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Urban Takes Helsinki

Documentary Narrative

Urban Takes Helsinki is a documentary narrative that looks at personal stories and different perspectives of Helsinki as depicted through online video. The project is created in collaboration with seven amateur videomakers living in the city who post their videos on YouTube.

Using these videos as investigative starting points, I make visits into each person’s home or a public location of their choice. During an interview, I ask each person to reflect on his or her online archives and how they relate to his or her experience and place in the city. Interviews occur in apartments in various parts of the city, a private yachting club and video gaming hangout.

Urban Takes Helsinki examines how different individuals use social media to map out urban spaces. These documentary portraits contain segments of the video interviews, extracts from YouTube videos, and video segments of both the interior and exterior environments where these interviews take place. Each interview unfolds within personal spaces of each individual in order to examine the relation between how a video collection is organized and the ordering of physical environments through collections of objects and spaces. This process maps out different individual approaches to how one marks out a place in the city.

Each person has an individual approach, but the core question focuses on one of intentionality: Why make these videos? What is their value? Who is their audience?

Urban Takes Helsinki was presented at Lasipalatsi gallery  during the Media Façades Festival in Helsinki, August 22-25th, 2012. The installation was composed of 7 video interviews played over 7 monitors, a large video projection and printed photographs.

The festival is produced by m-cult in cooperation with Helsinki Festival, Aalto University / City Sets, and Lasipalatsi Media Centre, and realized with support from the EU Culture programme, Helsinki Cultural Office and AVEK.

Commissioned by: m-cult
Concept: Michelle Teran
Production assistance and editing: Saija Salonen