Maria Jaakkola, Connected

Maria Jaakkola (LF ’15) created an integrated art event – exhibit, installation, performance piece and music matinee–in the Dudley House Dining Hall in Harvard Yard last Saturday, May 2.  (Dis)connected consisted of a ten-minute video about the adventures of Dis–a chartreuse-enrobed creature–at the Emerald Necklace in Boston, a live performance of Sibelius’s vocal and piano music as well as a pictorial journal documentation of the Loeb Fellowship year.

The story of shared experiences - connects, disconnects and reconnects–was initially inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, but then expanded into an exploration of (dis)connects.

Sibelius’s music helps me reconnect to my roots in the Finnish landscape and provides consolation in times of disconnectedness. The grand old man of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, was my age when Sibelius was born. Olmsted was a strong advocate for parks as places where people can come together and connect. However, his best known creation, the iconic Boston park system known as the Emerald Necklace, is disconnected in many ways. Dis is pointing out those places along the greenway and trying to connect to the people using the parks. As a disruption in space and time she invites people to notice.

One place with disconnected issues is Agra, where the Loebs traveled with the Extreme Urbanism studio and Critical Conservation studio students. Many of the exhibit sketches are made there; others, such as Maine, Cape Cod and Mt. Auburn Cemetery are places visited by the Loebs during the year. We connect and relate to our surroundings through the body, so figure drawings and studies of the human body also had their place in the exhibit and in the experience of my Loeb year.

Sibelius was synesthetic, hearing colors. Dis refers to the Finnish for D sharp, the pitch close to his favorite color–serendipitously the color of the cloth that renders Dis anonymous. Connections and disconnections can be found in unlikely places and between unlikely things. And we never know which of them prove significant. The Loeb year has taken me to unlikely places and emotions on an exploration to reconnect my three selves and relocate their passions. And it has connected me with the most wonderful people, places and things. The exhibit was in part a celebration thereof.

Thank you to my collaborators:                                                          

Maggie Janik, videography and editing
Rob Janik, camera assistant
David Pilz, MArch I, exhibition architecture
Kolu Zigbi, LF '15, production assistant
Henry Chu, Nieman fellow, piano accompaniment

Read more in the Harvard Arts Blog.

Photos by Jeb Sharpe and Maria Jaakkola. 
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One Response to Maria Jaakkola, Connected

  1. Julie Crockford says:

    I enjoyed seeing Maria’s response to the Emerald Necklace. Happily Brookline has secured funding to provide safe passage for pedestrians and bicycle riders at Rt 9, the most dangerous missing link in the Necklace.

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