100 MILLION WILL DIE IN 15 YEARS (front),
CIVILISATIONS WILL COLLAPSE IN 40 YEARS (interior)
Why should these texts be hung in the main exhibition of the 55 th Venice Biennale? Shouldn’t these
themes be discussed somewhere else - on the covers of scientific reports, on the news, in
education, or EU campaigns?
These sentences have already been present, but in a way that makes them nearly invisible.
If the purpose is to make people notice and internalise a certain essential message, is it worthwhile
to try to mediate it in the context of art? Isn’t art liable to complicate, overanalyse, and ultimately
dilute messages? Most likely even at the Venice Biennale these sentences run the risk of turning
into meaningless art jargon.
The sentences at hand, and the message behind them, are extreme ones, however. They can be
analysed as an example of not only the worrying development of the world’s condition, but also of
the inability of our communication systems to convey information.
Can we really be content with a perception of art which doesn’t enable the understanding of
essential messages? And if the addressing of these messages isn’t the job of art, what then is the
place and context where we assume they are handled and analysed?
In the context of the biennale it can be possible to make visible the process in which the essential
becomes meaningless, a cry for help turns into background noise. Is this process necessary for
and characteristic of the tradition of art, or has it been assumed into art from somewhere else in
Scientific reports strive to convince us that right now we are making decisions which are central for
the entire human race and all of the planet’s ecosystems. The following years will be the time for
existential questions, questions which deal with the entire way of our being.
The role of art changes as media assume ever more widely the deconstructive practices which
before have been characteristic to art. Surprisignly it’s beginning to seem that the relying of a
simple basic message isn’t possible anywhere else but in art.
Alongside the worry for the environment, our cultural self-understanding is being influenced
increasingly strongly by the disappointment in the ability of economic, political, or cultural systems
to prevent the threats which are most central to our security and to the continuance of life.
Art has striven to find aesthetic, theoretical, and conceptual angles to approach humanity. Through
art, we have also dealt with revolutions, genocides, and crimes against humanity. How does art
react to the messages at hand?
The core of the sentences making up the artwork is that in the end, it is impossible to produce an
answer to them from our present conception of humanity. They question the entire narrative of
modernism (also postmodernism) and demand that we place ourselves outside the current
understanding of humanity and reality. Confusion and loneliness reign in this outsideness, because
our culture hasn’t yet produced a world in which awakening could happen in a meaningful context.
These sentences will be presented at the Venice Biennale because art perhaps has the potential to
create a new conception of humanity, which could challenge the progress which is based on
materialistic consumption and technical rationality, and which most likely leads to rapid destruction.
At least this potential hasn’t yet been sufficiently tested, so that we would know for certain that it
Through the texts the main pavilion of the biennale will be renamed and reinterpreted as a place in
which an extremely essential process of thinking and analysis is taking place. The audience can
ponder the relationship of the texts to the rest of the biennale’s content, and construct a conception
of the ability of art - and also more widely, of communication systems - in the processing of
essential messages, the production of understanding, and the assumption of new modes of action.
Ecocritical discourse is strongly paralleled with feminist and postcolonial reconceptualisations of
history. Can art and the tradition of art represent an alternative to the entire mechanistic-
deterministic writing of history?
The texts also include a possibility in which the biennale and the institution of art are shown as a
mausoleum of the humankind’s development driven to self-destruction and madness.
Thematics of the work has been developed in collaboration with leading professionals of climate
and biodiversity research and political and military foresight analysis in the Finnish Innovation Fund
Sitra's New Security Forum winter 2013-2014.