Homeless — Poste Restante

Homeless — Poste Restante

Certain stories just cannot be left untold. Even if nobody assigns them, even if you cannot be sure if anybody really cares. And goes without saying, nobody pays you to do them…

A former student of mine Vilja Harala from Lahti University of Applied Sciences approached me. She was in the middle of her final thesis — and she was stuck. She had these poignant images — of the shacks of the homeless — she had shot during the past two years in the Central Park of Helsinki.

And then she had these inter­views, people talking straight to the camera. Very incon­sistent level of audio, no b‑roll and no narrative structure to speak of…

Basically the question was: can we do anything about this?

Together we went thru the material. I was stunned when I heard some of the stories. The young girl Mia was like any of my students in Lahti. Dorian was making so much sense that I was totally speechless… and Niko was an A‑level student. I felt I totally related to all of them.

And yet, they were homeless.

In Finland, in 2016.

In a country which according to the Guardian is the best country to live in the world.

In a country where the tempe­rature drops under ‑30° C — even in down south.

In this country 8000 people daily have to figure out where they spend the following night.


Vilja’s images were breath­taking in their simplicity, so I tried to design accor­dingly. No extra bells and whistles.

Decided to limit the inter­views into three questions. Three questions to nine people.

Some comments were only a couple of seconds, some were over 5 minutes. I strongly urge you to listen to them, if you speak the language. I guarantee, it’s worth your time.

The whole piece is designed to be watched on a touch device. There are separate layouts for iPhone, iPad vertical and horizontal. Naturally it works with a laptop/computer as well; both clicking with the mouse or using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

Link to multimedia
Click image to see the multimedia.

As I said, we did this pro bono because we feel these stories deserve to be heard.

Please watch and listen.

(And if you do like it — and consider this important — please do share. )


Vilja Harala’s Exhibition Poste Restante can be seen in

Asbestos Art Space (Mäkelänkatu 45, Helsinki)

14.10. ‑23.10.2016

On the 17th is “the night of the homeless” and the exhibition is open until 11.oo pm.

Please note also that the original prints in the exhibition are for sale and the funds are delivered 100% to the organization Vvary to be used for the amelio­ration of the homeless situation in Finland.

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