Friday, January 18, 2013

More light on Helsinki


More on the Lux Helsinki event but first I must return to the video installation ‘Emergence’ projected onto the Helsinki Cathedral I told you about in my previous post. I managed to be patient enough to upload my two videos on YouTube. The first one was supposed to contain the complete 10-minutes but it is a bit short at the end. The second one, however, is an extract of a couple of minutes from the end including the part I missed in the first one.


We saw many other inspirational lights in downtown Helsinki last week, such as ‘The Blue Line’ in the above photo. It was not part of Lux Helsinki but was launched in December as a joint project of two 2012 festivity organizations marking the closing of the Helsinki World Design Capital year and that of the Helsinki jubilee year commemorating the 200 years of Helsinki as the capital of Finland.

The installation is a laser projection drawing a line from the Helsinki Observatory to the Kallio church tower marking the inner city’s longest undivided street axis, the so-called Union Axis. It was along this street that Emperor Alexander I of Russia came to Helsinki in 1819, seven years after having promoted Helsinki as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. The installation is planned to be active until the end of 2014. They say visibility will be best in foggy weather but I wonder whether it can be seen at all during summer and the light Nordic nights. We will have two summers to experiment with that.


Twinsen Ho’s work ‘Little Spirits’ on the exterior and in the courtyard of the Helsinki City Museum, the Hakasalmi Villa, was inspired by a Finnish book of elves the designer had found at a flea market.


Philippe Morvan’s light and sound installation ‘Cosmogole’ created a solar system of 14 metres in diameter in the amphitheatre outside the Finnish National Opera. This work was previously shown at Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France, in 2011.

Mika Haaranen’s ‘Memory of Stone’ decorated the granite structure that used to be an industrial railway tunnel passing under the Helsinki main street, the Mannerheim street, but now serves as a cycle path.



The impressive light installation on the Olympic Stadium tower changing from basic colours to a colourful spectrum of a rainbow was repeated from last year. It was not only spectacular but also most appropriate for this time and age as the rainbow used to be regarded as a symbol for hope. The work entitled ‘Variant Spectrum 2’ was designed by Jukka Huitila and the laser beam projected from the top of the tower could be seen all over the city.




When I was shooting the tower standing a few hundred metres away by the National Opera House I happened to notice that the colours on the spine-like structure of the tower were reflected on the high glass windows of the Opera lobby in fascinating shapes resembling a lizard or a crayfish.



We also saw the event turn the Hesperia Park into a park of lanterns that were created by dozens of design students plus a few professionals. I’m afraid, the below lantern is the only one I could capture a more or less presentable photo of in those conditions. This was the second year for a ‘Lantern Park’ so maybe next January... I bet if I lived in downtown Helsinki I would walk through the Lux Helsinki area every day during the 5-day event, wouldn’t you?


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