A Garden, Faraway (for Katri Vala) (2017) is a site-specific, 3-dimensional generative musical composition and installation. It was presented in the Sounding: Underground exhibition at Vapaan Taiteen Tila (Free Arts Space, located under the Katri Vala’s Park) in Helsinki, November 2017.
The composition has been created with the architecture and the sound of the ventilation system of Vapaan Taiteen Tila in mind: the idea has been to use the existing static noise/tone from the large ventilation pipes as the central sonic element and build a slowly evolving musical landscape or “frame” around it. The music is diffused into the space by using some of the pipes as “invisible” speakers, via audio transducers hidden behind the pipes. The slowly undulating character of the composition reflects the architectural design of the two cavernous corridors the music is playing in; it is accompanied by the reflection of hidden, slowly changing coloured LED lights in the second corridor, while the first is lit by warm spotlights illuminating the walls. The overall character of the work is subtle and almost ephemeral: the aim has been to transform the auditory and visual experience of the space into more sensuous and contemplative one, inviting the audience to slow down and allow more attention to the sounds and structures around them.
The piece is a modest homage to Katri Vala (1901–1944), a forward-thinking Finnish writer whose ashes are buried in the park above the exhibition space. Her poem Kukkiva Maa (Flowering Earth), taken from her debut book Kaukainen puutarha (A Distant Garden), inspired me greatly as an adolescent growing up in a small town in Finland, to seek life beyond that offered by the cultural, economic and political environment at the time.
A Garden, Faraway (2017)
Concept and realisation: Ilpo Jauhiainen
Creative consultant: Ava Grayson
Supported by the University of the Arts and the city of Helsinki
All photos by Ava Grayson.