Arctic Waters: notes

C o n t e n t:
The Team
In the Field
Sharing methods, know-how and knowledge
- Tools
– Research
- Environmental sensors
- Visitors
- Water Deal
- Nature photography
- Discussions and presentations
In labs
Colour sensor
Snow algae


The Team:

Tuomo Airasmaa (visual artist), Erich Berger (visual artist),  Laura Forsström (workshop leader, post doc researcher, environmental change and  water ecology),  Sini Haapalinna (performance artist), Kristiina Ljokkoi (art student, visual arts),  Markku Nousiainen (media artist), Helene von Oldenburg (visual artist),  Anu Osva (workshop leader, visual artist), Anne Pehkonen (environmental artist), Antti Tenetz (visual artist),  Johannes Vartola (art student, sound).

After a short introduction to water ecological sampling methods and measuring techniques by  research scientist Laura Forsström , the workshop team started the first field trip to ponds high up on Jehkas mountains. Two days later, the target was  the Saana Lake.

In the Field:

Jehkas Ponds, altitude 805.1 m :

Saana lake, altitude 680.5 m :

photo Markku Nousiainen


Sharing methods, know-how and knowledge:


We used underwater cameras, VLF receiver, hydrophones,  environmental sensors,  zooplankton  and algae samples, water samples, light penetration measuring equipment, knives,  underwater microscopy :-) and cameras of all kind.


Laura Forsström talking about DOM (Dissolved Organic Matter) as a tool to evaluate ecological conditions in  arctic ponds and lakes. Her research focuses in  combined effects of environmental stressors (mainly elevated temperature and DOM) on benthic and pelagic algae and bacteria in subarctic lakes. Fieldwork will cover three geographical areas, Kilpisjärvi in NW Finnish Lapland, Tiksi in NE Siberia, and Kuujjuarapik in N-Quebec.

Environmental Sensors:

DIY (do-it-yourself) sensors built on  ARDUINO platform are used by artists to collect raw, measurable data, which will directly or later be transformed into forms that are possible to experience with human senses.  Erich’s talk was a rewiev into this topic  including  problematics of calibration, which was also a valuable introduction into  understanding scientific devices.  He also showed artworks using environmental sensors starting with “Midnight Sun” as part of 80+1 Kilpisjärvi Climate Change -project and followed by  “Heart Chamber Orchestra” artwork by  Peter Votava and Erich Berger.


Helene von Oldenburg is discussing  artistic and scientific practices.  Her art project investigates  what kind of marks  traditional tourists and not so traditional research tourists ie. human visitors leave in the nature of Kilpisjärvi.  She started the project during her ArsBioarctica residency in Kilpisjärvi 2010.

Water Deal:

Water Deal is a board game dealing with serious water issues of the world by Helene von Oldenburgh and Claudia Reiche. We played it one evening and learned how extremely serious the water problems are.  Water Deal is available in Kiekula house in Kilpisjärvi for all visitors to  play.

Nature photography:

Antti Tenetz talked about his work and methods in  wilderness of Lapland. He showed his work during the first days of the workshop with high quality underwater videos and visit at a lemming lair. Link to one of videos shooted in Jehkas  coming soon.

Discussions and presentations:

In the evenings after the dinner in Kiekula, we discussed and showed what we had been doing and thinking during the days. All participants contributed with  presentations.  We were very happy to have water ecology researchers Laura, Milla, Iris, Tobias and their Estonian colleagues as our guests in these evening sessions.


In labs:





Videos will be added later.


Colour sensor:

24 h Kilpisjärvi sky, Markku Nousiainen

Kuvaaja esittää itse tehdyllä värisensorilla mitattua taivaan väriä Kilpisjärvellä heinäkuussa 2011, noin 24 tunnin ajalta klo 01-01 välisenä aikana. Sensori oli suunnattu suurin piirtein etelää kohti. Mittausdatassa on sen loppupuolella aukkoja. Sensori on tehty kolmesta valoresistorista laittamalla niiden päälle värikalvot (punainen, vihreä, sininen).

The graph depicts readings of a self-made color sensor from the sky, approximately 24h period between 1am.-1am, in Kilpisjärvi, July 2011. The sensor was directed roughly toward the southern sky. There are some gaps in the latter half of the data. The sensor was made with three photo resistors and color foils on top of them (red, green, blue).


Snow algae:

Snow algae is single cell algae living in snow and  ice.  More than one hundred different species of them have bee found.  They are usually green or blue-green algea.  In Kilpisjärvi samples  also empty Aserionella- diatoms where found. Links to a glacial biology and snow algae site by research scientist Nozomu Takeuchi


Performance by Anne Pehkonen: Lumilevää Kilpisjärvellä – Readhead.

Video documentation edited by Andy Pilke







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