Carbon flows into a work of art — Lux Helsinki takes a new look at the lungs of Helsinki

The Lux Helsinki light art festival 3-7 January 2024 will bring science and art together as artists Teemu Lehmusruusu and Roberto Fusco link their work to the CO-CARBON project's research data.
Keuhkot_Lungs_installation at LUX Helsinki
Image: Teemu Lehmusruusu / LUX Helsinki

The greatest challenges of our time — such as climate change — cannot be solved by technological means alone. They are created by us humans and strongly linked to prevailing values and culture, and must therefore also be approached through art and creativity. 

The artists and scientists want to stimulate a debate on urban carbon sequestration and invite all citizens to join them in a light artwork combining science and art. The artwork is called Lungs. It visualises how carbon circulates in the "lungs" of Helsinki, its green spaces. The measurements of the CO-CARBON research project are transformed into a map of an invisible Helsinki through art. 

Roberto Fusco and Teemu Lehmusruusu's experimental documentary film Lungs, which will be shown in Esplanade Park at Lux Helsinki, is a collaboration between the University of Helsinki's Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research INAR and Aalto University. 

Lungs is a computer animation based on laser scanning data and carbon flow data. Laser scanning is a method of obtaining accurate, three-dimensional data from the terrain. The work brings to life the invisible events that take place in urban space: the functioning of ecosystems and their role in the climate resilience and livability of the city. The work draws on carbon measurements taken by the University of Helsinki's INAR on the roof of Hotel Torni and on Kumpula campus.

The CO-CARBON project raises public awareness of urban carbon sinks and other ecosystem services. The project involves Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Häme University of Applied Sciences and the University of Copenhagen. 

CO-CARBON deputy director, Professor Ranja Hautamäki from Aalto University, came up with the idea of visualising the invisible but vital process of carbon sequestration through art at Helsinki LUX.  Hautamäki approached artist Teemu Lehmusruusu, a PhD researcher at Aalto's Department of Art and Media, who has previously explored the visualisation of ecological processes through multidisciplinary research collaboration.

"I hope that the work will open up to viewers the importance of Helsinki's green spaces as the lungs of the city and a vital part of a climate-resilient and biodiverse city," says Ranja Hautamäki.

You can visit the Lungs installation at Esplanade Park, 3-7 January 2024 between 17-22.

Read more.

For more information:
Professor Ranja Hautamäki
[email protected] 

Teemu Lehmusruusu
[email protected]

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