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LUX Helsinki 3.-7.1.24: Carbon flows into the artwork

Lux Helsinki light art festival in January 3-7 2024 brings together science and art, when artists Teemu Lehmusruusu and Roberto Fusco connect to the research data of the CO-CARBON project in their work. 

The biggest challenges of our time — such as, for example, climate change — cannot be solved by technical means alone. They are man-made and linked to prevailing values ​​and culture, and therefore they should also be approached with the help of art and creativity.

The makers want to spark a discussion about sequestering carbon in cities and invite all city dwellers to see the light art work named Lungs, which combines science and art. It visualizes and makes it experiential how carbon circulates in Helsinki’s “lungs”, i.e. green areas. The measurements of the CO-CARBON research project are transformed into a map of the invisible Helsinki with the help of art.

Roberto Fusco and Teemu Lehmusruusu‘s experimental documentary Lungs, which will be shown in the Esplanadi park at the Lux Helsinki festival, was created in cooperation with INAR, the Center for Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Helsinki, and Aalto University.

Lungs is a computer-created animation based on laser scanning data and carbon flow data. Laser scanning is a method that provides accurate, three-dimensional information about the terrain. The artwork brings you to experience the invisible events that take place in urban space: the functioning of ecosystems and their importance in the city’s climate resistance and livability. The art work uses INAR’s carbon measurements on the roof of the Helsinki Tower and on the Kumpula campus.

“In Helsinki, we constantly measure the flux of carbon dioxide, i.e. how much carbon dioxide is transferred from the earth’s surface to the atmosphere through man-made emissions or from the atmosphere to the city’s vegetation,” says Professor Leena Järvi, director of the CO-CARBON project. “The original purpose of the data we collect is to find out where and when the most carbon dioxide emissions occur. We also strive to obtain independent data on the evolution of emissions over long periods of time,” adds Järvi.

The team of the project’s deputy director, Professor Ranja Hautamäki of Aalto University, got the idea of ​​illustrating the invisible but vital process of carbon sequestration with art at Helsinki LUX. Hautamäki approached the artist Teemu Lehmusruusu, who works as a doctoral researcher at Aalto’s Department of Art and Media and who in his previous works has studied the illustration of ecological processes based on multidisciplinary researcher collaboration.

“I hope that the work opens up to viewers the importance of Helsinki’s green areas as the city’s lungs and as a vital part of a climate-resistant and biodiversity-promoting city,” says Ranja Hautamäki.

The art work Lungs can be viewed at Lux Helsinki, Esplanadi park, 3.–7. January 2024 from 17:00 to 22:00.

Lux Helsinki presents a diverse range of different forms of light art. The theme of the festival this year is “Science about art”. Works can be seen in the heart of Helsinki, Hietaniemi cemetery, cultural centers and Korkeasaari zoo. Last year, the festival had around 120,000 visitors.

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