Ars Bioarctica Residency 27.3.–9.4.2016


This two-week residency in Kilpisjärvi functioned in my research as an important period in which I experimented with the relation between my body and the arctic circumstances, i.e., in a non-urban environment.


Here are two experiments and one video I produced within the residency period: Snowsmosis, The Statistics of Throwing a Snowball, and A Shadowcatcher.

(images: Vincent Roumagnac)


Test 1 Snowsmosis


The quality of the snow determines the ways of moving about in the arctic environment. The material circumstance is dominated by the snow. I want to get closer to it, and I choose to approach the snow by jumping. The snow is hard and does not give in: it is like leaping against solid, compact, and firm material. The snow bumps into me. These white banks resist my human body.



Test 3 A shadowcatcher


On one frosty morning in April, the icebound lake Kilpisjärvi is in incessant interplay with shady and luminous movements. I become magnetized by these movements and by the space that this play reveals. The transforming luster turns the field of ice onto a big moving threshold on the verges of shadow and the light.


I take 5 poles and walk out onto the ice. I wait for the verge to arrive. I hold my poles and can feel the wind on my cheeks and the cold air sneaking down my throat. When the threshold arrives, I start to chase and mark the line, which splits the light and the shadow. It’s not possible to master the circulating movements; the choreography is formed by the movements of the clouds, the wind, the sun, Earth, and me running around the ice, striking the poles into the icy field. A continuous alteration of composing the poles exhausts the body on this field.

The assemblage of the human, natural, and motional is present in various scales at the biological station in which the Ars Bioarctica residency takes place. Diagrams, charts, and maps exemplify the human curiosity and desire to take over the surrounding circumstance and its movement. Shadowcatcher is a choreographer who actualizes this kind of relation to the surroundings.


Test 2 Snowball throwing movement statistics


The residency operates at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki in sub-Arctic Lapland. The station has many statistics on its walls in the corridors. In reading them I became curious about how the surrounding movement could be turned into descriptive statistics. If statistics is seen as a capturing apparatus, I wanted to try to catch one of the relevant movements here: throwing a snowball. I took 16 metal sticks and light rope with me and went on the lake Kilpisjärvi. I built a small chart onto which I threw a snowball, which is attached to the rope.

The work captures the movement of the rope in the air as a 3D statistic line. In my research, this experiment can be understood as referring to the practice of making movement notations. 

(camera: Vincent Roumagnac)

(images: Vincent Roumagnac)