Baltic Sea – Floating trunks

Floating-Trunks-SIMKA-2014_600_800

2014 års EU’s kulturhuvudstäder Umeå och Riga berikas med ett internationellt konstverk. Konstnärsduon SIMKA skapar möten mellan unga människor och den etablerade konsten i framtagningen av ett konstverk till Kulturhuvudstäderna Umeå och Riga samt även för Pori Art Museum i Björneborg.

Centrala delar av projektet är utbyte av erfarenheter och förväntningar, jämte att följa upp och arbeta med det i en konstnärlig process. Ungas och äldres berättelser bearbetas och skulpteras på träd i workshop-form ledda av konstnärerna. Efter workshopen sjösätts verket på älven där de bildar en större flytande dunge.

Flytande levande träd placerade på livbojar ute på älven. Verket står centralt placerat i var och en av de tre städerna. Det utgör ett organiskt blickfång som väcker tankar om människans, vattnets och trädens styrka, värde, då som nu, här förenade på ett oväntat sätt. Elementen för en kamp med och mot varandra. Livbojarna eller frälsarkransarna ger en association till människan och den marina dimensionen i resandet och flykten.

Baltic Sea – floating trunks vill i samarbetet kring konstverket förena lokala krafter – träden, vattnet och invånarna i ett större perspektiv över Östersjön och dess kulturella gemenskap. Att se på Östersjön som en gemensam elastisk, flytande kontinent. Som både förenar och skiljer.

När träden efter sommaren bärgas, placeras de ut i stadens grönområde att rota sig. Detta ger en långsiktig aspekt av konstverket: medskaparnas självklara plats i stadsrummet.

Ur ett internationellt perspektiv, genom samarbetsparten River Stories/Umeå2014 manifesteras här även den norrländska och samiska kulturen med en berikande mångfald. Baltic Sea –Floating trunks blir med sin placering en länk mellan älven och havet som leder vidare i ett internationell sammanhang

20.6 Invingnin i Umeå
1-15.7 Björneborg
1-15.8 Riga

Film / animation: http://vimeo.com/66526281

I samarbete med Pori Art Museum, Gallery Noass, River Stories / NorrlandsOperan, Legends of Umeå 

IN ENGLISH

Baltic Sea - floating trunks                           

On the river in central Umeå we propose a colony of floating trees. Most of them local birches mixed by visiting trees from the other cities. Wrapped in layers of textiles (balled and bur lapped), planted in large life - buoys; swaying in the streams of the Umeå river. A choreography of water and wind. Some birches have emigrated to the Kokemäki river by Pori Art Museum, others to the Daugava outside the floating Gallery Noass in Riga. The same thing is happening in Pori and Riga; pine and fir trees representing Riga and Pori respectively. Emigration - Immigration.

The titel and art piece of floating trees is connected to the word "trunk" and its different meanings in both Swedish and English. In English the meanings of trunk as in tree trunk; baggage, torso, body. In Swedish the word ("stam") relates to family; tribe; root; base; stem; stock etc. We want to signify the importance of the Baltic Sea for travelling and cross-border meetings and as a continent in its own right.

The historic perspective and the significance of the Swedish language for the coastal regions surrounding the Baltic Sea is an interesting topic to relate to. The possibilities of language to unify and create community outside the borders of the national state is worth both keeping and enhancing. As well as different languages ​​opportunity and ability to influence beyond national borders in the human exchange of the sea enriches the area.

Trees and forests have a huge importance for the whole region and create a common base for the nordic cultures. Rafting timber to the coast, today replaced by other kinds of transport - and the sweet water constantly refilling the sea. The sea and its coastal line create a community; joining our interests together. The sea has both local and international characteristics; large spaces of international water, owned by no state, and traffic connecting all the harbors of the world. A majority of world transport is carried by water. Floating on its surface. The sea saves us, as we need to save the sea from an ever-increasing exploitation. The Baltic Sea offers a horizon for our senses to explore and for contemplation. Our project provides a possibility to strengthen our bonds to, and to increase awareness of our relation to, these shared waters.

The movement; the flight and the reception; the group and the individual; the conflict and the caring are important aspects within the art work. The interpersonal and the places, the cultures, are keystones of the narrative. The caring - the meeting with something new and unknown - the dream or the illusion of a better life at "somewhere else".

This is why we have chosen Umeå, Riga and Pori; three cities geographically framing and representing Baltic sea. All cities offer waterside spaces for art, on the river edge or on the flowing water. Additionally, Riga and Umeå are European Culture cities 2014. As Riga and Pori celebrate a 50 years anniversary of being Twin towns / Sister cities.  Three important port cities and transit stations on the edge of the Baltic Sea. By their strategic placement by the river mouths they have long attracted seafaring and city development. This is where the urban meets the sea and where the fresh water flows into the Baltic Sea. Sweet meets salt and the brackish water, typical for the Baltic Sea, emerges.

In connection to Umeå and Riga being European Capitals of Culture 2014 we want to tie these three cities ever closer. In all the cities workshops are held with participants from all three countries to sculpt the textile shells for the trees and their life buoys. Local youths together with visitors from the other two cities create "swaddle blankets" for their respective tree species.

We produce and launch the art-installation during two weeks, starting in Riga 3rd of May, in Pori 24th of May and finally in Umeå 6th – 20th of June. The installation finishes in reversed order and the trees, with life buoy and swaddle, is placed in local parks to root and grow, a strong memory living on for generations after the European culture cities of 2014. Dismantling and re-plantation is scheduled to one week, ending with a celebrations in Umeå 5th of October, Pori 19th of October and Riga 2nd of November.
Two days of seminars about the project and different perspectives of Baltic Sea will be held in the end of November and as a final there will be an anthology produced with documented material and reflections of the project.

The project develops in process with inhabitants from the different cities and their local conditions. We are cooperating with a team from the multi ethnical youth association of Umeå Legend Club that will follow us through the project and collect the different experiences. This group will function as ambassadors for both Umeå and the art piece itself and can use and communicate their experience and knowledge in following projects. In Riga a second group is created and after meeting up in Pori all groups go together to Umeå for assembling and launching the last of the three installations.

These workshops aim to create a direct exchange between the cities, the cultures and the people. At the same time there is a deeper, almost sublime, exchange taking place; to tenderly create in order to hand over to someone else's care; a gift and a sign of trust. Umeå has the unique tradition of providing its residents with free birches to be planted in the city, a beautiful gesture that can now be extended to exchanging trees with its neighbouring cities.

"The Baltic Sea is - the landscape - an elastic mass, unifying and creating its own continent"

Film / animation: http://vimeo.com/66526281

Our partners:
Pori Art Museum, Gallery Noass, River Stories / NorrlandsOperan, Legends of Umeå


Project owner:
Simon Häggblom & Karin Lind
simon@simka.se / tel. +46706091491
karin@simka.se / tel. +467087013901