Mika Taanila (1965) is a film director and visual artist living and working in Helsinki. His films has been screened at film festivals world-wide, for example at TIFF Toronto, IFFR Rotterdam, Karlovy-Vary KVIFF, Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage and Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Taanila has participated to numerous international group shows, such as Aichi Triennale (2013), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Berlin Biennale (2004), Manifesta 4 (2002) and Istanbul Biennale (2001). Solo shows include Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki (2013-2014), CAM St. Louis (2013), TENT, Rotterdam (2013), Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2008), Dazibao, Montréal (2007) and Migrosmuseum, Zurich (2005). In June 2012 Taanila participated in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel with the three-channel video installation The Most Electrified Town In Finland.
Mika Taanila started out directing numerous experimental music videos in the 1990s. He then moved on to films that occupy a border-genre somewhere between experimental film and documentary. History has always had a tangible presence in his oeuvre, which draws heavily on found and archival material. The futuristic techno-utopias of bygone decades – by virtue of their very impossibility – are an enduring source of fascination for Taanila. Some of his documentary films again portray individuals who are passionately devoted to a cause, such as electronic art pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi and Ashprihanal Pekka Aalto, who has found his life purpose in running as meditation. Taanila also examines scientific processes and the impact of technology in video and audio installations spotlighting various mechanical chain reactions. True to the avant-garde tradition, Taanila draws our attention to anomalies, defects and glitches. Pulling all these elements together, he produces an inimitable package in which sound and zeitgeist indicators have focal emphasis. In his artistic practice Taanila is reminiscent of an expeditionist who tirelessly probes many layers of history and ponders their impact on contemporary reality.
– Leena Kuumola