Don’t shoot Väinämöinen! Dada and futurism in Finland

My name is Nikolai Sadik-Ogli and I currently live in San Francisco. I am primarily interested in the origins and development of 20th century avant-garde art, specifically with regard to marginal and overlooked artists who have worked in a variety of media and explored basic theoretical issues regarding their work and society in general.

This interest previously culminated in my Masters thesis for the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University regarding the reception and manifestation of Dada and Futurism in Finland.

These early movements provided the historical basis from which I have explored the subsequent development of multimedia work in fields such as typography, music, film, and performance; the use of controversial techniques to shock and jar a complacent public; and the mixing and nixing of traditional differences between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture through the use of unusual, novel, and humorous techniques.

I have most recently concentrated on American music and film, in which fields there have been a number of uniquely self-taught and independent artists who created works completely separate from and often in direct opposition to European traditions and formal training.

Similarly, many of these artists’ lives and work related directly to trends that affected America in the 20th century, including revolutionary politics, countercultural communities and controversial social viewpoints. I am thus charting the relationships between these artists, their influences, and their interaction with each other and the surrounding society in its historical context.

The most recent examples of these research interests can be heard in my radio shows regarding the American composer Harry Partch


Harry Partch

the multidisciplinary artist Harry Smith

early Finnish experimental rock and electronic music throughout the 1960s