Lauri Astala: Transit
21 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015

The video series in the Darkroom culminates with Lauri Astala's Transit (2013) filmed in New York in the autumn of 2012. The kaleidoscopic, nocturnal perspectives in Astala's documentary images give birth to a fictive, city-like surrounding. The impression is both space-like as well as cinematic in a way which brings to mind dystopian environments in Blade Runner or Fifth Element. The feeling is amplified by the audio world which includes a scratchy radio signal and a sonar pulse, both echoing in an empty darkness. The title refers to both a passage and the satellite navigation system Transit developed by the U.S Navy.

The central theme in Transit grows out of the image's allusions on collective, urban environments. Spaces are according to Astala nowadays very often understood via all kinds of technical gadgets. The ever-growing flow of images starts to define and determine our reality – a visual media creates a new norm for how we interpret our reality. The thin line between simulation, fiction and reality grows ever so diffuse. Transit is for Astala a way of trying to understand this phenomenon.

Lauri Astala (b. 1958) is a visual artist graduated from both the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (1989) and the Chicago Art Institute (2001). Astala's method of choice is to incorporate moving pictures in physical installations with references to existing locations. He is interested in the grey areas between real and virtual environments in a world which is often interpreted through technologic appliances. He discusses themes like spatial concepts and cultural constructions, both of which build our way of understanding environments. Astala lives and works in Helsinki and in Avallon, France.
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