Ilmatar a Mechanical Trees story

“Ilmatar and Mielikki stood immobilized,
their feet cemented in mud and stone,
in a place where they once roamed free.
Grace replaced with concreate, wonder with brute force.
The trees would not move water but the machines they pumped it now.”

exert “Ilmatar a Mechanical Trees story”

Ilmatar (in concrete and steel) on Pajukarin island (detail). Natural dyes, canal water, copper mordant, tape, pigment liner on archival paper. 28cm x 36 cm. 2022.

The show places my exploration of technological analogs for ecosystem services within the context of Rauma. The work combines a likely future where unsustainable resource extraction led to the desertification of the Amazon with the Finnish “Kalevala” origin myth, Rauma’s history and Finnish climate change adaptation plans. The goal of this project is not to predict the future, but to consider how our past can inform the present so that we can consider what kind of future we want to work towards.


Amazon desertification will have catastrophic effects on ecosystems and the watercycle around the planet. Given our cultures preference for technocentric solutions, I imagined Mechanical Trees performing carbon sequestration, air filtration, and water cycle management in place of trees. The idea is positioned between the absurdity of focusing on technology at the expanse of nature and the insight and reverence I discovered in thinking about mimicking nature through technology.


In order to secure this imagined reality in a local context, I wrote a story merging together my perspective with aspects of the “Kalevala”, my research into Rauma’s history and Finland’s climate change adaptation plans. To further geographically anchor the work I extracted dyes from native flora and used them in paintings of local sites transformed by Mechanical Trees. To bring the machines closer to life I was able to build 9 sculptural assemblages using materials donated by the Eurajoki Group metal recycling center. In the process of making the sculptures my original designs evolved to adopt a certain organic quality I am excited to develop further in future projects.

 

Mechanical Tree: Central Hub (aka. Mother Tree). improvised installation using up-cycled metal parts.

Booklet


Paintings

  • Paintings using dyes made from Rauma’s flora. 28cm x 36cm each. Archival paper.
  • Paintings using dyes made from Rauma’s flora. 28cm x 36cm each. Archival paper.
  • Pyhän Ristin kirkko (Church of the Holy Cross). Natural dyes, Kanaali water copper mordant, tape, pigment liner. 28cm x 36 cm on archival paper. 2022.
  • Kanaali, looking towards the Rauma library. Natural dyes, Kanaali water copper mordant, tape, pigment liner on archival paper. 28cm x 36 cm. 2022.
  • Pitkäjärvi . Natural dyes, Kanaali water copper mordant, tape, pigment liner on archival paper. 28cm x 36 cm. 2022.
  • Mielikki, looking towards Pitkäjärvi lake. Natural dyes, Kanaali water copper mordant, tape, pigment liner on archival paper. 28cm x 36 cm. 2022.
Mechanical Tree drawings. Pigment liner on watercolour paper. 21cm x 30cm. 2022

Mechanical Tree sculptural assemblages

Videos of Mechanical Trees installed at Rauma Art Museum

Aika Kumma – Kumma Aika colaboration

As part of my project I was able to collaborate with Maija Esko and her students from the Department of Teacher Education at University of Turku. The goal of the collaboration was to have the students consider what Rauma might look like in the future and create work in response to this vision. The process combined group discussions in person and on zoom as well as individual conversations over email.

Minor students of basic studies in fine arts education

Aino Aarikka, Heikki Mantila, Rosamari Helin, Emilia Lahtivirta, Emmi Salmikari, Henna Mäkkylä,
Aleksi Taimi, Sonja Holm, Josefiina Linna, Emilia Elgström, Severi Marttila, Niina Heinonen,
Enni Leppäaho, Ville Suoraniemi, Soile Houhala, Patricia Abrahamsson.


Articles


THANK YOU Hannele Kolsio and the RaumArs residency, Maija Esko and the teacher students from the University of Turku, EURAJOKI GROUP – METALLINKIERRÄTYSKESKUS, Rauma City Library, Ivana Blanco Gross, Rauman taidemuseo, Aino Koivukari and the Canada Arts Council for making this exhibition possible!