WEDNESDAY 14.12.2016 Particles

WEDNESDAY 14.12.2016 Particles

Maija Närhinen: River / detail


In all kinds of work classification and sorting and organising of material is present usually all the way through the process starting from the very beginning. For example, managing information is a task of organising and collecting the ever growing amount of bits and pieces, as we constantly have access to more information.

In fine arts the method of making three-dimensional works or installations is often one of combining or taking apart elements originating from different sources. The Particles symposium will examine combining and deconstruction as artistic practices.

Making a work of art may mean reorganising what already exists, for example existing objects. What are the classifications that visual artists apply in their work, and how do they apply them? How are orders, systems or rules formed? What are the artistic aims and potentials of creating work by compiling or disassembling? A work often acquires its form and appearance as a result of the separation or combination of elements; how do the processes of combining and dismantling themselves contribute to the content of an artwork?

When the distances between the elements or materials of the work are increased or decreased the material undergoes a change. New location and decontextualisation alter material’s meaning and character. Even when a work is made by combining elements, something is always deconstructed – what shifts is the 'identity’ of the material. How do materials function and how are they altered by reorganisation?


09:30 Coffee

10:00 Maija Närhinen: Introduction

10:20 Martta Heikkilä: À fleur de peau: Of Blossoming Surfaces in Maija Närhinen's Work
This paper will begin from Maija Närhinen’s sculpture Kukka (“Flower”, 2015) and its qualities as a work which is essentially about its surface. In the light of Marcel Duchamp’s notion of “infrathin”, or the barely discernible, untouchable limit of perception, I shall look at Kukka’s ways of being an artistic presentation. In its overwhelming scale and abundance of details, it remains on the limit of form and the formless, the multiple and the unified, infinite locality of colours and their universal noise.

11:00 Saara Hacklin: Rock, Paper, Scissors: Material, representation and perception
Maija Närhinen’s Shore (2008) seems to consist of rocks arranged on the wall, almost as a shoreline. On closer inspection they turn out to be meticulously executed watercolour paintings – rock has dissolved into water and paper. In River (2015) cut-outs of small blue lines forms together a cascading river. Närhinen's oeuvre create tensions between the materiality, representation and our perception.

11:40 Lunch

12:40 Tuomas Nevanlinna: Parts outside the whole

Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote that “a wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves with it, is not part of the mechanism” (Philosophical Investigations, 271). The proposition may appear self-evident but it can also be related to as a thought-inducing provocation. Are there parts that somehow do not belong to the whole? Parts that are not subject to the same laws as other parts but are parts nonetheless? What kind of logic applies to this kind of extimate (as opposed to intimate) parts?

13:10 Jouni Kaipia: On Primary Images in Architecture
We can take a building apart piece by piece and painstakingly label the parts. Still, we wouldn’t be able to tell what constitutes architecture. Behind the tangible building components, the true brick and mortar of an architectural experience may be found in mental images that this encounter arouses in our minds, at best enabling us to surrender to a more intimate relationship with the world. 

13:40 Closing remarks

WEDNESDAY 14.12.2016 Poetic Archeology presents: Deutsches Lager – On the Relationship Between Artistic and Archeological Research

WEDNESDAY 14.12.2016 Poetic Archeology presents: Deutsches Lager – On the Relationship Between Artistic and Archeological Research

Photo: Japo Knuutila

Poetic Archeology presents: Deutsches Lager – On the Relationship Between Artistic and Archeological Research

The Tulliniemi peninsula in Hanko was the point of arrival at which German troops began their transit through Finland from 1942–1944. Having been closed since World War II, the area attracted public attention in 2014 when the City of Hanko opened a nature trail there, next to which partly forgotten German barracks of the transit camp were discovered. 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. Most of the extensive infrastructure was demolished during the past few decades because of extensions needed for the port of Hanko. A few of the buildings remain standing, however, and the topsoil contains a great number of objects left behind by the Germans. The Deutsches Lager Project will incorporate works that depict and examine in various ways the camp and the soldiers and their relatives who passed through the camp. It will also involve a more general investigation of the cultural significance of camps as a social paradigm.

The research activities of the Poetic Archeology group (Jan Kaila, Japo Knuutila, Jan Fast) are founded on the methodology of artistic research and on the principles of archeology. The term ‘poetic’ refers to that quality of the group’s activities which is designed to awaken association and memories, partly through aesthetics (the use of color, light, motion, form, etc.), partly through the use of different media (moving images, photography, text, objects) in flexible configurations. The project both resembles archeology and is archeology – it effectively excavates history both physically (objects and texts) and visually (photographs and moving images). The visualizations of the Deutsches Lager Project are processed by artistic researchers Kaila and Knuutila, both affiliated with University of the Arts Helsinki, while Fast, archeologist and PhD student at the University of Helsinki, is responsible for scientific excavation and archival research.

Art and archeology have long and close historical relations, but the current situation has not attracted much attention. The methodologies of contemporary art often bear a resemblance to archeology: artists ‘dig’ in places such as archives, historical museums or flea markets. Current archeology, on the other hand, seems to be akin to contemporary art in that it is a complex and multilayered discipline which investigates not only ancient historical past but recent phenomena as well. The sub-disciplines of archeology have also evolved and broadened. One of the important ‘newcomers’ is conflict archeology which, as its name suggests, investigates conflicts such as World War II. In that it deals with events that have a huge impact on our thinking to this day, conflict archeology has of course a dramatic political potential. This is exactly what Poetic Archeology is interested in.


14:00 Coffee

14:15 Jan Kaila and Japo Knuutila: Introduction

14.45 Jan FastThe Conflict Archaeology of "Deutsches Lager Hanko"

Cape Hanko, the southernmost part of Finland, is first mentioned in written sources already in the middle of the 13th century. Due to its location it can be considered the strategic southern corner of Finland. During it´s history Hanko has played an important role especially as a harbour, but also as a war zone in the beginning of “Operation Barbarossa” Hitler´s attack on the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1942 Organisation Todt started building a large transition camp on Cape Tulliniemi in Hanko.

After taking a close at the WW2 history and sites of Hanko in 2014 it became clear to me that the area most important to document and to research was the area of the German Second World War transition camp. The history of the large camp had been almost totally neglected in previous research and its importance for the German war in the North left untold. The possibilities of combining archaeological research with archive material to tell the camp´s history seemed very promising from the start.

The first archaeological surveys carried out in the area by me in 2014 and early 2015 revealed that many areas of the German transition camp had survived the enormous expansion of the Freeport of Finland, after the Second World War. Later trial excavations and metal detecting surveys revealed several promising areas of excavation in at least four different parts of the camp.

During the field seasons of 2015 and 2016 the locations of large and previously unknown German WWII dumps were found in the westernmost part of the camp. The systematic trial excavations of these areas have revealed totally untouched find contexts with a large array of different finds and features shedding light on the daily activities in the camp from 1942 to 1944.

15:15 Break

15:30 Suzie Thomas: Archaeologies of Conflict and Dark Heritages: Unpicking the painful past

In this presentation I give an overview of the development of the archaeological sub-discipline of conflict archaeology, focusing on how it has come about, and the value of studying the material remains of past conflicts. I also discuss the even more recent interest within cultural heritage studies in so-called “dark” heritage, and the ways in which this overlaps with conflict archaeology.

The challenging and potentially upsetting nature of these related areas of study present many ethical questions for the researcher: to what extent is it acceptable to delve into what might be deeply disturbing life histories and memories (in the instance of events within living memory)? Is an archaeological site connected to conflict an appropriate forum for public participation? What are the responsibilities of the investigator? And how should memory institutions such as museums deal with the tangible and intangible heritage related to conflicts? In my presentation I draw upon my own research in Finnish Lapland, as well as on examples from across the globe.

16:15 Ian Alden Russell: The Art of the Past: Before and after Archaeology

With intellectual and disciplinary roots in art history, early modern science, and antiquarianism, the field of archaeology exists within the arts, humanities, and sciences. As with their antiquarian forebears whose work to compose images of the past slipped easily from art to science and back again, contemporary archaeologists compose pasts from traces, residues, absences, and presences appropriating, mixing, and inventing techniques and methods from across the academy.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, there has been a resurgence of interest in the composition of the past within contemporary arts practice. With some artists focusing directly on archaeology and the act of excavation and processing of finds in particular, some archaeologists, such as Colin Renfrew, Ruth Tringham, Michael Shanks, and Doug Bailey, have endeavored to meet this interest within the arts, sustaining critical, interdisciplinary work on the renewal of the past through both archaeological as well as artistic practices. In many cases, archaeologists themselves have transgressed disciplinary strictures engaging artists directly through residencies and commissions and in some cases taking to making art themselves.

Collectively, there is evidence of a concerted effort within both archaeology and art to address the composition of the past—not as an end result of technological analysis but as the beginning of a possibility for renewal through process. Doing away with the rubric of a scientifically managed past, perhaps we may be witnessing a revival of an avant-gardist past, akin to the predisciplinary spirit of antiquarianism, that is not confined by disciplinary strictures or epistemic conventions, where the past is not a destination but a continual process of composition and renewal.

17:00–17:30 Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen: Closing remarks and discussion