This is a terrifying art installation located in a barren field in the Finnish countryside. It recently went viral after someone accidentally stumbled upon it while searching on Google Maps.
While people were on lock down in many countries around the world, they spend a lot of time online looking for cool places to visit once they can travel again. Many are using free tools like Google Maps and end going deeper down the rabbit hole than they originally anticipated. That’s probably how some people recently discovered “The Silent People”, a creepy-looking art installation that left them scratching their heads about why anyone would fill a field with hundreds of scarecrows and dress them as real people.
When you see The Silent People installation from afar, it looks like a perfectly still army of people all facing the same way. It’s only when you take a closer look that you realize it’s made up of wooden frames covered in human clothes and heads made of pear, which does a surprisingly good job of emulating human hair. Even knowing that it’s an art installation, you still feel uneasy looking at the almost one thousand still figures, but knowing absolutely nothing about it and suddenly finding it on Google Maps can really freak a person out.
This relatively obscure installation is located on Highway 5, outside of Suomussalmi, in Finland’s countryside. Many people who have stumbled upon this art installation post their finding on social media, which is how the eerie installation of artist Reijo Kela started getting a lot of attention online lately.
Inaugurated way back in 1988, The Silent People, or “Hiljainen kansa” in Finnish, was originally located in a field in Lassila, a neighborhood of Helsinki. It was then moved in the Market Place of Helsinki’s Senate Square, then on the banks of the river Jalonuoma, Ämmänsaari, and finally settled in this empty field outside Suomussalmi in 1994.
Interestingly, Suomussalmi Youth Workshop maintains the The Silent People, changing the clothes of the wooden figures twice a year, using clothes collected through donation, which somehow makes this offbeat attraction even creepier.
Reijo Kela does not intend to reveal what his Silent People art symbolizes. People have been speculating about the meaning of the installation for decades, but so far we only have theories. The most popular version is that the figures represent those lost during a fierce battle that took place nearby during the Winter War of 1939-1940 between Finland and Soviet Russia.
You might want to visit the location one day to have firsthand experience of what it feels like to be the only one who can talk in a ‘community’ of Silent People.