Eight Rooms is an eight screen video installation that deals with the trafficking of women as part of international sex trade.
International human trafficking is a phenomenon that exists in the shadows of globalisation and in which Finland also participates. This trade in women – mostly from ex-Soviet nations but also further afield – is perpetuated by thousands of ordinary Finnish men, and yet it remains relatively hidden and unspoken in our society.
The installation ‘Eight Rooms’ consists of eight synchronized DVD-video projections that have been filmed in hotel rooms. The screens create a circular space inside which the audience views the work. Each screen depicts a different hotel bedroom into which a cleaning lady enters to perform her work or tidying the beds and smoothing out the sheets. As the cleaning goes on, a narrator – a young Russian woman – describes the dramatised feelings and experiences of trafficked women. These brief, plain monologues, when juxtaposed with the ordinary and familiar hotel rooms, emphasise the everyday nature of this phenomenon. As the stories continue, the cleaner continues her own invisible work, cleaning the same rooms over and over again.
The installation uses images, sound and space to create a claustrophobic and sometimes uncomfortable environment that mirrors the experiences described in the narrative. The viewer becomes a physical participant in the installation, in much the same way that they are a part of a society in which trafficking takes place.
Eight Rooms is the third part of the Rainio & Roberts’s video If you could see me now. The first part of the trilogy – Borderlands (2004) – examined the Finnish-Russian border, while the second part – Angles of Incidence (2006) –dealt with the experiences of refugees in Finland.
Eight Rooms is a part of Rainio’s PhD research at the Elomedia Doctoral School for Audiovisual Media in the University of Art & Design in Helsinki and University of Lapland.The work is supported by:
The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture AVEK
The Art’s Council of Finland
POEM, The northern film and media foundation
written, directed and edited by
Minna Rainio & Mark Roberts
arts council of finland