Photo: Japo Knuutila

Symposium: Deutsches Lager – On the relations between artistic and archeological research in and around a Camp in two parts

Lauantai, syyskuu 9, 2017 - 09:30 - 16:15
Exhibition Laboratory


Part 1

Background – In 2014, partly forgotten German barracks of a transit camp were discovered when the City of Hanko opened a nature trail. The camp had at one point comprised around a hundred buildings, and over the years, hundreds of thousands of soldiers had stayed there on their way to fight up north or to go on leave to Germany. A few of the buildings remain standing however, and the topsoil contains a great number of objects left behind by the Germans. In 2015 the group Poetic Archeology, Jan Kaila, Japo Knuutila, Jan Fast, began their project connected to the camp. This work has resulted in the now at Exhibition Laboratory displayed exhibition Deutsches Lager.

09:30–10:00 Jan Kaila and Japo Knuutila: Introduction to Deutsches Lager / In and Around a Camp

10:00–10.45 Oula Silvennoinen: The Awkward Memory of Brotherhood in Arms

10.45–11.00 COFFEE

11:00–11:45 Jan Fast: German Transit Camp at Tulliniemi, Hanko “Deutsches Lager Hanko” 1942–1944

11:45–12:30 Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen: Walking on the Hidden

12:30–14:00 LUNCH break

Part 2

Art and archeology have long and close historical relations. Not that much attention has been, however, paid to the current situation, where questions of the relations between science and art are once again ”The Topic”. Artistic research is sort of a catalyst within the process that makes new forms of collaboration between scientists and artists possible.

Methodologies within contemporary art often resemble archeological activities; artist ”dig” in archives, in historical museums, in flea markets etc. Current archeology on the other hand seems to share contemporary art ́s identity in the sense that it is a complex and multilayered discipline which deals with not only ancient historical past, but also with phenomena’s that have taken place quite recently. Also the sub-disciplines of archeology have changed and widened - one of the important ”newcomers” being Conflict Archeology dealing with for instance World War 2. Conflict Archeology, when dealing with events that still have a huge impact on contemporary thinking, of course has a dramatic political potential.


14:00–14:45 Mats Burström: The Poetic Dimension of Fragments                                               

15:00–15:45 Bjørnar Julius Olssen: Scattered and preserved: memories of Sværholt          

15:45–            Final discussion



Jan Kaila is a visual artist and a teacher in fine arts, and he has previously worked at the Academy of Fine Arts in various positions. Kaila is a Doctor of Fine Arts and as Senior Researcher currently the head of a three-year multi-disciplinary research project Poetic Archeology. He will be the Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts at Uniarts Helsinki for the term of office 2018–2022. 

Japo Knuutila has worked for over 30 years as a photographic artist, teacher of photography and in other positions in the field of photography. Since 2003, Knuutila has worked in various marginal spaces such as closed industrial premises, ports, cargo, ships and crisis zones. Knuutila´s current projects are situated within Poetic Archeology including Deutsches Lager Hanko/Inside and Beside the Camp, 1918–Nyt! and Lapland´s Dark Heritage.

Oula Silvennoinen is Adjunct Professor in European history at the University of Helsinki. He specializes in the history of policing and police institutions, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies as well as the history of European Fascism and radical nationalism.

Jan Fast is a Finnish archaeologist, exhibition designer and science popularizer. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis for the University of Helsinki on the archeological work and history of German transit camp in Tulliniemi, Hanko, which operated from 1942–1944.

Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampere. Lehtonen´s present empirical work centers on two different areas, one of which is insurance and the management of uncertainty, the other the role of waste in contemporary life. His more theoretical work has addressed from many angles the basic theme of human togetherness, as well as its opposite: the way in which people and things can be excluded from various forms of collective life.

Mats Burström is a Professori of Archaeology at Stockholm University and he writes actively on various cultural topics. He has been influental in widening the field of archeology to also cover sites and remains of the more recent past. Burström combines archaeology with the exploration of time, memory and meanining in arts and literature.

Bjørnar Julius Olssen is Professor in Archeology at UiT – The Artic University of Norway. Since the early 1980s, he has worked with northern and Sámi archaeology as well with theoretical issues in archeology and the humanities. In addition to these fields, his current research interest also include contemporary archaeology, modern ruins, material memory and thing theory.