Symposium
30.07.2023

Chornobyl Dreams Symposium: conversations on photography, borders, landscape, and imagination

Start: Sun 30.07.2023, 4pm

The new exhibitions at the Galerie Toolbox: The Rock and The Tower (30.07.19.08.23) display the installations of Karen Koltermann (GER) from the Gorham Caves in Gibraltar and the multimedia installation by Tiina Harpf, Tiina Hihnavaara, Kimmo Roine, and Mikko H. Haapoja (FIN) of the changes in urban space as experienced from Pasila’s cell tower in Helsinki.

In advance of the new exhibition, on Sunday, July 30th, at 16.00, Gallery Toolbox brings together
artist Karen Koltermann and cultural researcher Veera Ojala to explore the exhibit themes through an interdisciplinary lens. Veera and Karen discuss their practises and experiences in the borderlands of Gibraltar and the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, combining views from arts and cultural studies.

The interdisciplinary afternoon features artist Karen Koltermann’s work on the Gibraltar Caves. In September 2018, Karen Koltermann took part in one of the rare guided tours to the Gorham Caves aspart of her artists’ residency visits in Gibraltar. The Caves were inhabited by Neanderthals in a bygone era called the Middle Palaeolithic, who, as has been known since 2014, were also artistically active. Besides the naturally formed caves, the monolithic limestone rock was artificially hollowed out for about 50 km, e.g., for tunnels and gun emplacements. Because the outpost was ceded to Great Britain by the Spanish in 1713, a special border situation has arisen here, and Gibraltar has become one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

Veera Ojala is a cultural researcher, and in her ongoing PhD research, she explores nuclear waste and radioactive landscapes through their visual depictions, focusing on the visual culture of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. Through her fieldwork in Chornobyl and with visitors’ photographs, Veera explores the cultural experiences of nuclear power and people’s ways of experiencing and creating meaning from radioactive landscapes.

Probing themes of the construction of borders, landscapes, and works of memory and imagination in combination with the modes of expression, speakers address the cultural and historical matrices and scars of the landscapes and the ways in which they are recomposed in the present.

The symposium is held in German and English.
Conversations with:

Artist Karen Koltermann (GER)

PhD Researcher Veera Ojala (FIN) University of Turku, Finland

After the talks:
DJ Not My Kind Of Climate, Maurus Gmür

When: Sunday 30th of July at 16.00
Where: Gallery Toolbox, Koloniestraße 120, Berlin

The Rock
28.07.–19.08.23

Karen Koltermann, Installation

In September 2018, Karen Koltermann took part in one of the rare guided tours to Gorham´s Cave complex in Gibraltar as part of her artists’ residency at Lichtenberg Studios. In the Gallery Toolbox, Karen Koltermann will now show the installation “The Rock,” which is based on photos of this exploration.

Sunday 30.07. 2023, 4pm
Chornobyl Dreams Symposium:
conversations on photography, borders, landscape
, and
imagination | read more

Opening: 28.07.2023, 7pm

30.07.–19.08.2023
Mi–Sa 15–19 Uhr

Toolbox Kabinett

TORNI – THE TOWER

Photo and sound landscape collage of the changes in urban space as experienced from Pasila’s cell tower

The idea for the Torni image and sound collage started when I was a deputy city councillor in the Helsinki city council and a member of the city’s equality committee. At that time, I strongly realised how many things should be considered when building, space, light, sustainability of the surrounding urban nature, movement of different people of different ages, and much more.
From Pasila’s cell tower, you could clearly see the gradual but constantly increasing construction of the environment, and the change of the landscape in different seasons of the year. In addition to photography, we also got permission to install pinhole cameras in the tower, pointing at the sun and the landscape.

Solargraphy is the art of long-exposure photography that captures the image of the sun’s path across the sky. The path is invisible to the human eye, and it is also different in each place on Earth.
When you look at the landscape from the tower, you must be very alert; so many things are constantly changing in the events of the earth and sky. The cell phone camera does not lift or magnify, it shows everything roughly as the human eye sees it from the tower.

When you sat in your kitchen having breakfast in the old Pasila, you saw a lot of green, you could follow the events in the yard and the birds playing. Now, in many new houses, the situation is already such that you can see the wall of the neighbouring house very close, and you can observe what the neighbours are spreading on their toast this morning.

In the Torni collage, we have included pictures taken with very different photographic equipment and with equipment of different levels, without fear of jaggedness. One purpose of the work is to encourage people to record their surroundings in pictures, even if they don’t own any luxury equipment. And that’s what many people do nowadays; the digital age makes a lot possible. Someone takes pictures of the forest they know all year round; someone photographs the birdhouse in the yard, someone takes pictures of their every morning swimming spot through summers and winters.

The collage is also the mind’s journey to the landscape. While the camera follows the changing urban space, the soundscapes, solargraphs, and music recorded on the spot create space for the mind to wander.

You can also look at the collage, trying to spot what disappears and what replaces it.

Tiina Harpf – script, speech, soundscapes, photos, installation of pinhole cameras
Tiina Hihnavaara – script, photo editing
Kimmo Roine, Tiina Harpf – installation of pinhole cameras
Mikko H. Haapoja – music (bowed lyre, keyed fiddle), video editing, sound design*
Orders and more information:
tiinamaaria.harpf@gmail.com
tiina.hihnavaara@gmail.com


Galerie/Projektraum TOOLBOX
Koloniestraße 120
13359 Berlin-Wedding
U-Bahn Osloerstraße

Wed– Sat 3–7pm
An Feiertagen ist die Toolbox geschlossen
On Bank holidays Toolbox is closed