NTS and are proud to present a special anniversary edit of artist Mika Taanila’s infamous 1997 documentary on background music, specially reconfigured for this CCTV online installation. 
This is presented as part of a larger survey of Taanila’s work, taking place at ICA, Whitechapel Gallery, Close-Up Film Centre, Cafe Oto, Leman Locke and NTS (16-22 October 2017).

Mika Taanila (b. 1965) is an experimental filmmaker and visual artist based in Helsinki. 


Music is central to Taanila’s work. His new band, PAKASTEET (with Jussi Lehtisalo of Circle and featuring Charles Hayward on drums), will debut at Cafe Oto on Friday 20th October. Also performing is Bruce Gilbert in a concert organised in memoriam for Mika Vainio.

Vainio, of Pan Sonic, collaborated frequently with Taanila throughout his life, culminating in the score for Tectonic Plate (camera-less film showing at Whitechapel Gallery on Saturday 21st October), and Pan Sonic’s final published work, the score for Return Of The Atom (screening at ICA on Thursday 19th October).
Close-Up Film Centre will open their auditorium for free to the public on 20/10, playing unheard music by Mika Vainio in a pitch-black auditorium, specially mixed by Taanila. Erkki Kurenniemi, the electronic music innovator, and creator of instruments, is subject to the same ‘Listening Screen’ on 22/10.

Full programme information can be found at


This online variation of Stimulus Progression for NTS has been conceived and realised by Mika Taanilla, Anastasia Perahia, Stanley Schtinter and NTS.


site-specific three-channel installation

Director: Mika Taanila

Research and Script: Anton Nikkilä, Mika Taanila
Director of Photography: Jussi Eerola

Sound Design: Pietari Koskinen

Music: Muzak Corporation, Philips Background Music Services, Ray Conniff Orchestra

Production: Kinotar / Lasse Saarinen

Courtesy of the artist and Kinotar

Joseph Lanza, New Jersey, author (”Elevator Music”)
Valle Oikarinen, Helsinki, dentist

Theo van Leeuwen, Eindhoven, background music programmer
Kari Vallilla, Helsinki, muzak distributor

Joseph Lanza, New Jersey, author (”Elevator Music”)

The installation is based on Taanila’s documentary short film Thank You for The Music – A Film about Muzak (1997, 24 min). The documentary events seen on CCTV screens emulate the universal style of anonymous background music, Muzak.

The artist describes Muzak as an urban folk tradition with a schizophrenic function: it is meant to be subtle and inconspicuous, yet at the same time it should stimulate workers and shoppers. “It is meant to be heard, but not listened to.”

The installation of the piece is always site-specific. This online version is a phantom re-configuration, celebrating its 20th anniversary.