Helsinki

Song for the unknown

Song for the unknown

Feb

07

Mon

12:00 – 17:00

3–5°C

clear sky

MUU Helsinki Contemporary Art Centre
Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1 C, 00180 Helsinki
Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16

Resusci Annie is the most famous human-sized doll in the world. It was developed in the late 1950s to teach the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation method. Norwegian designer Åsmund Lærdal thought that the doll needed a female face, since men probably would not like to practice resuscitation technique with a male doll.

Annie’s face was designed after a famous death mask L’Inconnue de la Seine, an unknown woman of the Seine. At the time of Lærdal, the mask was already a well-known and widespread wall decoration and a curiosity object with various nicknames. It was known as the bohemian Mona-Lisa, which was found on the walls of many fin-de-siecle and surrealist artists. The mask has appeared in the texts of Reiner-Maria Rilke and Vladimir Nabokov, among others. Photographer Man Ray made a photo series of the mask where it got eyes, hair and was covered in bed. The face of the mask has inspired hopes, desires and fears of many generations. The girl is said to be the most kissed woman in the world.

The girl’s identity and background have never been revealed. The story tells that a young girl arrived in Paris in the 1880s and fell in love. After being betrayed by love, she jumped off the bridge and drowned in the Seine. She was taken to the morgue where the pathologist fell in love with her exceptional smile, and had a death mask made for her. For decades it was sold on the banks of the Seine in a window gallery alongside celebrities such as Beethoven and Napoleon.

The muteness of the mask and the simultaneous multitude of interpretations have inspired this sound installation. The work reflects on what it is like to watch and listen to things that are unknown, and to surrender to its impact in one’s own environment.

The 8-channel sound installation consists of verses and fragments of singing and humming. The human voice is presented as it is, without reverb or any other effects. Video and audio are repeated in loops of different lengths, so the work has no beginning, no end, and no defined duration.

Mon 07 Feb 2022 – 28 Feb 2022 12:00 – 17:00

3–5°C

clear sky

Address:
Tallberginkatu 1 C,
00180 Helsinki