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Helsinki Biennial Sustainability and Art Digital Initiatives 2021 Opens

 Technology Today Bureau

Helsinki Biennial is an international contemporary art event which takes place on Vallisaari island. Informed by Vallisaari – a former military island fusing wild nature and urban heritage – sustainable and responsible values lie at the core of Helsinki Biennial. Free to the public, each edition will primarily comprise of major new, site-specific commissions by leading international artists. Helsinki Biennial embodies the city's ambitious, cultural vision, committed to developing Helsinki's art scene both on a grassroots and institutional level. A major initiative of the City of Helsinki and Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), the biennial is directed by HAM's director Maija Tanninen-Mattila and the inaugural edition, 'The Same Sea', is curated by HAM's head curators Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola. The biennial is further supported by an international advisory committee made up of curators and academics including Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme (ISCP), New York; Lena From, Head of Special Projects at the Public Art Agency Sweden; and Joasia Krysa, Professor of Exhibition Research at Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Biennial.

Considering accessibility, inclusivity, environmental responsibility and potential COVID-19 restrictions, Helsinki Biennial has created an exhaustive online and virtual offering which is bringing the biennial to audiences remotely from 12th of June.

Digital artworks which feature in the Helsinki Biennial can be encountered on the biennial website, including those by BIOS, Gustafsson&Haapoja, and Niskanen & Salo. Selected biennial events will also be livestreamed on social media, and recordings of performance pieces will be made available online, such as those by WAUHAUS, Samir Bhowmik, Meiju Niskala, and Hanna Tuulikki.

Remote audiences can also join live tours with local biennial guides, who will create meaningful, insightful experiences for those unable to travel to Helsinki. In addition, extensive video interviews with exhibited artists will also be available digitally.

Two new interactive VR experiences have been created to transport audiences to Vallisaari island and embrace the biennial's unique location. Produced by award winning Helsinki-based VR studio Zoan, viewers can immerse themselves in Vallisaari's natural surrounds, discover historical buildings and journey through its changing seasons. The VR experiences will be available on the Virtual Helsinki platform, accessible with devices like HTC VIVE, VIVE Cosmos, VIVE Pro, Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest. The experiences is also available for download from Oculus Store from 12th of June.

Through a partnership with Facebook Open Arts, Helsinki Biennial will present new digital artwork, the production of a new podcast series and a live-streamed talk to investigate digital solutions in art, responsibility and locality. More details on Helsinki Biennial's partnership with Facebook Open Arts will be announced soon.

The Helsinki Biennial 2021 participants include -

Paweł Althamer*, PL

Jussi Kivi*, FI


Alicja Kwade*, PL/DE

Pasi Autio*, FI

Hayoun Kwon, KR/FR

Samir Bhowmik*, IN/FI

Laura Könönen*, FI

BIOS Research Unit*, FI

Tuomas A. Laitinen*, FI

Baran Caginli*, TR/FI

Teemu Lehmusruusu*, FI

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, CA

Dafna Maimon*, FI/DE

Kyungwoo Chun*, KR

Antti Majava*, FI

Janet Echelman, US

Inga Meldere* LV/FI


Jaakko Niemelä*, FI

Katharina Grosse*, DE

Meiju Niskala*, FI

Gustafsson&Haapoja*, FI

Niskanen & Salo*, FI/US

Hanna Tuulikki*, UK

Sari Palosaari*, FI

Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen*, FI

Outi Pieski, Birit and Katja Haarla*, FI/BE

IC-98, FI

Mario Rizzi, IT/DE

Uwa Iduozee, FI/US

Rirkrit Tiravanija & Antto Melasniemi*, AR & FI 

Wanuri Kahiu, KE


Marja Kanervo*, FI

Christine and Margaret Wertheim*, AU/US

Topi Kautonen, FI

Maaria Wirkkala*, FI

Tadashi Kawamata*, JP/FR

Zodiak presents: Joni Kärkkäinen & Jukka Tarvainen*, FI

Khvay Samnang, KH

*An asterisk denotes a new commission.

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