Antti Laitinen to build Mätäjoki Armada
The internationally known visual artist Antti Laitinen has been chosen to carry out next spring’s joint project between the IHME Contemporary Art Festival and Helsinki Youth Services. The artist will invite young people and other residents from around the Mätäjoki River to Kannelmäki Youth Centre to open-access workshops where they will build to build bark boats. “The participants will send out a fleet of bark boats that they themselves have made down the Mätäjoki River to conquer the world,” is how Laitinen describes his Mätäjoki Armada project.
This year’s IHME Workshop, co-produced by IHME and the City of Helsinki Youth Services, will take place for the second time in Kannelmäki, carrying on the work of the artist in residence working with the local Youth Centre. As in previous years, the project is linked to the main production for next year’s IHME Festival, the 2018 IHME Project. The commissioned work to be shown at the Festival is the Swede Henrik Håkansson’s film THE BEETLE, which puts the spotlight on a threatened species of beetle, the halavasepikkä (Hylochares cruentatus), which lives in Vantaa. The water channel, which changes from the Mätäoja ditch to the Mätäjoki River, connects the beetle’s neighbourhood, i.e. Kaivoksela in Vantaa, with Kannelmäki in Helsinki. The fleet of bark boats created in the IHME Workshops will draw attention to the riverbed, which is the home of numerous rare species and a rich, natural outdoors area for the residents of both neighbourhoods.
Antti Laitinen is a visual artist, who is known, for instance, for the birch forest that was cut down and reassembled at the Venice Biennale. He has also built his own island, an iceberg, and a bark boat that will bear its maker’s weight, in which the artists has sailed from Finland to the coast of Estonia. Nature affects the shape of Laitinen’s works and provides material for them. The IHME Workshop project is his first work that he will make together with the public.
The collaboration between the Festival and Helsinki Youth Services has been going on in the form of the IHME Workshops since 2012. In the Workshop projects artists have created a new concept of an artwork to be realized with young people. Previous IHME Workshops have been run by Meiju Niskala, Otto Karvonen, Sasha Huber, Kari Cavén, Eero Yli-Vakkuri and Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger. The goal of these low-threshold activities is to get young people to join in, to create a community using the means of contemporary art, and to let the young people express their ideas. The IHME Workshops take place at Youth Centres in an attempt to reach especially those young people who are unfamiliar with contemporary art.
More about the workshops.