CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago: Saara Hannula, Saara Ekström, Lotta Petronella, Ilppo Vuorinen, Taru Elfving

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Contemporay Art Archipelago: Spectres in Change
Saara Hannula, Saara Ekström, Lotta Petronella, Ilppo Vuorinen, Taru Elfving
Friday 4.9.2020 between 10-18
Registration by 24.8.2020!

Seili Island
Includes boat trip to Seili Island |Registration required, register here

Cost of the boat trip is subvented by the organizers and costs 12 € for each participant. Pre-booked lunch is available for 14,90 €. Other terms and conditions below and within registration.

The island of Seili is like a microcosm that offers a complex situated perspective on the acute planetary challenges of today.

Archipelago Research Institute in Seili has collected unique time-series of data, which provides now the basis for interdisciplinary modelling of future impacts of climate change. The history of the island then again reflects centuries of institutionalised othering and biopolitics – the island served as a hospital, or a site of confinement, for lepers since the early 17th Century and then as a mental hospital for women until 1960s.

CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago has now for two years invited contemporary artists to work in the multidisciplinary context of Seili in the Spectres in Change project. The artists share an interest in temporal cycles and sediments, ruptures and spectres that allow for insight into entangled environmental and societal transformations. Haunting is here a particular way of knowing, of being in touch with silences and shadows, which call for modes of active participation rather than mere implication.

On the 4th September, CAA will share their process of working on the island. The visit to Seili will consist of performances, walks and talks. The programme is focused on the idea of caring knowledge, with an emphasis on the practice of observation as sticky engagement rather than detached or one-way. We will look at the sea and the archipelago meadows through the microscope and the camera lens, listening, tasting, and wandering.

With a focus on diverse artistic and scientific methodologies we aim to follow our own traces on the entwined sediments of natural and cultural histories on the island. We ask the scientists at the field station and the artists, how do they know what they know: What to pay attention to and how to be attentive? How to notice the unruly or out of order? How to situate our practices in the midst of change?

The programme of the day is organised by curator Taru Elfving. The visitors will be guided on the island also by Professor Emeritus Ilppo Vuorinen and researchers of the Institute, filmmaker Lotta Petronella, and artists Saara Hannula and Saara Ekström.

The project Spectres of Change by CAA in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute has been made possible by support from Kone Foundation.

10.00 Departure from Turku: m/s Norrskär, Läntinen Rantakatu 37
12.00 Arrival in Seili
12-13 Lunch (see lunch reservations)
13-16 Multisensorial explorations of the island: Guided tours by Professor emeritus Ilppo Vuorinen and scientists at the Archipelago Research Institute, filmmaker Lotta Petronella and curator Taru Elfving. Artists Saara Hannula and Saara Ekström introduce their ongoing work on the island.
16.00 Departure from Seili
18.00 Arrival in Turku
(Changes in the programme are possible.)

Saara Hannula – Matara

Saara Hannula’s Matara draws attention to the perennial plants growing on the meadows of Seili, such as lady’s bedstraw, St. John’s wort, yarrow, meadowsweet, and red clover. Most of these plants are so-called archaeophytes that have arrived in the Turku archipelago as a side effect of seafaring and agriculture. They may also have been used as medicinal plants at the hospital, which operated on Seili island from the 17th to the 20th century. Matara introduces the plants, and the experiential knowledge stored in them, in the form of a small tea ceremony and performative installation. It functions as an introduction to Hannula’s perennial artistic research process focused on the traces of the cultural and scientific practices performed on the island over several centuries.

Saara Ekström – Beacon

Saara Ekström presents a site-specific installation of her evolving performative film work Beacon that offers glimpses into her ongoing research on the archipelago meadows and shifting shorelines of Seili and other islands. On the coast lighthouses illuminate the darkness. Similarly Beacon concentrates on modest and seemingly insignificant details in our surrounding. The camera focuses on the meadow as 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. 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.

Lotta Petronella

Artist, filmmaker and curator Lotta Petronella has worked with and on islands for over a decade. For the last four years she has immersed herself in the historical hospital archives of Seili and the women’s stories buried in there, while following closely the ongoing scientific environmental research on the island. Her award-winning documentary film Själö – The Island of Souls premiered in the Spring 2020. As curator Petronella has also been actively developing the work of CAA in Turku archipelago and Seili. She is currently working on Själö Poiesis – a herbarium of thoughts, a collection which recalls the multilayered narratives of the island through the spirit of the plants.

Ilppo Vuorinen

Professor Emeritus Ilppo Vuorinen worked as the director of the Archipelago Research Institute of Turku University in Seili between 1992-2016. He first came to the island as a biology student already in the 1970’s. Vuorinen has just published a book on Seili that draws from his deep knowledge and research on the history of the island and the scientific research carried out there over the decades. He will lead a guided tour of the island and the researcher institute as well as introduce the scientific time series documenting the changes in the archipelago sea ecosystem.

Taru Elfving

Curator and writer Taru Elfving focuses on nurturing transdisciplinary encounters and site-sensitive artistic investigations with a long-term commitment to the critical discourses on ecology and feminism. She has worked with environmental concerns in island contexts for over ten years now. Since 2017 she has been fostering dialogue and collaboration between artists and scientists on the island of Seili as director of CAA.

The registration is binding and it’s confirmed once the trip (12 €) has been paid. A payment link will be sent to participants after the registration. The possible lunch reservation is binding and the lunch will be paid during the trip at the Seili island.

Please don’t attend the programme if you’re experiencing any flu or Covid symptoms. In case of acute illness please contact for refund requests. You can also freely forward your reservation for another person or a friend.

We kindly advise our audiences to bring their own face masks if possible. Further advise and terms can be found in registration. All registered will also receive a letter of information prior to the event.