Andrew Paterson got in touch to highlight the Case Pyhäjoki transdisciplinary expedition and production workshop having seen our earlier posts from Su Grierson in Fukushima Province, Japan. A group of artists, researchers and activists undertook a drift to Pyhäjoki in Northern Finland at the beginning of August 2013. Pyhäjoki is the proposed location of a new nuclear power plant. This is their press release, and hopefully we’ll have some reflections from Andrew in due course.
Erich Berger and Martin Howse organised a geiger counter building workshop in Case Pyhäjoki. For the workshop, they designed an easy to build geiger counter and now, they have made a geiger counter building manual based on this design. The manual is available as a download from the project website. Photo courtesy of project
Case Pyhäjoki – Artistic reflections on nuclear influence is a trans-disciplinary expedition and production workshop in Pyhäjoki, Northern Finland 1. – 11.8.2013. The sixth nuclear power plant of the country is planned to be built in Pyhäjoki.
Participants of Case Pyhäjoki are for example artists, researchers and activists. The programme has consisted of lectures, meeting local people and expeditions of different kinds to get to know the area, nuclear power as a phenomenon, and what the power plant means to people. It reaches from the local to national and global. What is artist’s role in the changes in the area and wider? How can we develop methods of creative work in a complex and contested place of social tragedy and distress? How can we communicate this through to wider networks?
As well as talking, thinking and research, there is also time for action. The participants have created different types of engagements, prototype events and experiments, reaching from a large ‘thank you’ sign for those who refuse to sell their land to the nuclear power company, to the design of a ‘power sports day’, a local fairytale, aswell as a mural painting with local youth, a special karaoke playlist, and a DIY geiger counter building workshop.
See also links to the broadcasted lectures on the website.
The final ‘show & tell’ day during the residency period took place on Sunday 11.8. at 14.00 in the local Parhalahti School, close to the location of Hanhikivi, the actual site for the planned nuclear power plant.
The participants of Case Pyhäjoki are:
Ryoko Akama (JP/UK), Erich Berger (AT/FI), Brett Bloom (US/DK), Bonnie Fortune (US/DK), Carmen Fetz (AT), Antye Greie-Ripatti (FI/DE), Martin Howse (UK/DE), Mari Keski-Korsu (FI), Maarit Laihonen (FI), Liisa Louhela (FI), Pik Ki Leung (HK), Mikko Lipiäinen (FI), Shin Mizukoshi (JP), Helene von Oldenburg (DE), Opposite_Solutions (RO), Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI), Leena Pukki (FI), and Heidi Räsänen (FI). For more information on the participants go here.
Case Pyhäjoki is supported by Kone Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre of Finland.
Contact: Mari Keski-Korsu,
Case Pyhäjoki artistic director & executive producer
+358 40 506 5871
mkk (ät) katastro.fi
Case Pyhäjoki – Artistic reflections on nuclear influence
Transdisciplinary expedition, production workshop and events
Location: Pyhäjoki, Finland
Time: 31.7. – 12.8.2013
For whom: artists, activists, scientists, thinkers and doers + everything or opinion in between.
Deadline to apply: 5.5.2013
‘Case Pyhäjoki: Artistic reflections on nuclear influence’ is a transdisciplinary artistic expedition, production workshop and presentation events in Pyhäjoki, North Ostrobothnia, Finland 31st of July to 12th of August 2013. The sixth nuclear power plant of Finland is planned to be built at Hanhikivi Cape in Pyhäjoki.
The aim of the project is to explore artistic perspectives on the vast changes planned in Pyhäjoki, through the planning of a nuclear power plant at the site, and this way of considering energy production and consuming in the world. Artists can not only reflect upon and depict social phenomena and socio-economical relations, but can also situate themselves in between politics, activism and science. Can art make changes? If so, what would be the creative tools of activism? Life itself has become increasingly politicised in the new millennium and obviously this reflects on us all. There are plenty of art works that comment on issues seen unethical or wrong, revealing different kinds of world views. Also, there are community art projects that comment for example social condition that involve participants from different fields. But can the border in between art and activism be blurred more? Could it be involving yet aesthetical? Aren’t we all activists? What are other ways of activism in addition what we are used to think? And what is the change we are after? The nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki is a concrete project that connects many aspects from NGO-activity, politics, local and global economical situation to energy production and consumption expectations as well as decreasing natural resources.
The local situation in Pyhäjoki, and the planned nuclear power plant, is a case example for the workshop. People have formed strong opinions about the plant. The small community in the area has divided into those who are for and those who are against the power plant project. The aim of the expedition is to familiarise well with the current conditions in Pyhäjoki and try to collaborate with the local community, although many questions may be raised with are not easy. What kind of political process leads to the power plant plan? What does it mean to a small, agricultural community like Pyhäjoki or Ostrobothnia area? What does it mean at the national and global level? Can nuclear power mitigate climate change? What are the alternatives to nuclear power i.e. zero growth or new means of renewable energy production etc? Pyhäjoki is an excellent case study during the times of continuing ecological, social and economical crisis of the different path choices which humankind can take in order to flourish.
The first days of the expedition are for discussions, presentations (both local, national and international researchers, activists and artists), getting to know the area and its’ people with trips and excursions. The rest of the days are dedicated for independent or group work that can lead to e.g. a project demo, plan, performance, artistic action tools, discussion event, intervention etc. locally or creating overall action structures that can be implemented elsewhere. There will be a final public presentation and if needed a small exhibition for demos, ideas and documentations in the end of this production workshop. The aim is to have something concrete in our hands in the end to continue the work in the future.
Please send your letter of motivation to Mari Keski-Korsu mkk[-at-]katastro.fi by 5th of May 2013.
Case Pyhäjoki -project covers the participants travel, accommodation and per diems. There is also a possibility for documentation fee in the end. We will accommodate in a cozy Holiday Village Kielosaari and utilise some other spaces in Pyhäjoki.
The travel dates are 31st of July and 12th of August.
The selected participants will be contacted in May 2013.
ORGANISERS AND SUPPORT
Case Pyhäjoki was initiated by artist Mari Keski-Korsu and is now a collaboration in between artist-organiser and researcher Andrew Paterson/Pixelache, musician and artist Antye Greie-Ripatti/Hai Art and Finnish Bioart Society. Please read more about the organisers in the end of this post.
The actual building location of the nuclear power plant is Hanhikivi Cape. 65% of the area is nature preservation with rich marine flora and fauna. It is also a rare land lifting shore where the land is still rising up from the sea due to processes of the last Ice age. There is no industry or energy production at the cape. The infrastructure for the nuclear power plant will be build as new in a so called greenfield location. Even thought the building of the plant will last for years, we are living the last moments to experience Hanhikivi as it is now. More information www.hanhikivi.net
The nuclear power plant is hoped to bring prosperity to the local community but there are still many people against the building plan. People are scared to loose their land, homes and all the risks the nuclear power production brings. Recently, the company responsible of the project Fennovoima Oy announced the plan to store the nuclear waste materials also at the Pyhäjoki plant, as the Finnish long-term nuclear waste material storage ‘Olkiluoto/Onkalo’ may not be able to store all the country’s nuclear waste. In autumn 2012, the German energy company E-on resigned from the Pyhäjoki Nuclear Power Plant project. It was the biggest investor in the project and was considered to have the best know-how of the building process. Other international nuclear energy partners have been approached to replace E-on.
The biggest town close to Pyhäjoki is Raahe and the neighbouring municipalities including Pyhäjoki have been very much dependent on one big employer, steel factory Rautaruukki Oy, established in Raahe in 1960. It was seen as an answer to economical despair after the local shipping companies declined, and now that Rautaruukki has been laying off people. Hence, the nuclear power plant is seen to bring new jobs and basically repeat the economic promise that Rautaruukki brought to the area previously. Another point of view is also that the plant can produce energy for the needs of the steel factory. www.raahe.fi www.pyhajoki.fi
MORE INFO ABOUT THE ORGANISERS AND PARTNERS
Mari Keski-Korsu (Artist, initiator of the project, organiser, born in Raahe)
Mari Keski-Korsu (mkk) is an transdisciplinary artist. She explores how ecological and socio-economical changes manifest in people’s everyday life. Her works have a political nature with a humorous twist. The basis of the work is in location, a place and people’s relations to it. Keski-Korsu started her artistic career with photography and then started to work with internet live streaming in the mid 1990′. This lead her to work with live video visualisations as well as net and video art, interventions, documentary, installations and location based art. She is interested in relations in between art, politics and science. The works has been exhibited in Europe and in several other countries around the world. She collaborates with artist groups, researchers as well as organises and curates different types of projects.
Pixelache (Contact person and participating artist Andrew Paterson)
Pixelache, based in Helsinki, is a transdisciplinary platform for experimental art, design, research and activism. Amongst our fields of interest are: experimental interaction and electronics; renewable energy production/use; bioarts and art-science culture; grassroot organising and networks; politics and economics of media/technology; alternative economy cultures; VJ culture and audiovisual performances; media literacy and engaging environmental issues. Pixelversity, its outreach and education programme since 2010, aims to be a ‘learning bridge’ between practitioners, cultural and non-profit organisations, interested individuals and larger institutions, and an outreach programme extending beyond Helsinki. Consideration is given to the relationships between the different activities, and how they may build up accumulative knowledge and skills towards future Pixelache events. The CasePyhäjoki project is part of the Pixelversity 2013 programme’s ‘Techno-ecologies’ theme. pixelache.ac/pixelversity
Hai Art (Contact person and participating artist Antye Greie-Ripatti, director of Hai Art)
Hai Art is an artist ran international art platform with focus on contemporary art forms such as new media, sound art, environmental, ecological and participatory arts with crossover to science and education to intertwine international and local programs in Hailuoto/ Finland. The main activities of Hai Art include public sound choir KAIKU, international The Wilderness Art Conference, national and international artist residencies as well as courses and workshops for children and youth. Hai Art occupies unused spaces, beaches, a ferry, forests, fields and public spaces etc. in Hailuoto. www.haiart.net
The Finnish Bioart Society (Contact person Erich Berger)
The Finnish Bioart Society, established May 2008 in Kilpisjärvi, is an organisation supporting, producing and creating activities around art and natural sciences, especially biology. The Finnish Bioart Society is creating public discussions about biosciences, biotechnologies and bioethics. Additionally it is the Finnish contact node in international networks of bioart and art&science.
The Finnish Bioart Society has currently 60 members, representing different art and research fields and other expertise – bioart, theatre, film, music, video, performance art, art&science, fine arts, media art, sculpture, environmental art, design, zoology, botany, ecology, environmental sciences, animal physiology, genetics, philosophy, cultural production, art history, engineering, etc. www.bioartsociety.fi
Pro Hanhikivi Ry (Contact person Hanna Halmeenpää)
Pro Hanhikivi is a non-governmental organisation found in 2007 at Parhalahti village to preserve Hanhikivi Bay as a nuclear power free nature and amenity area. The organisation has 300 members (autumn 2012). Pro Hanhikivi activists collaborate with the officials both in Finland and in EU, organise Hanhikivi Days festival and other smaller event as well as try to affect in many ways to stop the nuclear power plant plan in Pyhäjoki. www.prohanhikivi.net
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
Su Grierson has sent the following report of her journey to Minamisouma City, in the heart of the Tsunami zone and near the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Su emphasises, “that all I write has been gleaned through non-professional interpreters and there is often difficulty in putting follow-up questions. However I feel it is worth recording what I hear and see.”
Su’s reports provide us with eyes and ears in a place that has suffered a catastrophic natural event with huge consequences on human technology and society. At this point we are only able to share in Su’s bearing witness, two years later, to the continued impact.
Abandoned School, Photo and permission Su Grierson 2013
Yesterday we set off in pretty bad conditions for the long journey to Minamisouma City. As always snow that would have brought the UK to a standstill seemed to make no difference here. With winter tyres everyone seems to drive normally. We did see a couple of lorries with issues, but generally people just seem to ignore the weather. Ms Kobyashi, a curator from Izsu Kawamatsu Museum, willingly drove us for 9 hours in dreadful conditions.
Ghost Town, Photo and permission Su Grierson, 2013
The Director of Minamisouma City Museum then acted as our guide to visit the disaster area which is nearest to the nuclear disaster site. We carried radiation monitors in the car (you can buy them in the Home Centre) and although these increased as we went further in to the area, the level was mostly below that of the city Kitakata where we are staying and only once reached the daily level of the city of Oslo in Norway so nothing to worry about for us. Outside it is a different story, miles of empty houses including whole villages with cars, lorries and tractors left abandoned because they are too contaminated to be moved. The ghost towns with their traffic lights still working are an eerie and disturbing sight especially in near blizzard conditions. Houses of all sizes are left abandoned with police patrol cars driving round as protection. These black & white cars with their silent red rotating beacons add an almost holocaust atmosphere as they glide around the empty roads. Apparently the public are not allowed within the 10 km zone, but because we were in an official car it was allowed – I still got the feeling we were being followed with red lights suddenly appearing nearby. Ex residents are allowed back to visit their property in the 10 – 20 km area, but are not allowed to live there. Some are allowed to plant their land and for one year will get paid by the Government for the difference between their previous and current value – hopefully no-one would buy. Presumably this is an attempt to de-contaminate the land but I couldn’t clarify that and I also don’t know if it is only after top soil has been removed. I have to add that all I write has been gleaned through non-professional interpreters and there is often difficulty in putting follow-up questions. However I feel it is worth recording what I hear and see.
There is work already going on to remove the contaminated top soil from the rice fields and we actually drove past the site where they are to dump this stuff. No one wants to have it near them so it is being sited in the conveniently flat and empty land of the Tsunami aftermath – clearly an area which could be flooded again should the worst happen.
We drove to the broken sea wall and saw piled up broken houses and cars still rotting on the now flattened land. We saw houses that survived against all odds sometimes turned completely round and what looked like a bungalow was actually a top story of a larger house just lifted off and deposited elsewhere.
Tsunami landscape 2 years on, Photo and permission Su Grierson, 2013
From one refugee at our house we have learned that two days after the earthquake and Tsunami the people in the two villages closest to the reactor were simply told to get out immediately, they were not told why, or where they were to go or how they were to go: just to get out. Of course word quickly spread and others in the area all started to leave as well so that the roads were blocked. There was no petrol and no one knew how far away to go. Quickly centres were set up in schools and gymnasiums but they were soon over full and lacking in food. We were told that the food was sitting in lorries at the edge of the safety zone but no drivers would bring it further. Another problem was apparently that in the interests of equality the food distributors of the centres would only hand out food if there was enough for everyone. Those making the food didn’t know how many to cater for so if they made 1,500 rice balls and there were just 1000 people then the remaining 500 would be thrown away rather than try to find a way to distribute it fairly. Of course it is easy to imagine how such stories could spread but it has been well documented that these people were hungry. They didn’t want to leave before finding out if family were alive or located, which was in turn made very difficult by the fact that there was very little mobile or internet connection.
Again we were told that after a short time the government announced that all refugees could travel without paying the hefty toll charges on the motorways but since they had no identification they had to argue their case at each toll station. They were also given a code to get free cash from ATM machines to help them travel. When I see all the contaminated cars that cannot now be moved I wonder what state the cars were in when the refugees left in them – and that they are still driving round. Our refugee also heard that ferries would be free so he drove north to get the ferry to Hokkaido but the ferry company had not received official instructions so would not let him travel. He spent two nights in the waiting room there, with local people bringing him food, before turning back. He stayed in eight different places before a friend told him about this place – where Yoshoko and I are also now staying.
It is hearing the personal experiences that brings home the enormous difficulty that any country in a similar situation would face. Even after two years some refugees (I don’t know what percentage) do not know what their compensation will be. The paperwork is so complex that even with support some are unable to cope and are walking away without claiming. Others are fighting for a better deal. We are told that charities are making all household goods available free of cost to refugees so that they can furnish a new house when they get it, but the temporary houses are so small they have nowhere to store it.
On the Japanese news last night a programme showed 6 Nuclear reactors that have been found to be straddling actively moving fault lines and I am told that one of these is still in production (but that needs to be verified). Even if these sites are closed presumably they all still contain radioactive core material. With all but two of their reactors shut down, Japan has very high electricity costs and people are extremely cautious about its use. But if they really want to make a difference then they have to insulate their houses and start using renewables which are almost non-existent here at the moment.
It seems to me that there are so many issues it is almost impossible to imagine how any country can cope. The scale of all this is so huge it is only by seeing it that any idea of scale can really be imagined. I was told that in this Province there are 100,000 refuges and 200,000 in the next Province and they are in many other areas besides.
The great thing about Japan, which could help, is that so much seems to happen at a local and community level: small scale village businesses and food production; people who share their expertise with others and a general feeling of willingness and helpfulness – especially towards us as visitors. As everywhere, local Government comes in for a lot of criticism. But I have to say that in this very small village there is a beautiful modern Government-funded community centre, and others villages nearby have the same. They not only allowed me to use their splendid kitchen free of charge to make scones for an event for Refugees, but the staff insisted in coming in to help – interesting as we had no shared language at all!
So tomorrow we artists are giving a presentation at a Refugee camp about Scotland and Norway. We are providing Norwegian fish soup for lunch – with rice balls – and tea and scones and flapjacks for afternoon tea. Goodness knows how that will work out but hopefully they wont know what scones should really look and taste like. Japanese ingredients and helpers have added a little variety to the final outcome.
More images from the Residency can be found on three Facebook pages: