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For eight years we based our practice in the “field” as much as possible, taking research trips that involved days of driving, seeking residencies in remote locations, producing projects that make us into travelers in our own city, etc.. Though we take great joy in translating our work into experiences that can resonate with gallery-going audiences, the core of our practice, the space and time where we generate the ideas, content, and discover new trajectories that lead to our “next,” almost always happens when we are outside, moving through environments (or are at least being still while outside).
Because our inclinations tend towards any opportunity to “go remote,” we’re thrilled to be traveling 1200km north of Helsinki to Kilpisjärvi, Finland soon to act as hosts in the upcoming art and science field laboratory called Field_Notes_Deep Time.
Unlike many institutionally-organized events, the foundational idea of the Field_Notes gathering is that being there — the specific “there” of the Finnish arctic (69°03’N; 20°50’E, to be exact) — while inhabiting a Biological Station for several days, walking across tundra and being in direct proximity with bare geology, will enable those present to productively explore the “dichotomy between human time-perception and comprehension, and the time of biological, environmental, and geological processes in which we are embedded.”
This is a dream location for us. We’ve had a small taste of how time and light move differently in the far north compared to the southern regions we are accustomed too. And we know that being somewhere new always unsettles habits and presuppositions. For us, Kilpisjärvi is the perfect context to take up ideas that feel urgent, but can be challenging to explore in habitualized daily life. It is from this place of disconnect that we hope to generate and cultivate practices that can directly fuel and guide daily life (wherever we find ourselves) towards comprehending the material connection we have to changing planetary realities—realities that are irrevocably linked to deep futures.
The focused frame we have developed for our time and shared considerations is “Deep Futures in the Making:”
“Potential futures are always in the making. Contemporary human activities and dynamic earth forces continuously shape and reshape emerging futures – both short and long-term. Right now, emerging human awareness of the Anthropocene and events such as climate change, the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and the Onkalo nuclear waste storage facility project are actively setting up evolutionary paths of human societies and geo-, bio- and built environments.”
In collaboration with our deep futures cohort group (Simo Alitalo, Heather Davis, Terike Haapoja, Oliver Kellhammer, Pia Lindman), we will aim to activate a variety of durations and conceptions of time. We will develop, test and evaluate specific artistic approaches based on the interplay of art and science. And we’ll explore how we might more real-ly comprehend effects (biologic and geologic) that extend into the far future, even as we acknowledge that we are already deeply, and materially embedded in this reality in the present moment. How do we simultaneously hold that thought and act? We are especially excited about what insights the far north, its latitude, its remoteness, its wildness, its sights, sounds and colors, may relay to us about changing conditions that are currently ramifying planet-wide.
Aerial image of Kilpisjärvi from late 1980’s. Kilpisjärvi biological station is located in the middle of the image, south of the road
Our group is one of five that will be at work in Kilpisjärvi. The others include: Journey to the Post-Anthropogenic, Deep Time of Life and Art, and Time and Landscape, and the provocative, Second Order.
On September 23 and 24th, at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, there will be a free and open to the public informal symposium to share impressions from our time in the field. A full program and description has been posted online. We look forward to relaying signals from the field station as we are able, and upon return. In the meantime, all are welcome to join the open Field_Notes Facebook group, follow along and post comments.
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