Risto Jarva Award at the Tampere Film Festival in 2019 for her film Animal Bridge U-3033. Milja Viita lives and works in Porvoo.

In September 2024, the film will be screened with a live performance of the score in Rauma. An installation version of the work will also be produced, suitable for longer display, as well as a version for festival distribution.

Sample of footage
Duration 02´20min
Original material, Super8: Sakari Leino, Jukka Salokaarto
Sound: Matleena Mäkelä, recorded sounds from bridges of various ships
Editing and music: Milja Viita