Artist Sauli Sirviö is an explorer of unusual places
Sauli Sirviö’s works are forms of experimental ‘documentarism,’ created by methods incorporating observation, exploration, collection and archiving. Sirviö will spend August–September 2019 in residency in New York surveying the city’s hidden infrastructure.
Sirviö’s background is in photography, which he studied at the Lahti Institute of Design before taking up master’s studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, from where he graduated in 2015. Sirviö still uses photography as a basis for all of his works, but has gradually moved more and more towards three-dimensional expression, creating installations and experiments with sound and video.
“Photography is the most important tool for me, I use it as an instrument of documentation. I usually start by exploring bizarre locations and taking photos of everything I see. Afterwards, whether the result will be a video, a sound piece, or an installation, I try to emulate the perceptions and observations the place first evoked. The works usually take their final shape quite late during the process.”
SIC – an artist run space in Helsinki – which Sirviö is a co-founder of, has recently kept the artist busy, but he has also been working on a publication about his artistic work that is due to be published next year. The book sheds light on Sirviö’s process and reflects on the themes he has been exploring over the years: histories and dilapidated infrastructures of places, the intersection of analog and digital worlds, and the evanescence of information.
“Our world is becoming more and more immaterial, but we are still very much attached to the existing infrastructure, the satellites, data centers, and so forth. I myself, too, keep returning to material things, collecting and archiving objects for my works, even though I would like to be more immaterial. I think that it has a lot to do with my generation. We were born before the information age – had an analog childhood – yet grew up with access to the internet, and are now living a digital adulthood. That has had a strong influence on my way of thinking and working.”
During his residency in New York, Sirviö will join forces with the underground LTV Squad, a multidisciplinary group focused on exploring the hidden tunnels, abandoned buildings and the industrial history of New York.
“I’m planning to explore the remnants of the city’s multiple layers that have been wiped out by urban evolution and gentrification. I’m planning to do a lot of documentation: taking photos and videos, and recording my conversations with the Squad. The residency project will probably in some shape or form end up in my upcoming publication and in my solo exhibition at SIC in the autumn of 2020.”