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Jani Ruscica: Hope is the thing with feathers, 2019. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Jani Ruscica.

Hope is the thing with feathers

© Visual Artists Association Kuvasto

Central Library Oodi, Töölönlahdenkatu 4, Helsinki

The video art work Hope is the thing with feathers by artist Jani Ruscica (b. 1978), takes over the information displays at Central Library Oodi. The work comprises nine short, 16-34-second videos that pop up on the information displays from time to time between notifications and event information. The video piece features a coal tit, song thrush, hazel grouse and common teal on their visit to Oodi. The animated birds will move around the architectural space within the library and offer visitors an out-of-the-ordinary, alternative experience. The delicate soundscape of the work consists of birdsong and noises made by the movements of the birds.

Four of the featured species are known to have nested in the Töölönlahti area and moved a few kilometres north due to construction in the area. However, these species can still be found nearby. Ruscica says they wanted the birds to visit the building before it became a library.

Ruscica and their team photographed the interior of Oodi for one day during the final stage of construction and the furnishing of the interior. The material for the work was only photographed using natural light, and you can see that the photographs were taken during a dark time of year by looking at the work. When Oodi is opened, the lighting offers visitors a new experience. The contrast with the atmosphere of the video work and the everyday visitor experience is great.

The name of the work, Hope is the thing with feathers, is taken from the 1862 poem of the same name by Emily Dickinson. According to Ruscica, this choice of name refers to all the cultural content that Oodi serves. The artist is also interested in the different ways language and figures of speech resonate in time, even across hundreds of years.

The work belongs to the collections of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum.

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