Helsinki Festival explores encounters between artificial intelligence and art

The festival programme will be complemented by a performance by American musician Holly Herndon, the show Uncanny Valley by the Rimini Protokoll company in cooperation with Espoo City Theatre, and a discussion at the opening weekend of the In Search of the Present exhibition to be displayed at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

Holly Herndon, who mixes music, technology and art in her work, will perform her IP together with Holly+ and the Philomela Choir. Holly+ is Holly Herndon’s digital twin, but anyone can sing with the character’s voice.

Herndon has a PhD from the prestigious Stanford University on voice and machine learning. IP is the first part of a new series in which Herndon focuses on sound replication techniques. Singers take on the voices of others, and the music of the instruments becomes unrecognisable. The Philomela Choir and concert audience will participate in the performance using the call-and-response singing technique.

“Holly Herndon makes pioneering art at the crossroads of AI, voice and sense of community. We are especially happy that the first part of Herndon’s new series, IP, will premiere at this year’s Helsinki Festival,” says Marko Ahtisaari, Artistic Director of the Helsinki Festival.

Holly Herndon’s premiere IP with Holly+ and the Philomela Choir will take place in the Pannu Hall at Dance House Helsinki on Friday, 26 August at 8.30 pm and Sunday, 28 August at 6 pm. Tickets are available from the channels.

Dimensions of artificial intelligence and robotics in Espoo

Espoo City Theatre will feature the Berlin-based theatre group Rimini Protokoll’s Uncanny Valley on 18–20 August. The show explores the strange feeling we get from a robot that is too human. Stefan Kaegi is known for his documentary theatre performances, and Uncanny Valley is his first collaboration with a writer: the German playwright Thomas Melle is the model for his own robotic doppelganger.

Rimini Protokoll: Uncanny Valley will take place in Espoo City Theatre’s Louhi Hall on Thursday, 18 August at 6 pm and 8.30 pm, on Friday, 19 August at 6 pm and 8.30 pm, and on Saturday, 20 August at 3 pm. Tickets are available from the channels.

The theme of extrahuman intelligence will continue as the Festival and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art organise a debate event, Art and Artificial Intelligence, on Espoo Day, Saturday 27 August at 1 pm. The event will be attended by Holly Herndon and the artist of the In Search of the Present exhibition, Sougwen Chung. The discussion will be led by Marko Ahtisaari, Helsinki Festival’s Artistic Director. Free admission.

EMMA Talks x Helsinki Festival: Art and Artificial Intelligences will take place on Saturday, 27 August at 1 pm.

The RYJ series by Kevin Abosch gives the festival its visual identity

The relationship between technology and art is also reflected in the 2022 festival look. The Irish artist Kevin Abosch has employed artificial intelligence as a tool to create a series of digital works based on the ryijy rugs familiar to Finns. The RYJ series, which uniquely combines the old and the new, will be displayed at the festival venues in August, when the complete series will also be published online. Marko Ahtisaari and entrepreneur Jaakko Tapaninen discuss art and technology, blockchains and NFTs with Abosch in the Hybrid Times podcast. The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast and Google Podcast.

The Helsinki Festival will be celebrated from 12 August – 4 September 2022. The festival programme is available online at

The Helsinki Festival’s main partners are Helsingin Sanomat and Elisa, sponsored by Accenture, and the service partners are Akun tehdas, hasan & partners, Heku, Marski by Scandic, PunaMusta and Renault.