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The Silent People – A Creepy Art Installation Freaking People Out on Google Maps

An eerie art installation located in a barren field in the Finnish countryside recently went viral after someone accidentally stumbled upon it while searching on Google Maps.

With quarantine and isolation measures still in place in many countries around the world, people are spending a lot of time online looking for cool places to visit once they can travel again. Many a re 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.

Photo: Timo Newton-Syms

Seen from afar, The Silent People installation 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 sudeny finding it on Google Maps can really freak a person out.

 

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Don’t ask me how someone stumbles upon a relatively obscure installation located on Highway 5, outside of Suomussalmi, in Finland’s countryside, but they somehow do, and many of them post their finding on social media, which is how the eerie installation of artist Reijo Kela started getting a lot of attention online lately.

 

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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.

 

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#winter_clothes #power_place #hiljainenkansa #silentpeople #niittykahvila #suomussalmi

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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.

And if you’re feeling curious about what Reijo Kela wanted his Silent People to symbolize, you can keep scrathing your head, because he’s not willing to reveal the answer. 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.