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.