I arrived at the yard of this little wooden church in Etelä-Haaga and I suddenly felt warm and comfortable. The place brought back a childhood memory of me and my sister feeding birds in somewhere near Käpylä or Kumpula, I can’t remember the exact place (but it wasn’t this particular place). I started wondering all the feelings and emotions that places may or may not evoke in people. It is interesting, how a place can have many different meanings to different people.
Here I am in front of an abandoned house, where nature reclaims its space back. I have always admired the beauty of the ruins, forgotten places where the marks of time tell their stories. Somehow I feel a certain comfort in deserted houses, I also like to imagine what was its past, what will be its future, what is its present.
In this picture I wanted to be seen as a person sitting in an armchair not unlike one that might be used to watch TV in the privacy of a home. I feel that the armchair is perhaps the most private possible way to sit, which can be nice but also creates a distance between you and others around you.
The armchair only seats one person unlike a couch or a bench that are more open and ”shared”. I wanted to create a sense of disconnectedness from the surroundings, much like what one might achieve by looking at ones smartphone or having headphones on in a public space.
In a way I feel that it is a comment on the need for personal space in the public perhaps epecially charasteristic of the finnish people.
Much like watching TV in an armchair at home, when I am not mentally connected to my surroundings but more with the program I am watching, while going through social media from a smartphone on a busstop I am actually sharing the space with strangers mainly physically and lose most of the mental connection that I otherwise might build with others in the same space. Personal space can be comfortable, like an armchair, but it does little to make you connected to where you are in an urban space.
Water is an important element for me in cities and in life generally. I would never consider living in a non-coastal city. Almost all of my hobbies have been linked to water: diving and spearfishing, sea kayaking, swimming and hiking. When hiking in Lapland streams are usually water that is fresh and safe to drink (I wouldn’t drink water from Mätäoja in Pitäjänmäki where the picture is taken).
A yellow flower, a row of corn, a microcosm of human subsistence. Curiosity gets the better of me and I explore further, eager to learn. There are stark contrasts and calming familiarities. In this foreign land, I am a child again.
I’m on the way to find myself like everything is pursuing a right place in this universe.
As we passed through the green ‘fingers’, I was thinking about the contrast in the way we talk about and experience urban and natural environments. We often talk about ‘overshadowing’ and ‘disconnection’ as symptoms of poor planning in an urban context. However these same terms can take on a positive connotation when we talk about ‘immersing’ ourselves in nature.
Exploring is my tag.
As a urban designer I focus on urban spatial regeneration. When in an unknown area, I’d prefer to hang around and watch details to feel the atmosphere and dig the character of this space.
I’m not good at talking but I believe action can make up it.
this picture was taken with a help of a fellow student who also happened to be finnish and kindly asked this couple of local ladies to take a group portrait picture with me. i have spotted them while they were just landing on a sunny bench in the rhododendron park and chirping. they had matching bright jackets and one hat which caught my attention in the calm deep greenery of long ago withered flowers. they placed themselves on the bench exactly so that one person could fit between them, and i was questioning myself if the ladies would be comfortable with even being photographed, as they clearly wanted their personal space. but after some encouragement and introductions the women turned up to be cheerful and i neatly fitted into the left space.
we were sitting in front of the clearing of a full grown forest where power lines pass connecting west and east. the forest used to be wild until human intervention planted blooming shrubs and layed paths. back in siberia, in almost untouched taiga, stumbling upon such power line clearings is the only way for a lost urban citizen to get back into civilisation, which might be hundreds of miles away.
me, myself and i really liked those two ladies in bright clothes, in a city of helsinki, where folks don’t hesitate to be themselves, but comparatively often prefer dark coloured outfits. maybe i forgot what the task was about, but i figured that meeting some locals enjoying their city and enjoying themselves in it is noteworthy.