“The Human Lighthouse Project” is an ongoing site specific project by Harriet Rabe and Silja Kauppinen. We use the figure of a lighthouse as a medium to explore, visualise and serve different places, collecting, translating and sending messages by the area’s inhabitants into the sky. The project takes place in the form of a performative installation, something between an answering machine and a late night radio show without sound and without show.
In other days, there used to be a lot of lighthouses in areas close to the sea. They served as guiding systems to their communities, being shelter or protecting ships from collapses with the coastline by emitting light signals, marking their position. In Finland, the last lighthouse keeper left in 1987. Complex and effective navigational systems have taken over by now.
Human Lighthouse Project started in Kallio, Helsinki, in May 2016. During one week, we collected notes on paper from the most private space we could find in public: toilets. We chose automatic public toilets free of charge as markers of the area’s infrastructure, providing papers and pencils for 7 days. Participants were welcome to leave questions and answers to fellow toilet goers. On the night of the 20th of May from 11pm to 4am, we did a nightshift and became the HUMAN LIGHTHOUSE, transforming the messages of Kallio’s locals into light signals in the sky. People were welcome to stop by, either to hand in new messages that they wanted to be transmitted into the sky, direction ocean – or just to have a coffee with us in case of insomnia.
The Human Lighthouse Project travelled to Pangráti, Athens in 2017 (4.-11.01.2017):
This time, we were sending messages for the ones who are not there, collected from abandoned shop windows. The performance was kindly supported by TWIXTlab: art, anthropology & the everyday and the Theatre Academy Helsinki.
The project will continue in other places.