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The doors to immersive art will open at Oodi


The Media Cube project is carried out in co-operation between Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Helsinki’s Central Library Oodi, Artists’ Association MUU and the University of the Arts Helsinki. The project brings immersive media artworks to the smart glass-equipped Cube event venue of Central Library Oodi.

“We challenged artists to create immersive works – experiences that viewers can dive into. The goal is to find new, interesting and experiential ways to present content,” says Special Librarian Sanna Huttunen.

Over the course of the project, the concept of immersion has been examined in the Cube through theory and practice alike. There have been challenges as well, as the technology has not let the artists off easy. However, the technology also facilitates gamified and interactive experiences in which the viewer gets to be part of the story by touching the characters, for example.

“The library is the home of stories, and we want to provide a variety of ways to experience them. Media art can be used to examine complex matters and themes in an experiential manner. Thus, skills such as literacy are not requirements for experiencing the story,” Huttunen adds.

Media Cube is part of Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s development programme focusing on artists’ expertise and intermediary activities, the goal of which is to highlight new ways to apply artistic know-how.

The first works designed specifically for the Cube will arrive at Oodi in the summer of 2020. The works, selected by the workshop instructors of the Media Cube project, media artist Jukka Hautamäki and media art producer Marko Tandefelt, exhibit witty and quirky humour, hope and sparkle despite their somewhat dark and topical subjects.

July 2020 will see the premiere of Joonas Hyvönen’s (b. 1990) work God’s Flat Earth is Drowning. Utilising 3D modelling, the work examines climate change and climate angst, linking the viewer to a speculative future and propaganda. The work operates between truth and untruth, realism and simulation. The utilisation of a game engine in the generation of dialogue makes every viewing unique.

The project curators are of the opinion that God’s Flat Earth is Drowning makes the viewer think about and explore a variety of factors related to our future: hope, fear, as well as our shared role in keeping the nature of our native planet alive.

What kind of an artist are you, Joonas Hyvönen?

“I’m a visual artist from Helsinki, and I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2016. I primarily work with digital media, especially 3D animation. My subjects also focus often on larger societal phenomena related to digital technology.”

Why did you want to bring this particular work to Oodi?

God’s Flat Earth Is Drowning was designed for Oodi’s Cube from the start. Its digital format – a description of a meeting of sorts – was inspired by the nature of Oodi’s second floor as a public facility and a so-called maker space. The work is also technically tailored around the Cube’s presentation possibilities.”

Learn more about Joonas Hyvönen’s artwork

Ami Lindholm’s (b. 1982) work Oodin Äidit (‘Mothers of Oodi’) will premiere in the Cube in August 2020. The piece is a series of animated moments depicting everyday life and parenthood, especially different aspects of motherhood. In the cartoon animation work, tired mothers become exhausted in everyday situations until the viewer comes to help them. The mother perks up and can cope again. Background material for the work was collected from mothers and families themselves, e.g. through an online discussion conducted before Mother’s Day.

Jukka Hautamäki and Marko Tandefelt comment that Oodin Äidit approaches the viewer and its subject matter with warmth, empathy and everyday humour. It is also an interesting combination of Ami Lindholm’s previous background as an animator, the possibilities of immersive spatial storytelling and the design language of comics.

What kind of an artist are you, Ami Lindholm?

“My job as an artist is to encourage people and give them hope. No matter how desperate the situation, I always aim to find a solution, even if I have to come up with it myself by drawing. In recent years, my art has focused on depicting parenthood and making tired parents laugh.”

Why did you want to bring this particular work to Oodi?

“The work shows the entire broad audience of Oodi that this is what parenthood is like. I want to bring out the exhaustion experienced by mothers and show the tired everyday life of families with children. Everyone is feeling exhausted from this exceptional spring, and it can be a relief to see that others have also had a hard time. The viewer gets to participate in the work to help the parents.”

Learn more about Ami Lindholm’s artwork

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