Artist Readies Finnish Town for Aliens

May 20, 2003 It would be a shame to be emotionally unprepared on the day that aliens finally pay us a visit from outer space, according to Slovenian artist Igor Stromajer.

Stromajer, in an art project opening Saturday, hopes to prime the Finnish town of Rauma for close encounters of the emotional kind, which could include hugs and kisses, but also trauma.

He is persuaded that aliens are not the cold unfeeling creatures many science fiction films depict them to be, but have feelings, like everybody else.

And so over the past three months, through questionnaires to residents and practical workshops in kindergartens, schools, the town hall and the local university, he has readied the town for accepting aliens, emotions and all.

"Particularly the kind with intimate extraterrestrial communication," Stromajer said.

The main feature of the happening are remixed recordings of outer space sound, captured on short-wave receivers, to be played through loudspeakers in nine installations through the city.

"The content of the sound is sad, it's a mixed form of crying," Stromajer said, adding that local radio amateurs had helped him record it.

If extraterrestrials do visit Rauma, which has 38,000 inhabitants and situated 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of Helsinki on Finland's west coast, it would be the biggest emotional event in 12 years, after its old town center was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1991.
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