Trees of Helsinki, postscript 24 October 2016

Oct 21, 2016

We set up the installation at different spots around the city center on Oct 4th, after which we noticed several things during the course of a couple of days. Depending on how populated the locations were, the little pieces of paper with information were ripped away very quickly. It’s thus clear that the installation was quite noticable to the general public and the trees were acknowledged . Besides the informational tags being taken quite quickly, there were some posters that disappeared entirely within just a few days while others are still there, as of writing this almost three weeks later.

An aspect of the project we didn’t plan for, was that after the informational tags were ripped off, the posters were quite ambiguous and devoid of their original meaning, an example being one of the posters shared on Instagram with #romantic helsinki on it. This reflects on the fact that we left the project to be open ended – it was temporary but we weren’t sure when exactly it would end, nor how the general public would act towards it.

Aina, Aliisa & Matilda

See also posts 1 and 2 about Trees of Helsinki

Trees of Helsinki, documentation 24 October 2016


See also posts 1 and 3 about Trees of Helsinki

Trees of Helsinki, description 24 October 2016

Trees in the urban environment are isolated from their natural habitat, forest. Though they don’t seem to care much if surrounded by fences, their roots covered with tiles and cement, or their branches cut in form. They grow and photosynthesize and make the city green year in year out.


We on the other hand seem to be isolated from these urbanised, quiet organisms. They are self-evident. They don’t require our attention so we pass them unnoticed. Even though they were planted, initially, by us and for us.

Trees of Helsinki is a temporary installation in the urban space that encourages citizens to take a moment or share a while with a tree friend. It consists of eight tree individuals, representatives of their kind, around Helsinki city centre area. They all have their specific standpoint, and a story to tell.

It might be trees don’t need us acknowledging them. But we do need, every once in a while, a reminder of the necessity of appreciating our habitat and co-beings. They offer us more than our daily routines let us realise.

Trees of Helsinki, 2016


Trees of Helsinki by:

Aina Bexell is a Lusoswede student of Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education MA program at Aalto University. She finished her BA in Arts and Media in Portugal in 2015 and feels strongly about encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning.

Matilda Löytty is a contemporary artist and student of Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education MA program at Aalto University. Before Aalto, she studied and finished with a BA in Fine Arts in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Her main interest are painting and community art and she is curious about intercultural phenomena.

Aliisa Talja is a Product and Spatial Design MA program major in the Department of design at Aalto University. She has a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design and is currently doing NoVa program as minor studies. She is keen on exploring the outskirts of design.

The project was produced as part of “Contemporary art and its social context course”.

See also posts 2 and 3 about  Trees of Helsinki

11th NoVA Suggests by Stine Ejsing-Duun 11 October 2016


1. Play: Perfect woman by Peter Lu and Lea Schönfelder – it was released for Kinect on September 14: See this video about the game and read more about it here:


Picture credits: Peter Lu and Lea Schönfelder

Peter Lu and Lea Schönfelder created Perfect Woman while working together at the UCLA Game Lab. The inspiration for their project came from the personality questionnaires you meet in women’s magazines that try to squeeze people together in generalized boxes. It is a political and humorous game. Lea Schönfelder has this provocative and political style in her games that I find inspiring. She is using games to make us relate to stereotypes through our own actions.

2. More play: Any of the small thought provoking indie games in Newgrounds art game collection. Flash required

3. Go to: (or check out) Games as Arts/Arts as Games in Cornwall, UK is a festival organised by The MetaMakers Institute of Falmouth University at the crossroads of games and art. It takes place from the 12-22 October 2016 at the Poly in Falmouth

4. Read: The book Critical Play ( by professor Mary Flangan. In the book Flanagan explores games as a means for creative expression, instruments for conceptual thinking, or tools for social change. You can get a quick intro into Flanagan’s thinking through this Tedx talk.

For a newer overview of critical games read Critical Games: Critical Design in Independent Games by Lindsay Grace:

5. Stay updated: I found GAMESCENES. ART IN THE AGE OF VIDEOGAMES to be a nice casual source of what is going on at the crossroads between art and games.

Stine Ejsing-Duun is associate professor at Aalborg University and part of NoVA. She is interested in the relation between technology, perception and cognition. Her ambition is to describe how technologies allow us to transcend ourselves. Her research has been in various areas connected to play and playful processes – especially in games and game design and in making games motivate the gamer. Her present studies are within the fields of learning and art.

Her Ph.D. was on location-based gaming and location-based games. Here her focus was the use of everyday environment as game space.

Specialties: HCI; Game Theory; Game Design; Games and art; Games and education; Location-based Games; Design theory, and methods; critical design; design-based research.