Paavo Räbinä’s Morphi shows us the faces of people changing: the face of a refugee boy transforms into the face of his mother, the father’s face transforms gradually into that of his son, the mother’s into that of her daughter. Who am I? Who or what determines my possibilities to live and develop as a human being and the way people relate to me?
Räbinä’s Morphis also serve as a reminder of the fact that the essence of being a refugee is change, constant transformation. In order to survive, refugees are often required to adapt to a society and a culture that are very different from what they have experienced before.
The Morphi videos have no soundtrack at all, something that can be interpreted as a strong deviation and a statement. It is typical of Räbinä to use music or other sounds to create atmospheric moods or to use music as a cinematic element. But refugees, the silent wanderers, have no voice. They have no power or strength. Yet, on the other hand, the artist may have thought that their faces would be sufficient, that they alone are a powerful enough means of expression, narration and of making an appeal to us.
The Vapriikki exhibition only features a section of the whole Morphi video installation. It was originally created as a public work of art for the Tikkurila Upper Secondary School, which specialises in communication studies. The faces have been permanently installed there under a plate of glass in the school floor in different parts of the building such as the school café and dining hall. The gallery of faces shown in the installation includes all ethnic groups in Finland.
As a public work of art located at a school, the Morphi installation speaks primarily for tolerance and for the acceptance of diversity in the midst of daily hustle and bustle.
HD-video / Duration 01’16 min. / Loop
Installation view at Vapriikki, Museum Centre, Tampere, Finland