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North AiR: Maija Annikki Savolainen

“Thinking photography under the horizon of extinction will allow me to draw two temporal lines in the history of this particular medium: one extended towards the past, the other – toward the future. If we consider the history of photography as part of the broader natural-cultural history of our planet, as I propose to do here, we will be able to trace parallels between photographs and fossils, and read photography as a light-induced process of fossilization occurring across different media. Seen from this perspective, photography will be presented as containing an actual material record of life rather than just its memory trace.” (p. 104) — Joanna Zylinska, Nonhuman Photography (2017), MIT Press

This week our North AiR: Expanding Entanglements residency artist, Maija Annikki Savolainen, leaves SSW to travel to our next partner in the North AiR residency and research cooperation, Taigh Chearsabhagh on North Uist.

Throughout her time at SSW, Maija has been exploring the proximities and entanglements between her photography practice, vision/perception, technofossils/ technology detritus, Aberdeenshire stone circles and light. Bringing together material explorations in latex, clay, plaster, crushed mobile devices and gathered stones from walks in the area, she became interested in the tensions between crushed screens, the minerals contained within technological devices, stones, silicone, glass and amorphous shapes of sand and slag.

Drawing from the book, Vision (2010), by David Marr, Maija explored the images and patterns that inform our perception of the world and found parallels in ideas relating to the origins of stone circles. Considering these spaces as ‘receptive fields’ and a frame for viewing the night sky.

As a framework, North AiR: Expanding Entanglements does not expect final outcomes, rather makes a space for the selected artists to research and develop methodologies for re-establishing our relationships with environs, explore the enduring colonial and corporate legacies of extraction and exploitation of our environments and seek to find how our site’s proximity to nature/culture entanglements can teach us to expand our capacities for holistic relationship building.

Below, Maija shares some reflections from her residency so far, in the form of photographs from her time at SSW.

ceramic shell moulds waiting to be poured.
Textured and coloured glass leans against a wall with light creating interesting shadows
newly thrown ceramic pots sit in a beam of light on a shelf in the ceramics studio
a group of men wearing kilts
close up of two types of pebbledash walls next to each other
supplies from the builders merchants in the boot of a car; a stack of stone slabs and a bag of gravel with the word 'aggregates'
experiments in the studio with glass, clay, wire and resin bonded sand
concrete defence bocks in a sandy beach leading to blue water and skies in the distance. The photographer's shadow stretches out on the sand.
dry stone walling in progress
A black puppy on a red lead lies on a scrappy painted floor. The lead is held by a hand with a rope toy and a leg in tights on the left hand side of the image.
a banana sits on a coloured chequerboard cover on a camper van sofa
rocks with handwritten slips of paper saying Limesto...from corrie... (ladylea hill)...buchat, Serpentine from Cabrach, Large Buitite Plates from...
black and white photocopies of photographs laid out on a wall between a desk and an ironing board
a standing stone circle with the landscape rolling out in the background
a white wall with some pebbles stuck in the mortar
rounded rocks in the footwell of a car
experiments in the studio with crushed mobile phones, sand, clay and plastic
a golden sunset behind hills with a road stretching into the distance
a leafy glade with trees forming a natural frame
experiments with bright turquoise latex in the studio.  A dark green wax cast of an electrical adaptor sits in the foreground.
a hand holds a white stone with turquoise latex bits roughly attached
looking down into four cardboard boxes arranged in a grid. The top left contains broken mobile phones, top right bits of clay and rocks, bottom left a selection of rocks and bottom right a selection of casts in turquoise latex.
heather and mosses
a girl in a black coat cradles a black dog in a ray of sunlight
a beautiful landscape mirrors by clouds above
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