Hanna Maria Anttila’s media art work Last Birds is an homage to the industrial glassblowing tradition and the skills of a glassblower. The piece was shot at Nuutajärvi village, where the oldest glass factory in Finland was located until 2014.
The storyline revolves around a young glassblower Kirsi Anttila and her family. In the core of a glassblower’s craftmanship are delicate motor skills combined with quick reaction speed and the ability to negotiate with the designer of the product. Kirsi Anttila worked at the Nuutajärvi Glass Factory for over a decade, collaborating with e.g. the renowned Finnish designer Oiva Toikka.
The glass factory was the main source of livelihood in the area and the heart of the Nuutajärvi village for over two centuries. It had an important role in the production of Finnish design and art glass, influencing the national image and the creation of the Finnish design brand after the World War II. However, the community specialized in industrial artisanry begun its swan song as the factory’s codetermination negotiations to lay off staff started in 2013. Nuutajärvi is a typical example of a small locality that loses its livelihood, based on specialized skills, in the hands of globalization and the pressures of streamlining. The changes taking place in the community surrounding Kirsi Anttila speak also about a larger societal shift which affects us all.
Hanna Maria Anttila’s Last Birds follows the final working days of the Nuutajärvi factory, the life of Kirsi Anttila’s family, the last spring fete at the village school and the abandoning of the factory. The production of Last Birds has been supported by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland and AVEK/Elena Näsänen.