Where the Ocean is the Sky, 2022

The artwork was chosen as a finalist in the Global Design Graduate Show 2023 and the Austalian Hatched! National Graduate Show 2022

Multimedia installation

3-channel video, sound, polycarbonate, plywood, water

The title, Where the Ocean is the Sky, is a wordplay representing two homes of mine; Finland and Australia – on opposite sides of the globe; one’s ocean is the other’s sky. Furthermore, my name is connected to the work as the original meaning of my name, Soile, comes from the “movement of water” – like moiré that resembles liquid or ripples in water. The work investigates the concept of not belonging through the lens of ‘inside(r) ‘/’ outside(r)’ in the form of illusion and interference, drawing on my personal experience of isolation and alienation as a Finnish national living in Melbourne during extended Covid-19 lockdowns.

The general perception in the world is that Finn’s desire to avoid verbal or physical contact is such a common tendency that it is rooted in the culture. In fact, there is a proverb that goes, “Silence is gold, talking is silver,” which suggests that one should remain silent if they have nothing insightful to offer. This impression may lead one to believe that, as a Finn, I was less likely to experience the social isolation brought on by Covid-19 limits and less in need of companionship. However, as an extrovert, my experience of alienation was exacerbated by cultural profiling. This juxtaposition of alienation and wanting to belong is repeated in my work’s stochastic and rational patterns, while the use of the Finnish language is intended to replicate my experience of alienation for the non-Finnish-speaking viewer.

A core visual element of the work is the moiré effect, image interference between two or more superimposing patterns or grids at different angles that clash, creating a wavy interference pattern. The work explores overlapping sound wave patterns in different forms created from words related to the subject matter in my native Finnish language. By altering the frequencies, I have created a soundtrack that recreates digitally formed soundwaves, reflected back to their natural form on the surface of the water. A custom-made sound pool will trigger the sound visible by generating physical, visible waves in response to sonic sound waves.

The artwork embraces and examines the interference that occurs when technology and nature exchange properties, rational and random patterns interpenetrate, and regular structure produces irrational effects.

Words: Home, Love, Friendship, Family, Distance, Memories, Longing, Outsiderness, Isolation, Strength, Weakness, Powerlessness, Lost, Loss

Note: The videos’ sound is designed for a low-frequency range to be played with a subwoofer. A headset, earbuds or a speaker capable of low frequencies is required to experience it fully.