Ars Bioarctica Revisited


Returning to Kilpisjärvi for two weeks in June 2021, for an Ars Bioarctica residency, I did of course remember my first visit at the biological station in Kilpisjärvi in 2014, which was divided into two parts, one week in April and the other week in June. But I did not realize I would be here in the very same week. I noticed it because I had gathered material from that first visit as an appendix for an article called “Data, Material, Remains” on a page on the Research Catalogue, called Ars bioarctica residency 2014. There I found out the exact dates when I performed some of the works with Malla, the mountain at the western end of the lake. I also found links to the posts I wrote about my visit on this very same blog: Malla – Mountain in the North, describing the first visit in April, and Meeting Malla Again as well as Mountain Brooks Once More from my second visit in June.
 
Now I am here for other purposes, performing with the dawny birches or mountain birches in the area, as part of the project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees (see post on the project blog, here). I could not resist the temptation to revisit the site where I performed “Looking at Malla” on 5 june 2014 as well as “Day and Night with Malla” on 7-8 June 2014 and try to recreate the images, in order to see if something had visibly changed – besides my camera. Not that much, actually. Yes, there is less snow on the slopes of Malla, and perhaps slightly less ice on the lake, as could be expected due to global warming, but surprisingly much remains the same. Wearing a black pullover rather than the dark blue scarf that I originally used makes quite a difference, though. Recreating “Looking at Malla”, or rather one of the sessions of the day-long time-lapse video, was not as easy as I thought. Here is the first image of the original work:
 

 
I made several attempts before finding approximately the right spot in front of the camera in order to be visible, and cover only part of the view.
 

 

 

 
Recreating the first image of the time-lapse video “Day and Night with Malla” was easier.
 

 
The rock was there, although I could not place the tripod as far back as I did before, perhaps because there was no ice now, or perhaps there was some sort of wooden construction before, or then I had a different objective in my camera, a different camera, too, I suppose. The one I use now I got that same year, but probably did not have with me at the residency yet.
 

 
The session today was actually closer to the one-off session “Moment with Malla” recorded on 7 June 2014. There you can really see the importance of the scarf in repeating the form of the mountain and the rock:
 

 
The most interesting thing, the real reason why I thought the revisit was worthwhile, was the birch growing next to the rock, and barely visible in the original images. Turning the camera only slightly to the right brought the birches into full view, and I thought standing next to the birch and holding on to its trunk would make a perfect pair to the image of sitting on the rock.
 

 
I did not even bother to make a test, because I thought I could easily picture my position next to the small tree. I did not realize how big I am, and that my hand would be covered by the rest of my body, so the image is not at all what I imagined.
 

 
Well, of course not, I would like to add, but it seems like I never learn…
 
PS. I did a new attempt, later, which is documented here.

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