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Social reflection takes poetic form in the melancholy works of IC-98. The duo’s recent work has dealt with the relationship between living and inanimate nature and the future themes of environmental destruction and the post-human world.

Several of IC-98’s recent works deal with nature taking over an abandoned man-made environment. These natural processes, the relationship between living and inanimate nature, and the future of environmental destruction and the post-human world are highlighted as important themes in the works. The duo’s work during the latter part of the 2010s draws on post-humanist thinking in which the anthropocentric view of the world is considered in a critical way. The enduring landscapes of the dark and melancholic works reflect natural history in a human time span.

IC-98 is best known for its animations that combine classic pencil drawing with digital effects. The end results are slow-moving, poetic images. Their contemplative works can be produced in very diverse material forms: During a career that spans 20 years, the duo has produced artist books, site- and context-specific projects and interventions, films and commissions.

IC-98 was set up in 1998 by Patrik Söderlund (b. 1974) and Visa Suonpää (b. 1968). Their backgrounds are in cultural studies and the visual arts. In their works they combine scientific research, philosophy, ecology and social thinking. For the duo, it is important that their artistic work is rooted into the world and is in dialogue with historical, social and political realities. IC-98 collaborates with a wide range of professionals in the arts and sciences.

IC-98: Abendland (II: The Place That Was Promised), 2013 ©Maija Toivanen/HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2021

Abendland (II: The Place That Was Promised), 2013

A solitary, leafless tree sways gently in the darkness, sporadically releasing a spray of insects and pollen. The bleak vision spurs melancholy contemplations about the plight of humans in the future – which appears to be the antithesis of “the promised land” suggested in the title.  The work forms part of the Abendland series. Translating as “Land of the Setting Sun”, it alludes to the decline Western civilization and to a post-human world in which the passage of time is slow and cyclic.

IC-98: Abendland (Höstens arkiv), 2019–2021 ©Maija Toivanen/HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2021

Abendland (Höstens arkiv), 2019–2021

IC-98’s “autumn archive” consists of withered leaves gathered from the yard of the Alexander Battery two years ago. The leaves encircle a void, invoking the absence of the tree that shed them. The leaves are part of the cycle of life and death, and they are a reminder of all the trees and plants that have been supplanted by the construction of the fortifications. Höstens arkiv (Autumn Archive) is a site-specific gesture that connects the promised land with the island.

Photo 1 & 2: Matti Pyykkö/Helsinki Biennial 2021

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Abendland (II: The Place That was Promised)

1 channel HD videoinstallation

Collection HAM Helsinki Art Museum

Concept, drawings, direction and production: IC-98

Animation: Markus Lepistö

Music: Max Savikangas

Double bass: Juho Martikainen

Sound recording: Pekka Mikael Laine

Abendland (Höstens arkiv)

site-specific installation (Leaves gathered last autumn from trees growing in the yard of the Alexander Battery, light)

Commissioned by HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2021