My works draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including philosophy, literature, history, and science. I use various media, such as video, sound, performance, digital technology, and movements to create works that explore the complexities of our lives. I am interested in the ways in which we construct our social lives, and how individuals negotiate their place within this structure. I am also intrigued by the power of the human body and mind to transcend physical and mental boundaries. My work aims to provide viewers with an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences in relation to the themes of identity, power and social structures, and potentiality.
I seek to challenge established norms and create a space for critical dialogue and reflection.
What would you like to know?
I can see the question.
You want to know,
Where I’m from
Where I’m ‘from’ from
Where I’m really from
Do you want the long answer?
Or the short one?
Being. Decoupled. uncovers how Sam’s own being has materially changed over time in response to encountering a radically different environment, language, and culture. Decoupled from his origins, this performance, Being. Decoupled uses masks and creates layers that transform and translate into new beings. These masks leave traces that can be traced or not. Each beginning becomes an ending, and the cycle repeats - but what comes between? Being. Decoupled explores the separation between East and West and how that has left marks and memories, and how that has been embodied.
Through body, movement, music, words and choreography and composition this performance presents fragments of the experience of the artist’s life.
I'M AFRAID TO LOSE ME
This project was to make/device performance about Dignity based on Francis Fukuyama’s book Identity and B.F. Skinner’s Beyond Freedom and Dignity. It will contain two dancer, and one musician: a cellist.
The project was a collaboration across multi discipline to seek understanding of what dignity means to us. What kind of sounds arise and how movements can deepen our understanding of Dignity? There is a fabric that connects these performers, representing our mind, and our self-portrait. The choreographer (Sam Vaherlehto) was aiming to create a durational, movement rich and meditative work.
The inner sense of dignity seeks recognition. It is not enough that I have a sense of my own worthy if other people do not publicly acknowledge it or worse yet, if they denigrate me or don’t acknowledge my existence.
Fukuyama, 2018. Identity: Contemporary identity politics and the struggle for recognition. Profile books.p.10
Esteem and respect are related terms. We esteem behaviour in the sense of estimating the appropriateness of reinforcement. We respect simply by noticing. Thus, we respect a worthy opponent in the sense that we are alert to his strength. A man wins respect by gaining notice and we have no respect for those who are “beneath our notice.
Skinner, B.F., 2002. Beyond freedom and dignity. Hackett Publishing. P.52
WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM?
You're at a party or family get-together where you’re meeting all kinds of new people. You meet someone new who seems a little different from yourself. You're curious about their cultural background, and are tempted to ask: "Where are you from?" “People were asking me where I came from as they analysed my appearance and accent. Before I could answer, the guessing game begins… Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore - but none of them would fit in with my nationality, even though Thailand would be the closest in terms of my ethnicity.”
While you might not hesitate to ask the question, because you mean well, asking where someone is from (or worse, where they're "really from") is both loaded and personal. It's a query with deeper implications about how we perceive race, identity, cultural identity, otherness, belonging and nationality. It's also a question that people of colour, and anyone with an accent, is likely to be asked often. This short film will tackle this issue through Sam’s artistic point of view.
He is aiming to interview people with multicultural backgrounds to collect different experiences to then play, write, move and share these situations. It is a collaborative film installation where these people would be in the final film if they are willing to do so. Sam is hoping to get more awareness on this complex question of trying to categorise people, race, appearance and belonging. We live in such a multicultural world but even still, minds can be narrow, inflexible or completely closed.
SPORT CLUB VANTAA
Sport Club Vantaa is a gymnastics and sports club operating in Eastern Vantaa. Our club’s groups move around 1 500 participants every year in gymnastics, dance and trickery. In aesthetic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics it is possible to compete and develop skills up to the top of the sport. Sport Club Vantaa has Tähtiseura status issued by Finnish Olympic committee as a recognition of high-quality activities of children and young people. The status is asign of responsible and professional sports activities for children and young people, where everyone can develop their own skills in a safe and inspiring atmosphere.
Sam has develop a long-standing partnership with SC Vantaa, creating choreographies in 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021, 2022 and winning 3rd World Championship. He is also a regular guest dance and movement teacher for SC Vantaa.