In 2019, Aboagora launched a new five-year thematic plan for 2019–2023 under the title The Five Rings. The title refers to the book The Book of Five Rings, written in 1645, by Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, c. 1584–June 13, 1645). He was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, writer and rōnin – a samurai without a master. Musashi became renowned through stories of his masterful double-bladed swordsmanship and undefeated record in his 61 duels. Many consider him the greatest swordsman that ever lived. Near the end of his life, Musashi retreated to live as a hermit in a cave, to meditate and write a manual of kenjutsu, Japanese swordmanship, and martial arts. This practical book extends towards a philosophy of life, aiming at simplicity and no-nonsense. Throughout the years, it has also been read by people rethinking ways to lead or do business. The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin no Sho) is divided into five books, each examining a different element of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life in Eastern religions. The five Aboagora symposia of 2019–2023 will delve into these elements: Earth (2019), Water (2020), Fire (2021), Wind (2022), and Void (2023).

Fire | 18.–20.8.2021 | Sibelius Museum (Piispankatu 17), Turku

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 will explore fire as both a literal and a metaphorical element. The symposium will bring together viewpoints from psychology, political science, cultural studies, natural sciences, and the arts to tackle questions related to, for example, warfare and firearms, political turmoil and activism, as well as passion and obsession – at times indistinguishable from one another.

The programme and registration details will be posted on this page in late spring/early summer. The symposium will be organised as a hybrid event, taking place both on-site and online. We are monitoring the Covid-19 situation closely and will adjust our plans as needed.

For more information on the themes and events of 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023, please see the page The Five Rings.