Finally “Otaniemi Walks” starts to look as it should!
Yesterday we had the pleasure to run the first – accidental – test on Mr Lars Miikki at Urban Mill. In the past weeks, each time he would drop by ABE Cave he would always find us in some awkward stage of our experiments, typically wandering around the blinding white screens with our glasses on. This time we asked to wear the 3D glasses himself and have a preview. It was a joy to see an “outsider” react to the installation, move around it and give us a feedback.
“Otaniemi Walks” makes use of hand drawing in a 3D space. Lars wanted immediately to draw something himself, to see it animated inside the giant floating aquarium. I gave him my sketchbook, and few seconds later I got back a funny looking character signed with Lars’ artist name (he explained, he used to draw satyrical illustrations as a student). I will make it into a cameo for the “Square Scene” I am animating right now. It has been a long process, which started with interviews, and endless walks in Otaniemi, to understand changes that this part of the city and campus is going through.
Otaniemi campus is a fortress of heritage buildings, immersed in powerful natural settings; it has strong borders and a multiplicity of actors involved in a complex planning process.
From interviews, and my own experience as observer and campus student, nature emerged as a common ground, with a potential for facilitating the ongoing discussion and decision making towards sustainable strategies. Given the abundance of plans, visualizations, and architectural materials on the Otaniemi arena, I thought of contributing with something else, that would not offer ready solutions but could possibly inspire dialogue.
Everybody can relate to nature, and everybody has at least once in life held a pencil to draw. That is why I was so pleased with Lars’ reaction – he immediately responded to the installation, and he did it in an unexpected way.
There is still a lot of work to do, until “Otaniemi Walks” is open to the public, in a couple of months. The process entails a lot of hand drawings, animated into movies, which are themselves animated as a multitude of little actors in 3D space, by using Unity software (traditionally used by game developers).
“Otaniemi Walks” is a Master’s Thesis in Creative Sustainability, Urban Design, funded by the Energizing Urban Ecosystems Programme, and supervised by Aija Staffans, Trevor Harris, Sari Tähtinen, and Antti Kauppi. Antti is taking care of all the coding and technical aspects to make it possible; Sari is supporting me on the aesthetic and theoretical sides, and made me acquainted with the art of Yoshitaka Amano, one of the best discoveries of the year. Aija and Trevor are supporting me with their trust and imagination, which made this whole experience a great joy.
Going back to work now. To quote Aija: “Ahkeruus on ilomme – laiskuus intohimomme”! ! !
Elisa Andretti, Architect, MSc Candidate in Creative Sustainability, Urban Design at Aalto University