At the fine line between life and art

This year’s first issue presents contemporary digital poetry of many kinds: text generators, works combining different forms of art, video poetry and kinetic poetry.

We open with Romance/Tension by our web designer Teemu Tuovinen. These two kinetic poems apply mathematical concepts to movement and words. What do romance and tension entail when you take a closer look?

Poet Karri Kokko is known for his conceptual works. In his essay Uutisia jotka pysyvät uutisina (News that stays news) Kokko addresses the relationship between conceptual art and life and one between poetry and topicality. His works have often been inspired by those of Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara. Through Kawara’s body of work and one of Kokko’s latest projects News That Stays News Kokko analyses different ways in which an artist can work in relation to topicality and their personal life.

Seppo Laine debuted in Nokturno last year with a wildly colorful pop song generator. This issue brings you two more of his works. Poem² is a word and image generator drawing its English text material from news media oulets. Texts generated by the piece are at times a straightforward mirror of our society, other times perplexingly futuristic or imaginative. Art vs. life is a homage to renown Finnish performance artist Roi Vaara’s piece Artist’s Dilemma (1997). Vaara’s video performance asks ”Art or life?” but Seppo Laine’s piece presents art and life conjoined, creating a fabric of being that is both at the same time.

Comic artist Tuomas Tiainen has created a new digital piece combining comic art and sound art. DOOM MOOD is a gloomy dive to psyche, borrowing expressions from both human and computer language – and with a possibility to add noise music to the mix. Readers of Nokturno may remember Tiainen from last Summer when he worked together with game designer Sanna Väätänen in Arts Promotions Centre Finland’s remote residence at Nokturno.

Satakieliopas (Nightingale Guide) by Maija Saksman combines sound poetry, concrete poetry and event scores, one of them to be realised via Zoom! Satakieliopas encourages reader to find out more about bird languages and extinct species.

This issue closes with two video poems. Poetry with wind and snow by Juha Rautio, who also produces our podcast series about digital and experimental poetry, is a wintry piece about writing and existing amidst the elements of nature. Hanna-Mari Ojala’s Maailmankaikkeuden kuiske (Whisper of the universe) is a video poem filmed at the Pantheon temple in Rome, Italy. Reaching out to new age inspired themes of cosmic embrace it is like a warm hug in the era of social distancing.

Our poet-in-digital-residence 2020 Kyle Booten’s work To Pray Without Ceasing is now on display at Nokturno. Booten’s work is a ”praying machine” drawing its material from social media. This years open call ends today, so if you’re quick, there’s still time to apply!


We welcome new digital, multidisciplinary and experimental poetry all year round! Deadline for next issue, coming out in June, is 10th of May 2021.

Image: Hanna-Mari Ojala’s Maailmankaikkeuden kuiske


Uutisia jotka pysyvät uutisina

Toisinaan merkintäni olivat puhtaasti aseemisia.

Runoilija käytti sanomalehden uutisaukeamaa henkilökohtaisen muistikirjan alustana. Essee runoudesta ja ajankohtaisuudesta.
Poet used a newspaper sheet as notebook. Essay on actuality in poetry.


art vs. life

Kineettinen runoteos, kunnianosoitus performanssitaiteilija Roi Vaaran ikoniselle teokselle Artist’s Dilemma (1997).
Kinetic poem, homage to performance artist Roi Vaara’s iconic piece Artist’s Dilemma (1997).

kinetic | conceptual