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Artist group IC-98’s staircase artwork Mare Tranquillitatis has been installed at Aalto University

The artwork makes the three spiral staircases of the School of Business a zone of tranquillity and silence.
IC-98:n taideteos Mare Tranquillatatis Kauppakorkeakoulun kierreportaikoissa
Clock capsules containing mostly mineral samples have been embedded in the mosaic steps of the concrete spiral staircases. Photo: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

The winner of the staircase art competition of the School of Business was published in May 2019. The invitational art competition sought to find proposals for artworks to be installed in the three spiral staircases of the building. The artist group IC-98, Patrik Söderlund and Visa Suonpää, won the competition with their competition proposal Mare Tranquillitatis.

In IC-98’s artwork, the spiral staircases form zones of complete silence, which serve as places of calmness and encounters in the here and now. Clock capsules containing mostly mineral samples have been embedded in the mosaic steps of the concrete spiral staircases. The clock capsules make us an inseparable part of a continuum of billions of years and urge us to consider our responsibility for the living and material basis on which we have built our civilisation and its institutions.

The name Mare Tranquillitatis refers to the Sea of Tranquillity on the Moon, which was formed at the same time as life on Earth began. From the perspective of the lunar Sea of Tranquillity, the Earth is a blue planet in the middle of the vacuum of space: an iconic reminder of the only thing we all share.

The piece embodies Human Approach, the theme of the building's public art, which aims to create an inclusive and dialogical experience and to create an open and low hierarchy working and learning environment. 

The background of IC-98 (Patrik Söderlund and Visa Suonpää) lies in cultural research and visual arts. Throughout its 20-year career, the group has produced artist books, site and situation-specific projects and interventions, animations, films and commissioned works. IC-98 received the State Prize for Visual Arts in 2009 and represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 2015. The recent works of IC-98 deal with environmental damage, the posthuman era, and the possibility of all species coexisting within the framework of Posthumanist thinking.

More information:  
Outi Turpeinen  
Aalto University, Art Coordinator
[email protected]  
050 4314194   

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In 2017, Aalto University decided to comply with a one per cent art principle in its building projects. The art percent is a funding model for art purchases, where approximately one per cent of a building project's funds are allocated to art purchases. The one per cent art principle was first applied to Radical Nature art concept in Aalto University’s main building Dipoli. The vision of public art at Aalto University is to address and raise questions about what it is to be a university, what we do together in society, and what constitutes the public. Public art is site-specific and connects with the diversity of the university and its post-disciplinary communities. Public artworks reflect this diversity through different art forms, materials, techniques and traditions.

Kellokapseli, joka kiinnittää meidät erottamattomaksi osaksi miljardien vuosien jatkumoa. Kuva: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto-yliopisto
The clock capsules make us an inseparable part of a continuum of billions of years. Photo: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University
Vitriinissä on kirja Aristoteleen Etiikka (1716). Kuva: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto-yliopisto
The zones of complete silence, which serve as places of calmness. Book of Ethics of Aristoteles (1716) in the vitrine. Photo: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University
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