Exhibition: Composition

June 11 – August 18, 2015 at Mustarinda (Hyrynsalmi, FI)

The 2015 Mustarinda exhibition Composition deepened the theme of reconstruction introduced in the March 2015 issue of Mustarinda magazine by considering the means and tools for post-fossil reconstruction. Our culture, surrounded by ecological challenges, might contain budding seeds of sustainable lifestyles. To find them we need to form new kinds of compositions.

Ecology means thinking about coexistence. Ecological speech places humans in relationship with nature, which supports our being materially but is now crumbling under us, and technology, whose present procedures threaten nature’s carrying capacities. Essentially, ecological speech holds a conception of humans as part of a distorted techno-material whole, of techno-nature.

The conception might at first betray a picture of an alienated culture that sees nature merely as material. In this case it would be the materialistic view of nature which would distort our relationship with it. But does perceiving human life as a techno-material whole necessarily distance us from nature? Perhaps the spirituality of nature is concealed within its materiality, which we haven’t been able to find contact with because fossil energy has dimmed our experience of matter and its circulations?

And the other aspect of coexistence, technology? Technologies relying on fossil fuels have upturned us in regard to nature but could technology also offer a road towards our material-spiritual basis? In this case technology should be understood as a broad phenomenon that stretches from technical appliances and systems to science and art, and through which humans build and picture their place in nature.

The name of the exhibition, Composition, refers to a technique formulated by Bruno Latour with which we compile material-spiritual wholes and locate ourselves in nature. Composition in the spirit of reconstruction means rather actions taking us forward than critique of human-nature relationships.

Composition brings things together but does it carefully, by maintaining their radical heterogeneity. Climate change at the latest has made it clear that we cannot locate ourselves in regard to an unwavering nature that settles nicely in the background of civilization. Ecological changes have revealed an illusion about the passivity, permanency and harmony of nature. Present-day composition is thus different than a modernist one: it doesn’t strive for a harmonious arrangement or force anyone or anything into unified form.

The 2015 exhibition is part of Mustarinda’s collaborative long-term projects, Frontiers in Retreat and For the Rest of the ForestsFor the Rest of Forests is a collaboration began in 2012 with Art Lab Gnesta from Stockholm. Its purpose is to examine and bring forth the meaning of forests as a part of Nordic nature and cultural identity.

A total of eleven artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and England participated in the exhibition. The artists had spent residency periods at Mustarinda House through the aforementioned programmes, experiencing the Kainuu nature and the surroundings of the House on the hilltop of Paljakanvaara. Techniques used in these compositions are woodcuts, composting, sculptures, wood gas car, installations and video and audio works.

Energy needed for the exhibition was produced by Mustarinda’s own solar energy plant.

The works of the Frontiers in Retreat artists, Tue Greenfort and Carl Giffney, were free to be observed in the yard and the common room of Mustarinda House. 

Mustarinda Twitter