UmArts Open Studio

16-17 June 2023
UmArts Research Studio
UmArts Open Studio 16 June 2023. Photo: Raphael Vargas

Come and celebrate the opening of our new Research Studio on the Arts Campus with new works by UmArts postdocs and Small Visionary Projects, including: Gerd Aurell; Luis Berrios-Negron; Tonia Carless; Ele Carpenter; Toms Kokins; and performances by Anders Lind; Lisa Nyberg; Christoffel Kuenen, Niclas Kaiser and Gabriel Bohm Calles.

Friday 16 June: opening events by invitation only.

Saturday 17 June:

10.00-13.00 Lisa Nyberg, Utan til’ / By Heart, workshop in the Thinking space. Booking essential directly with the artist.

14.00-17.00 Open Studio exhibition

14.00-17.00 When I becomes We, Nuna, Christoffel Kuenen, Niclas Kaiser, Gabriel Bohm Calles in the UmArts Studio and the Arts Campus Library.

Research Projects

Gerd Aurell, Forest Portal, drawing. Trees grow slowly and therefore living and dead trees can carry traces of events that happened hundreds of years ago. The old-growth northern forest can be read as an archive where layer is written on layer and traces in living and dead trees bear witness of unique events, both recent and far back in time. In deep collaboration with scientists in forest history and ecology, Aurell is investigating the places in the forest charged with human presence to produce performative drawing executed both on site in the forest and in traditional exhibition spaces.

Luis Berríos Negrón, Sin Título (Billonarios) 2022, banner prototype. Untitled (Geoengineering Billionaires) 2023, silkscreen on recovered canvas, second-hand t-shirts (stack) in collaboration with Javier Álvarez Sagredo. Like many artists, Luis Berrios Negron collected the posters of Félix González Torres including Torres’ collaboration with Christopher Wool in 1993 (…NOMOREHOME). Years later Luis decided to re-use the posters in collages as political speech for exhibitions in Munich (2013), Stockholm (2015), and Houston (2022).  The series stems from Luis’s decolonial research into greenhouse technology and how it represents and spurs colonial trauma. In this way greenhouse technology deeply marks the timeline of the Anthropocene and is one of the many forms of critique of the escapist billionaire delusion. As recent news of a Swedish outer space program takes hold, this collaboration with artist Javier Álvarez Sagredo disseminates this political speech through DIY silkscreening on recovered non-paper materials.

Tonia Carless, Wide Load / Bred Last: A House Moved, msdm publications, 2023. Essays by Tonia Carless & Robin Serjeant, James Benedict Brown, Matthew Hynam. Design by Paula Roush. Limited edition publication supported by UmArts Small Visionary Project. This book is a culmination of a two-year research project analysing the spatial politics of un-building through the historic, cultural, technical and material significance of wholesale house-moving (husflyttningar) in northern Sweden. By investigating a single, historic house-move in Umeå during 2021, the project explores the vernacular mobility of shifting built and occupied structures in relation to a historic and future context of urban reconfiguration, a proposed architecture of de-growth in Northern Sweden.

Ele Carpenter, Laboratory for Variable Risk Perception A collection of domestic uranium glassware from Swedish and English secondhand shops, each labelled with their microSievert dosage rate. Above the cabinet hangs a photograph by Alex Ressel and Kerri Meehan of a rock art painting called Sickness Country in the Kakadu National Park, in Australia, warning of the dangers of disturbing the land which is full of uranium deposits. Ele Carpenter is planning to visit the aboriginal community with Alex and Kerri to establish a line of connection to decolonize the Nuclear Energy Agency Expert Group on Awareness Preservation of radioactive waste (EGAP).

Toms Kokins, Sweden’s Timber Empire. Birch plywood, Acrylic paint, tar, drawings, tar bucket. Toms Kokins is investigating the extent of Swedish-owned forest land beyond its borders and its relationship to architecture. This project aims to develop social and creative processes to critically map the extent of the new Swedish timber empire. Since the early 1990s there has been an increased procurement of forest lands in neighbouring countries such as Russia, Estonia, Latvia by the Swedish state and private companies. In some cases, this has radically changed the land ownership maps of local municipalities. Using diverse mapping methods, Kokins is creating maps of the new Swedish timber empire, researching who and what should be included and how it can be communicated. The research is supported by an UmArts Small Visionary Project Award and Future Forests.

Anders Lind and the Mobile Phone Orchestra. A performance model developed by Anders Lind. Participants use their mobile phones as musical instruments to perform polyphonic electronic sounds from a visual score. Through expressive composition and performance, this project engages first-time musicians in performing contemporary art music. The research aims to generate new knowledge about performance mediums (instrument, score, conductor) suitable for audiences who may not understand the complex musical codes embedded in the traditional score. The research process is developing the project in new contexts, and Lind’s SVP award involved proto-typing new scores for the Home Participatory Orchestra during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Making the Difference, Robert Mull, Amalia Katapodis and Sangram Shirke. Documentary film and tubular steel chair. As part of the research project, students from Umeå University and Yaşar University worked together to create design proposals for supporting displaced people in the city of Izmir. Students from Umeå School of Architecture worked as a live project office collaborating with the staff and users of the TIAFI Community Centre to design and build new spaces where people could feel safe and valued, and where hope could be nurtured. As a result the rooftop project provides training, therapy and sports spaces, and a productive garden. The TIAFI Community Centre supports Syrians living in İzmir, after the 2016 EU-Turkey deal prevented them crossing between Turkey and the EU. The project is supported by: WHIT ‘Wellbeing, Infrastructure and Housing in Turkey’ a GCRF funded research project; Global Free Unit; Office of Displaced Designers; YASAR University. The project was exhibited at the British Academy Summer Showcase, 2020.

Christoffel Kuenen, Gabriel Bohm Calles and Niclas Kaiser, When I Becomes We. Performance with the Nuna (UmArts Studio and Arts Campus Library). During the Open Studio artists and audiences can experiment with networked social interaction using the Nuna machine, a kind of teleprompter with specific software and a robotic camera. The Nuna allows users to authentically experience eye contact in the virtual world, transforming online meetings into personal connections. Nuna provides unique control over eye contact and time delay, factors that are central in the human awareness for being together in a moment. The team: Christoffel Kuenen, Umeå Institute of Design; Gabriel Bohm Calles, Academy of Fine Art; Niclas Kaiser, Dept of Psychology; David Risberg, Umeå Institute of Design; Performers: Amalia Wänman, Peter Andersson, Lollo Aurell and Sef Aurell.

Lisa Nyberg, Utan til’ / By Heart calling hibernating origin stories into emergence, workshop, Saturday 17 June 10.00-13.00 Welcome to a vertical exploration through body-land-Earth. This workshop is for anyone who is interested in expanding their answer to the questions “where do I (we) come from?” and “where do I (we) belong?” Aiming beyond the settler colonial present, we will reach down into the ground below, calling hibernating origin stories into emergence. Our findings will be restated in our own words until we know them by heart, offering them a home in the body-mind of our collective experience. The workshop is carefully constructed to be a hopeful practice without guarantees. 

Smedjan archival photographs, 1980s. Courtesy of Västerbottens Kurriren. Erik Persson, Drömmen om ett Hus, 16 April, 2014. Photo: Martin Mattson. The UmArts Studio occupies the newly refurbished Smedjan building. UmArts Research Assistants Lina Degerth, Rebecca Sharp and Amalia Wänman have produced a timeline of the workshop which was built in 1925 as part of the timber yard complex.