Niskanen & Salo: Focal Point, 2018. Photo: Mark Niskanen

Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo: Focal Point 

Focal Point is a three-minute installation by Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo. Consisting of light, sound and variable temperature, it is designed to give the viewer an impression of travelling towards the Sun. The installation is designed to be experienced alone.

The viewer sits in a chair and dons a pair of headphones. The intensity of light begins to increase, accompanied by the sensation of heat on the skin due to heat radiation. The sound in the headphones transitions from suggesting a vast, desolate indoor space to an acoustically open outdoor environment and back again.

The key component – focal point – of the installation is the viewer’s subjective experience and momentary solitude. The experience produced by the work is intensely visceral, even emotional. It also provides a contrast to prevailing conditions – winter darkness.

Mark Niskanen (b. 1991) and Jani-Matti Salo (b. 1984) have worked together as an artist duo since 2015. Combining light, sound, video, internet and everyday objects they create situations and settings for fleeting encounters. During the past year they have exhibited their work at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan, the Helsinki Festival, the Art Quarter in Budapest, and the CASA Gallery in Brooklyn, New York City. In 2019 they will be artists-in-residence at Mana Contemporary.

This winter, a new public artwork by the duo will be unveiled in the Baana cycle corridor at the Lapinlahdenkatu underpass in Helsinki. Entitled For the Passer-By and constructed in a standard advertising light box, the work is based on motion and ephemerality, and will appear different to every passer-by.

The production of Focal Point is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike).