Big Bang Echo

Artist(s):Markus Copper Date:2000 Medium:stainless steel, electricity, spectrolite Dimensions:300 x 100 x 100 cm Collection:Finnish State Art Deposit Collection, Finnish National Gallery, V-2000-108-VE Location:Yliopistonmäki

In 1997, the State Art Commission organised an invitational competition on an artwork to be erected at the University of Turku. The competition’s winner was contemporary artist Markus Copper (formerly Paajanen, 1968–2019), from whom the committee commissioned the work in May 1998.

Unveiled on Yliopistonmäki (University Hill) on 27 September 2000, the three-metre-tall Big Bang Echo’s megaphones echoed cosmic noise that supposedly originated from the Big Bang. The echo, however, was loud and constant, and exceeded the noise limit. After the University staff complained about the noise, whichcould be heard from tens of metres away, the artist provided the facilities management with a maintenance manual so that they could adjust the work’s volume. Even with the manual, the maintenance personnel were unable to quieten the echo, the noise growing even louder instead. To solve the matter, the sculpture was disconnected the day after its unveiling. It remains silent to this day.

Copper was known for his imposing and occasionally even dangerous artworks. He often made particularised drawings of his works, in which he detailed their operating principles and mechanics. He made two ink drawings of Big Bang Echo in 1999, both titled Nature of Knowledge.

Emma Vuolaslempi 2024

“Big Bang Echo, 2000.” Finnish National Gallery, n.d.

Haapala, Leevi. “Sculpted Machines and a Sense of Danger.” Markus Copper. Metallin maku – The Taste of Metal, eds Leevi Haapala and Patrik Nyberg, 12–13. Helsinki: Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / Parvs, 2022.

Lehtonen, Veli-Pekka. “Markus Copperin uudesta teoksesta nousi kova meteli.” Helsingin Sanomat, 29 September 2000.