Helsinki Photography Biennial 27.3.–14.5.2014


Objects on Oil – Mustarinda at the Helsinki Photography Biennial 2014

Oil is the shadow of the Sun, its unconscious manifestation. It is ancient sunlight and, it follows, that all nutrition, photosynthesis and the majority of energy originate in space. While all previous civilisations relied on the white sun, the black fossil sun dominates our thoroughly modern western existence.

Antti Salminen in the biennial publication

The Mustarinda Association has worked on and deepened the theme of the Helsinki Photography Biennial, which this year concentrates on ecological questions. Mustarinda has built a section for the exhibition called Objects on Oil, which evaluates the changes in our concept of and relationship with nature from the viewpoints of archives, architecture, forest, and energy. Objects on Oil brings to the fore the fossil basis of human experience, economic activity, and industrialised societies more widely, and the breaks in our understanding related to this material foundation.

Jussi Kivi, Atmospheric Phenomena - 22 ° Circular Halo above the tank foundations from the series: Gardens & Theatrical Landscapes, 2013 © The ArtistThe causal relationships between human actions and nonhuman objects, which in everyday life have been blurred to near-invisibility, will almost inevitably move from the margins of public discussion to the centre of societal development through climate change and the dismantling of the fossil economy. The works in the biennial participate in the identifying and experiential rebuilding of these connections. In addition, the articles in the biennial publication provide theoretical tools for the handling of the situation and for moving forward.

Objects on Oil will be on show at the Finnish Museum of Photography and at the L3 building in Jätkäsaari. It is in dialogue with the part of the exhibition curated by Başak Şenova called Ecological Fallacy.

The Photography in the Age of Fossil Nihilism seminar takes place on 29 March; there professionals from the fields of art and science tackle questions around the biennial’s themes. You are very welcome to the seminar, which is held at Kaapelitehdas, Hima & Sali restaurant from 11 am to 4 pm.


The teams and artists in the artistic research processes organised by Mustarinda:

Archive – researcher of economic culture Paavo Järvensivu, researcher of literature Karoliina Lummaa, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (curator, The Finnish Museum of Photography) and Sofia Lahti (amanuensis, The Finnish Museum of Photography)

Architecture – architect Martti Kalliala and writer Jenna Sutela

Forest – artists Guy Ben-Ner and Ilkka Halso

Energy – visual artists Jussi Kivi, Antti Majava and Nestori Syrjälä, philosopher Tere Vadén
(Image: Jussi Kivi, Atmospheric Phenomena – 22 ° Circular Halo above the tank foundations from the series Gardens & Theatrical Landscapes, 2013 © The Artist)

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