— Sula
interactive installation, 2021

Barbara / November 19 – December 9
every day from dusk till 1:00 AM
screening on the building

An interactive video installation that merges footage of maritime landscapes, melting icebergs, cruiser ships, and the surface of human skin shot with thermal camera, together with live images captured with a webcam monitoring the space in front of the projection.

The movements of viewers and passers-by registered by the webcam activate Max/MSP programming which morphs the live-video layer. The image ”melts” into particles and returns into its original composite form, when there is no movement in front of the installation. An ever-changing, defrosting and melting landscape refers to processes in nature: warmth and motion which result in changes of the climate, in growth, decay and regeneration. There is no life without movement and warmth, though too much of them endangers life.

Sula was created remotely and organically, during a time-intensive process. As its inspiration and a functional environment for the first phase of its remote creation served Synthesis, Pawel Janicki’s patch in Max/MSP, a kind of engine to combine movement, interaction, and various sources of image and sound. Synthesis also gave title to the institutional collaboration between Helsinki Artists’ Association (HAA) and the WRO, in the framework of which Sula could be created. The Synthesis project’s main objective was experimenting with sustainable possibilities of remote collaboration during times of pandemic and climate disaster.

Finnish visual artists Anna Nykyri and Kaisu Koivisto, chosen from among entries to the open call for ideas organized by HAA, were given access to Synthesis, and were encouraged to learn programming. When working on the concept of their first interactive installation, Nykyri and Koivisto – who have never worked together before – developed a new creative alliance of artists and experts around them. They invited Marko Tandefelt and Joaquin Aldunate, both creative technologists and concept designers to create a framework for exploring the possibilities of programming in a supportive, diverse working environment.

The Max/MSP patch used in Sula was originally created by multimedia experience designer and media artist Federico Foderaro, who has given the working group the access to freely experiment with it and modify it for the needs of the resulting Sula installation.

In the process of working on Sula, we asked ourselves if and how art could respond to the demand for a sustainable, environmentally conscious, zero-carbon life? What were the implications of the (post)pandemic regime of limited resources, inability to travel, and direct contacts for the idea of co-creation, co-authorship, and collaboration? If and to what extent a model based on temporary alliances between artists and art institutions, their interactions across borders, mediated by video chat applications, could enrich formats of creating art and experiencing it by the audience?

Out of these processes Sula emerged as a site-specific interactive installation in two locations, the Oodi Central Library in Helsinki (4-29.11.2021), and on the glass façade of the Barbara Culture Zone, as part of the WRO Media Art Biennale REVERSO (19.11-5.12.2021) in Wrocław.

Sula / Defrost working group:
visual artists: Anna Nykyri and Kaisu Koivisto
creative technologists and concept designers: Marko Tandefelt and Joaquin Aldunate
Max/MSP Sula programming: Anna Nykyri, Kaisu Koivisto, Marko Tandefelt Joaquin Aldunate
initial Max/MSP patch: Federico Foderaro
initial inspiration, Synthesis patch: Paweł Janicki
curator: Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka
coordination and production: Anna Puhakka, Helsinki Artists Association (HAA) and Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka, WRO Art Center

Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Municipality of Wroclaw, Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture AVEK / Media Art, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Arts Promotion Centre Finland / Uusimaa, Finnish Cultural Foundation and the City of Helsinki.

Special thanks:

Juuso Laatio, Risto Vuorenrinne

Kaisu Koivisto (FI), Anna Nykyri (FI)

Anna Nykyri is a visual artist, documentary film director and screenwriter, she lives and works in Helsinki. Nykyri holds an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Art and an MA in Choreography from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. Nykyri uses moving image to create documentary films, cinematic video and sound installations, and choreographic environments. Her works often explore political and corporeal themes, covering questions of gender, power, and control.

Kaisu Koivisto is a graduate of the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, where she lives and works. Her practice, rooted in the environment of her activity and inspired by the harshness of the northern climate, raises questions about the human relationship with nature and traces that technologies leave in it. She is interested in the past sites of geopolitical attention – abandoned military and industrial complexes, eroding and coexisting with biological life. She works with video, photography, drawing, sculpture and installation. Impermanence and transformation of materials link her screen works to spatial realizations, geometry, ornament, organicity are elements of her signature aesthetic.

Paweł Janicki (WRO)

Paweł Janicki — a member of the program team at WRO Art Center — draws mainly on the achievements of music, contemporary and media art and posthumanist practice — but he constructs forms different from the existing ones. He engages a wide spectrum of techniques, approaches and protocols: creates works using synthetic senses, programming techniques — also in the modern, cognitive incarnation — and elements of space and material engineering. An important role in Janicki’s creativity is drawn from historical and current contexts — in particular the perceived history of art and something that could be called the history of thinking.

Zoom out


online / May 13, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM