Photo © Maija Toivanen / HAM / Helsinki Biennial
`Eons and Instants´
2021
 

Stones, soundless cracking agent, rock dust, spodumene, cobalt (CoO & CoAlZn), copper carbonate, zinc acetate,  brass, steel, plastic, wood

The work was commissioned by HAM / Helsinki Biennial

Curated by Pirkko Siitari & Taru Tappola

Photo 1, 3, 4, 6, 7,  8, 9, 10, 11 ©Maija Toivanen/HAM/Helsinki Biennial 

   The performative installation was created in response to the history and current state of the former gunpowder cellar in Alexander Battery on the island of Vallisaari. 

   The stones for the installation were collected from the island shores, taking into consideration that the selected  stones had only shortly inhabited the spot from where they were found. After the first loading of snail dynamite into the largest stones, the temporal processes went on through out the whole summer, carried out by the hidden workers, the museum conservators. The steel and brass structures served as platforms for the forces working within the rocks, which became evident only at the point when the pressure would draw a fine line around the stone that then would split.

   Depending on the rock shape in relation to the gravity pull on it, the two halves would either pop apart suddenly or the snail dynamite would push them apart for slowly. Often in the after-pressure one of the halves would still divide in half. The slow process of splitting would take from one day to three months depending on the rock size and mineral consistence as well as humidity and temperature of the room.

   Some of the rocks were loaded with critical minerals together with the snail dynamite. They would either color the sculptural form the snail dynamite takes when its still moist, or sprinkle around in the explosive event.

    The notion of `maa´ (`country, land, earth, world, ground, soil, terra´ in Finnish) inspired associations of defending the valuable; historically the country and a certain area of land, and today the material earth itself as a stage and mineral provider for all the living entities on its rocky surface.

After the biennial the rocks were returned to the places from were they were found.

Interview HB

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Helsinki Biennial, Eons and Instants, detail of the installation
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Stone storage of Eons and Instants installation in Helsinki Biennial 2021
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