Frontiers in Retreat: Edge Effects HIAP @ Art Sonje Center

Art Sonje Project #7
Frontiers in Retreat / Edge Effects - Active Earth

Elena Mazzi & Sara Tirelli (Italy)
mirko nikolic (Serbia / UK)
Nabb+Teeri (Finland)
Tuomas A. Laitinen (Finland)
Jaakko Pallasvuo (Finland)

Jenni Nurmenniemi

Frontiers in Retreat Learning Sessions Co-curators
Bora Hong, Haeju Kim, Hyejin Yeo, Jenni Nurmenniemi & guests

#FiRedgeeffects #frontiersinretreat


Frontiers in Transition

While borders draw divisive lines, frontiers are transition and contact zones. Diversity is always richest in areas where different ecosystems meet: This is the edge effect. An encounter never leaves one unaffected [1].

The ‘Active Earth’ group show and public programme at Art Sonje Center is part of the exhibition series Edge Effects, organised by Frontiers in Retreat project (2013–2018). Its seven satellite exhibitions weave connections between geographically dispersed artistic processes that strive towards new understandings of ecological entanglements and transitions.

Ecology is about perspective, really. There is no such thing as ‘nature’ or ‘environment’ separate from human life, only the mesh of ecosystems and processes that we inhabit: affective, cognitive, symbolic, social, political, economic, and technological ecologies. It’s all entangled.

The artists in the Edge Effects: Active Earth exhibition, while imagining future bodies, biomes, and ways of being, tackle these enmeshed ecologies through syntheses of various materials, methods and philosophical registers.

The Seoul edition of the exhibition series focuses on co-dependencies between humans and other life forms. The conceptual key to the exhibition, reflected in the setup of the exhibition space, is ‘entanglement’ – ever-changing, knotty relations between all forms of matter. What emerges is a porous, pulsing and mutating ecosystem.  

The public programme elaborates on and complicates the questions posed by the artworks through a series of discursive and performative learning sessions, whereas the archive opens up a curated selection of fragments from the Frontiers in Retreat project in various media.

According to Donna Haraway, ‘the arts for living on a damaged planet’ (a term coined by by another influential thinker, Anna Tsing) call for cultivating our capacities to understand how things work together, in ‘sympoiesis’, and abilities to respond, response-ability, to the world we inhabit. [2]

– Jenni Nurmenniemi, Curator, Frontiers in Retreat Project; HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme

[1] Concept for the Edge Effects exhibition series, Jenni Nurmenniemi and Taru Elfving, July 2016.
[2] Notes from Haraway, D. 2016. ’Staying with the Trouble. Making Kin in the Chthulucene’.


Art Sonje Center

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Frontiers in Retreat is funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The project is also supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Kone Foundation, Alfred Kordelin Foundation and AVEK.