Events News Press
ACT II - 2023
XV Oulu
Highlighting mental well-being in Europe today
Circe Lumo Light Festival, Flow Productions

City Rationale

This is Joyce’s dreaming episode of the unconscious. With the lack of sunlight in the winter months, and reduced snow (light omitting) coverage due to climate change, mental well-being is a huge issue in this northern Finnish town. Cultural organisations work on assisting mental well-being and hope in the winter months through cultural interventions. The Ulysses episode takes place in Nighttown. As does the Oulu Lumo Light Festival.

Ulysses Episode

Episode 15 is written as a play script, complete with stage directions. The plot is frequently interrupted by “hallucinations” experienced by Stephen and Bloom—fantastic manifestations of the fears and passions of the two characters. Stephen and Lynch walk into Nighttown, Dublin’s red-light district. Bloom pursues them and eventually finds them at Bella Cohen’s brothel where, in the company of her workers including Zoe Higgins, Florry Talbot and Kitty Ricketts, he has a series of hallucinations regarding his sexual fetishes, fantasies and transgressions. Bloom is put in the dock to answer charges by a variety of sadistic, accusing women including Mrs Yelverton Barry, Mrs Bellingham and the Hon Mrs Mervyn Talboys. When Bloom witnesses Stephen overpaying for services received, Bloom decides to hold onto the rest of Stephen’s money for safekeeping. Stephen hallucinates that the rotting cadaver of his mother has risen up from the floor to confront him. Terrified, Stephen uses his walking stick to smash a chandelier and then runs out. Bloom quickly pays Bella for the damage, then runs after Stephen. Bloom finds Stephen engaged in a heated argument with an English soldier, Private Carr, who, after a perceived insult to the King, punches Stephen. The police arrive and the crowd disperses. As Bloom is tending to Stephen, Bloom has a hallucination of Rudy, his deceased child.

Homer Odyssey Chapter

Book 10: Odysseus and his men travel to Aeaea, home of the beautiful witch-goddess Circe. Circe drugs a band of Odysseus’s men and turns them into pigs. When Odysseus goes to rescue them, Hermes approaches him in the form of a young man. He tells Odysseus to eat an herb called moly to protect himself from Circe’s drug and then lunge at her when she tries to strike him with her sword. Odysseus follows Hermes’ instructions, overpowering Circe and forcing her to change his men back to their human forms. Odysseus soon becomes Circe’s lover, and he and his men live with her in luxury for a year. When his men finally persuade him to continue the voyage homeward, Odysseus calls for imminent departure. He discovers, however, that the youngest man in his crew, Elpenor, had gotten drunk the previous night, slept on the roof, and, when he heard the men shouting and marching in the morning, fell from the roof and broke his neck.

Public Events

Public Symposium

Artists’ Exchange

This project strand offers short residency opportunities in partner cities for 30 emerging artists as part of the legacy of this pan-European project.

Each city partner will send two artists on a residency to another partner’s city of a different art form, thereby seeking to enrich their professional practice through inter-disciplinary residencies. Artists are chosen on the basis of having demonstrated an interest in the hosting city’s Arts & Society contemporary European theme. They must also practice a different art form from that of the hosting city’s public event. The project offers the emerging artists the opportunity to travel without the pressure to produce work and ideally to experience UEO’s public events.

Confirmed artists’ personal statements and biographies can be found on the relevant city’s page by clicking on the artist’s photo.


Who had pity for you when you were sad among the strangers?

News & updates


Partner description

Lumo Light Festival is organised annually at the end of November by the City of Oulu. Based on light art and public lighting, the festival brings together multiple forms of art in an open city space in an easily accessible way for a large audience. Oulu is a city of strong contrasts – nightless nights of the midnight sun and sunless days in the heart of winter – holding 210.000 inhabitants in Northern Finland. Oulu has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2026.

Flow Productions is an Oulu-based group founded by two dance artists, Maria Littow and Pirjo Yli-Maunula. It is known for multi-artistic work that creates complete experiences for all the senses. The artistic goal of Flow Productions is to create meaningful and shared experiences that speak personally to each viewer.

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