Rovaniemi Urban Project
2/2016 Rovaniemi, FI

The project was executed during winter 2016 in the capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi, in Northern Finland. Rovaniemi is interesting not only because it is located exactly on the Arctic Circle line but also for a specific administrative oddity. With some 60 thousand inhabitants it is more a town than a city. But it is a town very large in area, being certainly one of the largest towns/cities in Europe and the largest in Finland. This legal entity was established in 2006 when the used to be town of Rovaniemi merged with its surrounding area, Rural municipality of Rovaniemi. I decided to visit the town/city and articulate this phenomenon through my physical presence at its borders.

I and my classmate Jolijn de Wolf went to the north, south, west and east borders of the Rovaniemi municipality. The furthermost borders of the town are located on the north, some 90 kilometers from its center. For travel to the north, south, and east we used local buses. It was important to be accurate in planning as the ‘public transport’ goes to and from those ‘suburbs’ only rarely. The edge of Rovaniemi was not distinguishable from its surroundings: forest, snow, sparsely located houses. For the travel to the west, we had to rent a car with a driver as no bus was stopping anywhere nearby.

The only remaining result of the trip are photographs captured on the analog camera by Jolijn. The subject of the pictures is me, posing in the respective borderlands, surrounded by heavy snow. I like saying about this project – in a positive way – that the strategy of ‘maximum effort, minimum results’ was used for its creation.

Rovaniemi Urban Project could not be realized without the help of Jolijn de Wolf and Matěj Skalický. Thank you!

You can read more about the work in my diploma thesis on pages 20-22.