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In 1931, the so-called Yokinen Trial, organized by the Communist Party of the USA in Harlem, New York, brought the Finnish immigrant August Jokinen to public attention. Jokinen, a janitor at the Finnish Worker’s Club, was accused of not defending three African-American communists who had been mistreated at one of the club’s dances. Following his admittance of guilt, Jokinen became an outspoken civil rights advocate until he was arrested for membership in the Communist Party and subsequently deported to Finland. Laura Horelli tells Jokinen’s migration tale as a mixture between historical research, detective story, and arts and crafts club. Arranging her archival findings – ranging from newspaper articles to books and historical photographs – on a physical desktop, she constructs a narrative by positioning, highlighting, cutting out, masking, and coloring. Her ‘analogue desktop-documentary’ follows August Jokinen’s public story all the way to the present, to a mailbox message on a Russian mobile phone.

Laura Horelli, born in 1976 in Helsinki, Finland, lives and works in Berlin. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Department of Time and Space (MA, 2001) and the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main as masters student of Thomas Bayrle (2002). In 2011 she received the Hannah Höch Prize for Young Artists from the City of Berlin. She was awarded a 5-year working grant by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland in 2012. Her work has been shown at numerous international exhibitions and festivals.

Production: Laura Horelli, Berlin
Editing / Dramaturgical Advisor: Janina Herhoffer
Camera: Anne Misselwitz
Cast: Olad Aden, Artur Andreasjan, Peter Gilbert Cotton, Katri Kuusimäki, Leslie Malton, Pertti Rönkkö

Running time: 45 min
Language: English, Finnish, Russian

Photo: © Laura Horelli

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur