Cat valley

Terike Haapoja

Thousands of people visit Helsinki Zoo every year. Besides presenting values of conservation and protection, the zoo also functions as a representation of ‘the wild’. The cages of animals from faraway places have been carefully designed to have the appearance of a jungle, a desert or mountain side, despite being constructed in Northern Europe. Their habitat is reduced, their interaction with other species is dramatically narrowed down, their behaviour can hardly be called authentic. Visitors willingly forget the constructed-ness of the scene. In ‘Cat Valley’, I documented visitors’ reflections on the windows of the viewing area into the cages.  In the installation three life-sized screens show the visitors gazing through the glass, trying to catch a glimpse of the ‘real’ that they were promised. However, only an artificial landscape is visible. The video and its audio track have been slowed down; the sound of the visitors starts to resemble the moans of the beasts. 

Production Year
Original Title
Cat valley
Finnish Title
Cat valley
English Title
Cat valley
Aspect Ratio
Terike Haapoja (Author), Petteri Mård (Sound Design)
Press Photos
Terike Haapoja is a visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. She has a MA degree both from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and Theatre Academy. Her work consists of videos, installations and stage projects, characterized by the innovative use of new media and new technology. Her work has been show widely in solo and group exhibitions and festivals both nationally and internationally. Haapoja represented Finland at Venice Biennale in 2013 with a solo show in the Nordic Pavilion. She has received awards and grants in Finland since 2001 and she was nominated as candidate for Ars Fennica Award in 2011.