Photos Taru Elfving.

Floating of the Midsummer Mast

Turku to Seili
6.7.2021

The Midsummer Mast was disassembled on the Varvintori square in Turku and floated from the river Aura to the island of Seili by boat in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute of Turku University. Once on the island, together with local carpenters and boat builders, the museum ship Sigyn’s old masts and deck planks will be refashioned by FRAUD into an outdoor public sculpture Fields of May.

Warmest thanks to Jari Hänninen and Petri Kinnunen of the Archipelago Research Institute of Turku University for making this last maritime journey of the masts possible, to Lotta Petronella for the environmental essence created for the journey, and to Tuomo Rinne and Atte Pylvänäinen for the expert assistance on the floating of the masts.

Midsummer Mast and Fields of May by FRAUD are commissioned by CAA as part of Spectres in Change, funded by Kone Foundation. Fields of May will be inaugurated in the spring 2022 in Seili as part of an exhibition and a public programme in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute.

Midsummer Mast has been presented in Turku in co-operation with Forum Marinum and supported by the City of Turku. The mast was first hoisted in Fiskars as part of the exhibition Meadow during summer 2020 in collaboration with ONOMA. The work has been realised in collaboration with Entisöinti Rinne Oy.

Read more on the Midsummer Mast here.

All photos New Performance Turku/Jussi Virkkumaa

Spectres in Change

4.9.2020
New Performance Turku

In collaboration with the New Performance Turku Festival, CAA invited festival audiences to travel to the island of Seili from the city of Turku on a day trip, 4 September 2020. The aim of the day’s programme was to share the ongoing processes of working with artists and scientists on the island. The talks, walks and performances were loosely framed by the idea of caring knowledge, with an emphasis on practices of observation as sticky entanglement. With a focus on diverse artistic and scientific methodologies, CAA invited the visitors to follow their own traces among the entwined sediments of natural and cultural histories on the island and the surrounding archipelago: how do we know what we know? How to situate our practices in the midst of ceaseless change?

The group of thirty visitors from Turku were guided on the island by filmmaker Lotta Petronella and professor emeritus Ilppo Vuorinen. Artist Saara Hannula’s tea ceremony drew attention to perennial plants on the island and the experiential knowledge stored in them. At the Archipelago Research Institute biologist Jasmin Inkinen introduced the lively microscopic underwater community of plankton.

Lotta Petronella drew from her four years of immersed study of the historical hospital archives of Seili and the women’s stories buried in there, while she also followed closely the ongoing scientific environmental research on the island for her recently premiered documentary film Själö – The Island of Souls. Petronella also shared her current research that recalls the multilayered narratives of the island through the spirit of the plants.

Ilppo Vuorinen worked as the director of the Archipelago Research Institute of Turku University in Seili between 1992 and 2016, but he first came to the island as a biology student already in the 1970s. Vuorinen recently published a book on the history of the island and the scientific research carried out there over the decades, such as the time series documenting the changes in the Archipelago Sea ecosystem.

Saara Hannula’s Matara introduced perennial plants growing on the meadows of Seili, such as lady’s bedstraw, St. John’s wort, yarrow, meadowsweet and red clover. Most of these are archaeophytes that have arrived in the Turku Archipelago as a side effect of seafaring and agriculture. They may also have been used as medicinal plants at the hospital in Seili. Matara is part of Hannula’s perennial artistic research into the traces of cultural and scientific practices performed on the island over centuries.

The day-trip was organised in collaboration with New Performance Turku as part of the 2020 festival Mobilities. The programme in Seili was coordinated by curator Taru Elfving, with the assistance of Saskia Suominen, as part of the Spectres in Change project by CAA and funded by Kone Foundation.

Photo Jarmo Markkanen.
Photo Leena Kela.
Photo Leena Kela.
Photo Leena Kela.

I, a Bat

29.-30.8.2020
Fiskars

Installation I, a Bat invited the audience to pause for a moment and draw close to a bat in the old threshing barn Puimala in Fiskars, where several colonies of different bat species live. The bats move in here for the summer to give birth and to take care of their young. During the day, they rest hidden inside the barn, while at night they go out to hunt for insects along the stream that runs past the building. The sound installation by Leena Kela encouraged the visitors to try and observe the space like the bats who inhabit the barn. Would it be possible for us to understand the experience of a bat and to experience empathy towards it?

Performance artist and doctoral candidate Leena Kela (University of the Arts Helsinki) has been working with bat researchers for the past couple of years on a performance series dealing with bats and empathy. Alongside the installation, a discussion event took place on Sunday 30 August, with the members of the research group BatLab Finland (Finnish Museum of Natural History) Piia Lundberg and Katarina Meramo in conversation with Leena Kela and curator Taru Elfving.

The installation and discussion were part of the public programme of the exhibition Meadow in collaboration with ONOMA cooperative and CAA.

I, a Bat production included: Art installation by Leena Kela, sound design Marko Hietala, echolocating device Roope Pellinen and Matti Husu, and the bat sounds by Harry Lehto. Bat experts for the Fiskars installation were Thomas Lilley (BatLab Finland) and Jarmo Markkanen. The work has been supported by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Sari Palosaari: By Your Side.
Harrieliveart.
Mari Keski-Korsu: Earthling Companion Yarrow (Local Plant Remedy Apothecary). Photos Taru Elfving.

Earth Rights

2.2.2019
Turku

“calling for the invention of modes of gathering that complicate politics by introducing hesitation”
(Stengers, 2018)

CAA co-organised a day of events at the inaugural exhibition of Kunsthalle Turku, Maan Oikeus / Earth Rights, in February 2019. “Maan oikeus” in Finnish opens up a plethora of possible meanings that reveal the deep entanglement of cultural and social structures with their material groundings. “Maa” refers not only to land, nation, and ground, but also to Earth. Distinctions drawn between specific sites and the planetary waver. The narratives of origin, identity and property are written in words that refuse to erect fixed boundaries.

The word “oikeus”, then again, stands for the court of law as well as for rights. Individual rights and the institutions of law appear codependent. If rights to the land are inseparable from the rights of the land, how to access laws of the land that are not merely laws applied to the land? Who and how to speak for the earth? Where and how to speak with it? What does the earth oblige those who claim rights to it? Rights, after all, come with obligations.

The events gathered a range of artistic practices around the shared sense of urgency posed by these ecological concerns. What the discussed practices all share is a deep commitment to take time, even while urged on by a growing sense of emergency, and be attentive to that which remains in the silences and shadows of the apparent order of things. In the face of the unknown, they may not provide answers but rather reckon with the complexities and specificities of the challenges haunting the present.

The day’s programme began with two workshops encouraging the audience to tune in with their senses to the questions resonant with the exhibition: through listening exercises, Sonic Commons led by Tuike and Simo Alitalo in the surrounding environment, and immersion in communication with one of our age-old companion plant species, Holding Space with Yarrow led by Mari Keski-Korsu. An afternoon of screenings followed with works by Arja Renell, Lasse Lecklin, Kati Roover, Niillas Holmberg/Outi Pieski/Jenni Laiti, and IC-98. Other artists of the exhibition also participated in the discussion: Saara Ekström, Liinu Grönlund, Harrieliveart, Saara- Maria Kariranta, Sari Palosaari, Leena Valkeapää.

The questions examined ranged from the escalating socio-ecological destruction caused by extractive industries, a case in point being the Talvivaara mine in Finland, and the fast unfolding changes brought by climate breakdown on the ecosystem and modes of life in the Arctic, to the legal im/possibility of land belonging to no-one. Beyond providing evidence on the not-seen, or giving voice to the otherwise unheard in the cacophony of the attention economy, the afternoon focused on situated and accountable practices of care.

The exhibition and the events were curated by Taru Elfving / CAA. More information:

www.turuntaidehalli.fi

References:
Isabelle Stengers, Another Science is Possible: A Manifesto for Slow Science, 2018.