A laboratory of change

2005, MUU 15 years, Helsinki Kunsthalle, Finland

Collaboration with biologist, researcher Antti Halkka, size: 360 x 240 x 240cm
Texts on the outer walls: Heraclitus, G.W, Bush
Inside: research information of climate change,commentaries by politicians.
Video shooted in Narsaq ,Greenland
What if it becomes too much like a science centre?
I ask Anni during our discussions on the relationship between knowledge and art. I won´t produce anything like that, says Anni and she gives me a stern look, I think. We chose climate change as our topic. I have some figures. graphs and descriptions. Anni flashes images that in art reach out beyond twisted shapes and numbers. The time frame is as least a thousand years. We notice that the discussion on climate change was started two and a half thousand years ago by the philosopher Heraclitus. He was interested in the elements and their relationships, especially fire.
—when fire comes it will sift and choose and has everything in its power, wrote Heraclitus
Climate change is caused by the fire in motors and power plants, combining carbon with oxygen and turning it into carbon dioxide. CARBON DIOXIDE???ASK S A LAYMAN ??? The eternal partner of fire is spreading everywhere, covering the world under its heated blanket. Fire reveals to us what it means to all share the same atmosphere.
—The invisible conjunction stronger than the visible, Heraclitus would say. He might also say: Deprivation and abundance. Or: Man is his own downfall.
How to describe how the world has changed already, although the change is only being transferred from the research results to reality? Which reminds me how Anni tested by skills of observation by showing me a painting by Pieter Brueghel the elder
— Can´t you see?
I thought it looked like an ordinary seascape. But then I noticed that Brueghel has painted a tiny little angel plunging into the sea in the middle of the dismissive scene.
All future images now carry the added feature of climate change, something you can´t see unless you pay attention, or wish to see it.
The atmosphere connects Europe and the coal-fired power-plants of the United States with the tiny islands in the Pacific that might disappear from the face of the earth like Atlantis. In the North the Inuits lose the ice shelf, the basis of their culture, and Africa suffocates in sand, while Finland loses the fells that have no place to go. Forests cover the roots of the ancient mountains. And in the world millions of animal and plant species face extinction.
— All things are exchanged for fire, and fire for all things, as wares are exchanged for gold, and gold for wares, says Heraclitus
As first we thought we could present and ice igloo where the ringed seal would have her pups in february 2005.
What would it be like in 2105? This sanctuary remained in history, but the massive machinery of climate change with its continents and glaciers started floating in our minds. Climate change, the dismissive agent, as time itself, tests both you and us, big and small. For a moment, we were united in this work of art. The world is yours and ours.
Our laboratory of change sees world as one. it belongs to all of us. We use precise research information, photographic material, commentaries by politicians and representatives of industry and so on, looking for equivalents, causal relationships between factor and agents. An actual space is created, where change and the connections between seemingly isolated issues come to the fore.
We use text, sculptural elements, video images and drawings to present the changes. To reject it would also require a joint effort.
— The sun, new every day, says Heraclitus.
Antti Halkka