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