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By Kostya Traschenkow

I threw myself like a litmus test into the woodland near Hamina in Finland with the aim of getting a reaction from the Salpa Line fortifications. In the process, physical and emotional media have registered numerous spots that form a certain internal psycho-image.

The first thing that became intrusive and stuck to eyes, hands, mouths and clothes, and then creeped into memory and spilled onto watercolour paper was an enormous bunch of ripe blueberries and cranberries.

Another intrusive spot in the saturated green palette of the woods was the geometrically regular black opening of the entrance into the darkness of the bunkers that alluded to Malevich. All around it was only the molding canvas: rock covered with light green moss, and overgrown by trees. Nothing disturbs the natural view of the forest, and thus the military art of the Suomi is land art at its best, which transforms the notion of the art of war into the art of living.

Due to ambivalent etymology, the autonym of the Finnish Suomi people became a disarming and permissive factor: the soft “Suomi” in the sense of “the marshland” was complemented by another interpretation of this word, namely, that of “a singing land”. When one senses the proximity of this land, it is easy to link these two meanings: the people who live in the swamps and wear fish scales love and praise what they have, making use of everything around them while also preserving everything them.

It is precisely in this way, out of loving and making use of everything around, that the force that transforms the military craft into an instrument of the art of living emerges. When you have seen the fortifications that have merged with nature so neatly, you realize that what had been supposed to bring death instead demonstrated love of nature and directed the forces of respect for the elements of non-human order. This is the life-giving power of art.

Impeccably integrated into the landscape, the fortifications never witnessed battle: their combat mission was completed by means of acting as a work of art. One does not need to touch a painting or climb a sculpture, it is not necessary to do anything unnatural in order to understand the artist's intention. Love lives in every intention of the artist. The Finnish people's love for their land as it is. I think that it is exactly this psychological spot in the memory that sticks out from every metre of the Salpa Line.