Georgia Panagiotidou & Symeon Delikaris-Manias

Kalevala Dualities – interactive installation

The Kalevala is an epic poem compiled by Elias Lönnrot based on Finnish oral folklore and mythology. It is divided into fifty songs which deal with issues such as youth and wisdom, male and female, the old and the new as well as life and death. Throughout the years, the stories from the book have become widely known particularly in the Nordics and characters such as Kullervo and Aino have influenced popular culture and the arts.

But how is it relevant today? Lönnrot already by 1835 had gathered recited songs which he then compiled into the book after editing and adding some of his own contributions. Similarly every translation of that original book has a different feeling to it. The plot as such remains the same but the tone and poetry vastly changes it has a different voice: a different storyteller.

Since then, technology through interactivity has given us a new ‘voice’ to work with. Which brings us to the questions: What would the 21rst century Kalevala be like? How can you translate a poetry book into an digital experience? How can storytelling be done differently?

Starting from Anne Pasanen’s university project almost two years ago (and with changes in the team), our exploration of the digital Kalevala has expanded to various forms and mediums. In October 2014 we presented in the Frankfurt Book Fair our open online version of the book visualised. We have also experimented with 3D printing technology to create artifacts from the narrative.

Currently, as part of the Satakielikuukausi, Georgia Panagiotidou and Symeon Delikaris-Manias are presenting the Kalevala Dualities audiovisual installation. Kalevala Dualities is an interactive installation which attempts to catch the essence of the Finnish epic by highlighting some of the dualities it includes.

As the visitor walks through an immersive corridor he is unknowingly asked to pick a side ‘Good or Evil’, ‘Wise or Reckless’, ‘Life or Death’ based on the distance he has from the (left) wall. Following the corridor to its end, the book narrative unravels giving the visitor a flavour of the situations and struggles the characters face. Sounds and visuals are both luring and guiding the visitors into experiencing the book in their own terms.

Georgia Panagiotidou is an interaction designer based in Helsinki. Her interests are in information visualisation and physical installations for learning and artistic purposes. She is currently a student of New Media in Aalto University. She has exhibited her work in galleries, events and online. An overview of her work can be found here: http://cargocollective.com/panagiotidou

Symeon Delikaris-Manias is a doctoral candidate in spatial audio in the Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics, Aalto University. Most important works are: a documentary filming and recording in Phoenix Halle, Dortmund, 2009, surround renderings for a ship simulator in Toulon, 2010, production and surround renderings for the audience09 dark cinema festival in Red House Arts Centre, New York and Delhi, 2009, surround sound installation with Braunarts in Trafalgar square in London, 2009 and narrator the exhibition Tragedia ajassa − ajaton tragedia in Helsinki, 2013. symewn[at]gmail.com

 

Kalevala Dualities – interactive installation

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