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Artists' Association MUU » Olga Palomäki: Anthropocene
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Olga Palomäki: Anthropocene

Olga_palomaki_parallel_landscape_II_0015www20 Feb – 29 Mar 2015

MUU Studio

Opening Thursday 19 February, 7-9pm. Welcome!

The Anthropocene, ”age of man”, is an unofficial, proposed geologic epoch. It refers to the period in time in which the human race has acted as a natural force and had a global impact on global ecosystems. Some scientists claim that the official epoch – the Holocene – had ended and the Anthropocene began after the industrial revolution at the end of 18th century.

The word is often used to remind us that we, as a species, have a significant impact on the world surrounding us, and that we should not underestimate the ecological responsibility that we have. The word also reminds us that we are not, in any way, separated from the nature.

The material of the sound and video works in the exhibition has been recorded in built environments. Palomäki has made field recordings in noisy areas. During a field recording session near a coal-fueled power station by the sea, she noticed something was missing. The silence and the absence of the birds was haunting. There actually was no vegetation or animals at all. The earth was so polluted she could smell it in the air. It all seemed unreal. The place suddenly felt as if time stood still. It felt like she was the only living creature in the whole area, or had moved into the future, to a time when the human race had ceased to exist.
After this experience, Palomäki started playing with the thought of creating “a soundtrack of the end of the world”, or “a soundtrack of the Anthropocene” – a collection of soundscapes that consist of man-made sounds. She decided to make recordings in places that somehow reflect the environmental issues related to the Anthropocene.

Parallel City is an ongoing soundscape project. The soundscapes are based on field recordings made in contradictory sonic environments in Helsinki. Parallel City consists of modified sounds recorded in places with high levels of industrial noise. The noisy places Palomäki has chosen to work with are located in the otherwise silent areas near nature. Each soundscape consists of sounds recorded in one defined area.

Parallel Landscape (2013) and Parallel Landscape II (2015) are glimpses into the world created by the soundscapes. In the video works, the abstract forms merge into the representational imagery. The sounds of the videos are based on field recordings.