Northbound


2011
Sculpture, preserved specimen, wood, mixed media
1100 x 250 x 400 cm


During the Summer 2011 the work sailed from harbour to harbour, from the city of Turku to the surrounding archipelago.


Commissioned by Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture, Contemporary Art Archipelago

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Northbound

Many species of animals are facing the disappearance of their natural habitat. On one hand, they face the expansion of land developed for human use. In response, some populations try to survive in the liminal space between the last vestiges of the wild and agricultural and urban areas. These animals try to adapt to these new situations, living from the man-made piles of trash and lurking in the hiding places of suburbia, but others are so specialized for their natural biotope that they cannot live in an industrialized, mono-cultured world. Some use their cuteness as a tool to beg for food or otherwise find new ways to co-exist with humans, but those creatures who do not serve human’s use or lack the attractiveness to become a symbol of status or national pride have no place to go.

On the other hand, global warming creates its own challenges for fauna. As equatorial areas turn into desert, many species move north. This struggle between industrialized farming and expanding urbanism versus shrinking biotopes creates a situation for many species similar to that of human refugees.

Borrowing from colorful and often decorative look of African and Middle Eastern freighters, "Northbound" is a refugee ship for animals. It is loaded with specimens inside and even on top of the boat. However, the ship arrived too late. The passengers with their special needs became exhausted and died. What is left is their preserved physical beauty that will slowly decay, just as the human generation's memories of sharing the environment with these creatures will fade.

As part of the Art Archipelago exhibition, "Northbound" cruised from port to port in the Finnish archipelago around Turku during the summer of 2011, when Turku was the European Capital of Culture.