Durational Situation / Vartiovuorenpuisto / Turku Kasvitieteellinen Puutarha / October 2019



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Geoff Robinson is a Melbourne-based artist working on Wurundjeri country.

Durational Situation / Vartiovuorenpuisto / Turku Kasvitieteellinen Puutarha / October 2019

by Geoff Robinson



Audio/video 10min 30sec


Durational Situation / Vartiovuorenpuisto / Turku Kasvitieteellinen Puutarha / October 2019 is a multi faceted research project situated across two sites in Turku, Finland; Vartiovuori Park and the greenhouse at University of Turku Botanical Gardens. The project focuses on the temporal and spatial qualities of the geology, climate and bird life of these two sites. Taking sea level marker signage present at Vartiovuori Park as a starting point, the project develops a durational relationship referencing the post glacial land lift (Holocene) in the Fennoscandian region and rising sea levels due to climate change (Anthropocene).

Positioning this relationship as a framework, the project utilises the performance of birdcall whistles at Vartiovuori Park and recordings of introduced birds living in the Turku Botanical Garden greenhouse to create a video and performance work that juxtaposes the human determined and deep time relationships between the two sites as a layering of duration; the past and the future simultaneously in the present.

The layering in the audio video work responds to the temporal relations of Vartiovuori as an archipelago island 9000 years ago, as a current landlocked hill in Turku, and its future potential as a re-submerged island due to climate change sea level rise. This layering is juxtaposed with the more recent colonial overlay of the Turku Botanical gardens and greenhouse holding birds indigenous to Australia. Both the budgerigar and cockatiel live in the drier parts of central Australia, favouring scrub and bushlands. In Wiradjuri language they are called the Gidyirriga and Guwariyan. Upon colonisation the birds were captured and domesticated and have been bred in captivity and introduced around the world since the 1850's. The budgerigar and cockatiel are somewhat misplaced in the moist conditions of the tropical greenhouse in Turku and signify the extended geographical reach of the colonial impacts on Australia, creating an additional layer and perspective to the project.

Listening to, and making birds calls are situated throughout the work. Both these sonic experiences respond to modes of introduced and dislocated sounds; the performers calling out to local birds through different European birdcall whistles, and the listening of birds relocated from the other side of the world. The gestures of walking, listening, following, and calling attempts to bridge the durational and spatial layers across the two sites and emphasise the human induced causality of the ongoing colonial and environmental conditions we currently live in.

I acknowledge and pay respects to the Traditional Custodians of the Fennoscandian region from where I recorded the work, and to the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I completed this project. I pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders past, present and future and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.