Endogenous Morphine

Endorphins (the endogenous opioid system) are hormones released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress, producing an overall feeling of well-being, and making it possible to push one’s limits past the inherent psychological resistance to change.

When I was a child, watching the televised Olympics or looking at photo albums of fellow-Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci, I would often notice that every athletic performance which connected with the audience was aimed at one person in particular, someone held within the thoughts or the fantasy of the performer — the imaginative process disciplined the athlete from within, building confidence and self-control into the physical expression of the task, and would often bring victory as a result. (It was in this context of her legendary self-mastery and winks at the audience that Nadia was called “the Carpathian Fairy” in the international press.)

It is generally accepted nowadays that a totally imaginary situation or a self-directed cue can be triggers for hormone release, such as endorphins – which raised some interesting questions as I was watching the Finnish show Dancing on Ice from 2013, won by participants Sauli Koskinen and Nea Ojala. In fact, during the final vote, this imaginative process was revealed almost as if by accident, or as if somehow being “against the rules” (whether that may mean an unfair advantage in the competition, or something more profound hidden from mere mortals living today).

That moment affected me deeply, because I remembered how each time I’d won an intellectual competition, nobody seemed to relate to what I was saying about having an inner drive to be that good. The “Olympic magic realisation” I’d had as a kid didn’t seem interesting to anyone. I’ve never considered them unfair advantages, by the way, as I’ve always been open about that side of me. But most spectators simply praised me for my outward display of abilities, which felt totally empty and meaningless without that connection with the inner world. Now that there was someone else using this kind of magic, the crowd once more seemed to be overlooking the clues. So when the Finnish judges brought up the whole thing on television, it felt surreal.

In order to heal my own pain and frustration, I decided then to ignore the outside completely, and instead explore through art the deeper fantasy implications of the music used by the winning team in the Finnish ice-skating show. I combined that with several dreams I had during that time. Such it was that I came to a mind-blowing realisation… check it out.


  The titles are of my artworks, followed in brackets by the original song titles. The songs can be found here.

1. The Other Side of the World (Maailman toisella puolen). A double meaning: exploring far-away places and seeing the hidden sorrows that exist in the world.  

2. Endogenous Morphine (Aamu)

3. The Black Sea Hypothesis (Drink Up Me Hearties). An adventurous pirate hero is entrusted with retrieving the royal treasures of his people. At his back, the ogre-like pirate villain will stop at nothing to get those treasures for himself. 

4. Old Friends (Wannabe). Friendship never ends. 

5. Sinda (Jai Ho!)

6. A Song about a Friend (It’s My Life). The rabbit in this popular Russian cartoon valiantly defends the wolf from the communal punishment devised for him by native tribes who had seen the cartoon on tv and thought the wolf chasing the rabbit was evil. 

7. United Drug (All That Jazz). Of problematic representations and the dichotomy of intentions vs. bias.

8. (Vogue) 

9. The Call of the Sea (Minä ja hän)

10. Not Through Lack of Vigilance (Feeling Good). There is something in the forest.

11. Black Eyeliner (Nuori ja kaunis). Nuori ja kaunis is a song from the soundtrack of the coming-of-age film Elokuu (2011). The somewhat naïve, contemplative protagonist explores his rebellious romantic self.  

12. The Dragon of the North (Show Me How You Burlesque). Estonian fairytales and pole-dancing controversy.

13. Leviathan (Drink Up Me Hearties – reprise). Channeling angels in the new age.

14. (Sun särkyä anna mä en)

Lyrics | Versuri

Maailman toisella puolen (Haloo Helsinki!) Nyt hihnalle laukku Ja viimeinen kuppi naamaan Kohta pilvien päältä Voin muistaa tämän maan Ei mulla oo tarkkaa suuntaa Mä menen minne sattuma johtaa Mulla on mukana kuvat Mutta katseet eivät kohtaa Isä olen täällä maailman toisella puolen, ja laulan pappadaduda pappappa duudadappa Äiti älä pelkää kyllä pidän itsestä huolen, … Continue reading Lyrics | Versuri