University of Lapland, A-wing, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work, Break room,14.8.2019: It is obvious, right under our noses, / behind a clear glass, remaining invisible. / Houseplants and parks, our mundane frame. / Midsole is in the middle of these two worlds.  

On a gravel roof, at the base of a concrete trough spreads a meandering green, almost as the hummocks of Manchuria.  

To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence  

The roof is patched by a community of moss and lichen. The tender cladonia fimbriata is reaching the highest of them all. // Jäkälä nosti pikarinsa hauraan, / ja sade täytti sen, ja pisarassa / kimalsi taivas tuulta pidättäen. / - Helvi Juvonen, Pikarijäkälä // 

In this world, the man’s boot is heavy, and the maintenance moves the gravel. This roof was not meant to be green. The chalice fills and falls. // Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour. / - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence //  

Life will find a way, on surfaces kept unoccupied, into islands and ruddy red. It digs into hardest of metals and leaves a track. // ”Jäkälä nosti pikarinsa hauraan: / Nyt malja elämämme rikkaudelle." / - Helvi Juvonen, Pikarijäkälä //  

Living on Rooftops

Text and photos Joonas Vola


Behind the glass, right under our noses, spreads a world of green, rich and vulnerable. Look on the threshold, a hideout between a building and the green area.

Joonas Vola is a PhD researcher in the Culture Based Service Design doctoral programme, a member of Northern Political Economy research group and Intra-living in the Anthropocene group. This photographic essay grows from the interest on living on a threshold: a ground- and category breaking ways of life and living, in the midst of the mundane and marginal spaces.