His films can be categorized somewhere between the traditions of classic documentary film-making, avant-garde and video art. His most notable films are Optical Sound (2005), winner of the under 30 minute prize at the 2005 Tampere Film Festival, The Future Is Not What It Used To Be (2002) and Futuro – A New Stance for Tomorrow (1998).
In addition to traditional cinematic screenings, Taanila shows his works also in galleries and museum as film and video installations.
Taanila has participated to numerous international group shows, such as Arctic Hysteria at PS.1. (2008), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Berlin Biennale (2004) and Manifesta 4 (2002). Solo shows include TENT, Rotterdam (2013), Galleria Heino, Helsinki (2010), Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2008), Dazibao, Montréal (2007) and Migrosmuseum, Zurich (2005).
In the summer 2012 Taanila participated at dOCUMENTA (13) with a three channel ( 3 x 16 metres) video installation The Most Electrified Town In Finland (2012). The piece uses documentary footage during the construction of Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland.