Saturday, November 27, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas (Nov 2010)

On their second visit to the archipelago the light of early summer was replaced by the darkness of rainy November. The arrival was also rather different – this time on the cruise ship from Stockholm amongst crowds of partying youngsters. We met Katja Bonnevier again and the discussion centred on the meadows and the need of more sheep on the islands to graze and thus naturally care for the landscape and its biodiversity.  The focus on local food production continued over lunch at the Korpo’s local pub Hjalmar’s. We shared Hotel Nestor with workmen from the construction site of a huge new green house nearby, soon to bring light to the dark winter.

With the marine biologist Christoffer Boström at Korpoström Nomeda and Gediminas got further insight into what is going on under the surface of the sea. We pondered upon different technological solutions on how to bring this closer to people moving above it. The artist Antonia Ringbom joined us on planning possible collaborations between scientists and artists on workshops for school and other groups during the next summer’s exhibition. We agreed on the importance of these processes of exchange across disciplines – as sites of transformation that need to be recognised and valued in themselves, beyond their tangible products! Another wonderfully inspiring visit to Antonia’s home and animation studio was followed by a walk in the dark through rain and a much needed Friday evening sauna.

Before leaving Turku through the archipelago on the aptly named Silja Europa ship, Nomeda and Gediminas followed up a chance encounter from their last visit: engineer Kaj Kivinen told them about early experiments with internet on the remote island of Utö by the military.

Friday, October 29, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Platforma 9.81 (August 2010)

Dinko Peracic, Miranda Veljacic and Tomas Träskman (moderetor)         photo Lotta Petronella

After the discussion on Economy in Korpoström Dinko Peracic and Miranda Veljacic continued their long weekend in the archipelago. We took the five hour journey, in the darkness of the Autumn evening, to Utö and experienced the commuter boat at its busiest. The last weekend on the islands for many visitors and part-time residents before the quiet winter season.

As members of the Croatian architect collective Platforma 9.81 Dinko and Miranda were here interested particularly in the built environment, its development, conventions and regulations. For example, the private ownership of waters and shores was in stark contrast to Croatian coast. With an insight into the Croatian islands and what they termed the logic of archipelago, they found tourism to be a big topic in the discussions about the future of Turku archipelago while in practice it still appeared very small scale. Yet in the misty November landscape of Utö, with only a handful of bird watchers around, it was hard to imagine 500 people on the small island during the height of the summer. The intense high season of only 6 weeks has its benefits both for the locals and the off-season visitors.

Hanna Kovanen guided us in the lighthouse again, while her mother Solveig treated us to an unbeatable fish soup and pancake lunch and her father Topi served us coffee at Hanna’s café. The chair of the island association Mats Bergman was luckily home this weekend and took Dinko and Miranda around the museum and other buildings the association takes care of and continues to develop. Mats also kept us company on the long journey back on Sunday through the grey and foggy seas. But before departure we managed to test the most southern indoor swimming pool in Finland, in the 70’s built military base turned hotel.

Dinko Peracic and Miranda Veljacic at the Ekonomy diskussion       photo by Lotta Petronella
The artist Sussi Henrikson and Johan Skibdahl of Lanterna in Nagu presented their personal take on tourism on this so-called party island of the archipelago. Katja Bonnevier (Biosphere Reserve) gave Miranda and Dinko an overview of the ecological issues of the area before their discussion with Katriina Siivonen (future researcher) at the CAA lecture series at Turku University and a very speedy tour of Turku.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen (Oct 2010)

Tellervo and Oliver presented their practice in an artist talk at CAA lecture series in Turku University. They continued to another visit to the islands, beginning to collect material for their project on science fiction archipelago. They interviewed a number of locals in a few days across the islands, from Korpo and Houtskär to Aspö, about their fears and dreams for the archipelago – imagining what it could possibly be like in one hundred years: a paradise of simple quality living, all dressed in woollen flying suits, or a gated community for the rich where the majority language is English or German, perhaps inhabiting huge skyscrapers on tiny isles. Or, perhaps nothing much changes after all.

Monday, October 4, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Arja Lehtimäki (October 2010)

Arja took part in a cross-disciplinary discussion with Katja Bonnevier (Biosphere Reserve) on the topic of sustainable fishing at the CAA lecture series in Turku University. This launched her research for the art project on local food for CAA, the complex situation of fishing as a starting point: why is there no longer much fish in the area, or why are we not eating the fish there are still plenty or even increasing amounts of?

On a quick first visit to the islands we checked out a number of restaurants that were nearly all closed, out of season. And in the end we run out of time to taste pizza with wild local chantarelle mushrooms in the Korpo pub and restaurant Hjalmar’s. Alongside the question of fishing, we discovered a wealth of issues to do with other local food production, in particular on our drive around the island of Wattkast in Korpo. Huge greenhouses are currently being built there, while we visited next door the farm of Thomas Johansson and Johanna Franzen. They shared their experiences and insight of running and developing their farm of up to two hundred beef cattle and hundred sheep. The animals spend their summers taking care of the landscape and its biodiversity on the outer islands, for example on Aspö.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Minerva Cuevas (Sept 2010)

In Utö, the most southern inhabited island in the Archipelago       photo by Lotta Petronella

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Monica Narula from Raqs Media Collective (September 2010)

Out at sea with Monica, Antonia Ringbom (artist/animator for CAA) and Taru Elfving             photo by Lotta Petronella

Monica Narula of Raqs Media Collective, from New Delhi in India, came to the archipelago on a very brief visit while travelling in Europe. This was to prove an amazingly productive speedy stop-over, while even allowing for wonderful sense of slowing down. This is the magic of the outer archipelago, such as the small picturesque island of Aspö, where just one evening can feel like a long weekend, under the stars with no light pollution and not a soul around.

Visiting the island of Aspö and the cows gracing there      photo Lotta Petronella

Friday, September 3, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Elin Wikström (Sept 2010)

A visit to Jungfruskär with fisherman Fjalar Johansson      photo by Lotta Petronella
Elin’s second visit begun with a birds-eye view of the islands as she experienced her first of cruise ship between Stockholm and Turku. 
The week in the archipelago allowed for further and more focused research into the underwater ecology of the area. From alien species her interest shifted towards plants and their role in the complex marine ecosystem. The water was exceptionally clear this year and the visibility perfect for snorkelling. We were even greeted by a huge number of jellyfish that had just now appeared in the end of the summer – perhaps a good sign, as they apparently only thrive in healthy sea beds.

In Jungfruskär, an outer island part of the Archipelago National Park             photo by Lotta Petronella

Elin snorkling    photo Elin Wikström
Elin gained an insight into the research on sea grass from marine biologist Christoffer Boström and his team on a field trip around the outer islands of Turku archipelago. Taru joined in on another snorkelling trip, with Trygve Löfroth (Metsä) to Hästö underwater nature trail. We also got more insight about an ongoing research project, led in Korpoström by Heidi Arponen (Metsähallitus), that maps the sea bottom of the Turku archipelago and its various habitats. A visit to the Archipelago Research Institute in Seili and participation in the CAA discussion event on Ecology completed the picture of current marine research done in the area.

In addition to the underwater worlds Elin got to visit the artist Anna Nyreen (also in CAA), her ceramics studio and gallery in a hidden corner of Nagu.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SEAFILM FESTIVAL KORPO presents Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen (July 2010)

Tellervo & Oliver at the Seafilm festival at the Archipelago Centre Korpoström     photo by Lotta Petronella

Saturday, May 29, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Nomeda & Gediminas Urbanas (May 2010)

View from the boat       photo by Lotta Petronella

The first visit of Nomeda and Gediminas coincided with the first glorious summer days of the year. Together with the artist Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen we left from Turku harbour in blazing sunshine on a military boat. Commander Tapio Maijala took us on a guided tour of the archipelago, with the first stop by the army base of Gyltö in Korpo, soon to be partly closed down. Riding through mirror-still seas we visited also the outer islands of Jungfruskär and ???, both with military history yet now part of the national park.

From Jungfruskär to Utö                 photo by Lotta Petronella

 Our destination was Utö, which up until 2005 had a large army base. Its closure has had a huge impact on the local community, which now has turned to tourism as well as invites families to move to the remote island for a gap-year or two, in order to keep the little school alive. In Utö we learned more about the development of the local community from Kalle Sjöberg and Hilkka Bergman from the Utö island commitee and regional museum. Hanna Kovanen guided us around the island and. We were also invited aboard as one of the pilots was taken out to a foreign tanker to guide it through the treacherous waters of the archipelago.

Outside Utö on the pilotboat    photo by Lotta Petronella

In Korpo Nomeda and Gediminas were impressed by the project the local school had done with the marin biologist Christoffer Boström (Korpoström, Åbo Akademi). They also learned about the activities of the biosphere reserve from Katja Bonnevier. The visit ended with a dinner in Lanterna together with the local artists involved in CAA, Sussi Henrikson, Pia Rousku, Anna Nyreen and the CAA producer Micaela Jansson.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Alfredo Jaar (April 2010)

In Utö with Alfredo      photo by Lotta Petronella

Winter was turning to Spring, when Alfredo came over on his first visit. After a four hours-long drive from Helsinki airport we arrived in a grey and rainy archipelago of in-between seasons. 
The first night was spent on the island of Korpo, in Hotel Nestor. Our hosts, artist Pia Rousku (another participant in CAA) and designer Frank Hellgren, together with the artist Renja Leino (also in CAA) greated us and gave us a sense of the contradictions prevalent here –  working with global issues, the latest technologies and actively developing cultural life in the peace of this now near-desolate landscape.

Heading back to Korpo through the icy sea           photo Lotta Petronella

The next day we took a four-hour boat ride to the island of Utö, the most southern inhabited island in Finland, a base for pilots, lighthouse keepers, custom officials and soldiers since the 17th century. The ice on the sea was melting and it was rather tricky to travel around the islands or even cross small stretches of water. 

We stayed in an army base turned hotel. In the evening we enjoyed a typical archipelago dinner of pickled herrings and white fish at the home of our host, Hanna Kovanen (a tourist operator, guide and contemporary lighthouse keeper) and her mother, Solveig Kovanen with guests Ari Saari, the head of pilots (Finnpilots), and the local school teacher Brita Willström.  

The sun was rising as we left Utö at 5.45 on Monday morning (the boat scheduled so early in order to take one boy to school in Korpo after the weekend at home in Aspö). 
In the end of the day we returned to Korpo for lunch out in the sun at the artist Antonia Ringboms (in CAA) home. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen & Henrik Andersson (April 2010)

The first visit Tellervo and Oliver made together with Henrik to begin their collaboration. 
On a day trip to Houtskär they met with Bengt Backman (former director of Houtskär municipality) and Martin Sainio (the local IT support amongst many other roles in the community). They also visited Stefan Karlgren on the side of his potato field, where the family was planting this year’s new potatoes, one of the best know products farmed on the islands. Henrik got stuck in Finland due to the Icelandic ash cloud for an extra day. On his way home to Sweden he gained thus an unplanned first-hand experience of the huge cruise ships that travel daily through the archipelago between Turku and Stockholm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Elin Wikström (March 2010)

Jurmo       photo by Elin Wikström

The archipelago was covered under a deep blanket of snow when Elin came on her first site visit. Blindingly beautiful yet bitterly cold. No chance of excursions underwater, which was her prime interest from the start. But she did get an array of different perspectives into the ecology of the area in meetings in the island of Korpo with Trygve Löfroth (Metsähallitus) and Katja Bonnevier (the Archipelago Biosphere Reserve) and in Houtskär with Bengt Backman (director of the municipality) and the fishermen Fjalar and Patrik Johansson, father and son.
Patrik Johansson -fisherman, Houtskär      photo by Elin Wickström

Elin stayed in Lanterna in Nagu and with her host, the artist Sussi Henrikson (also participating in CAA). Together they visited the outer archipelago island of Jurmo, known amongst others as a sanctuary for migrating birds. Due to the ice conditions, the boat could not reach the harbour but dropped the passengers off on the frozen sea, some dozen meters from the pier. The snow was here so deep they had to crawl to reach the small chapel of the island.
Sussie Henriksson, artist knitting at sunset in Jurmo      photo by Elin Wikström