Photo Arja Renell, Seili 2021.
Photo Christoffer Boström.

Ecology of Change: Meadows

Archipelago Centre Korpoström & online
5.5.2022 & 19.5.2022

Who will save the seagrass? What is landscape friendly food in the archipelago? What kind of cheese could be made with the milk of the sheep grazing on the island meadows?

The meadows on the islands and underwater in Turku Archipelago were the focus of attention in a number of art works realised in the exhibition Contemporary Art Archipelago in 2011. Artist Elin Wikström collaborated with marine biologists of Åbo Akademi University to experiment with eelgrass meadow restoration. Arja Renell brought together local restaurants and producers to develop ecologically sustainable menu options. Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas proposed turning decommissioned military bunkers to cheese cellars.

CAA returns now to the archipelago meadows in a series of talks with artists and scientists to consider transformations that have taken place both on land and underwater during the past decade: In the meadows, the slow evolution of distinctive local ecosystems meets accelerating global changes. Meadows attune our senses to the entanglement of the life and death of different species with the transformations of human cultures and technologies.

The discussions can be attended at Archipelago Centre Korpoström and online. The presentations will be in Finnish.

The talks are organised in collaboration with Archipelago Centre Korpoström and Archipelago Sea Unesco Biosphere Reserve as part of a series of events Ecology of Change , supported by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

Island Meadows
Thu 5.5.2022 at 14.00-16.00

The first talk focuses on the restoration of island meadows and the impacts of summer grazing on the biodiversity of meadow ecosystems. In conversation artist Arja Renell, conservation biologist Maija Mussaari of Metsähallitus Wildlife Services, and Archipelago Sea Unesco Biosphere Reserve coordinator Katja Bonnevier.

Underwater Meadows
Thu 19.5.2022 at 14.00-16.00

The second event directs attention below the surface of the Archipelago Sea to discuss the significance of underwater meadows with artists Sinna Virtanen, Sandra Nyberg and Heini Nieminen (Elin&Keino), and Christoffer Boström, assistant professor of marine biology at Åbo Akademi University.

More information on the events and links to the talks here.

Artist Residency Research Network (ARRN) workshop.
Photos by Taru Elfving.

Saari Summer Well

Saari Residence

Taru Elfving participated in and presented the ongoing work of CAA at the assembly My Journey, Knowledge and Exchange, which invited scholars, writers and activists focused on residency research to gather together for a short collective residency intensive at the Saari Residence.

The international group of peers shared their practices and insights on a range of matters of concern, such as the challenges posed by ecological urgencies: How could residencies embed their activities in ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable ways in the local environments while nurturing planetary conversations and facilitating critical encounters between people and places? What kind of ethical and ecological codes of conduct could support this?

Thank you for the inspiration, joy and sense of community: to Irmeli Kokko, who conceived the programme; to all the participants and our hosts at the Saari Residence; and the flocks of migrating birds gathering alongside us in the surrounding unique wetlands. The assembly was organised by Kone Foundation.

Photo Taru Elfving.
Listening to a mossy hill in Seili. Photo FoAM Earth.

Lecture performance by Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney


Spectres in Change:
Hints, traces and resonances – experiencing ecological uncertainty.

The first public event of Spectres in Change featured a lecture performance by Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney of FoAM, followed by a conversation with curator Taru Elfving. Seasonal refreshments including spring teas and trans-local spirits were served. The event was organised by CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago in collaboration with the Bioart Society.

At the inaugural Spectres in Change Salon, FoAM offered a contextual and aesthetic backdrop for their fieldwork on Seili. Through an interplay of sound, text and image they suggested varied relationships with animate, inanimate and partially animate critters inhabiting the world. It was an invitation to pay attention to a multitude of voices, omnipresent but often too quiet to notice amidst the noise of human activity. A lure for listening and noticing the Earth unfolding at different timescales. Attuning to matter in its myriad forms and flows. Unexpected resonances lurking in the gaps of a seemingly seamless reality. Liminal disturbances and barely audible crumblings hinting to a perpetually wavering restlessness. Composed with/by/for the beings and phenomena encountered in the Sonoran Desert, the sacred forests of Kumano Kodō, and the coastal habitats of the Adriatic and Archipelago Seas.

Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney are co-founders of FoAM, a transdisciplinary network of labs at the intersection of art, science, nature and everyday life. They currently work as the nomadic entity FoAM Earth, exploring futurecrafting as a way of re-enchanting the present. True to FoAM’s motto “grow your own worlds”, they create propositions, immersive situations and (peak) experiences. As an act of resistance against dystopian fears of uncertainty, they cultivate kinship networks and circumstances for conviviality and collaboration, while exploring animist approaches to time, attunement and interconnectedness as transformative practices for contemporary techno-materialist culture. Their works and ways of working invoke new worlds, summon echoes of voices otherwise unheard to entice collective imagination and solidarity. In order to align the work itself with their ways of living and working, FoAM experiments with distributed forms of financing, administration and sharing infrastructure, while navigating between open-resource ethics and mainstream economic realities.

More information on FoAM:
Spectres in Change

Bioart Society is a Helsinki-based association developing, producing and facilitating activities around art and natural sciences with an emphasis on biology, ecology and life sciences. It runs SOLU Space, an artistic laboratory and platform for art, science and society in Katajanokka, Helsinki, and – together with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki – Ars Bioarctica, an art & science program with focus on the sub-arctic environment.

Read more:
FoAM in Seili
Spectres of Landings
Spectres in Change -Pilot retreat