The United States of Finlandica
We are currently witnessing the emergence of new philosophical and historical category – post-truth. The changes in the tone of political debates, appeals to emotion, fake news, intentional disinformation, biased media, attacks on democratic principles, and information warfare – are the dangers identified by scientists, politicians, philosophers as well as intelligence agencies.
Konsta Klemetti’s installation work, portentously titled “United States of Finlandica” is a commentary on Finland’s public discussion, media critique skills and particularly those overtones that glorify the hard-edged Trump-era political discourse. The ones which forget to take into account the vastly different political, geopolitical and societal systems as well as the machinations of disinformation that may operate on multiple biased and concealed agendas.
In this artwork, Klemetti addresses the issue of international migration, which has been on the rise in recent years. On the crosshairs is the fact that the idea of building border walls has become appealing and a quite recent historical trend going hand in hand with the raised fear of terrorism and growing nationalism. After 2015 the walls seemed to be emerging in multiple destinations over the world, most prominently between USA and Mexico. Similarly, visual signs of identity politics have emerged as strong branding vehicles, especially for the far-right and other propaganda machinations.
Statistical evidence clearly shows that the effect of walls can be seen in the increasing number of deaths, both in USA-Mexico border and European borders after their fortification. Additionally, the fortified 1000 km wall between US and Mexico is causing “ecocide” as animals can’t freely migrate, causing deaths of many species en masse. Border barriers only work as symbolic means to politicians that they have done something visible.
The artwork brings forth the consequences and distorted realities of relying on biased information that has emerged especially in the social media in the past decade. Crisis is seen here as the crisis of identity on a national level, an insecurity caused by the crisis and fueled by the crisis. The exhibition features a “news” video where the long and lonely border between Russia and Finland has a steel wall between them, and the Finnish flag re-imagined as resembling US flag, with seven heraldic lions representing the seven Regional State Administrative Agencies (aluehallintovirasto).
Konsta Klemetti is a Helsinki-based multidisciplinary artist, curator and a writer. His most recent works include sound art installation “Finland sounds like…” for Helsinki Festival and the book Game Designer Confessions, which maps out design methods of Finland’s successful game designers.