mikroPaliskunta is an art project that travelled through Finland from northest Nuorgam to southest Hanko with a stuffed reindeer and five artists by biodiesel car. We studied the contemporary image of Finland and how the country have rapidly changed. We asked a question: is a dead, stuffed reindeer a symbol of Finnish culture? mikroPaliskunta travel is present in our website www.mikropaliskunta.net. There is an image line that covers the country and attached to the line there are collected materials in form of text, images, videos and sounds. mikroPaliskunta is an art project that travelled through Finland from the northest Nuorgam to the southest Hanko studying contemporary image of Finland 21.8. - 4.9.2006. Who is Finnish? What are the symbols of Finland? How has the image of Finland changed? And who defines it? The expedition travelled by a biodiesel car that was packed with five artists and protagonist of the project; a stuffed reindeer Paavo that was searching for new members to its herd. Reindeer is a symbol in the project for Finnish culture. For many foreigners and even for Finnish people Finland is a land of technology or a land of traditional culture. Nokia cell-phones might be a symbol of technology and maybe a reindeer is a symbol of traditional culture. Finland is marketed with Sami people, Lappish culture and nature. You can buy Sami costumes, reindeer skin, what ever you can think of in market square in Helsinki. People say they are proud of forests, thousands lakes, fells and "sisu". But what is really happening? Finnish people are forced to move to South in order to get a job, villages are getting empty in North and it is discussed if the whole Finland should be populated at all. Money is the key issue of course. It is expensive to offer public services to all small villages. And it is more expensive to have a reindeer herder than to have a stuffed reindeer in front of a souvenir shop. mikroPaliskunta is a series of interdisciplinary expeditions exploring nation(alism) and eco-social changes in the society, but is basically defined by the people or artists taking part of the travels. Reindeer carries the symbol value that all the participants relate to. It is a over-used mascot of tourism, symbol of nation, mythic totem and an important production animal to reindeer herders. It is also an grotesque interface to meet people on the expeditions.
mikroPaliskunta raises questions about national identity, nationalism, structural change, environmental issues, urbanization with critical, humorist tone, but avoids judging. The project examines creativity mostly outside museums and gallery spaces. Important medium is time and location, here there and now. The findings are spread across virtual space. The website mikropaliskunta.net acts as a collection point of all these materials and microdocumentaries.