Photo Jaakko Ruuska


The Disconnected Space research group joined to study the wreckage of the border-stricken Elisenvaara–Parikkala railway line to see what happens to the sense of space, when it is disconnected. The site of the railway was once a link between the cities of Vyborg and Vaasa. Now the faint trace that pierces the landscape of a peripheral locality, is the only reminder of the link. By following the track bench, one is confronted by the problem: “What could be the alternative course of events, where these tracks could be re-connected?”

The research on the ruined railway began in 2017 by the artist-researcher Jaakko Ruuska. The project was joined by the photographer Hanna Koikkalainen in 2018. Back then, the two set out for their first journey on the Russian side of the tracks. In 2019, the group was joined by Dance artist Kati Korosuo and  Software engineer Timo Jokitalo. Together with Ruuska they brought their shared background in the Other Spaces collective for the project and so the cooperative began to produce it.

The same year Jaakko and Hanna led a group that walked for the first time across the entire Elisenvaara–Parikkala section of the railway. On the Russian side, the ruins of the railway are located in the border zone, which restricts access. The research group that walked there were possibly the first Finns to walk on the site ever since the year 1944. In the following years, it became evident that they were probably the last ones to walk there for many years to come. In 2022 this research project was revived, when the Multidisciplinary artist Pavel Rotts, and Playwright Mikhail Durnenkov joined the project.

In the context of the M_itä? Biennale the research group studies the sensitivities of the disconnected railway by intersecting practices. Jaakko Ruuska and Mikhail Durnenkov produced a site-specific performance in the form of letters. In the first phase of this processual performance Sergei Bondarev, Adel Kim, and Anastasia Artemeva were invited to take part in the walk accompanied by Mikhail Durnenkov and Pavel Rotts on the ruined railway on the Finnish side of the border. They are Russians, who are currently living in Finland. On the journey, they were tasked to write letters about those things that became disconnected in their lives, when Russia attacked Ukraine. In the second phase, their letters are used to conduct walking performances on the ruined tracks in Parikkala, held by Jaakko Ruuska, Timo Jokitalo and Kati Korosuo. These performances, which are held on the 17th and 18th of June 2023, invite you to walk along the ruined railway to study the sensitivities of the disconnected space by yourself.

The installation

The installation of the disconnected spaces research group was presented at the M_itä? Biennale in the Joensuu Art Museum from 13 May to 17 September 2023.

It also featured letters of Adel Kim, Anastasia Artemeva, Mikhail Durnenkov, Sergei Bondarev and Pavel Rotts, which were created in the letter presentations in Parikkala in November 2022 and February 2023. READ MORE

Kuva Jaakko Ruuska

Kuva Jaakko Ruuska

Kuva Jaakko Ruuska

Kuva Jaakko Ruuska


Wandering performances
Artistic working group: Jaakko Ruuska (convenor), Mikhail Durnenkov, Timo Jokitalo and Kati Korosuo
Production: Jaakko Ruuska, Aino Ojanen and Hanna Romo

Artistic working group: Jaakko Ruuska (convenor), Mikhail Durnenkov, Hanna Koikkalainen and Pavel Rotts
Production: Jaakko Ruuska


Installation and wandering performance are part of Mit_ä? Biennale 2023. Joensuu Museums produces 2023 Mit_ä? Biennale in collaboration with the Kuopio and Mikkeli art museums and the Saastamoinen Foundation.

The wandering performances are produced by Other Spaces -collective.