CR2020: The Art of Running in Arctic Finland

I am very excited to share that I have been selected to be an artist in residence at the Ars Bioarctica Residency Programme at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Gilbbesjávri, Sápmi from 16-30 June 2020.

The programme, co-hosted by the University of Helsinki and the Bioart Society, offers residencies to artists working at the intersections of human and more-than-human identities.

My project, Sympoietic Traces, is a performative multimedia engagement withplace that seeks to expand connections between human and non-human worlds by expressing physical experience as a dialogue with broader social-ecological domains. The project is an effort to make tangible the role of the body’s movement through landscapes as a way to build more resilient relationships with the non-human world.

Golmma riikka urna, the three-country cairn where Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish borders meet (wikimedia photo)

The project approaches this entanglement along two main avenues: first, a digital tracing of corporeal data as I complete multiple running circuits of Finland’s borders with Norway and Sweden that frame the Kilpisjärvi landscape (3-5 circuits of approximately 25 miles each); and second a visual representation of the permeability of the boundaries between individual, social (including indigenous and political), and ecological systems across the northern Scandinavian border region.

Whilst I run, my physical engagement with landscape topography will also serve as an interrogation of the layering of Sami homelands with contemporary national borders around Kilpisjärvi.

The title, Sympoietic Traces, derives from the traces of individual relationship with place (whether infrastructural, digital, narrative, visual, or other). Sympoiesis, built on poiesis, the Greek word for ‘production, or creation,’ draws attention to the collaborative creative process between human and non-human actors that create our worldview.

The border region of northern Finland, Norway, and Sweden, is a rich and landscape deeply interwoven with social, cultural, ecological, and phenomenological histories, the combination of which is ideal for a multifocal project that explores the interweaving of social, individual, and ecological traces across that define the landscape.

Sample 44 km circuit starting and ending at Kilpisjärvi

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