Rowing Stadium to be the venue for Jana Winderen’s IHME artwork

The Rowing Stadium was design by Hilding Ekelund for the Olympics aimed originally for the year 1940. Photo: Jana Winderen.

The first IHME Helsinki commission, by the Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, is a new site-specific sound installation Listening Through the Dead Zones. The work will be open to the public on August 7–25 at the Rowing Stadium on Taivallahti Bay, Helsinki.


Winderen is a sound artist who is interested in various aural environments generated by other species and ecosystems, and she particularly explores sounds underwater. So it is excellent that this work can be experienced at the Rowing Stadium.

IHME Helsinki supports contemporary art, science, and ways of adjusting to climate change. It actively explores and distributes information about ways that art organizations can transition to carbon neutrality.

The Rowing Stadium – seats facing the sea

IHME Helsinki began discussing a collaboration with Jana Winderen in autumn 2018. She came to Helsinki for her first background-research visit in early August, 2019. On the second day of her visit, she did a boat tour with the water team from the City of Helsinki’s Environment Services. While waiting for the team in Rajasaari, she noticed a deserted-looking white building on the opposite side of the bay.

That building, the Rowing Stadium designed by the architect Hilding Ekelund (1893-1984), was built for the 1940 Olympic Games. The Stadium has seats facing the sea, which seemed perfect for an artist who wants to draw our attention to life underwater. Winderen visited the Stadium the next day and made her decision: it would be the venue for the commission.

“Jana Winderen’s work, which has long focused on oceans and other waterway ecosystems, and on changes in them, is continuously relevant. This is because the climate crisis is accelerating negative changes, such as eutrophication, especially in the Baltic Sea. The Rowing Stadium will be a brilliant venue for her work in August. Thank you to Helsinki’s Department of Sports and Recreation for their pleasant collaboration.

The Rowing Stadium is right next to the sea and will give our audiences a chance to visit this architectural attraction that is open to the public only rarely. The coronavirus epidemic and the measures taken in response to it require changes in the ways we prepare for the commission, which we discuss with artist daily. We still hope that the peak of the epidemic will be safely over by the turn of July and August, and that the installation can be opened as planned.” says Paula Toppila, Executive Director and Curator of IHME Helsinki.

Towards a small carbon footprint

IHME Helsinki will be publishing Jana Winderen’s meetings with experts from different fields for her background research in the spring and summer. In March, IHME released the first: a conversation between Jana Winderen and a researcher who has studied the state of the Baltic Sea, limnologist Seppo Knuuttila.

At 12.00pm on May 28, Jana Winderen will have a conversation with Jari-Pekka Pääkkönen, City of Helsinki Environment Services Team Manager, at the Science Club organized by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Due to measures to combat the coronavirus the Science Club conversation will only be available as a podcast.

“Jana Winderen’s IHME Helsinki Commission is the first of our contemporary-art productions that looks for ways of adopting sustainable solutions that reduce the production’s own carbon footprint. This involves negotiations with the artist right from the planning stage.

For example, we thought about arranging an international seminar to accompany the installation, which, among other emissions, would have generated a considerable number of flight kilometres. Instead, we decided to publish some of the conversations that the artist would be having with people from various fields as part of her research. These conversations will also highlight particular points of interests for Winderen while she is preparing the work, and increase awareness of the state of the Baltic Sea,” says Paula Toppila.

The coronavirus epidemic and Finnish Government measures to slow its spread may cause changes to this timetable. We will announce any changes on IHME’s social-media channels, website and newsletter.

Read more about the IHME Helsinki Commission

Read more about our sustainable solutions from IHME’s Ecoblog