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Plants and insects take over UPM's headquarters - UPM participates in Lux Helsinki light festival

UPM and UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation are involved in the Lux Helsinki light festival, taking place from January 3rd to 7th, 2024. The festival transforms familiar buildings and spaces into unique urban art installations, illuminating the city during its darkest period of the year.

On the façade of UPM's headquarters on Alvar Aalto Street in Helsinki, Finland, the Societas Luminis collective's video artwork "Valo, jota emme näe" (translation: The light we don't see) will be projected, accompanied by music. The piece dives into a world to which we are normally blind, presenting familiar roadside, meadow, and woodland plants in colours reflecting UV radiation. The projected video work is a fairytale journey through the eyes of an insect, where imaginative colours come true.

The invisible world in the heart of the city

Hanna Maula, UPM-Kymmene's Vice President, Communications and Brand, hopes that the artwork encourages Lux visitors to view the world in a new way and appreciate art.

"Art provides new perspectives. For us, the world is perceived as colours, which are created by the wavelengths of visible light. The artwork to be projected onto the wall of UPM headquarters opens up the shorter wavelengths behind visible light - ultraviolet radiation, which insects, for example, can see. Within the familiar world is another world, invisible to us. I look forward to the Lux Helsinki festival and hope that as many people as possible get to enjoy light art in the winter city."

Ultraviolet radiation reveals invisible patterns and shapes in flowers that direct pollinator insects to the parts of the plant that are important to them. Ultraviolet radiation causes some materials to glow and can highlight or change the colour of plants. In addition, some insects use UV radiation as an aid to navigation.

The central location of the artwork in the city adds a unique perspective to the nature theme. UPM has a long history as an art patron dating back to the 1800s. UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation, renowned for its extensive collection of paintings, continues this tradition, aiming to bring the usually unseen world to the urban audience through Lux Helsinki.

"Valo, jota emme näe" can be viewed on the wall of UPM's headquarters during Lux Helsinki from January 3rd to 7th, 2024, from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

The Societas Luminis collective is an interdisciplinary artistic group whose members have long worked in the fields of audiovisual communication, art and science.

Matti Riikonen
Matti Riikonen directs and designs audiovisual performances, installations and spaces in both domestic and international projects. He has also worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and stage designer.

Heikki Helanterä
Heikki Helanterä is Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Genomics at the Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu. He has also co-authored a popular science book, The Great Finnish Ant Book, with Katja Bargum (Minerva, 2019).

Kimmo Syväri
Kimmo Syväri is a Helsinki-based photographer and art practitioner. He has been involved in building visual storytelling for many Finnish brands.

Markku Mäkelä
Markku Mäkelä is an award-winning composer, producer and sound designer. Markku composes music and soundscapes for films and spaces.

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