Dreams of Milavida

3 November 2017 – 21 January 2018

Photography artist Marja Pirilä has a unique relationship with Milavida. She spent many long hours in the empty palace in 2011–12, using an ancient approach that could be called slow photography, the camera obscura technique, to photograph the deserted rooms.

Pirilä explains: ‘The building had a very gentle, as well as mysterious, atmosphere right from the start. The light moving in the empty rooms was very subtle and beautiful. I spent long days photographing the quiet palace as the sun rotated around it. I turned many rooms into camera obscurae at the same time and shot in them in turns, whenever the light created interesting reflections of the outside world inside the rooms – I took photographs every time the light seemed to have something to express.’

After the photographing began, the history of the building started to fascinate Pirilä. ‘The entire von Nottbeck family, especially Peter and Olga, became familiar to me over the many months I spent photographing in the building that was originally going to be their and their children’s home. They had decided to stay in Tampere, to settle down in their own home. The building must have embodied so many expectations and hopes for them. They were going through a hectic time in their lives, and it ended abruptly and tragically. All those moods seemed to linger in the door panes, wall decorations, reflections in old windows, chequered floors, sturdy pillars, and staircases.’

The experience includes a soundscape composed and executed by Tapani Rinne for the exhibition (with Rinne on base clarinet and sound design by Konsta Mikkonen).
The Milavida Dreaming exhibition takes us back to the setting of the original photography sessions, the rooms of the deserted palace, where light has created images of the outside world over long exposure periods. As the interiors and exteriors blend in the photographs, a dream-like third reality emerges.