THE RAFT, THE RIVER AND THE PLUM TREE

 

 

OULA SALOKANNEL & ANNU WILENIUS

 

 

 

GALLERI SINNE, HELSINKI 9. - 25.4.2010

 

In the summer of 2009 we travelled down Kokemäki River with a raft we built out of twenty-one spruce logs. We set out from the city of Pori heading down to the rushes in the delta-area approaching the sea. Without any particular plan on landing somewhere we drifted down the river for four days maneuvering our slowly floating home in varying weather conditions; cooking, sleeping, brewing coffee, watching the river banks of thickets and beaver dams go by.

We have been fascinated by how ‘imageries’ wander about in time: how do ideas, ideals and images transmit from one context to another. What happens to childhood ideas of Kon-Tiki and African Queen or to past decades’ design ideals ‘for every home’ – by now glorified with the shimmer of nostalgia – when transformed from the sphere of images into material realizations of our own making?

We neither of us had any experience or skills for building a raft – or anything else to that matter. Eventually the raft of our ‘imageries’ was made using washing-line strings and what standard gardening shops had to offer in the way of willow fencing and trellis for walls. The raft, supporting a patio and a ‘bed-sit’, was made in a week. With us on the trip we took a plumtree bought along with other materials at the Hong Kong department store. (The plum, originating in the distant foothills of Caucasus, has found its way to the gardens of the Finns as well as of the Chinese already some centuries ago.)

The raft is a study of time: it is an assembly of historical imageries, at the same time, it has been constantly evolving in the realization: in the building of the raft and in the actual drifting that followed. The time spent on the raft also meant defining a difference to time, as we knew it on land. The raft as a space of shared intimacy became a world of its own: traffic noise, boaters and holidaymakers in their riverside cottages were heard, but remained in an outside as part of life on land.

On board the raft we experienced being absolutely limited to our own restricted means; a notion that made us remember where the entire project once started. It was a discussion on a text by Michel Serres, The Natural Contract. Serres uses the metaphor of being out at sea to describe the current condition of the world not having unknown, unexplored storages of spaces and resources, but just a singular finite world without escapes, without an outside. And as this is a situation as fragile as can be, he suggests we make a contract, form a relationship, with this finite world.

 

Thanks

Alfred Kordelins Fund

Svenska Kulturfonden

Melamajavat ry

Porin videotuki


 

 
 

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