ABOAGORA Pre-symposium VI: Edges of Knowing

20–22 August 2023

Island of Seili, Turku archipelago, Finland

Film still, Water is not water. Matterlurgy (2023)

The ABOAGORA Pre-symposium VI: Edges of Knowing invites Doctoral Researchers in the arts, humanities, and sciences and MA Arts Students to reflect together on what haunts the systems of knowledge and the limits of the thinkable at this time of omnicrisis, uncertainty and change.

The Pre-symposium takes place August 20–22 on the island of Seili in the Turku archipelago. The main event, ABOAGORA: “Void” will be held on 23–25 August 2023 at the Sibelius Museum in Turku.

The call for applications for this year’s Pre-symposium is closed and the participants have been selected.

The Pre-symposium will be structured around talks, walks and workshops addressing various kinds of voids – ecological and societal, empirical, imaginary, and institutional – in their many interconnections. Through the prism offered by the changing ecology of the Archipelago Sea and the dense history of the island of Seili, a plurality of perspectives and multisensory approaches, we will discuss a range of questions related to the topic of void, such as: How to address the hauntings in the landscape or on the maps, in the archive or data sets, which gesture towards something that has been omitted or erased, or simply has gone unnoticed and unnamed? How to attune to and approach these signals and signs of “nothingness” with a sense of urgency and curiosity, yet without hastily presuming access and opportunistically extracting from or filling the perceived void in a colonial manner?

Pre-symposium 2020 in Seili. Photo: Jannica Grönroos.

These questions call for a range of practices that study, trace, and imagine what lies beyond the bounds of knowledge(s) or the reach of senses and tools of sensing, while pushing at the limits of the possible. The aim of the Pre-symposium is to delve together into the voids hovering at the edges of knowing and bridge the gaps between disciplinary boundaries in the sciences and the arts. The island of Seili with its complex history of institutions of care and control – from the leprosy colony and mental asylum for women to the current environmental research, nature conservation, and tourism development – will be allowed to choreograph the discussions.

The Pre-symposium offers a momentary pause in habitual patterns and processes of practice, and space to share, listen and reflect attentively together. It implies also retreat from the conventions of boundary-making between disciplines and epistemologies, in order to nurture an ecology of practices. It is a great opportunity to converse with artists and researchers from different fields and backgrounds, and a prospect for exciting new collaborations!


The Pre-symposium research retreat is directed by curator and researcher Taru Elfving (CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago). The program includes presentations and workshops that offer scientific and artistic insights into the theme, the island of Seili and the Archipelago Sea area, in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute. The selected participants are also invited to contribute their own questions to the program.

Participants will discuss their work in a joint panel session on August 24 at the ABOAGORA: “Void” Symposium at the Sibelius Museum in Turku. The event brings together viewpoints from social sciences, cultural studies, natural sciences, and the arts to explore both literal and metaphorical voids around us and within us. The Symposium program will be announced in May.


With any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Information on previous Aboagora Pre-symposia is available through the links below:

Pre-symposium participants presenting their work at the ABOAGORA 2022 main event “Wind”. Photo: Pekko Vasantola.