Julia Weckman

Hope?, 2020


Enlarged video still image of a cellphone screen shot pigment print, 270 x 450 cm

Greta Thunberg sailed from Europe to New York in August 2019.
Every day I looked at the map for the crew progressing on their journey, worried about winds, sea routes, rough seas and even the navigator’s adequate sleep. From time to time, I followed Greta’s journey skeptic about the success of the trip, sometimes filled with motherly feelings, but also as a fatalist about the expedition. Since the world would need it right now I lived for two weeks hoping for the best. I don’t know Greta, but I lived this journey with her. Naive, someone would say, but so what. The journey seemed like a historic act, a symbol of hope. On the other hand, it also seemed an impossible attempt to make an idealistic gesture in this world full of hate and hate speech.

The amount of criticism and hate speech was not surprising, it felt mainly sad. I wondered how much energy was wasted on being angry. Does it make feel invincible or survivor?
For me Greta’s sailing was symbolic and an gesture of getting attention to bigger cause. Greta herself seemed like a charismatic figure in her pilgrimage, even though she might not have chosen that role herself.

We live times where people put their hope into the changemakers. It may be a coincidence who takes the leading role, it might also be a well planned marketing plan. We need someone to tell us the answers in this chaos. People clearly long for clarity and answers, and ease them in their anxiety.

Live broadcast on my cellphone. Thunberg finally arrives to New York harbor. The last miles feel slow, it takes hours of waiting. After following the trip it felt too long time
to dock. The route is zigzag also in the navigation map. The crew has to wait for the right time to arrive, to meet the civilized society after a journey through the ocean.

Sitting on my couch in Finland for more than an hour, I followed the approach. Almost nothing happened during the live broadcast, but it still was an arrival. Significant act of a charismatic person in this time of ours. We’ll see in the future what it really ment.

Broken pixels on the journey of hope, the broadcast has errors. For some reason I wanted to document these errors. Human beings are also full of errors, specially when we destroy the world around us. Broadcast interruptions and stalled video footage were significant events as well. Unique and transient documentary of an symbolic event. I saved them as screenshots. Dozens of them.

Recently, it has been difficult for me to make art that is not connected with the present and take a stand. When the world seems to be burning around us, it’s hard to make art at all. Turning thoughts, feelings, or ideas into material for art has seemed hypocritical. For someone Greta’s act seemed hypocritical, but not for me. And even if it were, it is what all lives are. We will utilize the world until it’s broken for ever. The world could do better without us.

Installation Hope? was first time published in the exhibition Sea Days by Artist Collective Kunst in Gallery Uusikuva, Kotka 15.2.-14.3.2020.

Hope? Installation in Uncertain Horizon exhibition in WAM Turku City Art Museum, Turku, Finland 2021.


Hope? Installation in Sea Days exhibition by Artist Collective Kunst. Gallery Uusikuva, Kotka, Finland 2020.