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* Parabolarena *

Art in public Space at the  

Acadmill in Vaasa

with Albert Braun –

1. Price and Realisation


Vaasa, Finnland, 2008

The concept: the Parabolic Arena

Information dissemination no longer has much in common with physical activity. While the messenger, who delivered the message of victory on foot between the Marathon and Athens, still has to sacrifice his life, nowadays other media have long since taken over the function of conveying information. With google map, for example, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can move across the globe - sitting down. Sit and fly.
Dish antennas transmit, receive and store the system. The elements of sitting and receiving are brought together in a figurative way in the Academill project. Chair seats, familiar from stadiums all over the world and from agricultural machinery, are composed into an arena.
Viewed from a distance, they evoke the image of a satellite dish. Partly useful, partly elevated, the seats are thrown out into orbit. As seats they are then only virtually useful. The original function of the messenger from the Marathon has been served. In memory of the deadly messenger race from A to B, or in the age of structural transformation, a race emerged, a playful measuring of force in circular movements.
The first arenas are created for such races and events which, in the true sense of the word, no longer have anything to do with the original idea. Like the agora of yesteryear, today's arenas are multifunctional meeting places, often of an event nature. One might be curious to know when the current information transfer overtakes itself and turns into purely playful functions. One sits on special seats in a stadium and cheers marathon runners on their final lap.


Academill combines two use characters: the original mill, which the historical building substance reminds of with its elevator towers, silos and red brick buildings, and the new campus of Turku Academy with, among other things, special specializations in mass communication. Media City, with excellent opportunities for cooperation in this field outside the Academill, is incorporated into the campus. Physically, the Academy units are located around the inner courtyard. In the same way, the large glass façade of the auditorium, the restaurant's projecting glass wall and the windows of the upper floors are oriented towards it. The courtyard offers orientation and qualities of stay and suggests agora/arena-like features, both formally and functionally. The courtyard is dominated by the wide staircase as a form of seating area

The seating area is confronted with the detached Parabolic Arena. This constellation in the inner courtyard has its physical complement, mirrored, in the large auditorium on the inside of the Academill. The Parabolic Arena represents the counterpart of the existing seating area. It is metaphorically present like a satellite dish and offers seating possibilities. The Parabolic Arena associates with amusement parks or fairgrounds with their rides, where one is strapped in and spun around in a circle. The location of the satellite dish does not restrict the current access possibilities.


Stainless steel tubes (diameter 40 mm) are bent into circles of different diameters. These tubes are connected with clamps, a common product in the construction industry. The result is a stable frame, corresponding to the shape of a satellite dish. The chrome-plated chair seats are attached to the bent tubes with clamps. Approximately 12 of the existing chair seats in the lower part are usable. The higher mounted seats are fixed with different inclinations - directed towards the intended centre of the dish. The steel structure is attached to a cast-in-place foundation slab.