UNITY – Witnessing

When discussing creation, we talk about life itself. The human being was created by nature and is meant to be surrounded by it. However, life on Earth in the 21st century is composed of a multitude of contrasting elements. We are witnessing a great spectrum of changes, and the roles of artists are shifting.  

The artist is seen as a catalyst, a vital element for changing peoples’ ways of thinking, and repairing the damage we are causing to ourselves and the planet we’re living on. Through this shift, art becomes a synonym for humanity. 

Climate Anxiety by Anniina Nummela

Site-specific artwork / Photograph diptych  

The climate crisis is placing a heavy burden on our environment and on those who are adamant about trying to preserve it. We live amid a dire circumstance, and the anxieties and the feelings of inadequacy have become utterly overwhelming.   

For a few hours in November of 2020, trees in the woods of Pyynikinharju in Tampere were blemished with strips of red crafting paper, resembling gapping cuts. The red markings stood in harsh contrast against the forest greenery, and the connotations of destruction and pain were clear.  

This work is based on notions of environmentalism and self-harm. The site-specific practices involved in this work were environmentally friendly, and all trace of it was removed from the forest.   

Bioluminescence by Isabella Presnal

Photography Series
2020 – ongoing

The Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped the climate crisis. The climate crisis is the biggest threat of this century and will pose the biggest danger in years to come, in terms of both impact and likelihood, as found in the 2021 Global Risk Report from the World Economic Forum. As said by Jeffery Frankel, if anything, the pandemic has shown that Covid-19 and the climate crisis are part of the same battle, the terrible toll should remind us of the importance of science, public policy, and international cooperation in tackling both.  

This ongoing series aims to look at the connection between the climate crisis and Covid-19 through the documentation of one-use masks found in Helsinki and Tampere, Finland. The photos are extremely color processed to highlight not only how these plastic masks have been poorly disposed of and are affecting the environment, but also how contaminated masks can still spread Covid-19. Due to the pandemic, action to fight the climate crisis will likely be delayed again, even though both are global issues in need of immediate international action. 

Revolution by Yu-Hsuan Harjula

360 Video / 4’00’’

This video uses the advantage of 360-degree video in simulating the process of an animal being poached by humans. This work won the first prize in competition category in DigitalBigScreen 2020.
Music composed by Edgars Zinovjevs

I’ll Still Be There by Jan Pitkäsalo

Moving image / 2’56’’

Jean has to say farewell to a good friend, his plant Rico. Once Jean lets go of him and leaves him, he realizes he cannot bear the thought of losing his best friend, while Rico is the only thing that mattered to him.

“I’ll Still Be There” depicts our relationship with nature through a story about the end of a friendship. Whenever nature tells us something, we just ignore it and barely try to fix things. We are going to realize the aching truth of what we are doing to our planet only later. We will miss everything we take for granted: plants, water and air. However, although we are destroying our environment, there is hope, and there is a chance of saving some of what is around us.

Pitkäsalo tackles the artwork through a comical lens mixed with political commentary. The video was shot in Tampere, using only daylight and the natural environments.

한국의 봄 (Korean Spring) by Lais Glaser

Analogue Photography series

한국의 봄 (Korean Spring) is a photographic series taken across 3 different rolls of film, from February-July 2020, during exchange studies in Seoul, South Korea.

”My first time so far from family and friends, I would be lying if I said it was all fun and games from the start. The first few weeks were filled with social anxiety; but they also made me positively anxious about all the good experiences to come. The Korea I experienced wasn’t the Korea most people experience. It was a country that had just been hit by COVID19, when the rest of the world wasn’t experiencing it yet. All the touristic attractions were empty, and you could see the streets weren’t what they used to be. My goal with this series is to portray Korea under the lens of a foreigner who at first wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, but slowly fell in love with the country and the people she met there.”

Meme Nostalgia by Gabriella Presnal

Acrylic on board / 40 x 40 cm

This project began during the Introduction to Painting-course and started as an interest in pop culture, cultural theory, and some research into nostalgia. The Kermit and Pidgeon meme paintings are wet-on-dry technique and the Strawberry Shortcake painting, or “Peppermint Patty is a Snitch”, and Elmo painting are wet-on-wet technique.

The series is a commentary on how memes and internet culture are now woven into what younger generations are nostalgic for, for example Vines. This is not to say that previous generations did not have “memes” or similar forms of humor, but rather to highlight how in the age of information, current meme culture is as likely to become a form of nostalgia for the generations who grew up with today’s technology.

This project is not in opposition to how memes and nostalgia have been developing, but rather to observe how nostalgia has changed as a result of our surroundings, whether that be technological, political, economic and so forth.

The Narcissism Epidemic by Gustavo Juber


In the book “The Narcissism Epidemic,” Keith Campbell and Jean Twenge describe how society faces an epidemic. It is not corona, but a more disguised epidemic and it has been in our culture for many years: Narcissism. The artist has always been interested in how we communicate, lead issues, and how often we do not take responsibility. We as people create a bubble that we easily conform to— leading us nowhere but ourselves and taking away the power to change things.

“I’ve had a narcissistic personality. Nowadays, I try to understand my behavior, how it affects others, and how the culture, credit, and others affect me. I ask if we want leaders with these behaviors. More than ever, we can see Narcissus, the character that died in his own love in these so-called leaders. Consequently, we see Donald Trump behaving as his actions do not affect others, trying to manipulate politics for his own benefit. The same behavior exhibits in Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or Erdogan in Turkey. This work asks how we look in the front of the mirror with these dilemmas, and how we can understand them and change them.”

ur so cute & Im a creep by Aris Helin

Graphite and charcoal on paper / Digital painting

“ur so cute” and “Im a creep” are a pair of works that looks at today’s party and free time culture and is a satire of media’s popular model trends. 

“ur so cute” is an embodiment of the moment. It touches on how one’s looks and beauty affect their interaction with others, and on how some people like to escape reality. The work contains a mix of graphite and charcoal, where layering has been used to ease the process. 

Im a creep” focuses on the past and memories.  It explores the interactions between different counterparts and how different characteristics have an effect on them as a whole. It is debatable which is the main focus of the image, the viewer or the portrayed girl. The work is done in digital media as a digital painting.  

All content is protected by the copyright law of Finland, copying, presentation or other unauthorized use of the protected material is prohibited. 

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