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The Project Underground: A Whale

Project Underground: Whales Illustration: Sylvía Lind Birkiland (Icelandic University of Arts, Reykjavik), Ada Rotomskyte (VDA Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania) and Gintare Ruksenaite (School of Arts, Design and Architecture)
Project Underground: Whales Illustration: Sylvía Lind Birkiland (Icelandic University of Arts, Reykjavik), Ada Rotomskyte (VDA Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania) and Gintare Ruksenaite (School of Arts, Design and Architecture)

This speculative design project raises awareness of whales and their hunt. It is a video installation about a participatory activist game in Helsinki metro stations where passengers will need to take action in saving a whale that is projected on a ceiling. The goal is to help the “virtual” whale to stay in the ‘ocean’. Metro passengers have about five minutes while waiting for the next train. People have to work together to press buttons to keep the whale afloat, they must collaborate. The video on display shows excerpts on project visuals as a mock-up projection in the location (Ruoholahti metro station).

According to the team, the project aims to empower people to take action: A great amount of the societal population is aware, somewhat or a lot, of climate change and the impact it has on our natural environment. Project Underground aims to overall shed light on the concept of action above awareness and impact of human activity on the biosphere on Earth. The project does so in a simple symbolic way, where a whale represents the biosphere and the killing of the whale stands for the negative impact humans have had on it. The goal is to make people work together in solving a situation that makes one take decisions and actions quick.

The concept was created during the Urban Space Gaming workshop held in February 2020 at the Aalto Arts. The theme of the workshop, which was funded by CIRRUS (
the Nordic-Baltic Network of Art and Design Education) and coordinated by Tarja Nieminen, was communication and intervention in the public space by means of participatory games and using the act of play.

TEAM:

  • Sylvía Lind Birkiland (Icelandic University of Arts, Reykjavik), Ada Rotomskyte (VDA Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania) and Gintare Ruksenaite (Aalto Arts)
  • Tutors: Tarja Nieminen, Antti Hietaniemi, Ausra Lisauskiene, Sam Rees, Lode Coen and Wulf Livingston

Contact information: [email protected]

The film on display uses parts of the video "Blue Whale Cinematic" by Jasper Cousins.

Hack our habitat

Aggressive urbanisation is straining our ecosystem. Rising construction volume causes massive demand for energy-intensive construction materials, and construction already accounts for 39 per cent of the global CO2 emissions.

Read more
Designs for a Cooler Planet Hack our Habitat
Designs for a Cooler Planet — Helsinki Design Week 2020
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