Leena Saarinen

Picture of light, see-through material on a dark background.

2023, Shifting baselines, Installation

The artwork is exhibited in the Pieni näyttelytila / Small exhibition space on the 1st floor of the Mylly building.


Shifting baselines is an audio-visual installation that deals with anthropogenic noise under the sea and the visualization of the movement of sound in water. For the piece, I’ve listened to, collected and recorded noises of ship traffic and other underwater sounds with a hydrophone along the urban shorelines of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. From the hours of recordings, I’ve composed a multichannel soundscape. I’ve made kinetic water reflections with analogue projectors to make the vibrations of the sounds in water visible.

I’m interested in the relationship between noise and information. I study how the rapidly growing ship traffic and human-made engine noise has affected the acoustic environments and the vocal communication of marine species. By visualising the underwater sounds, I aim to make the sounds that are usually inaudible to the human ear more tangible.

For the piece, I’ve also been working with experimental photographic processes. I’ve collected plastic garbage from the coast of Århus, Denmark and some of my own household trash, which I’ve then exposed as cyanotypes on algae-based bioplastic as part of the installation. In a way, I try to reconstruct the algae by making the bioplastic from agar agar and glycerin. In the process, I’ve also wanted to make the leftovers of my own everyday life visible.

The work has been supported by Greta och Alfred Runebergs Stiftelse.

About the artist

Artist Leena Saarinen was born in 1988 in Helsinki.

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