Ballad of the Lost Utopian Meadow

Ballad of the Lost Utopian Meadow

‘Ballad of the Lost Utopian Meadow’ is an archive of Finnish food. The project extends the metaphorical implications of what a meadow means to Finland within the contexts of ecological conservation, cultural significance, and as a site of contemporary co-existence.

Conceived by Ali Akbar Mehta and Vidha Saumya for ONOMA summer exhibitions 2020 ‘Meadow’, curated by Taru Elfving, the 71 stanzas of the ballad have been transformed into a sound piece with vocals and piano by the amazing #varialambo (Varia Sjöström and Hatz Lambo), sound design by Kim Modig (orker), and recorded at the beautiful studios of Artlab Studio by Albert Ihanus.

The Meadow

Onoma Summer Exhibition 2020, curated by Taru Elfving, Fiskars Village

Copper Smithy, Fiskars

18.6.-30.8.2020

Open daily 11am-6pm

The exhibition Meadow sets out to address the planetary ecological urgencies through a dialogue between contemporary art, craft, design and environmental research.

In the meadow, the slow evolution of the distinctive local ecosystem meets the accelerating planetary changes in all their unpredictability. In the meadow, the cycles of life and death of different species are entangled with the transformations of human cultures and technologies. The time of the meadow is not solely that of the past, even though Finnish meadow ecosystems of today mainly survive due to conservation efforts. Rather, the meadow intertwines the diverse rhythms of change: the geological deep time, the acute decrease in biodiversity, the myriad natural-cultural histories of symbiotic relations between humans and other animals, plants, microbes, and minerals.

With its roots deep in the meadow, the summer exhibition 2020 in Fiskars invites its artists and audiences, locals and visitors alike, to attune their senses in the village environment. It focuses attention on the sustainability of everyday practices and values, while envisioning alternative paths towards the future. Like the meadow, the exhibition insists on the necessity of taking time to care, even in the face of the escalating emergency of climate crisis.

In the Fiskars region, the ecosystem has been significantly impacted by the developments of agriculture, forestry, mining and related industries already for centuries. Conversely, specific ways of life have been flourishing here thanks to the local natural resources, such as iron ore and copper deposits, rich soil, vast forests and labyrinthine waterways. The local culture has also been shaped by close connections to the wider Baltic Sea region and beyond through migration and trade.

Starting from these local coordinates, the exhibition Meadow sets out to address the planetary ecological urgencies through a dialogue between contemporary art, craft, design and environmental research. The exhibition takes place both in the Copper Smithy, the permanent exhibition venue, and as site-specific interventions in and around Fiskars Village, accompanied by a multidisciplinary public programme. Its production has been guided by the commitment to develop ecologically and socially sustainable exhibition practices.

Meadow is produced by The Cooperative of Artisans, Designers and Artists in Fiskars ONOMA and curated by Taru Elfving.