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The concert I went to on September 30th gave me a good reason to come back to these pages, after a long silence. I thought of doing it many times, as this year was rich in transcultural experiences, but too often they passed rapidly away without letting me the time to stop and write.

To speak the truth it wasn´t properly a concert, and that was quite a surprise. The second surprise was the space, in the undergrounds of the Helsinki Music Centre, originally the Reharsal Hall. Before entering it, the audience was invited to let their shoes and to wear slippers. Which put us in a relaxed and playful mood. When we stepped in, it was clear why we had to: the hall had a beautiful almost white wooden floor, so smooth that our feet tended to skate. The purpose was to avoid unnecessary noise while moving through the hall, but the place also forced our respect for its silent architecture. A rectangular space, almost empty, with dark high walls, covered with beautiful wooden structures. Inside only a few red sofas and cushions here and there:

walk_ed1

Juho Laitinen, who organized the event for his fifth and last doctoral concert, measured the space slowly walking barefoot around the hall. We had been told it was possible to move during the concert, but most of us simply took a sit on the sofas. The concert began. With Pavese´s words, from the poem La voce:

Each day the silence of the lonely room

closes in on the gentle rustle of gestures

like air. Each day the small window

is opened, motionless, to the hushed air. The voice,

hoarse and sweet, won’t break this cool silence.

And with Phill Niblock´s Harm, the cellist being lifted on a platform on one side of the hall, the sound amplified on 8 channels around the audience. At first it seemed too loud, but in no time the whole space began to resonate, as slow variations of the same rich, double-stops sounds unceasingly repeated. It actually took a fairly long time before anyone dared to move. Jukka Tiensuu did it the first, and for cause. A composer with an endlessly curious spirit couldn´t miss the possibility to experiment how the music sounded in this unusual situation. He´s one of those visionary minds always ready to step into something unknown. As Juho himself. Jukka began to walk along the walls, and slowly some of us changed listening position. It was great to seat on the floor and listen to the music with own´s body, hands, feet and legs on the vibrating surface. The hall was a huge resonance box. Everything happened in a dim light. Some people closed their eyes, some layed on the floor, along the walls. These abandoned bodies, in a sleepy position, reminded me of the dead ones in Ghouta. Even though I avoided to look at the photos of the corpses, they were in all the news. And in our nightmares (and bad consciences).

Juho was assisted by an effective team, Pauliina Hulkko (dramaturgy), Timoteus Ruotsalainen (lightning design) and James Andean (sound design).

Actually every piece in the programme was played in a different location, and it was fairly unpredictable where the next one would begin. It was interesting to see how the audience reacted: the more the music had “traditional” content, the more the audience reconstructed a “normal” concert disposition and didn´t move at all. It was the case with Juho´s Three naïve pieces, in which he plays and sings, referring half-ironically half-tenderly to some musical topos.

After the classical contemporary virtuoso piece Trema (by H.Holliger), there was a funny interlude with Juho´s RhythmiCone Jam:

Juho_James_rytmikone

A jam session with James Andean and the rhythmicon, an instrument invented by Henry Cowell in the ´30s, now played through Max/MSP and LogicPro. As the sounds were scattered around, coloured lights at the back of the players turned rhythmically on and off, the sounds becoming more and more blurred.

It was a full contrast with the following works, Kurtág´s three pieces from Socrates Farewell (2000): intimate, concise music. Juho played it sitting on the red sofas side by side with the audience, a courageous and right choice. It underlined both the intimacy of the situation and a real sense of community. Even more as he invited one of us to read aloud the poetic texts from the programme: Neither (by Beckett/Feldman), some phrases from Meister Eckhart´s writings and a beautiful love poem by the Indian classic Vâlmîki. We were invited to read the latter silently, by ourselves, a perfect preparation for the music to come:

O gentle breeze, please blow over my beloved’s face and then return and caress me, while her touch is still warm upon you

With Michael Gordon´s Industry we discovered yet another space and another listening point, as who wished was allowed to climb up to the gallery:

plays_ed1

The event closed as it began, with La voce, now within the intense music by Louis Andriessen – one of the very few pieces where the musician reciting a text doesn´t bother but enhances the music. It was played in the dark, just a candle burning in front of the player.

It was a unique event, combining meditative attitude and experimental art. Before leaving the hall, we were given a text, nothing less than… a Manifesto of Sounding! To be fully published in november. It begins as follows:

Reality and music are one and the same thing. We call this Sounding. (…) At the base of music is the original sound: cry, sigh and hum. Sound is organic, physical vibrating and touching matter. It is a bodily fact, to which the spirit is united (Juho Laitinen 2013)

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Happy first birthday to the concert series Tulkinnanvaraista ! This strange Finnish word is a juridical term meaning both “Open to interpretation” and “debatable”. A meaningful start for a new music season dedicated to experimentation, improvisation and electronics, born in autumn 2011 on the initiavive of the composers Juho Laitinen (cello & composition) Kimmo Hakola and Juhani Nuorvala, founders of Curious Musicians

Curious musicians

Open to Interpretation holds one concert a month at G18, an elegant hall in one of the Swedish minority clubs of the capital. The atmosphere of the concerts contrasts nicely with the fairly classical location, a building more than a century old.

G18_valzer

As Juho Laitinen puts it: “I want people to hear the thrilling and profound   music that wells forth from the springhead of experiment, improvisation and the composer-cum-performer (…) There exist alternatives to the composer-work-performer-audience model, more equal ways of sharing music“. Juho is a manifold performer, committed to research about his instrument and its never ending extensible techniques. He is also the inventor of Kallio New Music Days, independent new music weekend, on January 25th-27th 2013. ” I personally am extremely interested in the performer’s personality, memory, psychophysical make-up and so on, and I want to bring out this subjectivity instead of the more objective interpretation of works. I have a quite concrete interest in the performer’s own voice“.

This was particulary evident in this autumn first concert, featuring the soprano Piia Komsi and the electronic music composer & performer Robert Piotrowicz. Piia is a well-known musician, being in the peculiar position of a singer with a cellist´s background; and sharing her talent and voice with her twin sister Anu: both unforgettable in Kaija Saariaho´s beautiful duo From the Grammar of Dreams, on texts by Sylvia Plath . Both sisters´s personalities are outstanding and enthralling, each in her own way. The concert began in a startling way, with John Cage´s Solos for Voice No. 47 & 13: short imaginative works, in which the composer explores human voice´s possibilities and plays freely with words from a mixture of languages. Piia´s wide coloratura voice and personality was at once displayed.

PiiaKomsi_vcl

But in the second piece she gave proof of all her skills, with the first performance of Sky Shopping – Hommage à Brahms, by Jovanka Trbojevic. There she needed her cello too: it was interesting to listen to both her real and her instrumental voices melting together. I often wondered what is the relation between a string instrument´s player voice and his/her sound: I believe there is a close connection, as in playing a string instrument all the person´s motricity, personal way of moving and so on, are deeply involved; everyone has a different one, a peculiar rhythm of the gestures and own way of speaking, pausing and so on. Jovanka´s work was written for Piia and fit her nicely. It was a tasty combination of comic motives and imaginative ideas: all started from a conversation Jovanka had with Anu Komsi, listening to a concert of Brahms´ 2nd Piano Concerto. Not exactly a cultivated one, soon turning to something much funnier, from dresses to Brahms´sentimental life: ” I wrote a kind of nonsense text, with romantic connotations and sarcasm towards contemporary values. I wrote names of clothing items, with exaggerated excitement of shopping, and scientific names of cloud types in Latin, with descriptions of their heights and shapes, and of consistency of different cloud classes.”

The first part of the concert closed in a total different way, with Heinz-Juhani Hofmann´s Two Memory Traces for soprano and cello. The composer is the author of the text as well, but an utterly tragic one: a detailed description of his father´s death, in a German hospital. The voice expressed the unfathomable moment with uncompromising crudeness and anguish.

Robert_Piotr_medium

Following the Tulkinnanvaraista formula, the second part of the evening featured a guest from abroad working with electronics, this time the modular synthesizer composer & player Robert Piotrowicz: as he explained the following day at the Sibelius Academy, his instrument is “something between a pitch shifter, a ringmodulator and a kind of phase modulator”. He played two works from 2011, Formations and Pneuma: in both there was a well-balanced combination between sense of form and improvisation, a gradually enriching soundscape resulting from the superimposition of the transformation techniques the modulator allows. The two large loudspeakers in the front provided a good sound, probably better for people sitting near, a bit too loud for the others (often a tricky thing to find the right balance in new spaces!) As in other soirées of the series, it was nice to listen to analog, a bit rétro electronics, in this all-digital world. And it was interesting to observe the hall change as the music went on (both pieces were fairly long). See the crystal lamps glitter in the dark, while this multilayered music filled in the space more and more.

Concert and demonstration are available on YouTube @: http://www.youtube.com/tulkinnanvaraista

The OKFestival week closed on September 22nd with an inspiring side event, the Good Map Summit, a seminar organized by Cindy Kohtala and Helsinki Green Map at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. As the organizers put it: “Whether they are interactive location-based technologies or beautifully hand-drawn cartography that captures a place’s uniqueness, maps are everywhere“. Designers, geographers and thinkers gathered in Kiasma to discuss how to use technology to enhance local business, environmental quality and a new sense of community. A special guest was Wendy Brawer from Green Map System, a featured speaker at the OKFest as well.

Good Map summit Helsinki 22.9.2012

The first project presented was Green Riders, a platform which makes possible to freely share car rides. Founded in 2010 by Željko Bošković and his team, this online and mobile service helps people to easily find car rides, with the aim to reduce CO2 emissions. Free for private users, it also has a business edition for companies, which is increasing its activity. One would expect Finland to be one of the less motorized countries in Europe, but it´s not the case: the number of vehicles is rapidly increasing, in 2011 being almost 3 millions over a population of about 5.4 millions (car density per capita is anyway lower in the most inhabited areas of Finland, as this Europe motorisation rate map shows). Italy was the second country with most cars in 2010, after the US. It´s a poor consolation to see that it also has the highest amount of natural gas cars in Europe. France is doing even better than Finland; the less motorized European areas are between Northern Germany and Denmark and the lest ones in Eastern Europe. There is more and more need to track emssions, which in many countries is becoming also obligatory. Instruments are being developed, such as Global Reporting , or the company targeted Carbon Disclosure Project, and Green Riders might be of help as well.

Pekka Sarkola, geodata expert and entrepreneur, guest programme planner for Open Geodata at OKFest, talked about different kinds of socially useful online mapping: Blindsquare is a derivation of Foursquare, the site which helps you to locate services and exchange points in your neighbourhood. It allows people with sight handicap to locate for ex. cafés or post offices by maps they can hear. Other useful ideas are the Light Map,  showing the concentration or scarcity of artificial lightning. Or noise level maps, showing how noisy a place is.

Green Map discussion at Kiasma

But the most interesting platform is Open Street Map, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005, with more than half a million volunteers worldwide. Using Google Map as a basis, OSM activists tag the maps with all sort of useful information. In emergency situations OSM proofed to be an important tool, locating in real time the collapsed buildings, but also schools, hospitals and so on. In OSM anybody may add his/her own information, add the maps attribute info tags (highway, cycleway, building, residential etc.) – “a democratic, but also an anarchical idea”, according to Pekka. Contrarily to what we may think, “there is a huge work left to do, there are many missing areas, streets, paths” still waiting to be mapped.

Pauliina Seppälä presented Cleaning Day, a citizen initiative “for friends of flea markets and recycling”. A worldwide event, it took place for the first time in Helsinki in May, and a second time on September 8th. The town´s streets, parks and yards filled in with people selling whatever unnecessary they had at home: the idea is to clean up your home and enhance the culture of re-use in the place of that of endless consumerism. Cleaning Day too would not be possible without a customized Google Map, where you can see (and add) the nearest available marketplaces. Second-hand culture is quite popular in Finland, in many Helsinki districts (as in Töölö or Kallio) you can find cozy shops with furniture, clothes etc.

Green Map local food icon

But the funniest moment of the day was a practical one, a walk in Kiasma area to find out where are the points of environmental interest: the task was to tag them on a mobile map, using the Green Map icons, a set of icons developed by Wendy Brawer and her team: an international platform founded in 1995, Green Map gathers people of local communities to make them more conscious about sustainable everyday choices. Map making is not limited to internet users but it is also encouraged as a manifold handicraft activity, by drawing, painting, sewing and so on. Our action too was carried out with non conventional means: we used blueberry organic colours to tag the places of green interest! Thanks to Elissa Eriksson, from Multicoloured Dreams, who provided the colours, and to some patient architects and designers, we cropped and painted the icons on the ground in front of the shops. An ephemereal idea, considering the autumn rains, but the results are still visible on this web map.

Icons making at Lasipalatsi, Helsinki

Part of the idea was also to tag outdoor places suitable for new artworks: the Multicoloured Dreams art group invites people to find their town´s places in need of a more coloured look. Whoever may become a street artist, previously contacting the City Architect for permission. Contributing to own town´s outlook is also a way of caring about it, hopefully diminishing the acts of vandalism and indifference (such as throwing litter on the street, an increasing problem in Helsinki).

As reported at OKFest Sustainability Stream, Green Map initiatives multiply in Europe: Four Bees Hive (4BsHive) is a transnational project involving four river cities, Bristol, Berlin, Budapest and Bistrita. It was made possible thanks to Grundtvig, an EU programme supporting non-vocational adult education. For a recapitulation of OKFest Sustainability Stream have a look here.

After Simon Rogers´ talk, combining equally classical journalism and data expert skills, the day continued with a number of interesting presentations.

Farida Vis talked more about Reading the Riots, a research about the role of rumours during the London riots in 2011: it is also a research about people´s behaviour in social media, a study case about Twitter (which would deserve further investigation, what Farida promised to do in the future). A fundamental contributor to this work was the Italian data journalist Jacopo Ottaviani, working at Il Fatto Quotidiano and The Guardian. Jacopo´s work focuses on sensitive social issues, such as prisoners´conditions of life in both Italy and the UK: the study in Italy shows prisoners´ main causes of death during the last decade, that in UK focuses about the rate of suicides in British prisons. An example of how data journalism may increase social conscience.

Farida Vis at OKFest

The next speaker was Esa Mäkinen, one of Finland´s prominent data journalists, working for the only daily national newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat (by the way the main one in Scandinavia). It´s interesting to note that HS wants to be a pioneer in data journalism, on the model of The Guardian and other much larger international newspapers. HS has been organizing Data Journalism Hackathons [1] in the last two years, with the idea to find people with technological skills, keen to collaborate for their website: journalists, programmers and designers, meet for a day, working at their own project; the best ones get the possbility to be developed and published on HS website. The next HS hackathon (no.6) will takes place today at the OKFestival!

As it was more times pointed out on Tuesday, data journalism is drawing more and more attention among the readers, who are eventually both attracted by the visualizations and the interactive possibilities (choose freely what to look at, at which country, age group and so on). So it is becoming more commercially appetizing for news agencies, while more traditional reporting forms are rapidly disappearing (see art and music reviews!) Mäkinen said that the HS website has about 1.4 million visitors per day, a remarkable number. Finland is a highly technological country, online apps such as the election machine (helping you to find the candidate more near to your views) have been existing since at least 15 years.

Mäkinen´s team next project is an interactive poll about the brand new building of the Helsinki Music Centre, with questions about its aesthetics and functionality, utility/need for citizens and so on. Looking forward to the results!

The Hungarian Júlia Keserű presented K-monitor, an internet portal aiming to detect corruption levels in the press: she reported about a couple of censorship scandals in her country, where journalists were fired for having revealed links between the finance world and first-row politicians (the Prime Minister or his entourage). The portal aims to detect media ownership control and measure advertiser´ influence.

An inspiring talk was that held by Maya Indira Ganesh and Emma Prest, from the Tactical Technology Collective, an NGO founded in 2003, based in both Germany and India, with regional staff in South Africa, the UK, Jordan and the Philippines. The organization aims to give technological support to rights advocates who work about sensitive social issues, such as sex workers´ conditions in Asia. The research, Sex worker voices, illustrates the acts of violence sex workers endure in West Bengal and Cambodia. In such marginalised communities modern devices as cell-phones are the only means to let others know what happens. The data collected include locations, display of the facts in time (how frequent they are and so on), and especially who are the people involved: in most cases police officers were among the offenders, in first place along with madams, and only in minor percentages customers and landladies. Thanks to this programme sex workers became more aware of the scale and nature of the violence within their communities. They found out that some of the data contradicted their own beliefs. The data also revealed how the stigmatisation of sex workers is reflected in the kinds of violence they face.

OKFestival newsroom

The American researcher Lesley Kadish showed that a dataset may also be composed by historical, archive material, such as diaries, account books, photos from the XIX century (A Christmastime Ledger Book, 1862). The video visualization showed the same landscape (Fort Snelling, Dakota) as it was supposed to look through different historical times.

There were also a couple of open geodata presentations, by the Finnish team Ali Kaapro and Tiia Palvimo, and by the Dutch team of Juha van ‘t Zelfde and Maurits de Bruijn: the latter project, Shippr, was started a few months ago and regards the tracking of ships all over the world. A kind of FourSquare for ships, the idea may have economic, social, environmental implications – as 90% of the world trade happens on the seas. Through dynamic data and locations the application may help to understand better the tangible global economy, in its real time changes. Shippr is now looking for partners, e.g. telecommunication companies such as Sonera. Shipspotting may also be important as a form of citizen journalism, a chance to report facts on a free, voluntary basis. As it came out from the numerous questions, the world of ship traffic is anyway not always a transparent one: if on one hand ship are registered and it´s not so easy to change their names, containers may transport anything, their content does not need to be specified, which gives space to illicit trafficking. One question was also: could you track military ships?

Last but not least, Victor Miclovich from Uganda, talked about the use of technology in developing countries: in extreme situations nets of mobile phones are fundamental to detect the most violent, dangerous areas; or help in case of epidemies such as the Ebola fever, which recently killed many people in Africa in a short lapse of time. Applications such as u report – voice matters or rapidFTR, are useful to find children lost in war areas. Miclovich collaborates with various NGOs, UNICEF and so on.

Miclovich conducted also another project of social relevance in Uganda, to encourage girls and young women to use technology and programming. Girl Geek Series is a series of workshops where girls learn to code and design open-source software: in a male-dominated area, they learn also to work in teams, gain self-confidence and hopefully start a business on their own later on. In spite of their families´ opinions, often not so positive, as in many other areas of the world.


[1] Term combining the words hack and marathon

The great day has come, after nine months of intensive sketching and organizing, the Open Knowledge Festival opened today in Helsinki, at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Since the very first moment one could sense the warm and open atmosphere, a bunch of young enthusiasts welcoming the visitors with a smile (not such a common event at these latitudes!)

Everything was OK, from the design of the scenography to the original badges, cut out in wood or coloured plastic, a creation of the Helsinki Fablab of Aalto Media Factory and Massimo Menichinelli.

The first Plenary Session was attended with tangible emotion by a varied international audience, which naturally melt with Aalto University population, already multicultural at the origin: young and less young experts and open data enthusiasts from Europe, U.S.A. and every corner of the world.

Before the opening

A multilayered hi-tech experience: not only the presentations are reproduced in live streaming, but it is possible to comment what is said onstage in an open instant chat (active during morning sessions): both people physically and virtually present can interact with the event. A few subjects and questions are selected and proposed to the speakers. And many of us reacted on Twitter at the same time: a fun experience, which nevertheless makes one wonder about what it means nowadays to listen and to communicate, in an era where we can´t anymore simply talk to each other, but need screens both for illustrating our ideas and receiving them. Anyway the atmosphere was relaxed and elated, and technology undoubtedly allowed us to express the emotion to be part of an uncommon event.

Internationally well known speakers inspired the audience with a few words about open data: “the challenge is how to use open information to solve the issues we have in front of us: the challenge is not in data availability, but in the use we do of it” (Rufus Pollock)

“Technology is a tool: policy wonks meet tech geeks”; “reach citizens directly, prioritise the needs of the users”, “give people access, select what is relevant to them”; technology enables “to collect essential medicines via SMS in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia” (Martin Tisné)

“Collecting useful data, as allotment data” means to investigate “what people care about, such as growing their own vegetables”. Possibility put in discussion “in spring 2011, with the threat to the UK Allotment Act (1908!), followed by an overwhelming popular response” (Farida Vis)

The following day was dedicated mainly to cook, in a truely professional large kitchen, Aromi. We anyway divided ourselves between our computers, to check out the last data, and the kitchen. Shortly after it was time for presentations, carefully documented in photos and videos. A fast, almost immediate passage between reality and its virtual duplicate!

In the process some aspects had to be abandoned, for both lack of time and need to reasonably limit the research and make communication and visualization possible: I had to drop the hypothesis about the decrease of energy consumption, as a complex element which would need further investigations (in some cases no clear decrease is registered, even though the industrial production diminishes). Also the idea of saunas lay on the ground, with the puzzling question of how many they actually are in Finland (waiting to be answered in the next project!) The two aspects were eventually linked, in the case that sauna were used for both cooking fish and personal hygiene, with a reduction of energy consumption.

The task of the day was much more visual-oriented than I expected, as someone used to express mainly in sound and words. It was nevertheless extremely interesting to try to change perspective, to consider a totally different approach. Finally the composition of the dish was a pleasantly silent moment, voiding the mind from the strict data comparisons.

In this respect the idea of the workshop was really good: cooking food is putting one´s hands back into the real world and one´s feet on the ground, after all the hypothesis and speculations arisen from the data. And the task, using data (as any other abstract material) to generate something utterly concrete and physically enjoyable, was a meaningful one. As it often happens, more ideas came after everything was over, such as visualizing in the dish the dimensions of the three factories considered (from Western Finland, Ostrobothnia and Lapland), the relations between number of employed/unemployed people, the impact of the loss of the factories on the regions (more dramatic in less industrialized areas, as in Kemijärvi, Lapland), and so on.

The tasting was another nice social moment, in certain cases a challenge – not always amazingly visually presented food tastes as one would expect. The most éclatant case was Rossana´s cocktails, a study about suicide rates in Finland, Germany and Italy, where the proportions of alcoholic drinks depended on the most consumed ones in the three countries. In general the dishes were really tasty and colourfully multicultural, and finally even the cocktails found their estimators! Check out here for the final results.

The moment implied the rapid destruction of the works, in a merry mixture of creativity and destruction – a mark of the transiency of life. In this I feel much less pessimistic than Bauman[1], who complains that nowadays works of art are not thought any more to last, but to be rapidly consumed, as everything else. If this may be partly true, on the other hand using perishable or recycled materials goes on the contrary in a more natural direction, dropping the Romantic idea of art as eternal. As the ancients said, panta rhei (everything flows). A wiseness also Oriental philosophies teach us again. Without necessarily attaching to this natural phenomenon a negative sense.


[1] Z.Bauman, op.cit., p. 186

The OKFestival, which is bound to be a success, with its 800 tickets per day sold out, opened last weekend with a tasty “satellite event”, the Open Data Cooking Workshop. An idea of Pixelache and Berlin Prozessagenten, the workshop has drawn together a varied bunch of people: we were asked to bring a favourite, meaningful ingredient, with some cultural or affective importance.

Ingredients Table

And to choose a field of open data interest, among the many options collected by our open data magician, Miska Knapek: from environmental data, such as the levels of radioactivity still present in Finland after Chernobyl (1986), to energy consumption; crime statistics, social housing, elections and so on, from the 15 topics of the Statistical Yearbook of Helsinki 2011, and many more. Mostly local data, from Helsinki and its region, but also from Finland at large, with wide possibilities to put them in comparison and/or in contrast with similar/different situations in the world. Something Moritz Stefaner (one of our hosts, with Susanne Jaschko) considers the main point: find out something unexpected from the initial hypothesis. Something which makes us reflect about aspects of reality we didn´t know or considered much less crucial.

What does this all to do with food culture? The local approach is one of the keys. What is the relation between what we eat and our habitat, food and society? Here some reference projects.

All this was yet even more about visualizing data with food: exploiting the coulours, textures, temperatures and so on to refer to sets of data, ranging from suicide rates in Finland to the quantity of city rabbits populating green areas in the centre of Helsinki.

The brainstorming continued during the lunch pause, which saw us sit around an old wooden table, with a countryside touch: making concrete the ideas of togetherness and “open collaborative society in a global village” of which spoke Miska during the introduction. The global village was well represented, with people from Russia, U.S.A., Hungary, Italy, France, Greek, Denmark, Finland… hope not to forget anybody!

After lunch we continued in a playful way, we were asked to draw lots from a bunch of subjects and ingredients and put them in connection to get more ideas about the project to realize.

Brainstorming Table

Here we got fundamental help from Antti Nurkka, our culinary expert, and Miska and Moritz, in quality of data wranglers. It was fun to learn something about both subjects, cuisine and data! Quite a surprise to discover, beyond the classical four basic tastes (sweet, sour, acid and salt), a fifth one, umami, the new magic word of nowadays cuisine (actually about one century old but coming known at large much more recently).

Looking for a sense through the hazardous, sometimes pretty absurd combinations we got, was quite a compositional game (not far from an artist´s path during the realization of a project): this mostly drew us to consider totally different subjects from what we initially were interested in. From the nuclear pollution start idea, I began to work about deindustrialization in certain areas of Finland, where the closure of traditional factories, such as the paper productions, has caused large unemployment, with subsequent empoverishment and possible rise of crime rates and sense of insecurity. And it didn´t end here: I was asked to consider also the number of saunas! Quite impredictable data, I bet they are countless and most of the owners wouldn´t be keen to reveal their locations (a quite private and “sacred” affair for a Finn).

This made me think about the possible diminution in energy consumption in these areas: while having dramatic consequences when it happens, deindustrialization may also be an opportunity to reconsider the virtually endless productivity growth we live in. Making us remember that limits exist, enhance us to take more individual responsability on our environmental impact (from having less learning to need less, consume less and so on).