Miroslaw Balka: Signals

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

In April 2013 Mikko worked at Ihme Contemporary Art Festival, as an instructor in Miro- slaw Balka’s art project Signals and participated in the final performance. His duty was to teach the semaphore flag signaling system used in the performance to residents of the Roihuvuori district of Helsinki, and to plan the final performance.

Signals was an art project that participated various Helsinki residents. The project was realized as part of the four participatory events called “Communication Points” in four Helsinki districts that addressed important issues of each community. The events began with a signal performance on the city streets and continued as verbal discussions to which all the parties concerned were invited. The project was realized within four days in April 2013.

The visual communication system chosen by Miroslaw Balka is a semaphore flag signal- ing system used by seafarers in the 19th century. The artist uses the semaphore signals as a way to communicate the special needs of various local communities. He also aims at promoting discussion on how the communication within our contemporary society that is more and more relying on electricity and new technologies could survive, for example, an energy crisis. Here, the flagged signals were important messages, requests for help or emergency calls.

Performed 4–7 April 2013, in various districts of Helsinki, Ihme Contemporary Art Festival, Helsinki