An experimental documentary film, which is a part of an video installation in the following exhibition project:

A photo documentary about a Faroese metal band 2008-2010

A photo documentary about and made together with the Faroese metal band SIC. I am portraying the everyday life of the band on the Faroe Islands. To these images there are also intertwined more outstanding circumstances from the band's tour in Europe and from other musical scenes.

The Fighters They Bleed -exhibition was on display at the Photographic gallery Hippolyte in Helsinki, Finland in December 2010. A version of the video installation was screened in SIC's Fighters They Bleed -album release concert at the Nordic House in Faroe Islands on August 21, 2010 and in an exhibition at the Performance Center in Suvilahti, Helsinki in June 2012.

See exhibition photos and installation shots of the exhibition at the Hippolyte Gallery:

Video is in HD quality, 1280 x 720 P, duration 49:22. Copyright: Eija Mäkivuoti & SIC.


The Faroe Islands is a small country in the Atlantic Ocean. It lives in the cross-fire of conflicting influences between two Nordic cultures: the islands are an autonomous region belonging to Denmark – just like the Åland Islands in Finland. The country’s thousand years of history still exert a powerful influence on the minds, identities and society of the Faroeans, who are an intriguing combination of the present and a lost, traditional world of the past. Both aspects have their place in the life of the islanders: they are not ashamed of their roots and are proud of their culture, which they are nevertheless boldly modernising.

In a three-year documentary project, Eija Mäkivuoti photographed the everyday life of SIC, a metal music band from the Faroe Islands. The project tells about the people of the Faroe Islands, their identity, and the islands themselves. The life of musicians and the metal music scene in the Faroe Islands are both essential parts of the story. Music is the driving force and one protagonist in the narrative, its importance indisputable in the life of the characters. Apart from everyday life, Mäkivuoti has also documented more unusual situations, following the band on tour and to other arenas in their life, living with them in tour buses on the road across Europe, onstage and backstage, in the recording studio, at an album release gig and the music festivals in the Faroe Islands.

SIC is a creature that gets its strength from the collaboration between individuals and their families and friends. SIC is a family, it is a weapon to combat prevailing conditions on a personal level. It is a way of taking your life in your hands and not giving in when faced with difficulties. It is a Utopia and an ideal, and while reality can at times be different, persistence and perseverance are both goals in life. Sometimes the goals do not mesh, and even irreconcilable differences arise at times.

Mäkivuoti’s viewpoint is subjective: she participates in the life of the people she photographs, in good as well as bad times. Her approach seeks to be simple, impartial, interactive and intimate. She has lived the situations on equal terms with the characters in the pictures. She participates in their life frequently to avoid the fascination and romanticising that easily arise in the initial contact. She also discovers a lyrical quality which develops into a ballad – a dark tune tinged with gentleness and comedy. The important thing is to tell the story from the person’s own perspective, with all the randomness, directness, roughness and humour that that entails. The pictures reveal the close contact between the photographer and her subjects, their brotherhood/sisterhood.

Fighters They Bleed tells the story of people who are close to the photographer, yet live a thousand miles from here. We are separated by the Atlantic Ocean and a language barrier lowered by English and other Scandinavian languages. The language of the Faroeans has no word for ‘fighter’, so SIC sing in English. Western (popular) culture, membership in the same subculture, and friendship – these are the glue of togetherness. In these pictures, Mäkivuoti sees also herself (we also see ourselves?). According to sosiologist Julia Kristeva, if we accept the Stranger in us, we are also able to understand the strangeness of other people. There is an Other in all of us, a little Viking or metal musician – we just need to find the contact surfaces to meet it.

The Helsinki-based artist photographer Eija Mäkivuoti (b. 1972) works with long-term photo documentary projects.

Acknowledgements: SIC, Konstsamfundet, Helene och Walter Grönqvists Stiftelse, The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands / Urd Johannesen, TUTL, Kulturkontakt Nord / Berlgjót Jónsdottir

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