CONTEMPORARY ART ARCHIPELAGO
Lotta Petronella Foreword
Taru Elfving Archipelago Logic. Notes on and beyond a Dysfunctional Exhibition Tea Mäkipää Northbound Merja Isokoski, Hertta Kiiski & Tiina Palmu Call me Ishmael
15 25 31
Renja Leino Wind
Armi Nurminen Fishnest
Kari Cavén Godsend
Platforma 9.81 Guest
Palletti Trapped in Freedom
Sussi Henrikson Blowing in the Wind
Janne Gröning Mare Amore
Anna Nyreen Hold me – let me go
Alfredo Jaar Dear Markus
Pia Rousku Glass Meadow
Sandra Nyberg ECOntainer
Nanna Debois Buhl Looking for Donkeys
Minerva Cuevas Open Hut
Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas Uto-Pia
Elin Wikström Save the Seagrass? Who Decides? You? Scientists? Politicians? The Market?
Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen & Henrik Andersson Archipelago Science Fiction
Antonia Ringbom Arkipellina, Isola & Potato Island
Raqs Media Collective More Salt in Your Tears
Renée Green Endless Dreams and Water Between
Arja Renell (née Lehtimäki) Mat med Vyer (Foodscape)
Photography by Stefan Krämer unless otherwise credited.
TEA MÄKIPÄÄ Northbound
PIA ROUSKU Glass Meadow
17 Korpoström 17.6. – 6.7.
Naantali 8.7. – 28.7.
Turku 30.7. – 17.8.
10 Nagu 19.8. – 8.9. 1
Turku 10.9. – 30.9.
NANNA DEBOIS BUHL Looking for Donkeys
MERJA ISOKOSKI, HERTTA
KIISKI & TIINA PALMU Call me Ishmael
MINERVA CUEVAS Kumlinge Open Hut
RENJA LEINO Wind 3 19
ARMI NURMINEN Fishnest 4
KARI CAVÉN Godsend 6
PLATFORMA 9.81 Guest 7
PALLETTI Trapped in Freedom 8
SUSSI HENRIKSON Blowing in the Wind 10
JANNE GRÖNING Mare Amore 10
ANNA NYREEN Hold me – let me go 11
ALFREDO JAAR Dear Markus 12 13 19
SANDRA NYBERG ECOntainer
NOMEDA & GEDIMINAS URBONAS Uto-Pia
ELIN WIKSTRÖM Save The Seagrass? Sottunga Who decides? You? Scientists? Politicians? The Market?
TELLERVO KALLEINEN, OLIVER KOCHTA-KALLEINEN & HENRIK ANDERSSON Archipelago Science Fiction
ANTONIA RINGBOM Arkipellina & Isola & Potato Island 17 20
RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE More Salt in Your Tears 18
RENÉE GREEN Endless Dreams and Water Between 19
ARJA LEHTIMÄKI Mat Med Vyer (Foodscape) 5 Pensar Syd
Fathoming extraterritoriality 9 Bystrand 13
10 L’Escale 16 Hjalmar’s 17 Korpoström
Naantali – Nådendal 1 1
TURKU – ÅBO
Rymättylä – Rimito Pargas – Parainen 8 2
Korpo – Korppoo 15
Nagu – 11 Nauvo
Kimitoön – Kemiönsaari
Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA) exhibition consisted of over 20 newly commissioned site-specific art works realised in the Turku archipelago by international and local artists during the Summer 2011, between 18th June and 30th September. A series of residencies, artist talks, interdisciplinary research events and education activities took place over a three year period of 2009-2011. Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA) was part of the Turku 2011 Cultural Capital of Europe programme.
Exhibition 18th June – 30th September 2011
Symposium Archipelago Logic: Towards Sustainable Futures Archipelago Centre Korpoström 2011
Book Contemporary Art Archipelago 2014
Artist talks with AiA (Artists in Archipelago) 2009-2010
Discussions ecology, economy, (aesth) ethics Archipelago Centre Korpoström 2010-2011
Workshop Turku Arts Academy 2010
Lecture series Site-Specific Contemporary Art & the Archipelago Art History and Baltic Sea Region Studies, Turku University 2010
Micro-residencies for research and production Hotel Lanterna (Nagu), Hotel Nestor (Korpo), Hanna’s Horisont (Utö) 2009-2011
For years, the place where I longed to be was the Turku Archipelago. Or more precisely a tiny little island called Stora Korpskär. The place I now think of as home, not because I live there but because this is where my soul feels at home. Of course, there are the memories. Not from childhood, but from early adulthood. My father bought a place here in the late 1980’s. After I moved to London to study in 1993, I would spend every summer vacation on the island in a small timber cottage. It was tiny, only 20 square metres. But I didn’t spend much time indoors as I was surrounded by nature and the open sea. I remember the greyness of the rocks. And the shapes of the yellow moss. I would lie on the stones for hours and listen. To the sea, the birds, my breath. Counting the clouds above. I felt safe here, as if I were part of something bigger. Maybe it was being surrounded by the sea that let me imagine I could take my little boat and sail away anywhere, anytime. This island was connected, through water, to all the seas in the world. This image gave me a sense of freedom. Here everything felt closer. Even the sky. In 2005, during a summer vacation in Finland, I came across an announcement in a newspaper looking for a filmmaker to work in the archipelago. By the autumn, I was traveling around the outer islands making a film about four women, following their everyday tasks and lives. These women were tough, wise, warm and intelligent, with a good sense of humour. It was during these travels that the idea emerged. I thought: this place, these islands, would be perfect for an exhibition. I knew that the artists would have to be invited to stay here, to experience the place, in order to create something. A dialogue. A conversation. A thought.
Around Christmas 2006, I called Taru and told her about the idea and asked her to collaborate with me on curating the exhibition. It took us a few years to work out the proposed content and to raise the funding. Luckily Turku was named European Capital of Culture in 2011, and we were part of the programme right from the start. During this whole time, we travelled around the archipelago, meeting and talking to different people on the various islands: local fishermen, academics, creatives, even the Finnish army. This period gave us a different insight into the place, and prepared us to be able to guide and introduce each of the artists to the place according to their individual interests and research. What came of all this was something quite different, something that it was impossible to imagine in advance. Rather than an exhibition, it was an encounter with a place that was complex, curious, beautiful, chaotic and alive. Like the islands, each work was a heartbeat, a little scream, a perception, a landscape. Together they created an experience of the place that follows the logic of the archipelago: each piece, like each island, has to be seen as a work in its own right, as well as in relation to all the others. For a year, I travelled around, crossing the sea with my camera, tripod and recorder. In the winter, the sea froze, leaving most of the islands cut off and impossible to get to. The ones inhabited in winter could be reached by a sturdy ferry that transported all the necessities: people, animals, timber, food.I was there during the autumn storms, on the mellow summer nights, and in spring when the ice breaks. I felt like I had stepped off my little island onto a myriad islands. My perceptions changed. I came across people. Stories. The place grew inside me, and shaped me in all kinds of ways.
Notes from an ongoing dialogue with this place Before every beginning there is another beginning. The beginning before the beginning. Somewhere in the beyond, it is there in the frozen landscape, floating in the sea. And inside me.
The ice melts leaving a sea of rocks. Thousands of islands and skerries. That float like clouds late in the summer when the water is warmer than the air.
Somewhere in this landscape is a heartbeat. Memories of things yet to come. This is a landscape where dreams travel.
Lotta Petronella Film maker & Curator
ÂŠ Lotta Petronella
CONTEMPORARY ART ARCHIPELAGO (CAA)
An archipelago is not just a constellation of islands, it also encompasses the ceaseless flows between them. The sea is its frontier, its horizon, and its medium. An archipelago does not follow the logic of detachment or enclosure, origins or roots, but of everpresent change – from geological formation to ecological ruptures. The Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA) exhibition spread across a vast area of islands, and followed the currents between them in the Turku archipelago during Summer 2011. To encounter all of the works in situ one had to spend approximately three to four days journeying around the archipelago by various means, from buses and boats to snorkelling. The works could be found along the ring road and ferry routes connecting the main islands, in the landscape seen from small boats and cruisers, on the radio waves, in the forest, and even at the bottom of the sea. They took many forms, including a sound archive of tales about the changing climate, an island’s own mobile-phone network, a community-based sci-fi film about the islands in 2100, letters to a schoolboy on billboards along a ferry route, a glass meadow, and underwater gardening. 1 The exhibition formed its own archipelago across the islands. With such a broad spatial expanse it could hardly be considered to be easily accessible, although care was taken to ensure that all of the works were reachable by public transport. In fact, CAA turned out to be quite dysfunctional – as an exhibition. However, this would assume that the exhibition had particular functions and expected forms that it did not fulfil. If it did not work, what ‘order(s)’ was it ‘out of’? And what else did it do instead? First of all, CAA highlights the demand for critical reconsideration not only of the spatial, but also the time frames of both art production and the exhibition format. Temporality became tangible in various ways in the works and their processes: the physical distances within the archipelago, the changes of pace, and the differing rhythms of the environment, the seasonal cycles and geological time. Many of the artworks addressed and reflected these different flows. This implied an acute awareness of continuity, future orientation and sustainability, which in practice challenged the temporal coordinates of the exhibition.
The listed artworks are by the artists (in order of mention): Renja Leino, Minerva Cuevas, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen & Henrik Andersson, Pia Rousku, Elin Wikström. 2
For example: Minerva Cuevas has continued her experimentation, and exhibited a new version of the independent cellular network at the ZKM in Germany, 2012. The Urbonases have exhibited their project as an installation at Schwerin State Museum, Germany, 2012. Arja Lehtimäki continued working with the restaurants on the islands, but also took the project to Helsinki under the programme for World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen won the Ars Fennica Prize 2014 in Finland with an exhibition including their Archipelago Science Fiction, which has also been screened at a number of international festivals. Alfredo Jaar presented Dear Markus at Kiasma in Helsinki in 2014, and has lectured about it around the globe. Elin Wikström continued her project in the Voices from the Waters Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, 2014.
More than an exhibition, CAA consisted of a three-year process of fieldwork and micro-residencies, talks and cross-disciplinary seminars, lecture series and workshops, and an academic symposium, alongside an exhibition of the artworks produced. Today, it continues to circulate in a plethora of exhibitions, presentations and articles. The life and impact of the artworks extend beyond the exhibition in numerous ways: some are reincarnated in new locations, others are presented by the artists as documentation, while others circulate as artworks independent of their original site of production, and yet all carry the islands with them.2 Meanwhile, a concrete sculpture remains at the bottom of the sea and will gradually become part of the marine landscape, monitored by national park rangers and visited by nature tourists.3 The works of other local artists will also persist and reappear in various forms in the region.4 Similarly, part of the ongoing process is this publication, which does not just document an exhibition, but maps out and reassesses the numerous strands of research that went into the project, and which live on beyond it. From the curatorial point of view, CAA was a long-term investment in a dialogue with the archipelago and the participating artists. As an exhibition it was not thematically framed, but was grounded in the vast landscape. It grew out of encounters, investigations and conversations with and within this particular environment and its community. Of crucial importance to its success, albeit even further defying curatorial control, were the multitude of voices brought together by the artists, ranging from locally based arts professionals and students to internationally active contemporary artists. Invaluable contributions were made by numerous local individuals and organisations, businesses and authorities, who generously shared their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm with us.
Nurminen’s Fishnest was realised in collaboration with the Archipelago National Park, as part of their new underwater nature trail in Dalskär. The work was selected from among proposals by students at a workshop co-organised by CAA and the Art Academy of Turku. 4
For example, Kari Caven’s Godsend and Sussi Henrikson’s Blowing in the Wind have so far braved the weather as sculptural interventions beside the main road on the island of Nagu. Renja Leino’s sound archive Wind was purchased as a permanent artwork for the historic lighthouse on Utö. Sandra Nyberg’s ECOntainer has travelled around Finland, including to Mustarinda in Hyrynsalmi in 2012.
Where is the audience? This is a question that most of the artists posed during their first site visits. The Turku archipelago context in itself presented a complex community that the project set out to address: permanent inhabitants; part-time residents with their summer cottages; and numerous visitors ranging from bird-watchers who return annually to diverse tourist groups; as well as the thousands traveling through the landscape daily on cruise ships. And these are just the human inhabitants of the islands. Another challenge was how to address the rest of the ecosystem, not just as objects of study, but as inhabitants of the environment in which we were intervening. While certainly not comprehending the immensity of this task at the start, the CAA team nevertheless set out on an extensive research process that lasted two-to-three years prior to the exhibition, where the artworks surfaced as the tip of this iceberg. We and the artists journeyed deeper and deeper into the landscape, along with marine biologists, navy officers, fishermen, ship pilots, restaurant keepers, farmers, cheesemakers, park rangers, school kids, and many others – all with highly specific professional and vernacular knowledge. The project is at least as much for them as it is for the visitors to the final exhibition. CAA laid claims to site-specificity, and yet in practice it simultaneously questioned and rethought this notion. One of the commissioned artists, Renée Green, has emphasized sensitivity, rather than specificity, to the site in her practice.5 Sensitivity requires, as well as makes space for, dialogue, and yet it does not aim at specialization as such. In CAA the artistic processes and the resulting works themselves opened up into sites of critical encounter. The exhibition aimed to allow the new artworks to offer keys to the landscape. Yet, in addition to allowing for insights, it also set out to interconnect this specific site with others – these seemingly being remote and detached, and yet in curious ways having fates that are mutually entangled due to global flows. Mirrored in other contexts by the artists, the Turku Archipelago began to echo shared processes of transformation. This also pointed to the various causes and effects of the forces of change – cultural, historical, political, ecological, economic, etc.
Renée Green, “On Site Specificity”, in Documents, no 4/5, Spring 1994, p. 14-22.
CAA can be seen as a current that ran through the archipelago, momentarily touching some of its numerous nooks and crannies. It brought news and unexpected queries from various parts of the world, and flowed out again in various directions, with messages from these particular isles.
Felix Guattari, The Three Ecologies, The Athlone Press, London 2000. 7
Discovering discourse diversity Why do you call this a sea although it is not salty enough? How do we eat in a landscape-friendly way? Could the recently vacated military bunkers be re-used as cheese cellars? Have the winds changed? Set in the Baltic Sea, known to be the most polluted sea in the world, this archipelago region offers a case study that resonates deeply with the necessity to find sustainable modes of coexistence. The archipelago has been recognized for its unique combination of natural and cultural values, and is protected as a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco. To address this environment a complex and diverse set of perspectives are required in order to reach beyond the confines and comforts of individual islands, whether they be geopolitical locations or disciplinary fields of knowledge. CAA took up this challenge following the philosopher Felix Guattari’s call for an ethical-political approach that brings together three interacting and interdependent ecological registers: environmental, social and mental ecology.6 These three, interpreted as ecology, economy and (aesth)ethics, were reflected in the lecture series and the cross-disciplinary discussions that preceded the exhibition, as well as in the symposium that rounded off the project. The project embraced contemporary art’s potential for weaving the three registers together, as well as for creating platforms for dialogue in which distinct perspectives (from both science and everyday practices) can meet. As an open field of enquiry – free from fixed forms or functions, methods or materials – contemporary art has the ability to bring even apparently contradictory positions into the dialogue.7 In CAA this non-expert approach, while attributing great value to and engaging with different types of specialized knowledge, acted as a decentring device that fostered diversity – what we might call ‘discourse diversity’.8
I owe this understanding of freedom to Irit Rogoff. See e.g. Rogoff, “Free”, in e-flux journal, no 14, 03/2010: www.e-flux.com/journal/free 8
The term “discourse-diversity” was coined by Tracey Warr in dialogue with Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas in the context of Frontiers in Retreat, a research and residency project developed by Taru Elfving following CAA at HIAP Helsinki International Artist Programme. See www.frontiersinretreat.org
Rather than claiming profound wisdom or breakthrough discoveries, CAA acted more as an incubator for chance encounters and collaborations between various fields of expertise, all drawn together by curiosity and an investment in the urgent matters that impact on these islands. In the exhibition the myriad points of view presented an archipelago within the archipelago, a spectrum through which to see the island landscape in unprecedented complexity. Novel questions and answers grew out of the contacts between diverse approaches, within each artwork as well as between them. Things that at first seemed like a minefield turned out to be fundamental for the project in a number of ways: The lack of a shared language or initial agreement, in even the most basic of terms, between disciplines opened up new avenues that were necessary for facing mutual concerns. The insight that the artists invested in the everyday life of the islands was cross-fed with the methods of site-specific intervention and investigation brought in by the artists from different corners of the world. This archipelago logic applied in CAA made simultaneously tangible the interdependence of distinct islets of knowledge and methodology (whether they were those of the artists, the various participants in the process, or the different audiences), as much as their irreducible inherent value. While drawing attention to the landscape, which the works delved into and temporarily inhabited, the exhibition also opened up vistas beyond this particular place and time: onto the partiality of all views and onto the ceaseless transformations that all of them partake in. Rather than cacophony or relativism, this spelled out a heightened sense of implication.
When does a rock become an island? What future do we desire? What is to be conserved and why? In terms of geological time, islands and archipelagos are barely fixed entities. The islands in the Turku Archipelago continue to slowly rise, as they have done since the end of the last ice age, while only the future will reveal the impact of the current melting of the polar ice. The specificities of the archipelago context resonate with globally shared urgencies, and the completed CAA artworks focused attention on a number of these points of acute concern: the subtle balance of salinity on which the particular ecosystem of the Baltic Sea depends; the largely unknown eelgrass that is the lungs of the sea; the value of the individual and of public services in the welfare state; the biodiversity restored by traditional agricultural technologies; etc. When reading through the project descriptions, now compiled into this publication, the complexity at stake becomes tangible. We appear to be balancing on a boundless maze of fault lines, or lines drawn on water. One of the questions that haunted the project concerns the significance of permanent communities and the increasing presence of visitors on the islands today. What is the environmental cost of the infrastructures needed to sustain these communities and tourists? Can the knowledge passed down through generations outweigh this? The ability to be in sync with oneâ€™s surroundings, to read the signs in the environment as it goes through its seasonal cycles, as well as unpredictable transformations, is surely irreplaceable. Similarly the sense of having a personal stake in the fate of this landscape, which can be awakened in visitors, should not be undervalued. Yet, any protection or development measure inevitably prioritizes one possible future over others. Many of the CAA artworks and their research processes stressed the necessity of re-evaluating and even reinventing what is specific to the archipelago, in order for its community and ecological balance to survive in the midst of global changes. Instead of conservative preservation, they gestured towards a mode of becoming â€“ of becoming local. This is also closely associated with questions about how nature can be understood as a commons. This notion was thrown into turmoil in the archipelago. First of all, the so-called natural environment has been profoundly affected by human
culture for centuries. Then, on the one hand, this relationship is affected by the particular Finnish tradition of “everyman’s right” to roam and forage in nature. On the other hand, the islands foster intense attachment to the landscape and to the cherished quiet solitude – the dream of having an island to oneself. The island environment made distinguishing between private and public space practically impossible in any one set of terms: A soundwork designed for lone contemplation became pollution, as the sound travelled uncontrollably on the waves across invisible yet vehemently guarded boundaries of privacy. The waters were revealed to be divided into blocks of property, some of which are owned by dozens of individuals. Nesting birds blocked access to the shores, sometimes even more efficiently than the summer cottage owners. Furthermore, the project raised the issue of the inevitable limits to rights to inhabit, own, enjoy or exploit any so-called natural environment: What about immigrants or alien invading species traversing old borders while caught up in the torrents of globalisation and climate change? How does the sense of personal belonging support, and when does it actually inhibit, mutually shared responsibility? How far can one’s own archipelago sustainably reach?
Not the end The expectations projected onto an international art project such as CAA, within the context of the Cultural Capital year in a peripheral location, were varied and at times incompatible: Big names, new audiences, increased tourism and visibility, regeneration and community engagement, to name just a few of them. Meanwhile, we were planning a series of temporary artworks for an extremely fragile ecosystem of thousands of islands in the Baltic Sea, which is severely affected by environmental changes, and for a local community increasingly struggling to maintain sufficient livelihoods and to defend its basic infrastructures. We were carefully setting foot on a highly unique environment with huge, largely unexploited, but also treacherous, potential for eco and cultural tourism. What could a one-off art project achieve here?
CAA was driven by a longstanding dream, manifested in the six solid years of preparation work, as well as the widely shared interest in establishing a recurring event. Biennale-style continuity proved to be utopian, in the absence of any foreseeable permanent structures, or locally based institutions or actors, to secure a basis for it. Yet, the smaller, more subtle ripples that the project sent out in various directions have not ceased to have an impact – after all, these may well be more in tune with this particular context: Myriad small islands with ever-changing networks and currents of connection, instead of immovable bridges. While many established international biennales are currently re-assessing their practices with a focus on local and durable impact, slow organic growth may be a more sustainable route to take here. The sustainability and impact of an art project are not merely a matter of its carbon footprint or of direct continuity, accessibility or attendance, cost effectiveness and immediate returns, or of the facts gathered and communicated. They have to do with its capacity to weave empathic connections, affinities, across irreducible differences, which open up pathways to the future. Sustainability is about the present as a future present, as philosopher Rosi Braidotti puts it.9 Art has a crucial role in this, as it can push the limits of the possible and imagine worlds into being. Moreover, artistic research and dialogue are characterized by future orientation. Their journeys are not directed towards a predetermined end. Now, three years after the exhibition itself, many of the artworks continue to circulate in exhibitions, publications and talks in Finland and internationally. Further curatorial work, on-going collaborations and critical thinking continue to build on the legacy of CAA. In the archipelago the locally based artists have developed enduring collaborations and new ambitious art projects,10 while scientists continue monitoring experiments initiated with the artists.11 The long-term value of the contacts, experiences and knowledge gained by all the participants is immeasurable, while their farreaching, rhizomatic imprint may well be traced for years to come.
Taru Elfving Artistic Director of CAA
Rosi Braidotti, Transpositions: On Nomadic Ethics, Polity Press, Cambridge 2006. 10
For example, Barefootpath in Korpo has become an annual high-profile environmental art exhibition, organised by the artist Pia Rousku in the grounds of Hotel Nestor. 11
National Park researchers are monitoring the gradual changes in Nurminen’s underwater sculpture, as documented in this publication. Wikström also continues to monitor and document the transplanted sea grass with Åbo Akademi marine biologists.
A small boat loaded with wooden cargo boxes adorned with flags and stamps telling of their travels around the world. When it paused at yet another harbour, its curious gang of passengers – or perhaps its crew – could be glimpsed through the windows: the bare interior of the boat was occupied by animals, from tiny birds and butterflies to a shabby wolf and other beasts. One poor rabbit had already been braving the weather out on the deck for some time it seemed.
During the summer of 2011, you could unexpectedly come across this troop of travellers as it pulled into a number of harbours in the Turku Archipelago. The boat, called Northbound, was a mobile artwork by Tea Mäkipää, and had set out to follow the currents of the Archipelago Sea. As if drifting, it appeared at the mercy of the complex currents affecting not only this particular Northern ecosystem, but the globe as a whole. In geopolitical and socio-economic terms, the global power balance has recently been shifting from the East-West to the North-South axis. Deeply enmeshed with the forces at play here, the environment is now increasingly manifesting this turn and its effects. Today, ‘North’ is associated with the intensifying rush for oil and other natural resources, with melting ice and newly opened seafaring routes. Meanwhile, alien species, together with various diseases, are reported to be migrating across borders, expanding their territories further North. Our world is tilting northwards, more or less – towards more temperate climates and less populated lands, towards more resources and less erosion. This does not just concern humans and their migrations. Rather, everything is on the move. Northbound, all bound by the same forces and fortunes. Mäkipää’s work could be described as a lifeboat for animals, or as an idiosyncratic miniature natural history museum in this age of mobility. It is an updated version of Noah’s Ark, which saves, yet simultaneously condemns the animals to a museum existence – to being relics or specimens – to being displayed, studied, preserved. They stand as representatives of what has been, may be, or will be lost. The work thus makes tangible the many contradictions
intrinsic in the human relationship with nature and its conservation: even in the most sincere efforts, the animals seem to be invited into the world built for, around, and by humans. This logic of preservation stands in stark contrast to the fearridden tone associated with the news of the migration of species, which threaten the balance and predictability of the ecosystem as we know it. Is the difference here that of the invited versus the uninvited guest, the order of the host versus that of the unruly trespasser? The lone, petrified figures inhabiting the boat – isolated in their fate, even when they are in group displays – also act as a bleak reminder of the irreversible and rapidly escalating loss of species. It is too late for them to journey northwards, to be northbound, even if these particular species are not yet the dodos of our time. The animals preserved by taxidermy, in all their ephemeral materiality, often in somewhat grotesque postures, affirm the inaccessibility of their worlds via the dominant structures of knowledge and representation. The boat’s prow and stern rise up high, adorned with sunrises and sunsets, a near-Acid-coloured natural world and its wonders. Like the quasi-museum circumstances, this hippy-happy celebration of joyful coexistence reminiscent of the new-age aesthetic looks like a stage set – imaginary beings without a future, or surfaces without substance. This is ultimately not unlike the environment through which the boat was sailing: the stunningly picturesque, wild, rugged, and apparently unspoilt archipelago, on closer inspection, reveals deeply troubled waters, hidden military histories and technologies, local communities and biodiversity in decline, as well as a global economy that daily traverses and stirs the narrow sea lanes. Mäkipää’s Northbound could be seen not simply as a warning of a possible future, or as a sombre stranger visiting this paradise. It is an urgent call – not to aim at being on board the last ark heading even further North, but to pause and anchor ourselves anew in the here and now.
CALL ME ISHMAEL
MERJA ISOKOSKI, HERTTA KIISKI & TIINA PALMU
The collaboration between Kiiski, Isokoski and Palmu produced a sound work based on Herman Melvilleâ€™s timeless classic Moby Dick (1851). People could encounter the work on the seashore, where it created an immaterial yet intimate space for a brief pause and moment of contemplation beside the sea. A recording of the whole book, read out by a soft, male voice, was played continuously throughout the summer months, as if it were an audio guide to another oceanic world. The work was selected for the the CAA exhibition from proposals by students of Turku Art Academy.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there. Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?— Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster— tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?
Call me Ishmael by Kiiski, Isokoski and Palmu based on a drawing by Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935)
MERJA ISOKOSKI, HERTTA KIISKI & TIINA PALMU
But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand—miles of them—leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues,— north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries—stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever. But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley of the Saco. What is the chief element he employs? There stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke. Deep into distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of mountains bathed in their hill-side blue. But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd’s head, yet all were vain, unless the shepherd’s eye were fixed upon the magic stream before him. Go visit the Prairies in June, when for scores on scores of miles you wade knee-deep among Tiger-lilies—what is the one charm wanting?— Water - there is not a drop of water there! Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you
travel your thousand miles to see it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach? Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851
MERJA ISOKOSKI, HERTTA KIISKI & TIINA PALMU
In her sound work Renja Leino, an artist based on the island of Korpo, made tangible the constant presence and significance of the sea wind in the archipelago environment. Leino’s new work consisted of a collection of stories told by the islanders about their experiences of the wind. They captured the way that natural phenomena, changes in the weather and the climate, have a greater effect on the everyday lives of the islanders than they do on urban communities. The stories flowed smoothly, between and across two languages, Swedish and Finnish, just like the daily life of the archipelago. The sound work could be listened to on the radio frequency 95.9 Mhz as you entered the archipelago on the first ferry. It was also played in Utö lighthouse, and has been acquired for it as a permanent installation.
The wind is an element that surrounds us all the time. It is a fundamental element here in the archipelago. Something that has always existed, always been here. There are 37 participants (between 7 and 83 years of age) in this piece, who all relate their own personal experiences, thoughts and anecdotes about the wind. There’s a whole spectrum of life and knowledge in these stories, often with a philosophical resonance. Someone who has lived on an island her entire life has seen the seasons change maybe 70-80 times. There is so much depth in that knowledge.
The duration of the piece is 7 hours and 55 minutes. A lot of feelings can be expressed in that time. When a person narrates in his or her own voice, you can hear the emotions involved in remembering. When the work is experienced inside the stone walls of UtĂś lighthouse, there is a feeling as if even the walls can speak. This is an island that has been through a lot. It is incredible to listen to the stories and voices inside the lighthouse and, when walking out into the landscape, you ponder all that has happened here. Here the weather and the wind are always changing. I have been observing the wind since I was a child, when I spent the summers sailing in the archipelago. Now, I have been living here all year around for over 20 years. The wind is always present in my everyday life. It is fundamental. I have always liked to watch the way the surface of the sea is affected by the wind. These are the kinds of things and memories that have been there since I was a child. The wind is an element that cannot be ignored or sidestepped â€“ you are always conscious of it. I enjoy the wind, but I am also aware that it carries an element of danger. One human being speaking to another human being is a powerful thing. In the act of listening no image is needed. As a photographer I have grown tired of images. The honest voice of a person can carry so very far. The listener will always create an image of the narrator in his or her own mind. When there is no image, we create it for ourselves.
Interview with Renja Leino by Lotta Petronella
Armi Nurminen’s sculpture functions simultaneously as an artwork and as an artificial reef in the sea. The work, cast in concrete, was placed at the bottom of the sea off the island of Dalskär, and it remains a permanent feature of a new underwater nature trail managed by the Archipelago Sea National Park. Gradually the sculpture has found its own place in this ecosystem and become part of the underwater landscape. The marine biologists working for the park continue to monitor and document these changes. The work can be viewed by swimming, snorkelling or diving. It was selected from among the proposals produced during a workshop run by CAA for the students of Turku Art Academy.
© Kevin O’Brian Metsähallitus, 2011
© Kevin O’Brian Metsähallitus, 2011 © Maija Huttunen Metsähallitus, 2013
The idea of an artificial reef on the seabed was an interesting starting point for an artwork. Making a construction like this as part of a contemporary-art project was something entirely new to me as a marine biologist. When the idea for Kalakoto, or Fishnest, by Armi Nurminen was presented to the staff of the Archipelago National Park, we immediately felt we were involved in something new and unexpected. There is no other submerged artwork on this scale anywhere along the coasts of Finland. My marine biologist’s mind immediately pictured how snorkelers and divers could explore the work and its submarine surroundings. They would get to experience the vulnerable seabed firsthand. So, we were more than happy to offer Kalakoto a home in the shore waters off Dalskär. Initially, in its new environment Kalakoto was like a bright orange sunrise from another planet. Nevertheless, the artwork quickly merged with its surroundings: by the end of the summer; bay barnacles, blue mussels, as well as brown and green filamentous algae, had settled on its surface. Nor did small three-spined sticklebacks, two-spotted gobies and perch hesitate either, and they quickly found their way into the sculpture’s protective spiral. In the following years, the layer of mussels has become thicker, with new individuals latching onto the surface with their strong byssal threads. Bay barnacles extend their cirri in the hopes of catching passing plankton, while sea lace floats in the waves like hair. In the autumn, red algae glow in bright colours among the shellfish. Sand gobies and black gobies have found a home under the concrete base, and the large fourhorn sculpins seem to enjoy the sculpture’s protrusions. The sea has embraced Kalakoto and turned it into an inseparable part of the submarine landscape of the Archipelago Sea. Kalakoto has become a permanent venue in the Archipelago Sea. Divers have found a new and interesting site, and increasingly many visitors venture underwater to catch a glimpse of the sculpture and its numerous new inhabitants.
Heidi Arponen Regional Marine Biologist, Protection Biologist Metsähallitus, Natural Heritage Services
© Kevin O’Brian Metsähallitus, 2011
The artist Kari Cavén lives in Helsinki, but spends his summers on the island of Korpo. Cavén is particularly known for his use of found and recycled materials. For CAA he created a new work, which turned a large stone into a kind of natural lighthouse. This boulder left by the Ice Age on its site on what is now Archipelago Road gradually began to reflect its surroundings, the flows of people, and the changing seasons. The work has remained in its place, observing the daily commuters as they pass by along this road on the island of Nagu. It is gradually being transformed by the changing seasons, as well as by other interventions, both natural and human.
When I was invited to make the artwork, there was a mutual understanding that I would work outdoors with some kind of objects. I had used mirrors before in my work. But the mirrors I had used were concave, and the ones here were convex. My wife and I have a summerhouse on the island of Korpo. I wanted to use a natural rock, and luckily I found one on Nagu, the neighbouring island. The rock was in a good spot, on a bend by the main road. There were also electrical wires around the site, which added a sense of the environment to the work. The light was reflected differently than in my previous works – it was dispersed n various directions, rather than being gathered in one spot. I normally work in the studio so working outdoors is unusual for me. It was summer and very hot when I was making the sculpture. The sun was shining, making the reflections from the mirror so hot so that it burned my skin. I was much more exposed to the elements than I would be normally. These kinds of things leave a trace in one’s memory. Car drivers will have noticed the work at first, but by now it has become a part of the environment for them. And, of course, working in the countryside and beside a road is different. It’s a different audience altogether.
Interview with Kari Cavén by Helena Björk
Cabem tum maximen vis, quondeffrei spercem in se publici patin dicidem nitraves poptiendam tere, unt eto et
Dinko Peracic and Miranda Veljacic from Platforma 9.81 have researched the rapid changes marked by global capital and tourism during the past decade on the Croatian coast. For CAA they produced a nautical map, which was installed at the busy ferry port on the island of Seili. It showed an uncanny modified landscape, where Croatian islands have come into the Archipelago Sea as guests. The map reflects on views, ideas and models that are being imported and transplanted from somewhere else and adopted to the local environment. What do we take from the global world and how do we plant it in our own neighbourhood? How do we navigate and orientate ourselves in these shifting conditions?
Â© Platforma 9.81
TRAPPED IN FREEDOM
Islands resonate intensely with the idea of detachment, the escape from the everyday, the break away from the networks of constant connectedness and of social expectations. Here one can be free, by oneself. As a rock on the shore, or a small boat sailing by. Or is it so? An archipelago is always more than an island after all.
ÂŠ Lotta Petronella
ÂŠ Lotta Petronella
BLOWING IN THE WIND
The artist Sussi Henrikson, who lives and works on the island of Nagu, contributed to the discussion about the aesthetics of wind power by producing her own interpretation of a windmill that followed the patterns associated with archipelago romanticism. She aimed to spark discussion, not only about the pros and cons of wind power, but also about the archipelagoâ€™s highly charged aesthetic values. The work is still there beside the main road, and has become a local landmark, greeting passers-by on their arrival in the village of Nagu.
I have observed windmills in the landscape, especially when sailing and driving in the South of Sweden and Denmark. I think they are really beautiful, these windmills. Especially the white ones that are not decorated or made into part of the environment. They are beautiful because I associate them with something good. Wind power feels like a natural way of using resources without exploiting nature. I have difficulties understanding the criticism of and debate about windmills in the archipelago. People say they are ugly and would look out of place in this landscape. My work deals with the question of the aesthetics of wind energy. I wanted to reflect on the way that we deal with the criticism surrounding these issues. That is why the windmill I have made does not work. It is not a functional, real windmill, but only an idea of one. What I am presenting here is not an alternative, obviously. Instead, I hope the work will generate debate about what we perceive as beautiful or not in our environment. For me, perception is emotional. I see something as beautiful if it does something good. Likewise, I can see something as repellent if it has bad consequences. I would not take a stand like this if I werenâ€™t living here. This is my paradise even in winter.
Interview with Sussi Henrikson by Lotta Petronella
The images of the archipelago by the self-taught nature photographer and organic farmer Janne Gröning, who is based on the island of Keistiö, have been widely reproduced in recent years. Gröning compiled a new installation of his photographs for Gallery Lanterna on Nagu, creating a chapel for the idyllic landscape. The exhibition was accompanied by a series of events that focused on the urgent ecological needs of the area and discussed what can be done to preserve this landscape for future generations.
Sometime around 1990, I was planning to sell my company and move to the archipelago. But then, the year after, the economic depression started. Within six months, I lost my whole business. At the time, I didn’t know anything about photography. Photography came into my life much later on, in 1998. I felt down and tired. I was pretty lost. It was then that my inner voice told me to go and find my camera. For months I just walked around and photographed nature. That became my therapy. Nature has a way of healing. The camera is such a good instrument for focusing on small details. Through the lens you see completely new things. When you start looking at tiny fragments of life through your lens, you see things you have not noticed before. To me photography is like meditation. I’m talking about spirituality, which a man is not supposed to do, since it is seen as sign of vulnerability. To me, spirituality is most easily found in nature, everything there is spiritual. Nature is always genuine and honest. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. When I take pictures, I am not always aware of what I’m doing. I feel like I am in a state of flow. Like I am at one with my surroundings.
Interview with Janne Gröning by Lotta Petronella
© Janne Gröning
© Janne Gröning
© Janne Gröning
HOLD ME – LET ME GO
Anna Nyreen, an artist living and working on the island of Nagu, brings conceptual and socially engaged ideas into dialogue with the materiality and tactility of ceramics. For the CAA exhibition she carried on her ongoing project, which investigates the embodied nature of encounters with ceramic objects. Being particularly interested in questions about the collective, public sphere and about the urgent need to care for the environment, Nyreen created unexpected encounters at bus stops along the Archipelago Road; those mundane sites for momentary pauses and waiting. Nyreen’s interventions could be found by chance in unspecified locations on the islands of Korpo and Nagu. She also contributed ceramics to Elin Wikström’s work at the Archipelago Centre Korpoström.
Showing works in an international context on my home ground, as a local artist from the archipelago, of course, gave rise to many thoughts. I had to closely examine my home area and my relationship to it. What is special about the archipelago? The dream of the archipelago as it is portrayed in glossy magazines? My everyday life? Everyday life in the archipelago; realities, now, before and in the future? Soon a familiar folk song about sailing began to play in my head. Especially the part about bringing home silver and gold. I realised that I associate the archipelago with waiting, anticipation and farewells. These thoughts took me to the sites for the works – the only places I could imagine – i.e. the bus stops along the archipelago road. The significance of the bus for us living here; the possibility of getting away, of going out into the world and coming back with something new; the possibility of welcoming guests to the islands. A place for waiting and farewells; an important meeting place.
When the time came to work with Contemporary Art Archipelago in 2010, and when I met Taru Elfving and Lotta Petronella for the first time, I was very interested in the tactile qualities of objects. In a previous project for The Art Circuit (Konstrundan) 2010, I got visitors to interact with the shapes I exhibited. They would take the pillowlike objects in their arms and hold them. Many of them found it cathartic, meditative or comforting, and lots of beautiful encounters took place. Very soon, I knew what I wanted to show out of doors. I would place chairs at selected bus stops along the archipelago road – like in a waiting room – with ceramic pillows for comfort and help at a moment of intense presence during a farewell or a first meeting. These were my thoughts about the work. Part of the process was, of course, my idea of displaying my works beside the road and my imagining what would happen to them. The title of the work was “Hold me, let me go”, because that was what it was about for me, personally. It was an exciting summer. Both the chairs and the pillows moved. One chair disappeared for a week, but came back, and the pillow that had been left lying by itself at the bus stop was put neatly back on the chair. When the project was over, I was able to collect all the chairs and pillows. Did that feel good? I don’t know. Maybe I had hoped for one or two of them to venture out into the world, to just hop on the bus… I have put the chairs and pillows outdoors a few times since Contemporary Art Archipelago, and other chairs have appeared along the Archipelago Road. Maybe someone wants to look after their bus stop, or to venerate it?
Interview with Anna Nyreen by Helena Björk
© Anna Nyréen
New York, 9.02.11 Dear Antti Nylén, My name is Alfredo Jaar, I am an artist from Chile but I live in New York. I am realizing a public intervention in the archipelago this summer as part of Turku Cultural Capital of Europe. During my research process, after spending a few days in Utö, I took the ferry to return to Turku. The ferry leaves Utö at 5.45AM. Intrigued, I asked the captain to explain why the boat has to leave so early. He asked me to come with him and took me to the large empty seating area where a lonely young boy was seated, sleeping. He pointed to him and explained that he has to reach school by 9.45AM. I was extremely moved by his answer. That emotion has remained with me ever since. For my project I am inviting a selection of intellectuals like you to write a short letter (maximum 100 words) to this young boy. His name is Markus. You can do this in Finnish or Swedish. I will display these letters on billboards placed on small islands in the route of the ferry. People travelling on the boat will read them as they pass by. I also plan to produce a small book with all the letters that will be distributed on the ferry. With this project I hope to generate a public discussion on Finnish society today. I hope you will accept to add your important voice to this discussion. With infinite gratitude, Alfredo Jaar
Atlas Saarikoski, Pärnäinen / Pärnäs
A Juhani Pallasmaa, Fagerholm
B Tommy Lindgren, Killingholm
C Katja Tuominen, Haverskär
Ralf Gothóni, Berghamn
E Kjell Westö, Långa Ljusskär
F Jarkko Tontti, Nötö
Alexis Kouros, Grimsholm Nötö
H Esko Valtaoja, Sommarö Aspö
I Veronica Pimenoff, Jurmo
J Antti Nylén, Utö
Naantali – Nådendal
TURKU – ÅBO
Rymättylä – Rimito Pargas – Parainen
Korpo – Korppoo
Nagu – Nauvo
D E Berghamn
Nötö G H
Kimitoön – Kemiönsaari
Utö. The remotest island, far from everything. Walk to the outermost rock, look up. Space falls on top of you. Stars fly over you. You are in god’s chalice. Surrounded by the insistent cold, the wind blowing from the sea. The lighthouse beam cuts through the sky. Flash, darkness, flash, darkness. There are still places where we can escape evil. Where do you want to go? The young girl from the shop got married and moved to the next island. It is totally different there, she said. What does a frozen stone on the shore of Utö know of another thrown against the shield of tyranny in the hot blaze of the sun? Must we run around in a frenzy or pull on blue overalls and wander the cobbled streets in the dark? Walk to the end of the road, turn right. The windows of my past happiness shine out in front of the gravestone. Whether to sleep a thousand years or to sleep four hours? Islands like planets in space. Floating, safe. Atlas Saarikoski Activist/journalist
Dear Markus, Have you ever thought about where the center of the world is? I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve come up with two answers. First of all, there is no center. Paris, Moscow and New York are just names of places, and you can’t travel to the heart of the earth except in adventure books. On the other hand, the center of the world is always there, wherever anyone senses and apprehends the world. Every sentient human being or animal is the center of their own world. The Ostrobothnian poet Gösta Ågren said the same thing when he once wrote that only mother tongue is spoken everywhere in the world. I hear you were sleeping when that New York artist saw you on your way to school. I think that, at the time, he also thought these impossibly simple thoughts. He probably believed he was far from the center of the world. Antti Nylén Writer
The artist Pia Rousku produced an extensive environmental artwork for the exhibition during the summer on a farmed field near her home on Korpo. Discarded old windows were given new life in the installation, where they formed a glistening web that captured the precarious nature of the balance between humans and the land. Rousku was inspired by the fragility of glass, that simultaneously natural yet manmade material, and by the way this echoed the vulnerability of the environment. The artwork reflected the changes in the surrounding nature, light and colours throughout the summer months.
I mainly work with glass. The work I made for Contemporary Art Archipelago started out with observations I made during winter. I took photos of ice that would melt and then freeze again, and observed how drops of water from the trees would freeze to ice. Once I had opened my eyes, I discovered a lot of fascinating things occurring in nature in the transition from winter to spring, at the various different temperatures. The work was in a meadow. Grass started growing through the holes in it. It was quite dramatic to see how nature took over. Children remember the installation and have talked to me about it later. They remember it as “the glass flowers that gleamed in the meadow”. The pieces of glass were suspended from iron bars, and small children tell me they would look at the work from underneath and notice the rain drops that clung to the glass after summer rain. I live in the archipelago all year round and it affects my work. I take a lot of photographs and reflect on my work while walking in nature. Here you become one with the environment. In winter you are quite isolated from a lot of other things. The rhythm is different than in the city. Of course, working hours are the same as elsewhere, but you live more by the light, the sunrise and the sunset. Your body adjusts to that.
Interview with Pia Rousku by Helena Björk
Â© Pia Rousku
One of the greatest challenges for the local community is finding work that will support life in the archipelago all year round. The artist Sandra Nyberg addressed this question, focusing on the distance between home and work. She created a mobile gallery and studio, ECOntainer, which she sited in a remote part of the islands. Every morning for a month, she travelled to work there on Rumar, and spent an eight-hour day in the midst of nature, only to return to her home on Pargas, on the urban edge of the archipelago, in the evenings. She spent her days repeatedly drawing a small pine tree. This process and the results were then displayed to the audience in that same place during the summer.
The basic idea was to spend a month in one place and draw the same subject, a barren tree, over and over again. This is an almost meditative act. I wanted to do it from nine to five, so that it became like work. All that repetition, taking the bus every day, with the same people getting on at the same stops. Almost monotonously. But in that very repetition there is always a new experience. Like when drawing the same tree – each time, I find something new in it. And then sometimes, it’s just boring. But mostly I find at least something that is a little different. I grew up and live in Pargas, and yet the archipelago remains unfamiliar to me. I had an idea of what it would be like to work in the islands. This was a romantic notion, of course. I thought it would be easy to find a place to work here. But, as I started coming here more often, I found that the places did not exist as I had imagined them. I felt like a stranger. Only those living here get to come really close to the landscapes portrayed in the photos. It was pretty difficult to enter them as an outsider. I didn’t always know where I was allowed to go and where not. That is when it occurred to me that if there was no such place as I had hoped to find, then I would bring it here. It’s important that this is a temporary space. Like a puzzle that you can quickly dismantle and then reconstruct again. And once it has been used, you disassemble it again. You don’t claim the place, you don’t own it. That was the idea behind my container. The whole work is really about the process, and about working.
Interview with Sandra Nyberg by Lotta Petronella
Cabem tum maximen vis, quondeffrei spercem in se publici patin dicidem nitraves poptiendam tere, unt eto et
LOOKING FOR DONKEYS
NANNA DEBOIS BUHL
Debois Buhlâ€™s short film was presented as part of a regular screening programme at the Archipelago Centre KorpostrĂśm. The work reminds us that the Baltic Sea region has always been connected with faraway lands. Journeying to St. John in the US Virgin Islands, it searches for the donkeys that the Danish brought over in the 18th Century. Now they roam the nature reserve as ghosts of the colonial times.
What might the phone network of the future look like? Are areas with sparse populations, such as the Turku Archipelago, going to lose these basic services? Many remote villages around the globe still do not have networks, even today, mainly for economic reasons. There is no guarantee that the large, often multi-national, corporations will continue to fill gaps in the map. Rather, the shrinkage of the infrastructure in remote corners of Finland attests to a tendency towards centralisation. And yet, the contemporary heavyweight technology may become extinct, as small communities become self-sufficient with the help of innovations and open-source culture. Maybe the islands of the future will have their own independent mobile networks?
Minerva Cuevas raised these questions with her Open Hut project. During summer 2011, visitors to the KorpostrĂśm Archipelago Centre could get a taste of tomorrowâ€™s open, non-commercial communication culture. Accessible to everyone in the guest harbour, the small hut hosted an Open BTS system, similar to those set up, for example, in hospitals in Haiti after the devastating earthquake, before the large operators rebuilt their services. In the small, humble wooden hut the computerised system was surrounded by fragments of narratives about the threatened ecosystem of the archipelago. Presented as if they were a preserved treasures in a glass case these materials, nevertheless, became weathered and blanched during the summer months â€“ being left open to visitors as well as to the natural elements. The work thus focused on extinction, not only in terms of the disappearance of natural species, but also as part of social and technological processes. The ecological changes in the Baltic Sea are intertwined with global shifts in modes of communication, economics and social organisation. Cuevas invited the audience to make their own connections.
NOMEDA & GEDIMINAS URBONAS
Topology of an Island An island is a topologically informed model, one that could be described as similar to a wind tunnel – that is, simultaneously a model of a wind and a lab where the wind is being modeled. The topological interdependency of inside and outside is discussed in the introduction to Spheres (2004) by the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, who outlines a Gilles Deleuze-inspired theory of islands as constituted through two co-dependent factors: isolation and selfexpression, where an island results from the action of “’isolating’ and different ways of ‘isolating’ produce different types of islands.” 1 Deleuze, in his early essay Desert Islands (1953), described how islands are not just created by maritime erosion and terrestrial emergence, but also constitute an “origin, radical and absolute,” in themselves. This happens as soon as the original vectors of creative movement, their “first beginning,” are taken up and prolonged by humans in a “second beginning.” 2 As in Robert Smithson’s work Towards the Development of a Cinema Cavern, or the Moviegoer as Spelunker (1971), the cave or abandoned mine becomes a modeling ground for production of topological space where the making (modeling) of the carving (mining) process is simultaneously the production and registration of space. 3 Juan Navarro-Baldweg’s Proposals for the Increasing of Ecological Experiences 4 (1971) suggests the application of a climatic control system floating in New York Harbor – “a model of the quasi-closed system – a biosphere, that extends the concept of a park and botanical garden, Tundra, grassland, tropical forest, or desert – to increase social and individual awareness and experience of the major terrestrial ecosystems.” One could imagine the island as a dream of humans, and one could model such topologically complex structure through a system of vectors, flows, proximities, and loops that turn reflexivity itself into a mechanism. Paul Virilio develops an inspiring articulation of the topological model that suggests a “move from topology to tele-topology… whereby space gradually folds in on itself, collapsing local territories into the space of the city-world… In what sense can one still ‘build’ something – anything – when interfaces replace surfaces and instant feedback shrinks the planet to nothing?” 5 The Uto-Pia project takes on this topological entanglement and suggests a model within an emerging dialogical sphere between the Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA), the art project and Turku Archipelago, a constellation of more than 40,000 islands in the northern part of the Baltic Sea – one of the most polluted seas in the world. In between the model and its modeling site, the island speaks to the ideal condition (a dream?) that can be achieved (modeled) perhaps only in such a lab situation, given the scale and “insular climate” –
SLOTERDIJK, P. (2004) Sphären III: Schäume. Plurale Spharologie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. 2
DELEUZE, G. (2004) Desert Islands. In Lapoujade, D. (ed.) Desert Islands and Other Texts: 1953-1974. Los Angeles - New York: Semiotext(e) p. 9-14. 3
CHAMBERLAIN, C. (2008) The Moviegoer as Spelunker. Cabinet, The Underground. Issue 30 (Summer 2008). 4
KEPES, G. (1972) Charles River File. CAVS archive, School of Architecture +Planning, MIT, Cambridge, MA. 5
VIRILIO, P., LOTRINGER, S. and TAORMINA, M. (2001) After Architecture: A Conversation. Grey Room. No.3 (Spring 2001). p.32-53.
Acoustic sensor and the baa-lamb. Field recording at the Skimra Farm, Aland archipelago. Summer 2011. ÂŠNomeda Urbonas
NOMEDA & GEDIMINAS URBONAS
Experimental Baltic Sheep Cheese Workshop. Poster, digital print. Design: NODE Berlin. 2011
a perfect continuum between geography and human imagination. Utö – the most remote (and strategic!) island from a myriad in the archipelago – is a man-made fortress with its signifiers crafted for orientation and disguise: a beacon to guide ships charting international waters, a maritime defense fortress and a garrison as sources of infrastructure for natural and civilian life. For the project, this topology is derivative; it is a constituency that suggests Utö as the core part of the project’s title. Pia – the second half – is the name of a Finnish woman who has four sheep. She lives with her sheep on Korpo, one of the bigger islands in the archipelago. To get there one needs a boat or needs – if you read to the end of this essay – a bridge – that is, a shortcut between Utö and Pia, a hyphen, an abstraction, a transitional object. The transitional object is borrowed from psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. 6 For Winnicott, the transitional object designated “the intermediate area of experience, between the thumb and the teddy bear, between the oral erotism and the true object-relationship, between primary creative activity and projection of what has already been introjected. Not necessarily a thing at all, the transitional object is more often an action, a sound, or some other phenomena.” 7 It is the choreography that sets objects in motion. What is discussed here is a non-representational art practice, where choreographic forces are vectors organizing the spatial, and where the concept of time plays a rather critical role.8 The transitional object is the accumulation of these forces, pointing out the aesthetics of the environmental feedback loops that chart spheres in action.
Infrastructure of War “Myths thus tell us that islands – be they spent projectiles, coffin lids, fishes turned to stone, or earth thrown down from the sky – are the result of a practice, the outcome of application of a technique. With the advent of the Enlightenment, the casting of the archaic island became the technical-political designing of an island; and the island definitively shifted “from the register of the ‘found’ to the register of the ‘made’.” 9 Through a history of being under siege, the islands of the Turku Archipelago naturalized an alien body of military architecture. Islands are subjugated and supplanted by the infrastructure of war. The rocks and waters in between are appropriated to construct lines of defense and deception, to take over control of the landscape and vistas, creating places to hide and to observe. Defensive structures are built by carving out tons of rock, and pouring concrete to form a system of tunnels, caves, bunkers, and hideouts, a military fortification that
WINNICOTT, D. W. (1971) Playing and Reality. London: Tavistock Publications. 7
VARNELIS, K. and SUMRELL, R. (2010) Personal Lubricants: Shell Oil and Scenario Planning. In Ghosn, R. (ed.) New Geographies: Landscapes of Energy. (volume 2 February 2010). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 8
Mark Goultorpe professor of architecture at MIT suggests the idea of “autopoetic generative processes” as found in the work of Bill Forsythe and in Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. 9
SLOTERDIJK, P. (2004) Sphären III: Schäume. Plurale Spharologie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp
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through centuries of development have radically reshaped what we would call landscape. This landscape raises the question of what the natural actually means. In her writing on Second Nature, Felicity Scott Brown discusses implications of Hans Haacke’s early systems-based works and says that “these works show that relationships between humans and environments are never natural; they are historical, institutional, and political.” Further she continues: “at stake is what steps in to mediate those relations – art, architecture, technology, business, management, behavioral science – and to what ends… to make environmental ‘lines of force’ visible today may be far more difficult than McLuhan could have ever imagined: Communication technologies have not only become smaller and more embedded within our everyday environments, but given their ubiquity, speed, and ability to know us, they now seem all but natural.” 10 For perhaps 600 years this archipelago has been shaped by human imagination, engineering, and craft, making it a stronghold on the Baltic sea – and at the same time, producing a system of relationships with war and communication technologies. These relationships could be articulated as ecosystems with their own specific environmental homeostasis. 11 The military presence on the Baltic Sea made an impact on several levels but ultimately on the level of chemical processes that map onto the environment. The exchanges between the military body and other spheres of life register distillation, fermentation, mildew, and other processes similar to food making. Like any infrastructure, this system of constant flux provides energy, water, telecommunications, and other flows collapsing distances and proportion of this isolated environment. With the development of remote sensing and remote viewing technologies, the Finnish navy is leaving the islands. Through the centuries, they have built interdependency between the landscape, army, and civic life. We challenge their departure with the question: How do we transform that military infrastructure into the civic life?
SCOTT, F. (2013) Limits of Control: On Rain Room and Immersive Environments. ArtForum. (September 2013)
KEPES, G. (1972) Art and Ecological Consciousness. Arts of the Environment. Henley UK: Aidan Ellis
Red Herring Technique In Turku we met Kaj Kivinen, an engineer retired from the Finnish company Sonera, who told us stories about the archipelago as a testing ground for experiments in telecommunications and networked technologies. 12 These memories provoked us to search for temporal sediments and hidden curves in the recent histories of the Cold War as they relate to local ecologies, memories, the human milieu, and the landscape. On Korpo Island, the Finnish Center for Biosphere Research is located on the top of what is called the Telegraph Hill. Next to the Center there is an entrance to the secret bunker that, deep down in the rock, hosts the infrastructure of a direct line between Moscow and Washington. During the peak of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis revealed a need for direct communication infrastructure between the two superpowers, the USA and the USSR. It took Washington nearly twelve hours to receive and decode Nikita Khrushchev’s 3,000 word initial settlement message, a dangerously long time in the chronology of nuclear brinksmanship. By the time the White House had drafted a response, another message from the Kremlin had been received demanding US missiles be removed from Turkey.13 It was then that Soviets and Americans agreed to install a dedicated telephone line to secure direct conversation between Washington and Moscow. Called the Red Line, it navigates Baltic waters, coming to the surface in Korpo island where the monstrous concrete bunker casted into the Finnish rock – a hidden telecommunication hub – transforms the island into a deadly military weapon. Since the end of the Cold War, it has been in the possession of the local telecommunication company, kept classified and until recently maintained with fully functioning systems of ventilation, electricity, and heating. For future wars? As a metaphor of suffocation? No. That is the inevitable condition such ecosystems of fear demand: once built, underground bunkers must be maintained in order to prevent them from falling into dangerous ruins. And despite the people living and working around, this bunker has been maintained and kept secret. Its bunkeresque spatial logic speaks to us as being the most remote (de-territorialized) and at the same time the most connected (re-territorialized) sphere. 14
The interview with Kaj Kivinen, retired tele-communications engineer and tourist guide. (2011) Video Interview. Directed by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas. [DVD] VilniusCambridge: Urbonas Studio.
WIKIPEDIA [Online] Available from: http:// en.wikipedia. org/wiki/ Moscow– Washington_ hotline [Accessed: 21st July 2011].
DELEUZE, G. and GUATTARI, F. (1972) Anti-Œdipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Vol. 1) . London and New York: Continuum (2004)
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Choreographies of the Biosphere According to Vladimir Vernadsky, “the biosphere has existed throughout all geological periods, since the most ancient indications of the Archean. In its essential traits, the biosphere has always been constituted in the same way: this singular chemical apparatus, created and kept active by living matter, has been functioning continuously in the biosphere throughout geological times, driven by the uninterrupted current of radiant solar energy. This apparatus is composed of definite vital concentrations which occupy fixed places in the terrestrial envelopes of the biosphere, and which are constantly being transformed.” 15 Water permeates all layers of the biosphere and caries flows of data to function as a recording device. Through sediments, accumulated on the seabed, it registers an enormous archive, a memory of exploitation and abuse, capturing diverse human interventions. The Baltic waters recall history, the time after WWII when the chemical weapons of Europe were buried by the Allied forces at the bottom of the sea. The huge repositories of arsenic sealed in metal containers were dumped from the boats in neutral waters. Histories of war, conquer and colonization of new territories goes hand in hand with the histories of industrialization or industrial agriculture that spat out tons of pesticides and nutrients, making a lasting effect on the ecology of the sea and turning vast territories of seabed into a dead zones. The bottom of the sea is charted and parceled by telecommunication networks and cables, as well as gas and oil pipelines. These infrastructures constitute dependencies and feedback loops, or as Virilio suggests: “contraction of the space-time of political or military action is also a contraction of the day-to-day life of individuals.” 16 Therefore one must see sheep, that universal symbol of innocence, grazing in their meadows as part of the same space-time circuit, the same chemical apparatus. Meadows are places on the island where the eco-systematic balance can be re-established.17 The exchange between the body of the sheep and the landscape makes a refinery and telecommunication hub that produces “commensal association” between bacteria (species) thriving on the sheep’s body and the ones in the soil where the sheep grazes. The liquids facilitating this process instill the landscape with human affect.18 The historical landscape – with sheep as an integral part of it – was altered with the industrialization of farming, collectivization, and mass production in agriculture, ultimately also by telecommunication technologies. Nowadays, the sheep grazing their meadows are supported by EU programs that encourage their presence on the landscape, whether as part of beautification or as part of technology to re-establish ecological balance.19 There are several thousands of sheep on the archipelago, but after years of militarization, no dairy tradition remains. Sheep are not even used for wool – only the harvesting of their meat provides a substantial revenue.
VERNADSKY, V. (1926) The Biosphere. In Kastner, J.(ed.) Nature. Documents of Contemporary Art. Cambridge: The MIT Press (2012). P. 79-80. 16
VIRILIO, P., LOTRINGER, S. and TAORMINA, M. (2001) After Architecture: A Conversation. Grey Room. No.3 (Spring 2001). p.32-53. 17
The interview with Katja Bonnevier, biologist, Archipelago Sea Biosphere Reserve. (2011) [DVD] Cambridge: Urbonas Studio. 18
PENTECOST, C. (2012) Report from Underground. In ChristovBakargiev, C. and Martinez, C. (eds.) dOCUMENTA (13) Catalog 1/3: The Book of Books. (2012) Ostfildern : Hatje Cantz Verlag.
Black-headed sheep are leaving the Collective Farm. Image capture from 35mm reel. Lithuanian Central State Archive
The use of sheep in management of meadows is supported by EU programs. Available from: EU Commission (2009) CAP Reform: Rural Development. FactSheet. DirectoratGenerale for Agriculture, Brussels, Belgium.
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Cheese as an Intermediate Object To paraphrase Felix Guattari, the reorienting of a military infrastructure cannot come without the recomposing of subjectivity and the reformation of capitalist powers. Technocratic adjustments alone will not suffice. Guattari devises an ecosophy that would work simultaneously on three registers: mental, social, and environmental. “More than ever, today nature has become inseparable from culture. If we are to understand the interactions between ecosystems, the mechanosphere, and the social and individual universes of reference, we have to learn to ‘think transversally.’” 20 Thus the crucial component in Utö-Pia is the distance and relation to animal that should be retained on a micro or personal scale, as opposed to a militaristic, industrial, and representative macro scale. The milking process allows human to physically retain and regain the lost distance to themselves, to the territorial bodies of the geographic habitat, and to the civic life. The idea of the pollution of distances is discussed by Virilio, who describes the grey ecology model of the space-time relations between the human body and real-life proportion. He argues that space-time vectors constantly compress that proportion, aiming the retention of the distances of the world proper. “The spacetime of the local distances in which ‘I’ live is inscribed in an apprehension of the global distances which surround me. The world proper is composed within me of the speeds of transference and transmission that have constructed me – my body proper inside the world proper. This situation of interference between local distances and global distances, which is modified by speed, explains the present contraction. It is in the end a contraction in the sense of a compression between the exterior and the interior of the body proper. The body proper no longer has the same relationship to the world proper as it did during the Crusades or in the days of Marco Polo.” To address the contamination of “the real-life geospheric proportions,” the Utö-Pia suggests the idea of the wirelessless21 cheese – the product that maps zones out of the sight of the radar. The making of wirelessless cheese is creating a model of the body’s relation to the landscape and is simultaneously remodeling the space of relations within the economy of the biosphere where “the pollution of temporal distances” is negotiated. Following this logic, the proposal for the army was drafted – not to leave the islands, but engage with the conversion by milking the sheep and making the cheese, transforming the bunkers with their controlled climate into cheese caves. Sheep milking is a lost tradition in the Northern part of Europe. With the EU legislation, new members of the European Union have quotas on many things, including the number of sheep. For example, Lithuania signing the agreement
GUATTARI, F. (1989) The Three Ecologies. London and New Brunswick, NJ: The Athlone Press (2000)
The notion of Wirelessless as oposed to Wirrelessness is a state of being not connected to objects and infrastructures knowing exactly how or where. The Urban Dictionary suggest that Wirelessless is “ When you have no wireless connection” [Online] Available from: http://www. urban dictio nary.com/ define.php? term=wire lessless
to join the EU (in 2004), accepted the condition that they will keep in total seventeen thousand sheep. As there were already more than fifty thousand sheep in the country, some herders had to re-register sheep as goats to bypass the legislation.22 The tradition of dairy-sheep farming has been lost in the Baltic region. Of all the food stores and farmers’ markets across the Turku archipelago, none had locally produced sheep-milk cheese. If one would look for dairy-sheep farmers across the Baltic Sea, one would find only two in Lithuania, none in Latvia, one in Estonia, perhaps several in Poland and Northern Germany, and six in Sweden. The only such farm to be found in Finland is the one of Cecilia Persson, a farmer living in the neighboring archipelago, called Åland, in a territory in fact autonomous from Finland. Cecilia moved to the Åland Islands without much experience in farming. From her uncle she inherited Skimra, a cow farm that she rebuilt and re-engineered to adapt for a sheep farming. Taking knowledge from advanced dairy-sheep farms in Sweden and Germany, she developed her own recipes of cheese making, infused with local Baltic herbs. Her signature sheep-milk cheese comes with Baltic clover. Cecilia joined the Utö-Pia project as an interlocutor to instruct participants of the First Baltic Sheep-Milk Cheese Workshop and to experiment in making a special recipe of sheep-milk cheese for the project.23 As the summer comes late to the northern part of the Baltic (and Ålands too) and the potential milking season at the Cecilia’s farm starts much later, the material for the workshop – the sheep milk – had to be brought from the other farms around the Baltic Sea. It took weeks to milk those few sheep to gather the required amounts from several farms. Milk had to be frozen and smuggled for the workshop in a small portable fridge that fits into a car. The milk of sheep thanks to its particular chemical structure, similar to a human milk, allows it to be frozen and defrosted without losing qualities conditional to the production of cheese. Frozen pieces, collected almost like ammunition, were brought by boat to the island, to the local school kitchen for an experimental production joined by local participants: some just starting as farmers – some working with taste or on environmental issues – coming together to test the idea of an artistic edition, all curious about the alchemy of transforming the food-making process into networked experiences; each contributing with their own story to the pool of local knowledge; sharing their recollections on histories of war, economy, cybernetics, or local ecology. Cheese making involves ripening and maturing – aspects of time and transformation, and matters that work with organization of space. One has to engage with culturing, bacteria, rennet, mould-ripening, enzymes, or fungi. Camembert or Roquefort require to be ripened in the cheese caves, so the
The interview with Kristina and Juris Milisiunai, dairy sheep farmers. Dvargaliai village, Lithuania (2011) Video Interview. Directed by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas. [DVD] VilniusCambridge: Urbonas Studio.
The interview with Cecilia Persson, dairy sheep farmer. The Skimra farm, Aland islands (2011) Video Interview. Directed by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas. [DVD] VilniusCambridge: Urbonas Studio.
NOMEDA & GEDIMINAS URBONAS
bunkers of Turku archipelago could be turned into vessels with their own unique cultures, spores and spectres, like stomachs in the landscape with their own wild bacteria to induce fermentation and coagulation
The Bunker-esque 24
In his years of architectural studies Virilio was fascinated with bunkers left behind by the Second World War. Bunkers as forms of defensive architecture inspired him to think of a tactical forms of resistance and warfare as they suggested the obstacle in the paths of man or the oblique. Drawing on the knowledge of Situationists’ practice where derive stands for “a mode of experimental behavior – a shortcut through the varied ambiances of urban life,” Virilio suggests the oblique function to enable the shift, to dis-balance the trajectory of the mundane, to transform the body of the beholder. The notion of the inclined plane that can be understood as both – as metaphor and as physical object. It sets the human body in motion transforming it into the one of a dancer to release choreographic forces that restructure ourselves and our relations to space.24 So the questions is here of a stage, a platform, where the choreography can engage time and space. Virilio mentions Michel Siffre, the “cave man,” who experimented with life in a cave in order to live outside of time. Siffre enclosed himself in a cave “to lose his circadian rhythms, to break the body’s relationship to time, bounded to the twenty-four-hour cycle.” As Virilio suggests “one can not develop a non-Euclidean architecture unless entering into space-time.” Like the cave, the bunker is the oblique that integrates time into space. Being at the same time the most remote place on the island, the bunker is the place that once was most connected. Through the Mobius-like space-time surface, the bunker (the cave) choreographs bodies to move through the space, so their gestures raise the question of time. By entering the bunker one engages the stopping of time and playing with proximities to the environmental lines of force. The inquiry into the topology of the island is conducted through the movement realized in three acts: the First Baltic Sheep-Milk Cheese Workshop, the Wirelessless Cheese, and the Bunker Tour. The bunker on the Telegraph Hill was turned into the stage for the script-based choreographies performed by the protagonists – the residents of the Utö-Pia – the participants, whose stories, documented through a series of video interviews and supported by the fictional archival materials, chart proximities between the body and the landscape: Kaj Kivinen, a retired engineer, the man behind most of the telecommunication experiments of the Cold War era, nowadays dedicated to the alternative tours and preservation of micro narratives as they belong to the histories of Turku; Katja Bonnevier, a biologist, weaving
VIRILIO, P., LOTRINGER, S. and TAORMINA, M. (2001) After Architecture: A Conversation. Grey Room. No.3 (Spring 2001). p.32-53
The entrance tunnel to the Red Line Bunker. The Telegraph Hill, Korpo island, Turku Archipelago. Summer 2011. ÂŠ Nomeda Urbonas
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passionate lines on the significance of the meadows in reconstructing the powers of the biosphere; and Maarit Munkki, a historian and a sheep owner currently undergoing the process of becoming local on the island, who started “a small scale” organic farm in “search of a life-form,” that she articulates as “a quality time with the earth, plants, and animals.” 25 The tour through the bunker, guided by the three participants, navigating layers of audiovisual interventions in the bunker space, is conceived as a form of inquiry that explores the notion of “gray ecology.” Reflecting on the topological model, suspended between the actual – the bunker – and the virtual – “the tele-space that carries all the senses at a distance” – it works with a stereo reality that the bunker tour makes into the site of action. The choreographic modeling of the Tour engages the space-time through direct, slow and haptic interactions between the body of the audience and the landscape of images projected in the space of a bunker. In the center of this choreography there is a navigator – the wirelessless cheese – a body (within the body of the bunker) that registers that “real time is a determining element of power.” 26
The interview with Maarit Munkki, historian and sheep owner. Korpo island, Finland (2011) Video Interview. Directed by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas. [DVD] VilniusCambridge: Urbonas Studio. 26
Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas
VIRILIO, P., LOTRINGER, S. and TAORMINA, M. (2001) After Architecture: A Conversation. Grey Room. No.3 (Spring 2001). p.32-53
Kaj Kivinen, engineer leads the Bunker Tour. The Telegraph Hill, Korpo island, Turku Archipelago. Summer 2011. ÂŠ Nomeda Urbonas
The sheep milk cheese. The Telegraph Hill, Korpo island, Turku Archipelago. Summer 2011. ÂŠ Nomeda Urbonas
NOMEDA & GEDIMINAS URBONAS
Jars with the fresh cheese infused with local hearbs. Selected samples from the cheese making workshop. Summer 2011. Â© Nomeda Urbonas
SAVE THE SEAGRASS? WHO DECIDES? YOU? SCIENTISTS? POLITICIANS? THE MARKET?
The work of Elin Wikström focused on sea grass, an endangered species that plays an important role in the balance of the marine ecosystem. On the other hand, Wikström’s work connected homes around the Archipelago Sea region through a plant collection project, which invited people to share indoor plant cuttings. For each new houseplant a patch of sea grass was transplanted locally in a new site in collaboration with Christoffer Boström and other marine biologists of Åbo Akademi University. Archipelago Centre Korpoström presented the work in its complexity, including ceramics created by Anna Nyreen.
MH: I recently heard you reading from Fria andar. Essäer om det antända livet 1 about different kinds of play, and about a child who is free to move around in and out of school and spends time in the forest. This was related to another artist’s practice, but here I would like to link it with your sea-grass project. Can you say a few words about the text and what you see in it? EW: The book is about the subversive social criticism found in the works of many Swedish and foreign authors and philosophers. In one chapter we meet a boy from Maria Gripe’s novel Hugo och Josefin, who investigates nature in a playful way, beyond achievement goals, and different from the way we learn things in school, and also different from the play that trains us to compromise, or serves as a means of escape and defence. Hugo comes and goes in school as he pleases. He keeps carrying out his own investigations of nature, which he finds more interesting. MH: What is the relationship between your practice and play? What kind of play do you initiate? EW: I like to use the term disruption instead, meaning various kinds of constructed situations that create concrete relationships and (Swe: “skaver”, metaphorically) create friction and go against the grain of their environment. One such project is Parkour ++++, which activated an urban square demonized by the media as a dangerous place, by offering children, young people, adults and senior citizens free parkour training around the clock.
Ulf I. Eriksson. Fria andar. Esseär om det antända livet (Symposium 1990) Freely translated: Free spirits essays on the illuminated life
48 pot plant seedlings collected and planted in pots at Korpström Archipelago Centre. Plant pyramided designed by Plaquette © Elin Wikström
MH: What happens in the work with sea grass that you made in the Turku Archipelago? EW: I wanted to use actions and words to create a different narrative than that of the tourist office, the ferry lines and the Municipality of Turku. I wanted my story to touch on a dark nightmare about the death of the seabed and not be some marketing image of the archipelago. I wanted it to contain both the darker aspects and a micro-utopian possibility for change. An act of resistance against the established stories and images of the Turku Archipelago. The project for Contemporary Art Archipelago was radical in that it involved lots of conflicting groups and a mixture of local and international artists. The duration of the project was also a break with the norm â€“ we worked for three years before the project was made public! And have continued for a couple more years. The project created connections between groups with different interests: the people who live in the archipelago all year round, the summer residents, the tourists, those who take the ferry, unemployed fishermen, and farmers who are leaving the area. I wanted to bring them together with the people working on environmental issues in the area, working on the differences in language and culture between the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations, on the question of the class differences between those who have lived there for a long time with a background in fishing and farming, and the wealthy people who buy houses there now. The project was intended to dig beneath the surface. I wanted to go underwater. Underwater, the conflicting interests became visible. What emerged had to be something else, which became a connection. I worked with pot plants as an analogy for sea grass, with their differences and similarities. Saintpaulia, a common flowering houseplant, is like sea grass, endangered in its natural habitats in Tanzania and Kenya, but thriving in the West, where it is cultivated and sold. Everyone has an interest in the sea. Even the military train there, and private companies have interests in it, too. Pot plants belong to the realm of the home, where we care for our own little world. They can be reborn and propagated from cuttings and seedlings, and passed on for generations. But they are also a product of fast consumption, and cheaply produced in the international plant industry. Sea grass is now being cultivated in the oceans for environmental, economic and aesthetic reasons. People tame, refine, destroy and care for the environment. There was an idea in the project of challenging the two spheres, of the home and the sea â€“ as metaphors for individual and mutual responsibility. I wanted to make the private public, and vice versa. That is why the project worked on different forms of giving, taking and sharing, different ways of being or participating.
Seedlings were stolen from seed banks. People donated cuttings from their pot plants at home, and participated in the practical work with marine biologists and myself, in an attempt to replant parts of a sea grass meadow on a site from where it had disappeared. I wanted to ask some of the most pressing questions of our time: What species should be preserved and why? For economic, environmental or cultural use? Or for their own ethical right to continue living? How much should I care about what is mine, and about future generations? MH: You worked with a marine biologist? What did you do? EW: We carried out an experiment in the Turku Archipelago, in which we tried to save an extinct sea-grass meadow, of eel grass, at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. This was done in the same way as propagating pot plants – with seedlings that we took from a thriving meadow and planted in a place where the sea grass had disappeared. This is a small example of how we as individuals, municipalities or nations could contribute to minimising the effects of environmental damage. I have noticed that the story has been spread by the participants via their personal networks. Altogether 48 patches of sea grass were planted, with around 50 seagrass seedlings on each patch. The same number of pot plants were collected and planted in pots in the restaurant of a hotel in Korpoström, together with information about the reasons why sea grass is an endangered species. MH: For those who don’t know, what do sea grass and eel grass do? EW: If eel grass and sea grass become extinct, the effects will be similar to those of the dying rainforest, something that every five-year-old knows about. Sea grass provides oxygen for the sea, stabilizes the sea bed, and functions as a nursery for invertebrates and fish fry. It filters the water and makes it clearer. Green algae and seaweeds, such as bladder wrack, are not sea grass. Since the 1960s, eel grass has been threatened by eutrophication, dredging, anchoring and the building of harbours for industry and tourism around the Baltic Sea. Eutrophication decreases the amount of daylight entering the water and gives rise to poisonous algae that suffocate the sea grass. Few people know that this is making it more and more difficult to see through the water in their holiday paradise. Few people who come to the Turku Archipelago are aware that the Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world. Meanwhile, in the part of the project carried out above the surface, I have noticed that nearly everyone can relate to pot plants. I had none myself prior to Contemporary Art Archipelago, but I have learned about their backgrounds as a crucial part of the project.
Marine biologist Camilla Gustavsson and Elin Wikström © Erik Saanila
One-year-old transplanted Eelgrass © Christoffer Boström
Participants in the sea grass knitting-workshop at the CAA opening © Elin Wikström
Artist’s diving flippers © Taru Elfving
In the 19th century, plant hunters began collecting exotic species that grew in the wild, and taking them to the Nordic countries. A new, previously unknown plant was something to proudly display to others. The best way to keep the plant alive was to spread it around – and, even today, many Scandinavians are given a pot plant when they move away from home. The invention of the diving suit also coincided, not just with the tradition of exotic plants in homes, but also with ecology as a field of knowledge. Before, nature was either seen as being in harmony or as a chaotic threat that had to be tamed. Now, people could breathe underwater. A new view gradually emerged, of nature as unstable and in constant change, and of man as one biological force among others. The idea slowly dawned: Maybe man is the threat? Maybe we have disturbed the balance? MH: What are your thoughts on the real, on the one hand, and the symbolic, on the other hand? EW: I am not interested in mimesis and representation. On the contrary, I’m extremely pragmatic: go down to the bottom, learn to dive, work with a marine biologist, see what happens. Will the newly planted pot plants and sea grass grow roots and survive? Will the newly planted meadow of sea grass still be there after a hundred years? If my projects are learning processes that take on a physical form, will they generate interesting discussions and encounters along the way? This is real: alone and together with others to be an active subject that reads, thinks and acts. There is very little fiction in talking, changing one’s mind, and through concrete acts trying to understand oneself, the world around us, and the situations and people we work with. If representation is at stake in my work, then... it can be seen as an artistic practice that is far removed from painting and images. This is an iconoclastic production in which the body is not represented. If there is something I want to represent, then it is not the eel grass or Turku, but active people who take the initiative to do, think or talk about something that involves a break with the norms... and which gives cause to re-evaluate things. That is where it becomes political. If one thinks this way, then one represents humankind as an individual or as a group capable of changing one’s own society.
Interview with Elin Wikström by Maja Hammarén, Artist and Writer
© Erik Saanila
ARCHIPELAGO SCIENCE FICTION
TELLERVO KALLEINEN, OLIVER KOCHTA-KALLEINEN & HENRIK ANDERSSON
Archipelago Science Fiction shows four future scenarios for the Finnish archipelago. It examines the fears and dreams of local people about the future of the area. What are their hopes for life there 100 years from now? What are their darkest fears? Will the archipelago be a pirate Utopia – or a gated community for the ultra-rich? The project included several research residencies in 2010 and 2011 aimed at fostering close collaboration with the island community. Three scriptwriting workshops were held on the islands of Utö, Houtskär and Korpo, all making use of the material gained from extensive interviews and an online questionnaire. These workshops resulted in the production of four science-fiction films, with more than 70 of the local people playing roles in them. The scenarios are: Paradise for an Aging Elite; Lifestyle Immigration; Neo-Capitalism in a Post Apocalyptic World; and Outdoor Museum for the Chinese Middle Class. Archipelago Science Fiction also incorporates animations commissioned from Antonia Ringbom. During summer 2011, the film was screened regularly at the Korpoström Archipelago Centre and onboard the ship Silja Europa on its daily cruises between Turku and Stockholm.
Maija Blåfield, production manager for Archipelago Science Fiction, remembers the intense weeks of filming in May 2011. We started the film shoot on Utö. The ferry trip took four and a half hours. In the passenger cabin a little girl was playing a fipple flute out of tune, repeating the same series of notes over and over again. The tranquil seascape gently floated by, the islands became fewer and rockier as we and the film crew moved slowly towards a world unknown to most us. The melody was repeated throughout the journey: ti-dii-ti-ti-ti-dii. The short film Archipelago Science Fiction by Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen and Henrik Anderson was shot in the Turku Archipelago in the spring of 2011. I was asked to join the project as production manager a month before filming was due to begin. If the offer had come from anyone other than Tellervo and Oliver I don’t think I would have had the courage to participate in this fun film-work process that would turn out to make the impossible possible. Besides living with the many uncertainties of the production process, we were venturing out to realise a participatory project in the
ÂŠ Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen
TELLERVO KALLEINEN, OLIVER KOCHTA-KALLEINEN & HENRIK ANDERSSON
© Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen © Nina Forsman
Swedish-speaking archipelago, but the film crew spoke Swedish pretty poorly. We were also complete outsiders to the tight-knit islander community, who had been living together for generations. At first, I thought a lot about our role in this community-based artwork and how we would be able to realize the film from our outsiders’ point of view. The workload to be fitted into such a tight timetable was enormous – all the performers had to be found locally and the production philosophy was to collaborate on all levels – we wanted to create this work and this vision together. All this made me feel quite nervous. During May, however, a film team of twelve was successfully assembled, and we shot the work over a ten-day period on Korpo, Utö and Pargas. We were greeted with open arms everywhere we went and the various roles in the films are played by more than 70 people – locals, summer residents and visitors. The ferry from Utö to Korpo runs only a few times a week. On my way back the previous night, I had made sure that everyone would wake up and make it to the ferry with all their belongings. In the morning, it didn’t occur to anybody that I myself might not have woken up on time. I leaped out of bed ten minutes before the M/S Eivor was due to cast off, and ran as fast as I could to get the ferry at the last minute. Due to the busy shooting schedule I was often the only one who knew exactly what was supposed to happen next, where it would happen, and who was supposed to be involved in the scene. As I was running around, I wondered how will all this work out? But everything worked out well in the end. Archipelago Science Fiction envisions the future of the archipelago a hundred years from now. The manuscript was based on workshops held around the islands earlier the year before, which included brainstorming sessions with the locals about the future. The future scenarios depicted in the films are combinations of stories told by the participants. Some of the scenes were performed by the participants acting out roles that they had written for themselves. At other times, the casting took place out of the blue and at very short notice. Sometimes the performers’ had no idea the night before that they would be participating in the making of the film the day after. One scene features a farmer and his son. The day before the shooting, someone had urged me to call the restaurateur Mikael Smeds at L’escale in Nagu and ask him to play the farmer. He agreed to do the part and promised to bring his son along, too. While we were on the phone, I heard a cock-a-doodle-doo in the background. It turned out that Mikael had a rooster and eight hens. I asked him to bring them along to add a sense of the countryside to the scene. Unfortunately, the next day, Oliver cancelled this additional piece of casting due to the practical challenges involved.
TELLERVO KALLEINEN, OLIVER KOCHTA-KALLEINEN & HENRIK ANDERSSON
Â© Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen
In a closing scene set in the future, the 110-year-old Johan has grown tired of his artificially induced immortality and wants to terminate his own life. At the end of the joyful suicide ritual, those left behind sing and play a collective futuristic instrument. A prop that looked like a musical instrument had been specially made in Sweden and sent in pieces to Korpo, where it was assembled. Afterwards, Nina Forsman, an intern on the production, described how Tellervo presented the instrument to the actors: “Don’t worry about putting your lips to the instrument, it has just come out of its wrapping.” Nina said that, even though she knew the instrument was a prop, and having helped assemble it herself, Tellervo’s performance was so convincing that, at that moment, she truly believed a musical instrument had just been taken out of its packaging – as if futuristic instruments really were made and sold on an industrial scale. Mutual trust was indeed the core of the project. People were willing to do the most amazing things even when asked to do so by a stranger. The trust shown by the locals towards us impressed me, and their enthusiasm was heartfelt and made it a fun experience for the entire film crew, even with the extremely busy filming schedule. It would never have been possible to make this work without the collaboration of every single person who took part in the project, each and every one representing themselves, and from their own unique point of view. We were all pleased to hear afterwards that involvement in the film process had been a rewarding experience for all the participants. One important scene required a large group of bearded men. I taped posters to the noticeboards in grocery stores, the local paper wrote about it, and in every phone call I took the time to ask if the person at the other end happened to know any bearded men. The filming took place on an island, and it was impossible to take everyone there in a small boat. To my horror I realised only the night before that we had forgotten to arrange transportation to the island. Panicking, I called Bosse Mellberg. When twenty bearded men in woollen sweaters showed up at Korpoström Archipelago Centre, the 18th-century-style Storbåt Framtiden was waiting by the pier. On the way, the men sat in silence and gazed towards the horizon. Many said later on that they were touched by the beautiful journey that had been arranged for them. In our few weeks in the archipelago we grew attached to the place and its people. I hope I will have a chance to visit again one day.
Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen & Henrik Andersson
TELLERVO KALLEINEN, OLIVER KOCHTA-KALLEINEN & HENRIK ANDERSSON
Â© Henrik Andersson
ARKIPELLINA, ISOLA & POTATO ISLAND
For Contemporary Art Archipelago the artist and filmmaker Antonia Ringbom from the island of Korpo produced a pilot sequence for her forthcoming animation Arkipellina. This looked at life in the archipelago and at the complex ecology of this environment – a theme that runs through her practice. Her new work was screened alongside earlier films, such as Isola, in the Korpoström Archipelago Centre and on the Silja Europe cruise ship. Ringbom also collaborated with the artists Kalleinen, Kochta-Kalleinen and Andersson, who commissioned new animations from her for their Archipelago Science Fiction film, which was shown at Korpoström, as well as on the Silja Europa.
It all started pretty early on. I think it was in 2009 that, as a local artist, I was invited to one of the first meetings. It felt important to me, both to be personally invited and also to take part in such an exciting project that widens your horizons. Besides having my own films included – shown here at the Archipelago Centre in Korpo and also on Silja Line ferries – there was also the aspect of an extended exhibition that would reach out to remote islands in the archipelago, and even to the other side of the Åland Sea. This was one aspect of the project, but another was that I got to know artists from near and far, from the whole world, in fact. With my home being so centrally located on Korpo, and having this fun studio that was about to be finished at the time, I hosted lunches and dinners for many of the visitors. It was a lot of fun. I have also sailed with people, as you do when visitors come over, to make sure they have a nice stay. And the joy was seemingly mutual; an exciting experience in every way. I remember, for example, the Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, and how he arrived – was it in March or April? – and there was snow, and it was wet and cold, but the sun was shining. He was wearing these city shoes, and we had to cross the ice on boards. There was still ice on the sea, so we had to walk quite a bit. He didn’t look too pleased, but the sun shone and I poured him a schnapps with his lunch, and that’s when he lightened up.
ÂŠ Antonia Ringbom
Â© Antonia Ringbom
The greatest experience for me, however, was taking part in Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen’s Archipelago Science Fiction project. I actually played quite a big role in that. Partly, I liked the idea – and I was very impressed by the way they recruited such ancient-looking men and women from the islands for this rather crazy undertaking, in which they first got together to envision what the archipelago might look like in the future, and then four visions were made into films. But they also needed animations for the intros, and this is where I stepped in. I have, in other words, made animations for these four utopias or dystopias here in my studio. I made them up more or less by myself, based on the manuscripts that they sent me. It was a few weeks of very intense work. Now that Oliver and Tellervo have won the Ars Fennica prize, the films are being shown at Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, and it feels pretty nice to know that my animations can be seen there. It was really fun being with all the artists. In fact, a film about the archipelago that I have recently started, Arkipellina, is now being made into a film by Yle Fem. In the story there is something called eelgrass. The idea came from Elin Wikström’s project for Contemporary Art Archipelago. Different strands are passed on and evolve in new directions. I have become familiar with the concept of contemporary art, which I didn’t know all that well before. The seminars gave me lots of new insights, and it was exciting to see how ecology, ethics and aesthetics came together in new constellations. It was also an eyeopener that people who are neither bureaucrats nor politicians nor journalist have the possibility to pose difficult questions and to organize these strange encounters and situations that would not be possible otherwise.
Interview with Antonia Ringbom by Helena Björk
Â© Antonia Ringbom
MORE SALT IN YOUR TEARS
RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE
Site Specific Text Sculpture (1 Metre X 15 Metres) for a Marine Environment The adult human body contains about eight ounces of salt. If we were measured against the worth of our salt, we would fill a cup-full. Each one of us is seasoning for a large feast. The salt in our blood, sweat and tears comes from the sea, where all life began. We are who we are because one day a creature – not yet a mammal, no longer a fish - beached itself ashore and never returned to the sea. The pioneering ecologist and marine biologist Rachel Carson in her book ‘The Sea Around Us’ said, “When the animals went ashore to take up life on land, they carried part of the sea in their bodies, a heritage which they passed on to their children and which even today links each land animal with its origins in the ancient sea.” Those amphibian pioneers are still somewhere within us. They make us wander in search of horizons and coastlines, straddle archipelagoes, ride currents, walk on beaches and gather driftwood. They infect us with the lore and love of waves and water, and teach us to swim, make boats and read maps. They turn us into Sinbad the sailor and give us dreams of mermaids and kraken. They make us know the world and yearn for distances. They keep wanting to take us home. Across seven seas and thirteen rivers from where we live in Delhi, lies the Archipelago Sea, off the south-western coast of Finland. This is a sea named after islands, nested within a sea that isn’t a sea. The Archipelago Sea, called so because it is studded with islands, is a branch of the Baltic. The Baltic is a water body in disguise, a lake pretending to be a sea, or a sea playing at being a pond. Memories of another age, with retreating glaciers, amber residues of submerged forests and a strange sweetness to the water, makes the Baltic the sea that isn’t. Floating within the archipelago, on invitation to consider the making of a work for the Contemporary Art Archipelago, one of us felt a strange wave-less suspension, a tranquility that seemed to hide a secret. Why were there no waves, she wondered?
RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE
Once ashore, this secret was mined in a conversation with a marine biologist who spends his time thinking about life in the waters and coastline of the Baltic Sea. There were no waves because we were not at sea. The Baltic Sea is an inland water body with a narrow channel that links it to the open oceans, and is home to a very unique ecosystem that depends on its unique marine ambivalence. The fish in the water are highly prized because of their delicate sweetness, reflecting the specific and peculiarly attenuated salinity of the water that is their home, and yet, like sea-fish, they grow more vigorous than their fresh-water cousins. The fish know the water’s secret - there is more salt in our tears than there is in the Baltic Sea. Can one weigh the salt in the one hundred and twenty one liters of tears that an average human being will cry in a lifetime with the salt in the sea? Can the ballast of truths contained in the eight cupfuls of salt in our bodies measure up to the pull of our submarine longings? Can one not help but compare infinities, like the taste of tears and the ocean, not to find out what is more, and what is less, but simply to know that our lachrymose moments are a scale with which it is possible to think about the destiny of a planet. When she returned with snatches of conversation with the marine biologist by the Archipelago Sea, we talked about salt. And we wondered about the taste of our tears. If we had to return to that sea, we knew that it would have to be with something that would make a passing sailor pause and think about tears and the sea. That is why we made ‘More Salt In Your Tears’. We left a trace of words on water. More Salt In Your Tears is a text sculpture composed of three dimensional stainless steel letter-forms anchored on to a shallow section of seabed of the Baltic Sea near Turku, Finland. The letters combine to form a single phrase - More Salt In Your Tears - that can be visible from the decks of passing ferry-boats, sailboats, ships and low-flying aircraft.
© Lotta Petronella
RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE
With this work we fulfill three specific desires: of writing on water, of connecting body fluids like tears in an intimate way to large natural water bodies, and of drawing attention to the ways in which we all respond at a subliminal level to the presence of water. This work continues a pre-occupation with the emotional resonances of marine and coastal landscapes that began with Unusually Adrift From the Coastline (2008), which used the memory of abandoned light-houses to tap into the ineffable quality of our encounters with light, horizons and coastlines by the North Sea. Seen at a distance, the work appears as a reflecting interruption on the water whose shapes resolve into letters and words. The letter-forms are polished metal, gleaming like mirrors as they stand one metre above the water and fifteen metres across the surface of the sea. The forms mirror the horizon, the sea, the sky, reflecting the changing sunlight, and aspects of anything that sails or swims past. The clear surface changes colour as the sea, sky and sunlight themselves vary over the course of the day. The work acts as an index of the alive, changing surface of the sea, the seasons and time itself. More Salt In Your Tears required the undertaking of a journey in order to be viewed, and at the same time, it could be accidentally seen by anyone positioned in the right place on a passing vessel. Sailing to see a sign in the water and seeing such a sign by accident, while sailing - as one would see a rock, an island, a partially submerged shipwreck or a reef - suggest a â€˜transportâ€™ of the senses, a moment of fluid epiphany. The work was located in a busy marine passage. Large ferries that linked Scandinavian coastlines, and the daily boats that took people from one island to another, or to the nearest stretch of mainland, meant that around 20,000 people saw the work each day.
Another aspect to the work is the fact that in recent years, climatologists and oceanographers have expressed the concern that global warming may increase the salinity of the Baltic Sea and by doing so cause irreversible damage to the unique ecosystem of this marine environment. In that sense, More Salt In Your Tears is a paradoxical statement of hope and optimism, for although tears are universally understood to stand in for sad tidings, the day there will be more salt in the Baltic Sea than in our tears will indeed be an occasion for mourning. The hope that there may always be more salt in our tears than in the Baltic Sea is a strong undercurrent of this work. As artists, we have always viewed language as something fluid, as something to dip into, something to splash about in, something to drink from, something to swim in, to float in and to feel the current of. Language sustains us, but we know when to come out of the stream, to just sit by its side and watch it flow, without necessarily saying anything. With More Salt In Your Tears we are saying that there are things we know we feel but cannot put into words when we consider the sea and the earth. This work is an instance of our using language to talk about the limits of language, and having done that, to invite its viewers to join us in enjoying a silent sense of being with ourselves and our waters. There were no clouds on the day on which the work was installed. But a cold wind made anchoring nine tons of steel into the water a difficult and exhausting job. The letters were tethered to a raft, a sort of stationary platform made of sturdy wood and steel wires. The wind brought tears to everyoneâ€™s eyes, despite the laughter of a happy day of hard work. A diver went into the water to stabilize the structure, his dog paced the boards of the raft anxiously, and an engineer and the three of us in Raqs, did what we could do. We held fast to the steel wire, peeled off paper from razor sharp steel plates and continued to bewilder the diverâ€™s dog. The sun struck the steel surfaces of the letters and made them come alive with light. The sky, the sea, and the coastline came to look at themselves in the alphabetical steel mirrors that made up the phrase. The undertow of a passing ship rocked the raft and angled the structure to lend it a definite italic tilt. As if the elements were adding an editorial emphasis to the thought that there still was more salt in our tears than there was in the sea. For the sake of the planet, our only home, we hope it stays that way.
Raqs Media Collective
RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE
ENDLESS DREAMS AND WATER BETWEEN
Island (Techné) 2014 / Three Years / Contemplating “Dysfunction” Yet Another Reflection: June 2014, Dublin, Lisbon Dear Taru, Once again, I write. Since 2009 we have exchanged many messages. I’ve thought throughout these years a great deal about the process related to your initial invitation and the ways in which it continues to spur ideas for my ways of working. I can say that this has been one of the most unusual and oddly gratifying projects I’ve yet participated in. You may wonder what exactly has been gratifying, given that one of the initial suggestions regarding the aspiration was to create what could be called a “dysfunctional biennial.” Precisely that. The continual openness you’ve manifest in the conception, which has turned my relationship to a project––yours, sometimes accompanied by conversations with Lotta Petronella, and mine––that can be described as utopian and seemingly amorphous, into a life-work which has had nodes of realization over several years in different places. Echoes of the September Institute enacted.1 I will continue to think about the promise of potential—as it has kept me going, despite bumping up against life conditions. There is also a tremendous amount of material that has been generated throughout these years. My wish is that it will be possible to probe what’s been gathered, while reflecting more profoundly on shifting expedited timeframes into extended and indeterminate relations to time, as well as to move into an incredible space that is created by not limiting the possibility of an invitee. If this is dysfunction, I embrace it. A new contemplative awareness is created, as well as an examination of the urge to produce at all is suggested by this option. This comes as a radical contrast to the lives that many of us lead, lives that seem constricted and plagued by tight timeframes and speed of production, continuous and mundane, yet seemingly important, as these activities appear to be necessary or inevitable rather than chosen. This experience, which this text does not complete, gives me hope regarding different relations to living, creating, and thinking, which I welcome as they are unusual in my everyday external experience.
For a detailed description of the September Institute, see Renée Green. “Endless Dreams and Water Between.” In Other Planes of There (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 436-37, 447-49.
© Renée Green. Endless Dreams and Water Between. CAA, Utö installation site, 2011
© Renée Green. Archipelago in Parts, 2011-
A note to myself, while in transit: List in broad terms what I’ve been trying to do and what I’ve been doing. Lists, outlines, notebooks. Thoughts in relation to early exchanges regarding a “dysfunctional biennial.” Our dialogues. Contemplating your presentation at MIT and all that’s happened since then. Remembering my optimism and enthusiasm at the September 2011 event for CAA in the dispersed locations—Helsinki, Korpoo, through the archipelago to Utö––before beginning my journeys at MIT and MoMA, as well as continuing the development of the book Other Planes of There, contract received while in Utö, March 2011, now to appear in October 2014. Findings in the process, yet to be probed. Links. Processes. Ongoingness. Retrievals. Bridging. Broken Branches (Leiris) Insert: Things-Anthropocene-Berlin Distance Imperatives of nearness pressure Confusion Imagined need Awakenings Trust Islatoes Cells From a Presentation for The Anthropocene Project, HKW, Berlin, January 2013 Which I Imagined in Relation to the Archipelago in Parts Endeavor: Island (Techné) Renée Green 1/12/13 When I first received the invitation to participate in this event2 focusing on the proposition of the anthropocene I imagined I might engage by presenting part or all of a feature-length film, Endless Dreams and Water Between, that I’d produced in 2009, which grew out of a commission from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK. The film is fictional, set in the present of 2009 and informed by a focus on the letter exchange of four characters that inhabit three island regions, which are Manhattan, Mallorca, and the San Francisco Bay archipelago. I was curious about the anthropocene project. I thought this might help me encounter interesting questions for ongoing work, as I develop another film that is, in part, set in the Baltic Sea on islands and along the coastal regions in the Finnish archipelago.
The Anthropocene Project. An Opening took place in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, January 10-13, 2013. An official description of the event: “The Opening examines fundamental questions posed by and to the “age of mankind.” Renowned thinkers, artists, filmmakers, and academics from the natural sciences and the humanities gather within a series of dialogues, performances and islandstagings to negotiate and discuss this complex “post-Holocene” terrain from a variety of perspectives;” a selected list of participants would include Lorraine Daston, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Harun Farocki, Claire Colebrook, Michael Taussig, Kodwo Eshun, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Cary Wolfe, Paulo Tavares and Xavier Le Roy.
An excerpt of my thoughts from August 2011, part of the film developing process: I came across a book entitled, Up the Infinite Corridor: MIT and the Technical Imagination. I began reading it, as I felt I had found some ideas that resonated with my individual efforts in relation to thinking about the broader situation of the CAA invitation and possibility. One idea had to do with the notion of “solution space.” It is defined as follows: Biological species adapt by accumulating and reorganizing genetic specializations acquired from prior lives in other environments. Decision and system theorists sometimes refer to these volumes of plausible answers as “solution spaces,” and problem-solving, defining paths through these volumes, as “searching” solution space. Engineering can also be seen as a family of paths crossing a solution space—in this case a space defined by all the possible arrangements and combinations of geometry, time, and material properties that might satisfy the particular specifications of a design. Filtering a good design out of these possibilities by simple, direct calculation is impossible both because of the enormous number of variables and because there are always elements in the specifications—like aesthetics or ergonomics or compatibility with the corporate images—that can’t be reduced to a number or folded into a common denominator. 3 The terminal name for wishes is “specifications,” examples of which might be speed, grace, ergonomics, ease of use, stability, low-manufacturing cost, fun, fantasy, and the subversion of the established order, perhaps by writing an encryption program tough enough to give the National Security Agency hives. 4 Actually there were several mentions of solution space I’d recently come across. One was in William J. Mitchell’s book, Imagining MIT, in which he describes the messy process of designing a building, actually many buildings built since 2000 at MIT; these processes directly addressed what I was experiencing with the deadline I was facing. I adapted his words to my own process of designing the Media Bichos for MoMA Media Lounge, a potentially long-term physical structure that was also meant to be an art work, that was also meant to be a usable space for encountering forms of digitally transferred media:
Fred Hapgood. Up the Infinite Corridor: MIT and the Technological Imagination (Reading, MA.: Addison-Wesley, 1993), 7. 4
Designing a building is a messy, informally structured generate-andtest process; framed by the cultural conditions of the moment, the architect’s [artist’s] wide-ranging imagination proposes, while some combination of institutional and economic imperatives, emerging exigencies, and sheer accident disposes. It is the social exploration of a complex, shifting solution space. 5 In Mitchell’s description of what is contained in the book I again recognized similarities to my own experiences as the book “tells not only of architectural intentions and inventions, but also of money, politics, institutional dynamics, project management, and ideological and cultural contention.” 6 While the creation of the Media Bichos is a particular aspect with which I’ve been engaged I’ve also continued to be engaged with what I’m calling The Archipelago Project, later called, Archipelago in Parts. Throughout the past year I’ve welcomed this CAA project as a potential for a different model of thinking, creating and experiencing. (August 2011)
But how to generatively think about The Anthropocene Project? Or perhaps this conjunction, for example, The Anthropocene, Questions Regarding “Solution Space,” and We Who Are About To… How to engage with the questions and points that Lorraine Daston suggested in her introductory presentation for the three day event The Anthropocene Project: An Opening: “Is it possible to perceive of the challenges of the anthropocene as an opportunity? How to consider the unprecedented fate of earth as dependent on what humans do? What if the vanishing point of the future is just ahead?” As well as the articulation of a need: “We need an art that can remake our experience.” I learned that what I was asked to do in relation to the anthropocene project was to participate in something conceived as an “island” called “techné” and to participate in a discussion called “friction,” which I did. For the Island (Techné) I was asked to bring a thing. There was some discussion about this, as I was confused. What I learned, while speaking with others on the first night, is that there was a certain mystery surrounding the anthropocene and how we might engage with this topic from our various perspectives. I tried to pick up keywords and phrases.
William J. Mitchell. Imagining MIT: Designing a Campus for the TwentyFirst Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007), viii. 6
© Renée Green. Archipelago in Parts, 2011-
For example, “narratives,” “meta-narratives,” “humanity as a concept that belongs to the past,” “making sense,” “things,” “what things are, not what things do.” The word “poetry” kept reemerging. With the booklet I attempted to glean as much as possible about The Anthropocene Project: An Opening. In the spirit of exploring the unknown I was there ‘on the look out’ for an encounter. If an encounter was possible. Here is a quote from a film: I see this as my investment in being ‘on the lookout.’ I don’t believe in culture, to some extent, but rather I believe in encounters. But these encounters don’t occur with people… So encounters with things… So I encounter a… painting, yes, or a piece of music, that’s how I understand an encounter. When people want to add an encounter with themselves, with people, well, that doesn’t work at all… That’s not an encounter, and that’s why these encounters are so utterly, utterly disappointing. Encounters with people are always catastrophic… I go out, I am ‘on the lookout’ for encounters, wondering if there might be material for an encounter in a film, in a painting, so it’s great. Whenever one does something it’s also a question of moving away from it, simultaneously staying in it and getting out of it. So staying in philosophy also means getting out of philosophy. But, getting out of philosophy doesn’t mean doing something else. One has to get out while remaining within… I want to get out of philosophy by means of philosophy. That’s what interests me. The film is Gilles Deleuze from A to Z and these words are from the letter C, Culture.
For me the “staying in and getting out” requires that I engage in testing what’s possible in the realm designated as art, which is in relation with culture and technology. These combinations open a huge potential. If we engage with the topic of the anthropocene in conjuction with this nexus of art, culture and technology, questions can continue in terms of agency regarding human forms, in addition to the speculations of humans on times before and after possible human existence.
If we begin with questions and curiosity and with an openness to continued questions, and combine these with the knowledge we each have access to differently, perhaps we can engage with what we discover of each of our endeavors, which will take on various forms; in my case one form is film, which is a part of a larger combination of materials that exist, to be displayed and contemplated in conjunction and as separate components. I continue to be intrigued by the notion of entering another’s terrain/territory… The unexpected consequences. Exploring the terrain of the anthropocene leads to questions of time’s designations and how that can matter. As well as questions, literally, of matter and time. What can remain of any previous time. As an example, of words and thoughts and feelings.
I was also reminded of other attempts to convene and think about the future in past times. In 1972, in NYC An example: The Universitas Project: Solutions for a Post-Technological Society, initiated by Emilio Ambasz. The project is described as follows: In January of 1972, The Museum of Modern Art hosted “The Universitas Project,” a two-day conference sponsored by the Museum’s International Council and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The distinguished participants, from a wide range of scholarly and artistic disciplines, including Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco, György Kepes, Octavio Paz, Anatol Rapoport, Meyer Schapiro, Carl Schorske and Jivan Tabibian, among many others, engaged in a multidisciplinary debate on the future of design and design institutions in the postindustrial era. The project, conceived and directed by the noted architect and designer Emilio Ambasz, then Curator of Design at the Museum, was originally described as “a critical and prospective inquiry into the relation of man to the natural and the sociocultural environment...specifically planned to explore the possibility of establishing in the United States a new type of institution centered around the task of evaluating and designing the man-made milieu.”
This important volume publishes in their entirety the various components of the conference: the working papers that set the terms of the debate; the essays submitted by the invitees; the proceedings of the symposia responding to the papers; and the postscripts provided by the participants after the event. It makes this chapter in the intellectual history of the Museum, addressing issues and ideas still relevant today, available for the first time to scholars, the architecture and design community and the general public. 7 Because I was asked to bring a thing to the Island (Techné) I did seriously consider this request. I thought about anthropocene and island and techné and things. The combination led me to compile lists. The way I decided to engage is related to a way of working, which is linked to the pleasure of searching, wondering, speculating, and enacting in a form. Very often this involves reading. Reading as a stimulant and active endeavor. A concentrated empirical individual human search engine engaging with specific words. Words as things. Related to poetry’s link to words and things. Thing and poetry as a meeting place, a Schwerpunkt. Some things I thought about as part of this Island (Techné): things to read and reread—an ideal wish not entirely fulfilled, yet a kernel, an aspiration sparked by the anthropocene project, to be continued––produced in miniscule fractions of time: between the 1960s to 2010, which can be thought in relation to the deep time that had been discussed during the conference. Les Choses (Things), George Perec, 1965 Les mots et les choses (The Order of Things), Michel Foucault, 1966 The Things They Carried, Tim O’ Brien, 1990 We Who Are About to…, Joanna Russ, 1976, 1977 After the Last Sky, Edward Said, 1986 What is Philosophy?, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, 1991 (Fr), 1994 The Third Culture, Ed. John Brockman, 1995 [Lynn Margulis] Death of a Discipline, Gayatri C. Spivak, 2003 [Planetarity] The Century, Alain Badiou, 2005 (Fr), 2007 [When something is “over”] Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics, Timothy Morton, 2007 Collapse: Philosophical Research and Development, volume VI (Geo/philosophy), 2010
See The Universitas Project: Solutions for a Posttechnological Society; conceived and directed by Emilio Ambasz (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2006).
ÂŠ Island (TechnĂŠ) in The Anthropocene Project. An Opening, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2013
© Joanna Russ. We Who Are About To… book cover, 1977
Copyrighted in 1975, Printed in July 1977, Publisher Located in NYC. An Excerpt of Selections: From We Who Are About to… by Joanna Russ. Quotes:
About to die. And so on. We’re all going to die. The Sahara is your back yard, so’s the Pacific trench; die there and you won’t be lonely. On Earth you are never more than 13,000 miles from anywhere, which as the man said is a tough commute, but the rays of light from the scene of your death take little more than a tenth of a second to go … anywhere! We’re nowhere. We’ll die alone. This is space travel. Imagine a flat world, a piece of paper, say, with two spots on it but very far apart. If you were a two-dimensional triangle, how would you get from one spot to the other? Walk? Too far. But fold the paper through the third dimension (ours) so that the spots match exactly—if you were a triangle you couldn’t see or feel this, of course—and you are at the proper place. We do this in the fourth. Don’t ask me how. Only you must be very, very careful, when you fold spacetime, not to slosh the paper around or let it slide: then you end up not on the spot you wanted but God knows where, maybe entirely out of our galaxy, which is that dust you see in the sky on clear nights when you’re away from cities. The glittering breath of angels. Far, far from home. The light of dying may not reach you for a thousand million years. That ordinary sun up there, a little hazy now at noon, that smeary spot. We do not know where we are. 8 (This is being recorded on a pocket vocoder I always carry; the punctuation is a series of sounds not often used for words in any language: triple gutturals, spits, squeaks, pops, that kind of thing. Sounds like an insane chicken. Hence this parenthesis.) 9 This will never be found. Who am I writing for, then? 10 And all the things. Such a beautiful world, really. But no music, no friends. If Earth had been hit by plague, by fire, by war, by radiation, sterility, a thousand things, you name it, I’d still stand by her; I love her; I would fight every inch of the way there because my whole life
Joanna Russ. We who are about to… (New York: Gregg Press, 1978), 7-8. 9
is knit to her. And she’d need mourners. To die on a dying Earth—I’d live, if only to weep. But this stranger (the tagged planet they are on) has never seen us before. She says: Hey, what are you funny little things? We are (O listeners, note) one quarter the height of the trees, we are hairless, give birth to our young alive, are bipedal with two manipulating limbs, have binocular vision, we regulate our internal temperatures by the slow oxidation of various compounds (food), and we live no more than a century at the very, very most (at least it feels that way, as the joke goes) and we are caught rather nastily, very badly, and sometimes even comically between different aspirations. That is the fault of the cerebral cortex. Note: ars moriendi is Latin. It is a lost skill. It is ridiculed and is practiced by few. It is very, very important. It is the art of dying. 11 Had a brilliant idea: to recite all the poetry and prose I ever remembered into the vocoder, have it print-out. I’ll have a library. Didn’t do it. 12 So, in terms of things, I had with me a book and two excerpts (After the Last Sky and Symbiopsychotaxiplasm) of my Space Poem #3 (Media Bicho), which existed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as a “permanent” space to house its collection of time-based media. Why these things? Space Poems Space Poems allow room for combining fragments of encounter, of diverse kinds. No claim is made of ownership regarding experience, as each individual can have his or her own encounter with a film or song or book. The banners are titles, names, words, all providing indications of what exists in the world at present. These hang in the air, people can circulate beneath and may look up to find these arrangements of words. If curiosity strikes it is possible to search online from a mobile computer device for a phrase or word to see what the search yields. The results may point to a book or a song or something else. Not knowing what is possible at present in what can be known about particular things is part of the encounter allowed with the Space Poems.
©Renée Green. Archipelago in Parts, 2011-
Space Poem #3 (Media Bicho) An island on the land Which is of but not in The experience of freedom Which does and does not take place Yes Utopia and dissent A power stronger than itself For what it is to plan to believe In the break Grapefruit Circles of confusion Both insistent and unintelligible The machinic unconscious Under the skin Haunted weather The apperceiving mass No island is an island Blutopia Prisoner of love After the last sky Terrible honesty Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Quincas Borba Super Cannes The varieties of religious experience High Rise Lanquidity The motion of light in water The curve of binding energy The experimental exercise of liberty Estruturação do self The open work Beyond a boundary Nothing is
In Space Poem #3 one component of the poem, the banner After the Last Sky refers to a poem and to a book. Two things, at least. The book: After the Last Sky, Palestinian Lives, by Edward Said with photographs by Jean Mohr, 1986. Said’s name is also a Space Poem element, a banner from Space Poem #1, 2007. The poem: “The Earth is Closing on Us,” by Mahmoud Darwish in Victims of a Map, 1984. 13 In English translation from Arabic I read: The earth is closing on us, pushing us through the last passage, and we tear off our limbs to pass through The earth is squeezing us. I wish we were its wheat so we could die and live again. I wish the earth was our mother So she’d be kind to us. I wish we were pictures on the rocks for our dreams to carry As mirrors. We saw the faces of those to be killed by the last of us in the last defense of the soul. We cried over their children’s feast. We saw the faces of those who will throw our children Out of the window of this last space. Our star will hang up mirrors. Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky? Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air? We will write our names with scarlet steam. We will cut off the hand of the song to be finished by our flesh. We will die here, here in the last passage. Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree. Edward Said, when interviewed by Salman Rushdie, asks the question, “Do we exist? What proof do we have?” 14 What are the words? How does encountering them––seeing with color, hearing–– make one feel? What is triggered? Where does one’s mind go? At any time.
Mahmoud Darwish, Samih al-Qasim, Adonis. Victims of a Map; translated by Abdullah alUdhari (London: Al Saqi Books, 1984), 13.
Salman Rushdie, “A Conversation with Edward Said.” In Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism (London: Granta Books, 1991), 167.
©Renée Green. Archipelago in Parts, 2011-
MAT MED VYER (FOODSCAPE)
ARJA RENELL (nĂŠe LEHTIMĂ„KI)
What we eat has an effect on our surrounding landscape. If we want to continue to enjoy the beauty of the Archipelago we have to start thinking about the relationship between the landscape and food production in greater detail. The Mat med vyer art project provided a platform for exploring this topic together with local restaurants and food producers. In collaboration with the artist, each participating restaurant prepared at least one landscapefriendly dish to go on their summer menu. Customers who took the landscape-friendly option were given a postcard containing a link to the Mat med vyer website, where they could read more about what they had eaten, and about how it helped preserve the natural landscape of the Archipelago.
The changing landscape The Archipelago, with its seemingly endless chain of islands and islets, forms a unique, beautiful landscape near the southwestern border of Finland. Each summer, it is visited by a vast number of tourists, both Finnish and foreign, who want to experience the Archipelago at its best: to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the tasty local food, especially the fish. There is only one problem. The entire Archipelago landscape as we know it is under threat. Agricultural traditions which have shaped the land over centuries have given way to industrialised processes and mass production. Small-scale farming is no longer viable, and ecological or ethical considerations are marginalised by demands for economic efficiency. Many of the socio-economic and political developments of recent decades have led to a situation in which much of the food on offer locally is industrially massproduced and imported from other parts of Finland, or even further afield. As a result, the local landscape is changing. Traditional ways of farming land, growing livestock and fishing are disappearing. As a result, the relationship between food production and the landscape has become more impersonal. On top of that, the levels of profit that the land is expected to yield have increased substantially. Farming in the surrounding coastal areas and along the various rivers running into the sea is a major contributor to the pollution of the Archipelago. It is estimated that around 50% of the nutrients that feed the various algae come
One of the postcards given away by the participating restaurants shows a cow winter grazing. ÂŠ Arja Renell
ARJA RENELL (née LEHTIMÄKI)
from agriculture. Organic farming, which manages the nutrient cycle much more effectively, is practised by only a handful of farmers in the region. One reason for the lack of organic farmers seems to be the system of land ownership and EU subsidies. For a landowner who has fields but is not a practising farmer it is more profitable to let someone else use the fields, while still claiming EU subsidies for them. Actual farmers cannot get fields certified as organic if they are not officially being used by them personally. Also, as the certification process takes several years to complete, it would be too risky to embark on this if there were no certainty about the long-term use of the land. It would be a real shame if swindling the EU were a reason for organic farming not to get a chance in the Archipelago. The seas have been suffering from excess nutrients from farming for decades, rendering many coastal areas green with poisonous algae during the summer months. The traditional species of fish are dwindling in numbers and size, while others that thrive in murky, nutrient-rich coastal waters have significantly increased in number. These fish have been dubbed “waste fish”, since they are not popular with either fishermen or consumers. As a result, farms have been set up to cultivate salmon and whitefish, both of high commercial value. Unfortunately fish farms also leak nutrients into the sea. Changes in livestock farming are also affecting the Archipelago landscape. Picturesque shoreside meadows and pastures, and entire islands, have slowly turned into impenetrable thickets and shrubland, while livestock are fed processed food and kept indoors all year round. Only a few farms work actively to preserve the historic landscape and unique ecosystem formed over centuries of farming by taking their sheep and cattle to graze on various other islands over the summer months. All these processes are contributing to the loss of the traditional landscape (and seascape) around the Archipelago. The picturesque image of a blue sea dotted with islands can no longer be taken for granted.
What is landscape friendly food? Defining what landscape friendly food actually means was a key question during the project. Landscape friendly food often turned out to be locally produced, but only if environmentally friendly methods were used. Since farming is the main cause of nutrient leakage into the sea, non-organic farming on the islands, which are, of course, surrounded by water, is particularly harmful. Thus, for example, locally grown new potatoes, which are heavily fertilised to encourage early growth, could not be included on the menu. The use of grains was also limited to organically produced ones, even if they had to be bought from the mainland. The meat used in Mat med vyer dishes came from animals that had grazed on the islands. Historically most islands were inhabited all year round, and grazed by a few sheep and cows. Over the centuries, this created a unique ecosystem in the Archipelago, one that is now under threat. Plants, birds and insects that are dependent on a grazed landscape cannot survive in the thickets that have grown up in what used to be grazing fields. Nevertheless, only a few farmers are willing to go to the trouble of bringing their sheep and cattle to the various other islands to continue the tradition and help maintain the unique Archipelago ecosystem. It was also important to recognise the value of all the parts of the animal when preparing food. Too often these days only the steak meat is used, and the rest discarded. This is not only wasteful, but also disrespectful to the animals that have had to give their lives so as to land on our plates. Consequently eating the less-used parts of the animal, such as the tougher cuts of meat and offal, was especially encouraged. Fish and fishing were one of the most interesting and controversial issues for the Mat med vyer project. It turned out that most of the fish served by restaurants was either imported or farmed. Even though the local waters were full of fish, no one was prepared to either fish for or prepare them. These fish are referred to as â€˜waste fishâ€™ because they are plentiful, but small or bony. Their populations have exploded due to the eutrophication of the waters, which also turns many coastal areas green with poisonous algae during the summer months. Using these fish for food would help clean up the sea and make the remaining fish populations more viable, but convenience has made farmed salmon and whitefish more popular. One of the problems with fish farming is that it also contributes to the flow of nutrients into the sea. During the Mat med vyer project, two restaurants that tried to serve dishes made using bream and roach (considered to be waste fish) were unable to get local fishermen to supply them.
ARJA RENELL (née LEHTIMÄKI)
Another undervalued natural fish is herring, most of which is now fed to farmed fur animals instead of going for human consumption. One of the participating restaurants made fried herring their Mat med vyer dish, and it became so popular that they have since decided to keep it on the menu. Restaurants and their Mat med vyer project dishes: Pensar Syd: Baltic herring tartar, spelt and nettle risotto, Archipelago lamb and beetroot carpaccio, lingonberry ice cream L’Escale: Wild onion soup, kidneys and organic barley, biodynamically farmed strawberries Bystrand: Pikeloaf with organic new potatoes, organic wild berry pie Hjalmar’s: Fried Baltic herring and organic mashed potato Korpoström: Bream chevise and bream pate on organic Archipelago bread, sea-buckthorn sorbet
Arja Renell (Nee Lehtimäki)
Â© Arja Renell
ARJA RENELL (née LEHTIMÄKI)
Â© Arja Renell
Editors: Helena Björk, Taru Elfving, Lotta Petronella Picture editor: Lotta Petronella Introductions: Taru Elfving Photographs (unless otherwise credited): Stefan Krämer Proofreading: Mike Garner Design: Studio EMMI
CAA book is funded by
CAA project was supported by Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland City of Pargas (Väståboland) Konstsamfundet Nordic Culture Fund Nordic Culture Point William Thurings Stiftelse Korpoström Archipelago Centre Aboprint Bystrand Archipelago Sea Biosphere Reserve Archipelago Research Institute Cityinfo FinFerries Finnish Navy Finnpilot Hannas horisont Haroma & Partners Oy Hartela Oy Hippoglass Hjalmar’s Hotel Nestor Korpoström Restaurant Lanterna L’Escale Merireitit Metsähallitus Pensar Syd Rosita Sattmark SunWind Tallink Silja Line TUAS Arts Academy University of Turku Utö Hembygdsförening rf Åbo Akademi University
CAA producer Micaela Jansson CAA assistants Elina Ovaska Ida Ridberg Ella Vihervuori Annukka Vähäsöyrinki Fia Isaksson / City of Pargas Pia Relanto / Archipelago Centre Korpoström Åsa Rosenberg / Svenska Kulturfonden Turku 2011 Tiina Erkintalo Suvi Innilä Saara Malila Lea Nenonen Jukka Saukkolin Cay Sevón
Everyone in the archipelago and beyond, who devoted time to make CAA possible: Monica Aaltonen Bengt Andersson Jörgen Andersson Javier Anguera Heidi Arponen Katja Bonnevier Christopher Boström Tom Carlsson Tina Cavén Minttu Correa de Mora Riitta Elfving Seppo Elfving Taina Erävaara Johanna Franzèn Thomas Franzèn Antony Fredriksson Ralf Gothoni Tommy Grahn Camilla Gustafsson Frank Hellgren Maria Hirvi-Ijäs Ilona Hongisto Tarja Hyppönen Christer Isakson Stefan Jensen Eva Johansson Marika Johansson Markus Johansson Tore Johansson Paavo Järvensivu
Henna Kallio Kai Kivinen Katvekaisa Kontturi Jari Koskinen Alexis Kouros Hanna Kovanen Leena Kuumola Kimmo Lapintie LauNau Janne Lehto Erkki Leppäkoski Pia Lindén-Lamoureux Linda Lindfors Tommy Lindgren Tapio Maijala Antti Majava Kaj Mattson Bosse Melberg Maarit Munkki Erik Mäkinen Noah Möller-Rasmussen Risto Niinivirta Antti Nylén Pasi Paananen Juhani Pallasmaa Cecilia Persson Veronica Pimenoff Erik Saanila Ari Saari Atlas Saarikoski Laura Saksala Emmi Salonen Jere Salonen Florian Schneider
Anton Schubert Katriina Siivonen Johan Skibdahl Skärgårdshavets skola Lotte Smeds Mikael Smeds Jesse Söderlund Nina Söderlund Ulla Taipale Jukka Tobiasson Jarkko Tontti Tomas Träskman Katja Tuominen Sanna Vainionpää Esko Valtaoja Jan Verwoert Jussi Virkkumaa Ilppo Vuorinen Hasse Westerback Kjell Westö Margot Wikström Keith Whyte Kimmo Ylönen Minna Österlund Tage Österlund
A trailer of the CAA exhibition https://vimeo.com/119945981
Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA) exhibition consisted of over 20 newly commissioned site-specific art works realised in the Turku archipel...
Published on Sep 15, 2016
Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA) exhibition consisted of over 20 newly commissioned site-specific art works realised in the Turku archipel...