24 AUGUST | 13:15–14:45
Edges of Knowing
Aboagora Pre-symposium participants
Aboagora hosts a Pre-symposium research retreat for Doctoral Researchers and MA Arts Students on the island of Seili in the Turku archipelago on 20–22 August. The participants, led by the curator and researcher Taru Elfving, reflect together on what haunts the systems of knowledge and the limits of the thinkable at this time of omnicrisis, uncertainty and change. 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, they discuss a range of questions related to the topic of void, such as: How to address the hauntings in the landscape, in the archive or data sets, which gesture towards something that has been omitted or erased or simply 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? What lies beyond the bounds of knowledge(s), the reach of senses, and tools of sensing? 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 – plays a key part in choreographing the discussions. In this joint panel session, the Pre-symposium participants will discuss their own academic and artistic work as well as the questions explored during the retreat.
I am a curator and researcher of contemporary art, focused on nurturing undisciplinary and site-sensitive enquiries at the intersections of ecological, feminist and decolonial practices. As Director of CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago, I have examined ecological transformations in the Turku Archipelago region for over a decade and currently lead the research platform Spectres in Change on the island of Seili in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute of the University of Turku. I have a PhD from Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths University of London (2009), and I supervise doctoral students at the University of the Arts Helsinki.
I am a trained archivist with professional experience from various Swedish public agencies. Since 2020, I have been a doctoral student at Uppsala University, in the Engaging Vulnerability research programme. In my Ph.D. project, I want to shed light on the way professional archivists perceive and judge vulnerability and how they deal with the disclosures and redactions of sensitive information in psychiatric and social care records. I am interested in the intersections between individuals, families and other units in society that intertwine through affection, blood or law. In my research, these intersections are brought to the fore by the unveiling or concealment of family secrets.
I am a doctoral researcher at the Department of Biology, University of Turku. My research is focussed on high throughput analysis of microbial communities, with relevance to algal blooms, spread of superbugs, etc. Microbial communities are everywhere, from the bottom of deep seas to the surfaces of our skins. I look at some of these communities and try to discern which micro-organism is present in what proportion, what each of them is doing, and who they are interacting with to share food or information on antibiotic resistance or to hide from predators. I mostly write computer code.
Sanna S. Lehtinen
I am a Doctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. My study field includes critical heritage law, blue humanities, (eco)feminist jurisprudence and spatial justice. In addition to legal studies, I have a background in art research. My ongoing multidisciplinary Ph.D. project explores future generations’ rights to coastal and liminal heritage that is drowning because of the ecological crisis. I have served as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California (2022–2023) and conducted a research period at Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (2021).
Carlos E. Lesmes
I am a Colombian film director currently living and working in Estonia. I graduated as a Filmmaker from Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2010, and received my MA from the Baltic Film, Media and Arts School in 2014. I have been an active member of the Estonian film community and taken part in different feature films while developing my own film projects. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree at Tallinn University and developing my first fiction feature film. I am interested in science fiction, science, comic books and particle physics but most of all in how all of this can be tied together and used to try and tell stories about the experience of being a human.
I am a doctoral student of cultural studies and a junior researcher at the Centre for Landscape and Culture at Tallinn University, Estonia. I hold a bachelor’s degree in photography (Estonian Academy of Arts, 2015) and a master’s degree in ethnology (University of Tartu, 2019). In my previous work, I have explored the relationship between people and landscape in the Lahemaa and Soomaa national parks. My current research focuses on how difficult heritage, including rural and urban (post-)industrial landscapes and Soviet architecture, is perceived and used in cultural tourism.
I am a Ph.D. student in Contemporary Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. My dissertation is about racism in Finnish press texts. I compare the way Finnish newspapers and magazines wrote about Jews before the Second World War to the way they now write about migrants. Can old press texts with their more recognizable racism help us see the racism of our own time? What has changed in two hundred years? What has not?
Currently a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, I study different perspectives of inequalities born from the Central African forest, the Congo Basin. My work within the Department of Forest Sciences centres around historical and current timber trade, and how it affects current governance structures. One of the perspectives I am interested in is the apparent lack – a void, if you will – of trade data. Though economist by training, I have slowly shifted towards the shadows of multidisciplinarity, finding my place in this protean confusion.
Being of French American nationality, living in Finland since 2021 and studying Central Africa has sharpened my interest in the ways scientists produce, disseminate and legitimize different knowledges, and how this gets filtered into action.
I am a performance researcher and cultural worker. My research is based on exploring cultural practices of relating to the environment, with a special interest in bodily knowledge and how non-human nature is experienced by the senses. As a cultural worker, I am interested in the ‘ecology of being together’ and ways of nurturing responsive and attentive more-than-human encounters. I have collaborated with a variety of independent and institutional cultural spaces in Serbia, Belgium and Finland. I am dedicated to fostering horizontal and artistic practices in dealing with the complexity of cultural phenomena. I am a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Practice as Research in Theatre T7 at Tampere University.