Fire, if uncontrolled, can rapidly cause massive destruction and devastation. On the other hand, even disastrous wildfires can leave behind better conditions for new life and, when carefully harnessed, fire provides warmth, power, and a useful instrument for numerous purposes. The control of fire radically changed the course of human evolution hundreds of thousands of years ago, but to this day we have not been able to master it completely. Fire has a dual nature in a figurative sense as well. In terms of personality traits and emotions, it can be equated with inspiration, zeal, and fervor, but also rage and fanaticism.
ABOAGORA 2021 continued the five-year thematic plan (2019–2023) The Five Rings and brought together viewpoints from social sciences, cultural studies, natural sciences, literature, music, and visual and performance arts to explore fire as both a literal and a metaphorical element. The Symposium was held on August 18–20 as a hybrid event, taking place both at the Sibelius Museum in Turku and online.
Recordings of the AGORA (keynote) sessions are available on YouTube:
In 2021, Turku celebrated the tenth anniversary of the city’s year as the European Capital of Culture. ABOAGORA “Fire” was part of the anniversary programme.