Lands of Treasure presentation


How far can people become estranged from nature? What are the consequences of this, and can the connection be discovered? The artist group IC-98 addresses these questions in their animation Lands of Treasure (2021). In the work, humankind seeks a new direction after the natural disaster it has caused. It needs to gather the ingredients for a new kind of future and make a contract with nature. What kind of a new community can be built?

The starting point for the Lands of Treasure is an old folk tale from eastern Finland in which a stonemason encounters a forest spirit. The man kills the giant spirit, which falls and leaves behind a huge forest clearing.The open space facilitates the work of surveyors, who start to divide up the land.

A three-part ritualistic journey runs through the animation. The work begins with a scene of environmental desolation. Here and there one can discern signs of human-made structures and the occupation of the land.As a result of the loss of the connection with nature, the universe has been derailed and everything living and sacred has disappeared from the world. The forces of nature are greater than humankind, however.

The artists have been inspired by the old folk tales in which animals could speak. In the past, people lived side by side with nature’s creatures and life involved reciprocity. In the animation, the turning point comes when humankind starts to listen to nature once again. The differences between natural creatures and people decline and finding a connection becomes possible. This initiates a ritual towards the renewal of all living things. Spirit and connection are called back.

For nearly a decade, IC-98 have created works about a time when people are no longer present. This animation, however, provides people with an opportunity to commit and take responsibility for their actions. In the work, people are present via an electroacoustic choral work composed for the human voice.

For centuries, humankind has created a special status for itself in relation to other species. The destruction of nature would not be possible without that sense of distinctiveness and superiority. It is now possible to change direction and reciprocally help nature. The perspective can be turned from human individuals to a new community of all living species. It is time for humankind to change.

The Turku-based artist group IC-98 consists of Visa Suonpää (b. 1968) and Patrik Söderlund (b. 1974). Known for their animations created together with Markus Lepistö, the artist duo began their artistic collaboration in 1998 with location- and situation-based art projects. Their works involve strong research and theoretical background work as well as critical social thinking. The artist group represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 2015.               

Eeva Ilveskoski