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SISU Collective fights against biodiversity loss through art

Two smiling women sit on top of construction waste on a rubbish heap.

Antti Annanpalo / SISU collective

The art collective formed by landscape architects Sini Parikka and Suvi Saastamoinen has been selected to create two artworks in Turku. The collective aims to highlight people’s concerns about the current state of nature.

The future of biodiversity is a matter of great concern for people worldwide. Despite the bleak outlook, the fight for nature takes many forms. Landscape architecture and the art field are also contributing to stopping the loss of nature.

The SISU art collective, founded by landscape architects Sini Parikka and Suvi Saastamoinen, is part of this field of change. The landscape architect duo sees environmental architecture and art as great resources, but the designs must consider sustainability and responsibility. To achieve sustainability, the collective sees the need for an innovative operative culture, cross-sectoral collaboration, and debate. The collective’s previous project, Rakkauskirjeitä luonnolle (Love Letters to Nature), was a pilot which the City of Espoo selected as the winning proposal from thirty applications.

The piece acted as an imaginary mailbox through which people could express their thoughts and greetings to nature. More than a hundred letters were sent, strongly voicing concern about the imprint people leave on nature and the importance of recycling. The poetic, narrative, and world-embracing letters were curated and recited into an audio recording that was played around a series of works built from the Kierrätyskeskus recycling centre's waste material. The installations were presented in the Espoonlahti neighbourhood for about a week in the turn of August and September 2023.

The SISU collective's upcoming artworks will be installed in Turku, as the installation Rakkauskirjeitä merelle (Love Letters to the Sea) was selected as winner from twelve proposals in a pop-up art call organised by the City of Turku for the annual Turku Summer Street. The spatial sound installation will be the main piece of the event from June to August.

Concept illustration of the upcoming Rakkauskirjeitä merelle artwork for the Turku Summer Street. illustration: SISU collective

In addition to the recited love letters, a four-metre-high installation in the form of a sea anemone will be made from recycled materials. The sea anemone was chosen as a source of inspiration because it is found both locally and around the world, and the main threats to its future are climate change and human-induced activities. The primary materials used in the work are flexible cable conduit and plywood, which SISU, together with the multi-service company in the circular economy, Lassila & Tikanoja, have collected from recycled waste materials from construction sites.

In December 2024, the SISU collective will create another art piece in Turku, a luminous barnacle-inspired work called Rokko. It will be installed in Turku's Linnanniemi district in collaboration with Forum Marinum. The work aims to remind people of the massive problem of plastic waste in the seas through methods of storytelling.

SISU collective’s Sini Parikka is on a study leave from her position at Archinfo as producer and project manager of the Biennale Architettura project.

You can participate in the Rakkauskirjeitä merelle art piece by writing your own love letter to the sea by 5 May through this link.

Follow the SISU collective's process and activities on Instagram.