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Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo: A Scene II, 2021. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Niskanen & Salo

A Scene II

© Artists

Kaivopuisto, Helsinki

Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo’s sound installation based on sea mark lights, A Scene II, can be experienced daily from one hour after dusk until sunrise on the observation deck next to the astronomical observatory in Kaivopuisto Park.

On your phone, go to On the observation deck next to the observatory, find a spot with as extensive a view of the sea as possible. Through your headphones, listen to the composition on the website and enjoy the night-time sea view.

Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo create multidisciplinary installations that weave together everyday phenomena and various technologies. The duo’s work delves into the world of the senses, human interactions, memories, experiences of solitude and togetherness, and their associations with global themes. Evolving, the works often take the form of site-responsive, ephemeral situations. Niskanen and Salo are fascinated by framing existing environmental structures into works of art and sharing their authorship with the non-human.
In their site-specific sound installation A Scene II, the artists have assigned every sea mark light offshore in Helsinki a particular musical note. On the observation deck next to the Kaivopuisto observatory, music and solar-powered sea mark lights come together to create a feeling of closeness in what is actually remote. A Scene II follows the planetary movements, beginning an hour after dusk and running until sunrise. The changing weather conditions also affect the experience and make it unique for every visit. On light summer nights, the work can be viewed for only a few hours; in the winter, it can be experienced from the early afternoon.

“For centuries, humans have been navigating by the stars towards new and unknown destinies. At sea, lighthouses have marked a safe route to other humans. Today, satellites direct ships. What will the sea view off Helsinki eventually be like in the future? What autonomous technologies will we leave blinking in the environment, haunting future generations? With A Scene II, we hope to provide a gentle pause in which to reflect on various layers and cycles in time,” Niskanen and Salo explain.

A Scene II is part of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum’s collection.

Niskanen and Salo’s sound installation A Scene II was included in the Helsinki Biennial 2021.

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