“I come from a small town in the north of Finland, surrounded by vast and sparsely populated wilderness. Most pass through the town on their way someplace else without ever knowing it was a hotspot for UFO sightings in the 1960s. I learned about it myself thanks to my grandfather's diary.“
Photo Maria Lax
So says photographer Maria Lax, speaking of Some Kind Of Heavenly Fire. The project was born in 2013 when Lax, who in the meantime moved to London, returned home where she finds this singular book that condenses testimonies of supernatural events and stories of struggle in a land where post-World War II industrialization had an impact on rural communities, forcing many to flood from the countryside to the cities.
Not able to receive answers from her grandfather which already suffered from dementia, Lax embarks on a journey through time in which her photos are revealing the imaginary that the artist reinterprets thanks to her poetics while rediscovery the places of her childhood. A path through which Lax realizes that the concomitance between UFO sightings and the period of the great depression for Northern Finland was not a simple coincidence.
In the current historical moment in which populist policies and fake news are part of our everyday life, Maria Lax's project reminds us how certain phenomena and certain tensions can not only stimulate our curiosity and our desire to react but also they can strike the inherent insecurity within human nature to the point of influencing our perception of reality and undermining our most solid certainties.
" It’s no wonder - continues Lax - that the UFO sightings embodied fear of the future, the unknown and the inexorable shift in lifestyles and livelihoods going on around them. Some reacted to the mysterious lights with fear, some took them as a sign they were not alone. "
PHmuseum Lab | Via Paolo Fabbri 10/2a | Bologna, Italy
until September 2021
Photo Maria Lax
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