photo: Anders Sune Berg, courtesy of Kinotar Oy and Mika Taanila, The photo is taken at dOCUMENTA (13) in June 2012.

The Most Electrified Town in Finland

ArtistMika TAANILA
Material/ Technique3 channel video with 5.1 ch. sound
Size/ Duration15 min.
Copyright NoticeMika Taanila 2012 © Kinotar/Elotar
Year of acquisition/ donation2014
DescriptionBorn in Helsinki, Finland in 1965. Lives and works there.

After studying cultural anthropology at Helsinki University, Taanila created short films, video works, and photographs depicting scenes of a future that might be described as “techno-utopia,” moving back and forth between reality and fantasy. Because technology is at the epicenter of contemporary society, it has become a major theme of art during the process of modernization. Taanila’s works contain factual information that is not connected to a definite narrative, but he takes an experimental approach that could be described as creative documentation.

Olkiluoto 3, a nuclear power plant being built on Olkiluoto Island in Eurajoki in southwestern Finland, has attracted attention as the first nuclear power facility to be constructed in Europe since the accident at Chernobyl. "The Most Electrified Town in Finland" is a video installation based on documentary footage of this construction project. The video projections on three screens juxtapose images of a gigantic building far beyond human scale, the natural scenery of northern Europe, and scenes of daily life. This combination of images creates an uncanny effect and reveals the reality of an unprecedented reduction in the scope of human existence. It shows how people are constrained by powers too great to be visualized and an extremely complex social structure, unable to escape from a disproportionate emphasis on efficiency and economic growth. It is significant that Taanila focuses on a nuclear power plant, a structure that symbolizes contemporary society. The sounds that reverberate through the room may cause the viewer to recall the oppressive conditions of early twenty-first-century Japan, site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident in 2011.