“The falling words eclipse the birdsong here and there. They are evocative and seek to open a doorway into another dimension. In that dimension a halavasepikkä beetle lying on its back crossing its legs, instead of the human being, is at the centre of everything – and yet this occurs through a human being, through you.”
– Sanna Lipponen on THE BEETLE film, EDIT-taidemedia
“Mika Vainio’s music is for exoskeletons, for Insect world.”
– Professor Jussi Parikka on THE BEETLE film
The tenth IHME Contemporary Art Festival was constructed around this year’s commissioned work, the Swedish artist Henrik Håkansson’s film THE BEETLE. The star of the film, the halavasepikkä – an endangered beetle that lives only in Vantaa – put the spotlight on another species’ experience: Can we understand what it is like to be an animal other than a human? Seen more broadly it prompted us to think about how we as the human species grasp the effects our own actions have on the diversity of species and the state of the planet.
In addition to film screenings, the two-day event at Korjaamo Culture Factory offered a programme of talks, which assessed the relationships between ecology, human attitudes to nature, and art. Finnish author Juha Hurme, who gave IHME’s tenth-anniversary speech, highlighted the importance of language – of the non-verbal kind – in understanding the world’s diversity. In this light one of the Festival’s goals – increasing awareness of the unique insect species in question – was brilliantly achieved via the film and its supporting programme, and people responded to the sepikkä beetle with gratifying interest.
The Korjaamo event, together with art workshops for young people and the Festival’s extension to the halavasepikkä’s habitat in Mätäoja, Vantaa, reached a total of 5000 people. Local newspapers and actors in Vantaa also responded enthusiastically to their very own beetle.
THE BEETLE available online
The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle is celebrating IHME’s anniversary year by enabling more widespread screenings of this year’s IHME Project: THE BEETLE will be viewable on the Yle Areena website from anywhere in the world for a year, until May 25, 2019. Reportage produced by Yle on the first IHME Project in 2009 (Antony Gormley’s Clay and the Collective Body) can also be seen on Areena for a couple more weeks, until June 25, 2018. “This a superb culmination for IHME’s anniversary programme,” says IHME’s Executive Director Paula Toppila.
#IHME2018 thanks all its partners in collaboration and the entire Festival audience. A special thankyou goes to Professor of Entomology Jyrki Muona, whose knowledge and commitment to the halavasepikkä beetle made this year’s IHME Project possible, and to Louhela Jam festival and the Myyrmäki-liike movement for enthusiastically joining in the project. Thanks also to everyone who gave us audience feedback!
Comments on THE BEETLE from the audience:
“It [the film] reminded me of everyone’s part in everything.”
“I became concerned and emotionally affected.”
“The entire nearby meadows [of the endagered beetle’s habitat] will soon be built on, and there will no longer be places for the meadow plants or insects. A couple of years ago a day-care centre and terrace houses were built on the meadow. I haven’t seen a daisy or a bluebell here for many years now. I pass through the area almost every day, summer and winter.”