Field_Notes – The North Escaping 2023

Andscapes group

hosted by Elizabeth McTernan

The Andscapes group will critically engage with questions of scale and the tools we use to understand our surroundings. How does one measure an unruly world? How do our tools ultimately determine what we perceive, and how can we invent new tools in the spirit of situated knowledges and decoloniality, to perceive things differently? To that end, can we bring together scales of abstraction and scales of practice to reimagine the world and our future in it? Informed by a series of readings, presentations, discussions, a whole lot of time outside doing field experiments, and cross-pollination with the other groups, participants in this group will be encouraged to approach the surrounding areas of Kilpisjärvi as andscapes: additive sites of encounter, barnacled with multi-temporal more-than-human life-worlds, often co-existing in contradiction. The term ‘andscape’ was coined in 2014 by landscape architect Martin Prominski ‘to overcome outdated dualisms of city versus country, or culture versus nature’ and to conceptualize ‘an integrative practice in the Anthropocene’. It has been repurposed here to frame artistic fieldwork in the context of climate breakdown and The North Escaping. Andscapes emphasize place over space. They are defined by specificity, multiplicity, and messiness. During the two-week work period, we will embrace andscapes and their roughness – both in the sense of irregularity and resistance, and in the sense of guesswork, sketching, and imprecision. In our fieldwork, which will comprise observations, reflections, and interventions, roughness will not be a barrier to knowledges, but an index of difference and uncertainty to be celebrated.

The group participants include Aleksi Jaakkola, Jill Sorensen, John Grzinich, Laure Winants and Leena Lehti. The group is hosted by Elizabeth McTernan.

Aleksi Jaakkola is a visual artist in Reykjavik, Iceland. His art practice is based on sensorial journeys and engagement with the environment. He draws influence from science, nature and Romanticism, whereas the presentations vary from multiple contemporary forms. Jaakkola's work has been presented in various galleries, art fairs and environmental art exhibitions. He has a master's degree in contemporary art and visual culture from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Jill Sorensen is an artist-researcher based in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her research develops and examines the efficacy of embodied relational research to elicit experiential and imaginative encounters within human-nonhuman cohabitation. Grounded in everyday life her slow, attentive research enacts and explicates a methodology of respectful care and unconditional receptivity, through which tasks are re-visioned as multi-entity interactions, and use reframed as agentic interplay.

John Grzinich is a freelance artist and cultural coordinator working with various practices combining sound, site-specificity, and collaborative social structures. He has been composing, performing and exhibiting since the mid 1990's. The focus of his work in recent years has been to merge sound and listening practices with various media to explore more-than-human perceptions of terrestrial existence. Currently he is a visiting Associate Professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Laure Winants is a research-based visual artist from Brussels. Laure's artistic practice specializes in working closely with scientists and their manipulation in the field of new technological instruments, such as sensors, lidar, spectrometre, and all kinds of scientific tools that helps us to listen and to better understand the movement of our earth and environment. Work side by side with researchers from CNRS, Haskoli Islands and soon in North Pole monitoring glaciers and volcanoes.

Leena Lehti is a filmmaker who works in Tampere, Finland. She has graduated as a Bachelor of Media and Master of Arts. Lehti is interested in enviromental politics and encounters in everyday life. Her favourite themes are winter, proceeding, and the merging of the inner and outer worlds. She often shoots her videos on cine film for its special visuality and materiality and combines it with digital video and photography.

Elizabeth McTernan is an artist and writer based in Berlin and Iowa City and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, School of Art and Art History. Her work is a research-oriented and mixed-media exploration of measurement and media ecologies. Sometimes this involves a cartography of landscapes: mountains, deserts, the coastlines of islands or puddles. Other times it involves a cartography of objects: lab artifacts, copper, rocks. She processes what she finds with performative experiments in landscapes, installation, drawing, printmaking, new media, lyric essays, and academic writing. McTernan earned her MFA from Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. Working regularly with scholars across fields, she is a contributor to the research group Experimenting, Experiencing, Reflecting (EER), an art-science collaboration led by artist Olafur Eliasson and scientist Andreas Roepstorff of Aarhus University in Denmark. In the frame of EER, she is currently developing a project about friction as a site of creation, transformation, grief, and becoming-with.

Photo: Elizabeth McTernan