Beyond Wikipedia

I decided to study the public art in Haaga area, since I feel it tells a lot of the community in the area, their values, ideals, structure and events of the history.

There are eight pieces of public art in Haaga area, all of them sculptures or traditional style memorials. This indicates a traditional approach to art, to environment, its use and aesthetics. Which also might tell something about the appreaciation of the traditions and history of the area by the inhabitants.

The oldest piece is from 1918, the following ones are from 1947, 1966, 1969 and 1977, two from the 1980s (1985 and 1986) and the most recent one from 2007. I would link the decrease of putting up the statues to the transformation of overall lifetyle from collective and homogenious to more idividual and detached. However, the most interesting ones in this case would be the pieces between 1910s-1960s.

The oldest piece of public art in the area is the memorial of Kurt Seibt and Arthur Beukert, two young German soliders who died 11.4.1918 in a battle linked to the Finnish civil war. The statue is put up as a sign of gratitude towards them.

The memorial of Kurt Seibt and Arthur Beukert (1918). Intersection of Lapinmäentie and Korppaantie.

The sculpture from 1947 is a memorial of the Finland-Russia wars between 1939-1944. It is highly patriotic and nationalistic in its realistic expression of a traditional hero theme.

The Haaga hero statue (1947). Haaga Sankaripuisto.

The two pieces from the 1960s are  both memorials for local notable persons, both from the religious tradition. First piece (1966) is the memorial of Karl August Wrede (1859-1943), an architect who’s dream was to build Helsinki into a internationally plausible metropolitan. Among other, he planned the ”Wrede Place” and House of Central in Aleksanterinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi. However, after finding his faith, Wrede planned mainly religious spaces. It states in the memorial ”Me and my family serve the Lord”. The seconnd piece (1969) is the grave of Sigurd Stenius (1879-1969), a founder of Munkkiniemi and Huopalahti parish, the muncipality of Huopalahti and market town of Haaga.

The memorial of Karl August Wrede (1966). Haaga Sankaripuisto.

The grave of Sigurd Stenius (1969). Sigurd Stenius park.

All of these pieces seem to contribute to the highly traditional home, religion, fatherland attitude and values. The values, attitudes and athmosphere of the Haaga community is therefore implicitly expressed in the immediate environment of the area and tells a lot of the development of the area and its motives.

 

References: http://taidemuseo.hel.fi/suomi/veisto/hakemistosivu.html

Me, Myself and I: Learning by running

The way I typically get to know any new environment- let it be a vacation, business trip or new home town- is running, and basicaly aimlessly. This leads getting lost, finding new routes and often discovering new places. I have found it extremely fruitful and interesting way of learning the surroundings. Cycling is too fast, you can actually get lost and you have to be more aware of other people  and not able to really focus on the environment and its details; walking on the other hand is too slow for me: there is not enough time to really cover a sufficient area. So running it is!

Reconstruct Haaga Before 17th Century

Cities and smaller urban environments have been analyzed and defined by various disciplines (economy, politics, sociology, geology, history, architecture) in terms of the content relevant to that particular field. However, the associated functions, forms, and structures rarely have made sense of the entity as a living form of networks, production and distribution. These analyses typically only distinguish the organizations and institutions to the extent they control the functions of the city relevant to the point of view, and not as dynamic entities defined by socially negotiated cultural and historical traditions and geographical premises. This is why I feel it is impossible to reconstruct Haaga, or any other inhabited area, in the 15th, 16th, 19th or even 21st century by relying only on one reference, neither to a only one field of study.

The essence of an urban environment is in my mind, twofold: there are both morphological and sociological structures. The morphological structures are those intuitively related to the word ’city’, such as buildings, streets, sites, monuments, squares or neighborhoods, whereas sociological structures include the distribution of the population, its ages and sexes, socio-professional categories, nature, active and passive population, the managers and managed. They are these structures and contents that as an interactive entity form the urban environment and therefore need to be examined as an interdependent whole and not only as relativistic parts of it. Due to this, I feel that we are not able to talk about ’Haaga’ before the first settlements on the area. There has been an area, then maybe another kind of area and then Haaga as we know it has started to develop by the interaction between man and nature. And how relevant is it to use the same name for a totally different environment and social reality—lets say in the 1920s and in the 2020s? Is Haaga?

A society is loosely defined as a group of individuals, who share the same geographical area, typically subjected to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations and are involved in continuous social interaction—though, rarely directly (e.g., Briggs 2000 & Lenski 1974). Notably, societies are not just communities, but communities with settled, organized and controlled site of influence  (Effland 1998). The relation between people and space is complex, but let the structure be more or less permanent, extensive or administrated, a man is inevitably a social product and society a human product. Therefore, neither is pre-existing entity but similarly necessarily and intimately connected; the one constitutes the other. (Berger & Luckmann 1966, 79.) That is why I feel, it is ultimately impossible to consider any habitated are without analyzing the society of it – and vice verca.

References:

Berger, Peter & Luckmann, Thomas. 1966. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Harmondsworth. Anchor Books.

Briggs, Asa. 2000. The Age of Improvement (2nd ed.). Longman.

Lenski, Gerhard. 1974. Human Societies: An Introduction to Macrosociology. New York: McGraw-Hill.