Päivi Maunu:

Towards Revolutionary Gardening

In the following I will focus on the long term environmental and community art work with the Cloud Garden that channels on the way to the eventual discoveries finally together with the Biomimeticx2. The Cloud Garden is a site-specific, minuscule, one square meter space beneath my studio on Harakka Island, on the front of Helsinki.

Like clouds, the Cloud Garden is constantly changing. One cannot get tired of observing and tracking its growth-bloom-decay cycle. Seed thrusting into cotyledons and growth of newly hatched seagulls.

The Amaryllis Dream is an annual community and environmental project in the Cloud Garden. In the project, the flower bulbs have been gathered for cultivation by various communities. The onions of Amaryllis, Tulips and Hyacinths have been assembled and planted in the Cloud Garden. Every spring, the new cohort (originated from fridge herbs) is evolving and it is harvested by the next groups of volunteers.

Projects in the Cloud Garden: 

Fireweed Clarification, performance

Collaborative NAPS, Päivi Maunu and Ilari Kähönen performed Series of Clarification being a ritual to meditate inner feelings and experiences, even an energy of the land. Smudging has several cultural backgrounds. The Fireweed Clarification was implemented in front of pre Cloud Garden in 2014.

Collaborative Biomimeticx2, Päivi Maunu and Marko Nykänen, has established the method to match floral and faunal structural details (i.e. source images) captured in the macro environment with their counterpart images discovered at micro- and nanoworld. Biomimicry represents cross- scientific area where natural structures are under search to discover novel inventions that humans could utilize, e.g. in protection of nature against the global climate change. 

Biomimeticx2 has participated in the Digital Naturalism Conference (DiNaCon) in Koh Lon, Thailand, where digital photographs displaying the local nature were requested from the conference’s community. The provided source images were studied to elucidate their counterpart structures in our micrograph libraries. We have published (in the conference proceedings book) the image pair portraying a wing of carpenter bee and its counterpart structure revealed in the apical part of human airway epithelial cell. Biomimetic resolution has been written on the basis of this discovery. We have aimed to match also floral structures (source images from the conference nature) with human cytoarchitecture. Encouraging similarities have been discovered by our image displays postulating that ultrastructural resemblances occur also between floral and faunal specimens. This provides intriguing associations with the Cloud Garden and its succession and interactions between floral and faunal compartments. This suggests that amalgamation of floral and faunal appearances is highly potential source for biomimicry enabling true revolutionary gardening.

Shedding one’s skin in a new era is an artistic and bio-metamorphological project that I implemented at the Digital Naturalism Conference 2019 in Gamboa, Panama. It is a visual work with tropical rainforest plants, their shadows, and animals such as ants.

I used Performental Art, a combination of performance, environmental, and community art. The purpose of the method is to instigate a deep understanding of one's own role in the ecosystem by observing, studying, analyzing, imitating, and blurring the distinction between the human animal and other natural beings and systems. In meditative work, I reflect on the possibilities of Posthumanism. How would I thank the earthworm that aerates the soil? What position do I adopt in relation to interactive technology? A critical examination of one's lifestyle forces one to live one's own art. 

By a new era, I am referring to the Anthropocene, and humankind’s profound geological effect on a changing world. Through art, the project aims to bring us closer to a realization of our existence as part of a whole and to the recognition that, by destroying our environment, we are perpetuating a process of self-annihilation. The methods the project uses include artistic and biological metamorphoses –transformations– that have been implemented in performance and environmental art works. Openness to interpretation as well as tolerance of chance and contingency open the project up to wonder and the restoration of seasonal change. 

With the Meadow, With the Sea

Watercolor Series is based on the exaltation of the Cloud Garden and the meadows and beaches on Harakka Island. It seems that the leaves and blooms provide suggestions conveyed on the paper.
Sea vigorously expresses the colors uncontrollably. 

Working in nature, time disappears. I capture a moment from constant urgency.

 Bee Dance, watercolor

Watercolor series The Bee's Dance Language depicted the communication and navigation of bees. A dance language is the ability of bees to communicate the location and distance of a source of nutrition. In the watercolor series, the colors were selected from the growth of the Cloud Garden and the Harakka Island.
The dance cypher and other signaling by insects have been used as a model for the development of communication technology and artificial intelligence.

Signature Marks for the Bees, environmental artwork Collaborative NAPS, Päivi Maunu and Ilari Kähönen represented together with Harakka Nature Center. Signature Marks for the Bees that was an assembly of symbols expressing direction-finding (recognition). Mosaics devoted to the bees were made of sugar-cubes accommodating only natural elements with colors derived from charcoal ink, plants and berries. The symbols could be found on the map from the Cloud Garden and elsewhere in Harakka Island. 

The succession witnessed with the Cloud Garden was enlightened also in this work of art where natural forces such as rain, wind and sunshine transformed the work continuously. Bees with other insects and animals were consuming material of the artwork until it was completely converted back to it’s origin.