Henri Airo, Attempt at Calculating Negligence

Curator: Marga Rotteveel


All that remains of an event after its passing is merely the fragments it leaves behind, in physical spaces or individual subjective experience. Yet we as humans and communities have a particular desire to be our own objective witnesses to that which has already passed. We utilise the most objective of sciences, mathematics, to stick and glue these fragments together in an attempt to create a common reality about past events. Mathematics elevates observations into fact. This is why we are compelled by reconstructions. Like photographs, they seemingly offer us a way of capturing the past.

But this mathematical reality is always a construct, neither objective nor true, much like photographs. These are always efforts by individuals to observe, interpret, and save a piece of reality. They are attempts to describe reality, not reality itself.

My little sister died, killed by a drunk driver, some years ago. My subjective experience of loss has never had anything to do with the physical aspects of the event. This is why the court documents have always been unimportant to me. They do not change the outcome of what happened. The police had gone to great lengths in creating a detailed reconstruction describing the moment of the impact. But when asked whether my sister was standing on the pavement or the crossing when she was hit, all the head researcher could say was “both are very possible”.

In this work, I ask myself why we apply calculations to things we cannot reach.


Henri Airo (b. 1996 in Helsinki) is a visual artist working with different forms of photography, other lens-based mediums, text, and archival material. His work revolves around presenting perspectives on constructions within society and communities. Recently he has been working with themes of collective memory, mathematical reconstruction, and the use of history and mathematics within society. His practice stems from his upbringing in international and socially aware environments. His aim is for the viewer to see something familiar from a strange yet refined perspective. Through the practice of visualising large social structures and phenomena, Airo wants to create a deeper understanding and challenge people to be more observant and vigilant about their opinions and surroundings.


Tytano, ul. Dolnych Młynów 10


25.05.2019, 8 pm

Exhibition open:

Tuesday–Friday 15.00–19.00
Saturday–Sunday 11.00–19.00


free admission