New models for environmental artists #2

Finland’s entry to the Venice Bienale is called Falling Trees, a collaborative enterprise by two artists. Antti Laitinen felled five birch trees in his hometown of Somerniem, chopped them up, and will reconstitute them in Giardini in various architectural and sculptural forms. Terike Haapoja has turned the days into nights and the nights into days for her contribution, by installing living trees inside the pavilion where they will get light only during the nights when the exhibition is closed. For this purpose numerous UV lights had to be to be installed into the ceiling creating an artificial habitat that will nourish the trees off hours. While preparing the Nordic pavilion, the artists found a sycamore growing at the west corner of the Nordic Pavilion that needed to be felled. The tree was severely affected by the fungal parasite ceratocystis fimbriata and threatened to fall over onto the pavilion. The artists are now hard at work trying to integrate this into the installation – an appropriate homage to the sycamore in question and of clear relevance to the theme and intent of their work. Works by Finish artists and documentarians have been of great interest to me lately. I find the way their work approaches the dilemma around the exploitation vs conservation of natural resources very inspirational, as they are asking viewer/participants to come up with their own conclusions in this complex problem.

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