Photos Matterlurgy.


Seili & Turku

Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright) returned to Seili and Turku for a residency to continue the research began during their initial site visit and participation in the Spectres of Landings Retreat in spring 2019:

During our recent residency on Seili Island we explored the relationship between data and the corporeal presence of the scientist within fieldwork. We often focus upon methods and practice exchange in our collaborations with scientists, so we enjoyed doing some hands-on (in the water) sampling of phytoplankton with Emeritus Professor Ilppo Vuorinen at the Archipelago Research Institute (University of Turku). Ilppo has been studying the Baltic Sea for years, he has a unique understanding of the area and its changes over the past three decades. We had some incredible exchanges and discussions with him on boats and in labs. These focused on the bodily impact of fieldwork; the methods and tools of science and art; the need for imaginary and ethical strategies of communication in relation to issues of climate change.

We also met Emeritus Professor Marjut Rajasilta and Postdoctoral Researcher Katja Mäkinen, who study the biology of the Baltic herring at the Archipelago Research Institute. We spoke about their practices of fieldwork, how scientists  leave secret messages in their data, as well as the role herring plays in registering salinity changes of the Baltic Sea.

Through both interactions, our research has become more tuned. We are fascinated by traditional scientific sampling methods (boat/net/microscope) and the tacit knowledge that builds outside the formal conventions of digital data. Given the inevitable shift towards autonomous remote sensing byous we are considering what will be lost and what might be gained in the movement from muscle to machine. What happens when the labour and production of data (field practices) becomes further abstracted from the spectrogram or graph?

In 2022, we will return to Seili to do more practice and methods exchange, and plan to create a series of artworks across sculpture, digital 3D renderings, sound and film that fold these encounters into a project we call: Field Casting.

Field Castings is commissioned by CAA as part of Spectres in Change, funded by Kone Foundation. The work will be presented during 2022 in Seili and in Turku as part of an exhibition and public programme in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute.

Matterlurgy presented work-in-progress in an exhibition at Titanik Gallery in Turku in the autumn 2021 in collaboration with Taru Elfving. More information here.


Some of the many archipelago midsummer pole formations. Source: Fossenius, Mai (1951) Majgren Majträd Majstång. Lund: C.W.K. Gleerup.
The art of masting. Source: Romme (1778). Description de l’Art de la Mâture. Paris: Gallica.
Archipelago boatyard circa 1900 depicting women at work in boat building. Source: Träbiten, nr 44. Published by Föreningen Allmoge Båtar.


6.-9.7. / 14.-19.9. / 6.-9.11.2021

FRAUD (Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo) returned to Seili a number of times during 2021. In July, Midsummer Mast was dismantled in Turku and the structure was floated along the waterways in the Archipelago, in the ‘traditional’ fashion, to the island of Seili. In September, FRAUD witnessed the ongoing experiments with the flora on the island, informing their collaboration with artist Lotta Petronella to incorporate a critical feminist herbarium in their new work Fields of May.

In the autumn FRAUD began their collaboration with the carpenter and boat builder Joel Simberg, based in Turku Archipelago, to refashion the museum ship Sigyn’s old masts and deck planks into an outdoor public sculpture. They will salvage the work Midsummer Mast, presented in Fiskars (2020) and in Turku (2021), to create Fields of May, a semi-permanent installation at the Archipelago Research Institute’s campus in Seili:

Fields of May will act as an arena for ritual and discussion. The structure itself explores juridical & environmental maypole traditions, aiming to foster an inquiry into the reach of the ‘Blue bio-economy’ in the Baltic Sea. In the Turku Archipelago maypoles were bound to maritime trade and in the 19th Century the appearance of maypoles in the area demonstrated the prowess of the village’s shipbuilding capacity. As such Fields of May will catalyse a space for congregation and conversation. Over the years it will slowly decompose.”

Fields of May is commissioned by CAA as part of Spectres in Change, funded by Kone Foundation. It 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.

More information on Midsummer Mast and its journey to Seili here.

Jungfruskär. Photo Arja Renell.
Seili. Photo Taru Elfving.
Seili. Photo Taru Elfving.

Arja Renell

8.-11.6. / 5.-7.7. / 22.-25.8.2021
Seili & Jungfruskär

Arja Renell returned to Seili visiting also other islands in the Archipelago Sea National Park during the summer 2021. Working closely in collaboration with the Metsähallitus Wildlife Services biologists, she followed their research on the impacts of summer grazing as part of the ongoing meadow restoration work.

In Seili, Renell observed the inventory of beetle species by conservation biologist Sampsa Malmberg and Heli Vainio during which several rare species were discovered, including Chrysolina analis (kärsämökuoriainen), which was last sighted on the island 33 years ago. She also took part on a trip to Jungfruskär with the conservation biologists Maija Mussaari, Kukka Kyrö and Jessica Rapp to monitor the meadow restoration work and inventory of plants growing on this unique remote island, where several rare biotopes co-exist and are carefully maintained.

During her stays in Seili, she also got to dive deeper into the longterm research on Baltic herring, guided by researcher Katja Mäkinen at the Archipelago Research Institute.

Renell’s field work in 2021 was part of the project Ecology of Change that revisits the exhibition Contemporary Art Archipelago, realised in the Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture programme a decade ago. The project is supported by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

Photo Kalle Hamm.
Photo Mia Lempiäinen-Avci.
Photo Olli Aarni.

Kalle Hamm & Band of Weeds

20.-22.5. / 29.6.-2.7. / 10.-13.9.2021

Kalle Hamm returned to Seili for a series of short residencies in the spring and summer 2021 to further observe and record the seasonal cycle of the plants he is working with in the project The New Pangaea. The whole Band of Weeds spent a few days together on the island in the autumn to prepare for their concert planned for the summer 2022.

The New Pangaea is commissioned by CAA as part of the Spectres in Change project, supported by Kone Foundation, and will culminate in public events and the launch of a publication in 2022. Band of Weeds will also publish an LP as part of the work.

Visit the project online to listen to the plants in Seili: The New Pangaea

Artist at work. Photo Kalle Hamm.
Seili, summer 2020. Photo Hermanni Keko.
Hedge bindweed. Photo Kalle Hamm.

Kalle Hamm and the Band of Weeds

19.-21.5. / 15.-18.06. / 27.-29.07. / 3.-6.8. 2020

Kalle Hamm visited Seili first in the summer and autumn 2019, making observations and recordings of the flora on the island. In spring and summer 2020 he continued working with the plants in Seili for his new work-in-progress New Pangaia, in dialogue with the biologist Jasmin Inkinen at the research station. The other members of the Band of Weeds also made their first visits to the island.

“At first, I concentrated on sea relicts, pioneer species of ecological succession, invasive species, and species that are spreading further north due to climate change. Now I am paying more attention to the so-called weeds that have a longer and more complex relationship with humans.”
Kalle Hamm

Read more:
Lecture: Spectres in Change: Art and Science Research of the Archipelago Sea
Spectres of Landings II
Kalle Hamm and Saara Ekström in Seili

Saara Ekström: Beacon, 2020.

Saara Ekström


Saara Ekström continued to film the meadows of Seili during the summer 2020, focusing her camera this time on the sheep grazing on the island. As she writes:

“the meadow is a borderline sanctuary between the wild and the cultivated, where nature and the cultural landscape co-exist. On the island a small flock of eight sheep are busily grazing the seaside meadows, maintaining these rich and diverse habitats for the insects and plants that thrive in them. The sheep are brought to the island in early spring and they stay until late autumn. While left to their own devices, they widen their territory from the sunny meadows to the old windswept forests, where they find cooler spots and dig sleeping places between tree roots.

The sheep seem to go through a transformation, from domestic into something autonomous, integrating into the ecologies of their surroundings. Likewise, the 200-year-old cherrytree orchard appears to slowly blend in with the forest. In the spring the orchard emits a strange kind of music, like a polyphonic choir of insect wings, as thousands of pollinators swarm around the fragrant blossoms.”

Read more:
Saara Ekström and Kalle Hamm in Seili
Earth Rights-exhibition

Automated sampling station (weather buoy: YSI 6952 buoy base and multiparameter sonde YSI 6000). Measures temperature (°C), salinity (PSU), turbidity (NTU), chlorofyll (mg/L), blue-green algae (cells/mL), and oxygen (mg/L). In use since 2006. Photo FRAUD.
Gunnar Vikström, in "Seili, Saaristomeren Tutkimusta 50 Vuotta, Turun Yliopisto". The early years of the time series research in Seili.
Scientist Ilppo Vuorinen observing FRAUD. Photo Taru Elfving.

FRAUD (Audrey Samson & Francisco Gallardo)


FRAUD (Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo) came for their first research visit to Seili and stayed on the island for a brief residency following the retreat. They shared their initial impressions and questions to be developed in collaboration with CAA and the Archipelago Research Institute:


The Baltic Sea is a very particular body of water, a brackish mix of salty and fresh water, while the layered sea floor is an archive of its past (due to its anoxic condition, it is perfectly stratified). Yet, because of its size and other particularities, it is also an indicator of what will happen to the oceans in the future, the canary in the coal mine so to speak. It also contains the largest archipelago in the world, of which the island of Seili is a part of.

Seili is home to the Archipelago Research Institute, which has been monitoring the sea since the 60s and advanced the understanding of the Baltic and the disruptions affecting it due to climate change, such as the dramatic drop in the size of the herring, the salinity decrease due to increased rainfall, eutrophication due to industrial agriculture, etc. The island itself has a complex genealogy, inhabited in the 1600s by lepers expelled from the mainland, afterwards by ‘unruly’ women similarly unwanted and detained in a ‘mental hospital’, now home to marine biologists and a plague of ticks.

During our stay, we were particularly fascinated by the basic research sampling methods used on the island, and its rich history and indexicality. The embodied knowledge of the scientist observer contextualising each data sample, now shifting towards troubleshooting complex apparatuses such as the SBE sonde.”

FRAUD will continue investigating these balticscapes, in the context of CAA’s Spectres in Change programme.

Read more:
Midsummer Mast
Talk: Midsummer Mast
Spectres of Landings II

Tick collecting. Photo Kira O'Reilly.
Photo Kira O'Reilly.
Photo Laura Beloff and Kira O'Reilly.

Laura Beloff & Kira O’Reilly

19.-24.5. & 5.-9.8.2019

CAA was happy to be able to co-host the artists Laura Beloff and Kira O’Reilly on their initial research visits to the Archipelago Research Institute in Seili as part of their collaborative investigation into ticks and things tick-borne.

“The tick does what it does. It is not ‘aware’ of anything beyond the sensory discretion of the biosemiotics of its world, around which there is the increasing and accelerated machinations of media worlding, a media umwelt of sorts.”

You can read more about their project and residencies on the island in Kira O’Reilly’s blog notes – drawing from, amongst others, the interlinked etymologies of host, hostage, hospitality and hospital.

Warmest thanks to Jasmin Inkinen for sharing her insights and field work methodologies at the Archipelago Research Institute, and to the whole tick research team at Turku University. Funding from Kone Foundation made this residency collaboration possible.


Listening to the Viking ruins.
Tuning the wild.
Culinary experiment: wood sorrel lemonade. Photos FoAM Earth.

FoAM Earth (Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney)


“In fieldwork abstract data about the situation gains another dimension. It ‘lands’ in your tangible experience of the world and embeds itself in your bodily memory.”

FoAM Earth (Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney) stayed on at Seili, at the Archipelago Research Institute, after the Spectres of Landings retreat for a residency to carry out their own fieldwork on the island across its myriad spatial and temporal scales – attuning and listening to it, as well as observing and tasting. Here is a brief glimpse into their reflections published in the blog:

“To hear the smaller, quieter voices of the island we resorted to a technological augmentation of our senses. We could pick-up a range of vibrations through the air, rocks, or ant-hills. Yet, the biological and geological scales that drew our curiosity remained mute to human ears. With the help of microphones and digital sensors, we began to hear unseen life in the undergrowth, between reeds and in the trees. What if we focused as much attention to our own attunement with the world as to tuning and tweaking our technological devices? What technologies could help us attune to our surroundings, instead of drawing us away from them?”

Read more:
Lecture performance
Spectres of Landings
Spectres in Change -Pilot retreat