The purpose of us being in Helsinki was to contribute to the Pixelache2016 festival by presenting our ongoing project and leading a workshop. Early that morning, before we prepared for these, we took a walk along the Ruoholahti Canal at the back of our apartment building to visit the Cable Factory.
The Cable Factory is the largest cultural centre in Finland. It houses 3 museums, 12 galleries, dance theatres, art schools and a host of artists, bands and companies. We explored the gallery spaces located around its five floors and got to see some art currently being produced in the city.
After lunch it was time to get to the hospital and set up for our presentation and workshop.
Jake led a presentation with images and discussion introducing the group to the background behind the ideas of our workshop Silent Bird Song.
Today, pressures from the market place dominate our food choices and preferences and maintain a detatchment from the land as our source of sustenance. Would allowing the land to revert to an almost wild state enable us to develop symbiotic relationships with particular species of flora and fauna present? Can we come to better know, understand and anticipate cycles and patterns of growth based on ‘felt’ observations of trends in temperature, rainfall or sunlight, the incidence and behaviour of pollinating insects, the nesting preferences of ground dwelling and passerine birds and the prevalence of offspring in small wild animal species?
In properly inhabiting richly biodiverse environment, we can come to understand that whilst all other species contribute to a single interconnected system, people remain outside of this, residing instead within our own, discrete and disconnected human system. Much of what we understand as ‘natural’ environment has been assimilated into this human system and is in fact far from natural. If we choose to properly relinquish control of our immediate ‘natural’ environments; our gardens, our parks, our water sides, how are we then able to (re)intergrate ourselves into the ‘wild’ system that takes over.
Focussing on the idea of (re)intergrating oneself into a ‘natural’ environment, we presented a set of key questions to provoke different ways of framing or understanding our place within a biodiverse system.
After this, participants were led in a making activity, utilising natural materials from around the Lapinlahti park, and the group set to making small birds which would then be placed out in the park with messages for the public.
It was an important part of the workshop that each participant made their intervention into the park as a solitary experience, so we asked the group to take a photo of their bird where they had left it. The workshop ended with us regrouping and sharing the photos and ideas we had.
Image credit: Jake Harries, Monika Dutta and workshop participants