[Handwoven linen, concrete, Murano glass and marble tile, cement, inkjet prints from 35mm negatives, cardboard]
Prefab Arcadia responds to the history and development of Tapiola, global icon of postwar avant-garde architecture and "anti-urban urban planning". During a four-month artist residency in Tapiola, I researched the garden city's utopian, socialist ideals in contrast to its evolution as a living community. What emerged were entangled themes such as wellness and normativity, consumerism and aesthetics, privacy and community-building.
Innovative prefabrication techniques born of post-war austerity were employed in the thoughtful architecture and landscape design of Tapiola's neighbourhoods. Through the original placement and orientation of windows and balconies, yards and forest paths, emerged new dynamics of gender, class, privacy, and relationship to nature.
Tapiola has been criticized as an arcadia for the well-off, rooted in normative hetero-patriarchal values, and resistant to change. Although prefabricated towns are notoriously difficult to adapt as populations shift, Tapiola has evolved and sprawled for better or for worse. Informed by many, often contradictory, opinions about Tapiola, Prefab Arcadia attempts to weave a nuanced and ambiguous picture of a complex place.
In the spirit of contradictions, Prefab Arcadia freely combines weaving with photography, concrete, tile, and prefabricated panels. Handwoven white-on-white linen textiles speak to Tapiola's “White Functionalist” style. The semi-translucent designs on opaque grounds evoke windows, walls, and the spatial porousness of Tapiola. One traditional application of Huck Lace would be for window curtains that let in the light while offering privacy within.
Prefab Arcadia was presented at KAMU Museum's WeeGee lounge in Espoo, Finland from December 7, 2022 to January 15, 2023.
Video, editing, and sound by Hannu Karjalainen.
These works were created at Tapiola Guest Studio in the context of the residency exchange program and collaboration by the Finnish Artists’ Studio Foundation and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. The Tapiola Guest Studio and the residency program of the Finnish Artists’ Studio Foundation have been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre of Finland and the City of Espoo. Special thanks to: Joel Young, Riikka Suomi-Chande, Johanna Vähäpesola, Kampparit, Elina Hatakka, the KAMU team, OMNIA Espoo weaving station, Teija Isorättyä, Anusuya Krishnaswamy, Kaisaleena Halinen, Eleni Tsitsirikou, and the Rehor family.
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