Posts Tagged ‘Rovaniemi’





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⇒ extractive industries workshop:

Pan-Arctic Extractive Industries Programme…

An initiative of the University of the Arctic, co-led by Jessica Shadian, Florian Stammler (Arctic Centre, U Lapland), Gunhild Hoogenson-Gjorv (U Tromsø).

PhD Course-Symposium in conjunction with

The Rovaniemi Process Conference

Course Website


⇒ the arctic city

1 to 6 december…


Such difficulties to recount the entirety of the week, what with workshop presentations, dinners, coffee breaks, a full-blown interim conference, one-on-one conversations, and pizza lunches.

In fact, more than an epilogue, I write nothing short of an apoligogue.

I could not keep up with the presenters, all the papers were strongly worked up. There is no telling to what constructive ends workshop attendees aim. But here are partial glimpses providing the week its form and a Nordic blog soundtrack.  😉



I should add, in fact, that quite a few return folks from the U Tromsø workshop this past spring presided. Heather Clarke, PhD graduate student, Memorial U, St. Johns, looking at fly-in/fly-out communities in the North, employing a citizenship framework applied to the firm. Makes sense, actually, given that some years ago, Étienne Balibar, swung by campus in heavy lament over the demise of cultural citizenship privileges lost to national populations from the deregulating state.  

hallTara Cater, PhD student at Carleton reflecting on decasia of industrial mining, Nunavut, Canada — the will of things to become more disorderly, to seek entropy, and the aesthetic fascination with the deterioration of objects, how they acquire new drama and character, as well as fans, chroniclers, and hangers-on, like ourselves.

Elena Nuykina, U Vienna, and Piotr Graczyk, U Tromsø, were also in Troms, and in attendance here at Rov.

Mercy Oyet also PhD student at Memorial U, talking about Nigeria, a topic of increasing academic interest. In fact, not to digress, but two chapters come out soon on Nigerian oil industry by Rebecca Golden (petro-masculinities) and Elizabeth Gelber (oil bunkering) in the edited volume Oil Talk (Cornell U Press 2014).

GertrudeWell, we congratulated newly awarded Postdoctor, U Vienna, Gertrud Eilmsteiner-Saxinger [directly above], who entertained with a talk that might be described as the Techne of Being, reflecting on the spaces through which commuters come to understand their corporeal existence in relation to techno-ontological dimensions of modern day travel. 

florianGordon Cook, faculty at Memorial U, enlightened us on his expertise – tourism, and modes of entrepreneurial thought as applied to remote locations, how they might be re-thought of as centers of visitation. 

Two additional papers capture our attention, in particular, Julia Olsen, on the topic of settlement relocation in Yakutia, Russia, and a lack of securitization by local government, a critical infrastructure failure taking place, in fact, while in the process of provisioning for environmental risk. Fascinating. A variation on zones of indistinction. And followed by Maja Kadenic, examining megaprojects and thinking of method in constituting the normative dimension of comparability across time.

Well of course many other folks presented, and we will refer to them shortly, but with brevity. Speaking of provisioning, many thanks to U Leeds’, William Davies, who kept us all up to par with administrative capacity and dining organization.

Tara12/5: Leena Suopajarvi, is up talking about mining and community viability in Finnish Lapland.

Futures related to natural resource development. Mining began around mid 19th century gold rush and during the 1960s geological survey provided systematic study of mineral resources.

Since joining European Economic Area 1994, international mining companies have access to mining areas. Social impacts of mining are assessed in the planning phase of the project as part of the environmental impact assessment: predictions, not impacts.

Social impacts = corporeal, cognitive and/or emotional factors of real life; changes caused by the mine.

The PitchEmma Wilson up next talking about guiding principles on business and human rights. What frames a lot of exchanges is the UN guiding principles on business and human rights (protect, respect, and remedy). Social license to operate.

inside the affair12/4: Okay, well, Wednesday now, listening to Michael Young talking about the plight of hard to house persons in Western Canadian Arctic. Now up is Ludmila Ivanova, talking about the role of the mining industry in socio-economic development of the Murmansk region. Up now we have Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger, talking about fly-in/fly-out in the Petroleum Industry of the Western Siberian North. This is quite interesting, looking at labor conditions in Yamburg at remote oil sites or at mobile labor camps.

hall way12/3: Florian Stammler, U Rovaneimi, Senior Researcher, introducing second day, on a panel that coincides with The Rovaniemi Process Conference.

The panel today is People and the extractive industries: assessing impacts, sensing opportunities and mapping Arctic community viabilities. This session strives to create interrelations between various networks that raise potential risks and threats to concepts of community or community viability.

ArkticumChris Southcott, Mark Nuttall, Emma Wilson, with Chris up first talking about climate change and viability. Chris’ ongoing research project. Resource and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA). In the past, local communities have often been devastated by resource development. Research meetings with indigenous communities, wanting people want to find ways that oil and gas development can take place with positive effects.

Pizza2 Pizza1Climate change had brought increased attention to the Arctic. A dominant issue in global discourses, often linked to opening up the Arctic to resource development.

12/2: Okay, well. Here we begin at Rovaniemi, University Arctic Centre, just listening to Florian Stammler, introducing Lapland and everyone else introducing themselves.

talkingmark and taraAmazing enough to say, sitting right next to me on my left is none other than Professor Mark Nuttall, U Alberta, and directly in front of me is IIED wonder, Emma Wilson, and then, sitting on the right is Piotr Graczyk, U Tromsø. Wow, the whole team of specialists right here, gathered to do what we gather to do.

Talk about energy stuff.

And students too. We are just now introducing everyone, and we will come to everyone during this entire week. Okay, up now we have Natalia Loukacheva, introducing us to the topic of resources in the Arctic. Nuclear power stations is now the topic, with several installations across Finland, Sweden, and Russia, the latter having now in mind a few floating nuclear stations. A peat power plant in use at Rovaniemi. Mining, uranium, rare earth minerals. Coffee. Not a rare earth mineral, but important at 9:40AM.

Conventional and unconventional distinctions — typically well, in this case, perhaps, the threshold becomes an economic factor (a generalized term versus a technical distinction).

florianOn shore/off shore issues. Natalia provides an instructive genealogy of events on pipeline projects across the Arctic. Moving from Mackenzie Delta developments (1970s-80s) across Barents Sea (1980s) Western Siberia (on land 2002) and upcoming Offshore Ru, Fr. No. Alaska, IS.

Okay. Here we have a Drivers-concerns-community considerations: Energy Endowment, future demand and price, environmental risk (oil spills, ecological impacts), access to resources (infrastructure, geopolitics, sea ice), technology (conventional and unconventional resources), role of communities.

That is Natalia’s list, but Emma points out that climate change is important and the campaigns against development, including considerations such as Al Gore’s Stranded Carbon Asset report.

menuNow we turn to the topic of communities (health, economic opportunities, socio-economic wellness, implications for wildlife, participation in decision making, long term benefits, implications for future generations…).

General Discussion: What characteristics make these developments “Arctic specific”? That is a good question. And Natalia’s response is quite good too, responding in particular to how different communities respond, and how particular questions reflect particular regulatory conditions.

Depending on what types of categories invoked. Great comments by Florian and Emma, reminding us to not consider the Arctic as a self-enclosed box but to broaden our comparisons to other development zones.

mugChris Southcott is up now, from U Arctic, Yukon College, talking about resource development.

Canada village studies, looking at Northern Community development – taking on workshops developing a sense of what community needs might express what they understand as aspirations. Jobs, in fact, resource development in such a way that communities develop.

dinner ladies“Simple research question”: Can resources be developed in a manner that help long term sustainability of communities and how can this happen? ReSDA (acronym for research project). Walking through the method of the proposal – very informative. Initial findings of the “Gap Analysis”: Communities have an increasing confidence in the their ability to control resource development to meet their needs (surprising confidence) but there is a difference between new treaties and historic treaties; They want to know the best ways to carry out development; They want to know what are the likely impacts of resource development, how these impacts can be best measured, and what is the best way of dealing with these impacts; They want to know how other communities have dealt with resource development to maximize benefits.

meeting meetingserMark Nuttall! Up now talking about Greenland. Ah. interesting. The Arctic is becoming synonymous with Arctic Ocean, thereby emptying out the location of its indigenous occupancy. Nature as a space of contestation. Climate change is a key driver of climate change.

coffee evening


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6-14 August

Co-organized by Prof. Sergei Medvedev, University Higher School of Economics, Moscow & Head of Education programme, Tapani Kaakkuriniemi,  Aleksanteri Institute, U Helsinki

The Politics of Nature:
States, Borders, and Limits of Modernity

The Seventh International Summer School in Lapland

Kilpisjärvi, Finland, 6-14 August

class shot
Escapes from Modernity website.


Röyksopp-Poor Leno 😉 !!

Student Presentations…

8/12final day, Presentations: Well. Here we are, the moment we have all been waiting for. The final morning with presentations by the various student participants divided into groups (ta-dah!):
groupFirst up on our list we have the project, Scandinavia and Japan, brought to us by Vika (Victoria) Shtykova, Nikita Vasilenko, Oleg Sergeev, Sonia Solomonova, “The nature of a certain place”.

first groupNikita and Oleg narrate conceptions of Scandinavia and Japan as emerging toward the Modernity form–an originary state of nature continuing to draw on mythology of the ancients founded upon the natural world.

Unlike the Viking explorers, Japanese isolation from the continent, creates a self-enclosed self-sufficient system, yet, both spaces raise the principle of the natural world to the level of the state.

Up next on our list comes forward the group, Education Escape, with Seva Ioffe, Marina Fadeva, Dasha (Daria). Marina begins with an imaginary tale of a monster threatening school children and requesting as an answer from the audience as to how to respond, which they then present as a metaphor of education, the institutional construction of self-identity with so-called choices, following with “a play in two acts”.

The first emphasizing the intolerance of acceptance of difference, and second, the transfer of information versus the subjection of personhood to the construction of knowledge, using farce as harmless critique, while still getting the point across.
group two

Okay, here comes another group talking about, Climate Change, Alla Hanninen, Igor Efremov, Saana Porthén, mentioning of course, possible litany impacts associated with anthropogenic land- and atmosphere-scapes.

Traditional land use and infrastructure changes, health standards, affecting the local population – essentially, that climate change carries the “sign” (in the Saussurean sense) of change and could not be registered without it.

climate change

Now, stepping up to the plate is, Beyond Borders, with Nastya Vologodskaya, Natasha Iakovleva, Nastya Lukovenko, and Tatiana.

Lines that define modern space: economy + emotions; The realm of Nature – animal world; The use of borders for the sake of changing social norms; Space as luxury. The concept of [European] “North” as one integrated “unit” versus southern borders.

The team members carried out interviews with 20 persons nearby the biological station, who reacted to the idea of borders, expressing themselves as without borders but as kinds of citizens of the North. Norwegians come to shop in Finland, weekend. Who says the Northern folks are not very talkative, in fact, quite sociable. There is a sense of fluidity among travelers. Density of population influences the perception of space.

bordersThe North as main character (over other conceptions of space); no such notion as citizen of the South [just the undeveloped South, ed.]; Lapland is not an economic union – population belongs to Land and to Nature; Borders not visible (fences, frontiers); We are seeking to break Modernity by means of Modernity (imposed social order not natural for animals). The role of electronic communication in creating an imaginary space.

groupingUp now, Corporations, performative language in one act play with Masha (Maria) Nabat, Roosa Rytkönen, Dima Terechenko, Ivan Chernyavski (with props – Tapani as Judge, Arthur as environmental activist, Natasha, Edward, & Azamat as village dwellers).

Dima (lawyer) and Masha (Governor) versus Roosa (lawyer) and Ivan (biologist). Both sides make their case based on traditional tropes of development versus environmental sustainability and land use.  A number of witnesses arise, creating a comico-dramatic affect.jury
Finally, Our Escape, poetic discourse, beautifully done with Edward Epstein, Azamat Ulbashev, Paulina Vrublevskaya, Nastya (Anastasia) Falcon, Gritten Naams. Escape from flows, “expression of feelings makes you sensible…individual doesn’t need more than their hands, minds, a greatest escape… listen to your heart, trust yourself, follow your imagination…” “now we can see, escape is a journey to human nature … it never ends, but every time it brings us closer to ourselves….” – limiting talk, watching movies, different examples of escapes, different possibility of escape. “Do you agree with this kind of escape”, but other kind of escapes come to mind.

Oeuvre [“movie”]:

Azamat generously agreed to allow this posting of the final group’s film sequence as part of their representation of self-escape and exploration, a kind of tongue-in-cheek yet sentimentalist oeuvre, effective as it is.

What more is there to say?

Sergei provided a few final words on the eve of the end of the 7th summer year in the Escapes of Modernity. Eloquent as ever, to paraphrase: A distinct group, determination to discuss, acceptance is a powerful filter, making a decision to come to the North, and of course today’s presentations.

The Meaning of art is to be drawn to a challenge, to decode real art over a lifetime [echoes of V. Shklovsky, ed.].

We had a brief moment to identify a few individuals personally, for their special contribution… for their Inquisitive Spirit (Dima), Escapist Mood (Gritten), The Performer (Azamat), Philosophy and Life (Oleg), Sense of Wonder (Roosa), Engine of the Community (Seva), and Sauna Fairy (Masha).

Sauna swim

ходит- бродит баню топит…





Editor’s Corner: notes from the peanut gallery

If asked to offer my own opinion, “my two-cents, for what it’s worth”–as they say, well, quite frankly, it would include a sentence on the absolutely amazing hikes over the past days. Below are two perspectives looking both ways from different sides of the lake:
one way

Look this way…

other way

Look that way….

8/12, mid-morning session: Okay. Well, we have since re-coffee’d up, and now sitting in to listen to Tapani‘s discussion on energy and ecological thought in Finland.

Well, Finland, as it turns out, is a major producer of paper, pulp, and metals, 7th largest paper/pulp producer, raising the energy per capita to quite high levels.

Norms and Forms: Moving toward discussion of the EU framework: Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures. National legislation(s). Nature Conservation Act, 1995 in Finland, has a variety of descriptive themes that outline the “natural” state, including, but not limited to… “conservation of natural habitats”; “landscape conservation”; protection of animal species”; and with each designation, there are specific directives, such as “Procedure concerning notifications on the flying squirrel…”boat
All of this to say, that the regulatory framework is so increasingly complex in relationship to construction, that an entire expertise of mediation is required to navigate the various economic, political, regulatory development required to achieve progress. Development is a highly delicate act these days.color

foot8/12, day seven, morning session: We just finished breakfast, typically coffee, some form of warm cereal with jam, two types of both sliced cheese and meats are available, sometimes cut slices of orange.

Sergei M. is now up, speaking to us this morning about Deep Ecology: Reclaiming Time and Space. Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth, the crucial moment of Western reflexivity, and the dichotomy of environmentalism and ecology.

In the case of the former, consumption and capitalism continue as a central theme, but under considerations of sustainability, while in the case of the latter, the subject of humanism is decentered, and durations outside so-called civilized time become the focus of attention (10,000 years of humanism, 1,000,000 of shark-ism).

settingEcotopias, the rise of risk society (U. Beck) and popularization of one-dimensional man (H. Marcuse) leading to traditional conceptions of the West and the Rest in new forms, a strategy by EuroAmericans to raise the threshold of what constitutes the maturity of modernity in the eyes of “develop-man” (development).  Dystopias in the form of eco-fascism.

Social construction of nature, positioning nature as an artefact that can be codified, recreated, mimicked, parked (walled-off) as a zone of indistinction, set apart and inscribed through scientific practice and technical instruments.

treesBarry Commoner, The Closing Circle,…: (1) Systemic connection, on ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all; (2) Everything must go somewhere, there is no “waste” in the eco-system, a closed system where transferrals into or out of the system are self enclosed (first law of thermodynamics); (3) Nature knows best, as a reminder that human technology is likely to be detrimental to the system; (4) No such thing as free lunch, and exploiting nature will convert resources from useful to useless (second law of thermodynamics).

hikingwalkingArne Naess: Deep Ecology: (1) well-being of life (prioritizing bios over zoë, biological life over political life) (2) richness and diversity are values (multiculturalism); (3) rights of man do not include reducing richness and diversity — except, ahem, for so-called “vital needs” (dry cleaning for Wall Street bankers, whale hunting for Inuit North); (4) appreciating life quality over increasingly higher standards of living.hikingwalkingbordershikingshoes feet


Fair enough: discussions in West, however hypocritical they may be, do take place, and critical consciousness does have a space in academia, politics, the economy.

The biological age, bringing life into the world continues to remain a form of goodness, versus a restriction on population. The “population bomb” and fascism associated with discussions surrounding relentless expansion and or limitations of growth of populations.

Environmental Spatiality: Borders, Landscapes, Maps (modernity as constriction of space); Space of places vs. Space of Flows (postmodern dissolution).

Human experience and meaning are still local — Heiddegerian theme of habitus where human action comes into focus: The walking pathpath

Small-scale government, direct democracy and citizen participation, small-scale production, self-sufficiency and austerity. Saying “no” to development, an affluent (or political) choice.

Environmental Temporality– forms of time: clock time (chronological sequencing, human discipline); timeless time (instantaneity, random discontinuity, the global casino); glacial time (Lash and Urry) of ecology (nuclear waste timelines)

Ecology as a way of reclaiming time and space — Re-essentializing human experience.

Movie night!


Как я провёл этим летом

How I Ended this Summer

I sat in on the movie this evening, having missed a few other nights’ showings.

The Plot:
movieIn the Arctic, a meteorologist and young assistant take sensitive radiation and weather readings, collecting data at specific times of day transmitted to meteorologists at another station via regular radio calls, engaged in tedious work but taken quite seriously by the senior meteorologist who follows a strict routine, while his young assistant slacks off around the ramshackle arctic station.

A radio call sends word that the meteorologist’s wife and young son are involved in a horrible accident, the young slacker avoids relaying the news, until life between the two men reaches a boiling point.
We enjoyed the movie. Sergei provided commentary at the beginning. Afterward, he led us in a general discussion on the meanings of the film, which we all appreciated.

Earlier, a few of us on foot and others on bicycles traveled the distance to the KMarket, at the center of town, some 45 minute walk from the biological station. We picked up a few items for the film.

Popcorn, a New World cuisine was my choice for the evening.

Masha kept me entertained the entire walk home, with her specific observations on the American way of life, gathered while she lived in New York attending graduate school. One the way, we managed to catch site of reindeer which often wander around the area.

Yesterday, I neglected to write about our absolutely fantastic hike, beginning on the Swedish side of the lake arriving there by local ferry, and then walking to the Norwegian border, where Tapani provided us with a lecture regarding 1000 years of political history in the Nordic north.

From there, having had lunch, we trekked upward and around the lake, to the base of the fjell which we had previously hiked several days prior. In all, it was about a four hour hike, perhaps more, through some of the most beautiful country I have seen ever.

Well, in fact, I should note as an aside, that today in front of everyone, I was able to provide a short digression on some of my own research–benefiting, of course, by the tracks laid down from earlier presentations by Tapani and Sergei, both of whom deftly introduced topics on, well, the themes are there to read below.

 Presenting the graph:

yet more graphsmore graphsgraph8/9 day three, afternoon session: Surprise visit by Antero Järvinen— offering a lecture titled, Cautionary notes on long term trends in northern nature — established scientist working here at Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, U Helsinki, for over 30 years. Fabulous images demonstrating skepticism of anthropogenic change to climate.

Views from
Kilpisjärvi Biological Station:

The Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Scientific Research Station belonging to U Helsinki, est. 1964 provides long series observations of High North flora and fauna. Here is the view looking out.


8/9 day three, mid-morning session:


Here at the biological station, thankfully, while without the milk foam, there is plenty of coffee available (yay!).

Tapani Kaakkuriniemi continues on the topic of Nationalism: representations (scientific and popular) aimed toward securing (reasserting) an independent stance. Finland’s national independence day in December versus Sweden’s national day in June, which, because of differences of weather, intensifies a particular understanding of the self, nation-hood, belonging. Here, Tapani recalls the work of Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803), German philosopher of the initial cultural form, Will Kymlicka (Canadian political philosopher) on multiculturalism, and other popular practioners of the modern form, Jürgen Habermas, Jean-Marc Ferry, measuring egalitarian justice of the multicultural alongside considerations of political stability.

computer8/9 day three, morning session: Tapani begins this morning with a few reminders about tomorrow’s boat trip and hike, also a few announcements about further possible day trips to Norwegian border, and finally, now we begin with Tapani’s lecture on the nation-state:

State sovereignty— three elements of an organized political entity occupying a 1) definite territory, 2) population, 3) government.

Manifestations include the symbolic form of the flag, marked borders. Member status in United Nations continues with South Sudan, Montenegro, Switzerland, Serbia joining after the turn of the 21st century.

Basic assumption is that sovereignty stands outside the law, no higher authority than the sovereign, and thus, and equivalence of status among states (Peace of Westphalia, 1648 — emergence of absolutist states as final actors wherein the sovereign no longer signifies the King’s two bodies).
mountain Westphalian order…bound up with the persistence of non-capitalist property relations that lingered perhaps, lumbering toward the sovereign modern state. So, there are a variety of different sub-national and supra-national entities emerging which give rise to question the status of the Westphalian defined modern state. And this includes the concept of American tribes, status of Native-ness through government-to-government (often non-territorial) relations.

duplicateduplicityThe Hill
8/8 day two, mid-morning session: Prof. Sergei Medvedev continues with a description of the world from 1450-1750, the march toward ecological risk society. Circa 1450, China was advanced, Islamic civilization in decline, Europe a backwater — then…

1) European ecological individuality wherein risk becomes more controlled (fewer natural disasters, regulated marriage, controlled fertility, colder winter linked to fewer diseases, advantageous position at the World Seas, good ports and waterways); 2) Food regimes (Rice versus Wheat), wherein rice requires a certain centralized authoritarian structure while wheat favors small “holders”; 3) High priority for order and peace in China versus European subject as agent of change; 4) Philosophy leadership in learning and morality versus wealth (using a knife to cut open a body, the anatomical theater).

rocksEuropean control over nature through the rise of the Modern State (violence, territory, nature); Judeo-Christian Tradition; Scientific Revolution (abstract and geometrized universe governed by fundamental principle of gravitation, Ferdinand Braudel); Early Capitalism and colonialism eventually transforming the world into an economic global system.

Medvedev’s “The Modern Trap” — Making the world friendlier, lighter, safer place, Pursuit of happiness and comfort, Avoiding risk and fighting death. Enslaving nature and man. Human freedom cannot be achieved without emancipating Nature. As opposed (or in relationship with) “more modernity” of geoengineering, where modernity is an unfinished product.

Here, I have to establish some lines of clarification. Prof. Medvedev’s argument is with what he problematizes as practices of intensification with the goals of perfection, creating similar attributes to U. Beck‘s Risk Society, entering a period in which the (over) production of bads poses threats to traditional structures of a wealth generating society.

setting8/8 day two, morning session: Sergei Medvedev begins this morning with a discussion of Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972), analyzing prints for their philosophical perspective on the imagination of social and philosophical dimension (structural power[s] within the context of modernity, its institutions, language, and social form).

rocksMoving from Escher across various authors on the Modern condition, Max Weber, Franz Kafka, Jürgen Habermas, Michel Foucault and practices of surveillance. Oh, here we go, one of the students, Seyva, points out that institutions produce individuality, much like Foucault had pointed out in his many descriptions of genealogies of the present.

Emergence of Modernity, is there a time period? Early 20th century? Constitutions and rights of man? Reformation? Perhaps there are multiple modernities.

Holland as an example of modern space, as a highly constructed ordered “nature of space” (versus space of nature). Organized geometrical plots (power of geometric universal — a lego universe). The power of the cadastral map and with all the daily pursuits.

The cue: Soviet disciplining institution, knowing the rules of the cue (you don’t ask “who’s last in line?”), Vladimir Saroken, Russian postmodernist writer of The Line. Agitation after the first 30 minutes, and then transcendental by the time you arrive at the moment of consumption (“no joy”), for deficit commodities (toilet paper — wrapped in white like revolutionary sailors).

walkingNostalgia for the cue. Standing next to each other, communal experience, comunalnii kvartira (communal apartment).  Airline ticket lines. Western European/American etiquette versus Russian practice. The focus on property (bodies, time) — things that do not belong to the self (standing in line as an indication of non-ownership of time). The cue, whether we like them or not, serve a variety of different purposes (reading, time wasted, prayer, imposing and productive). The permanent reproduction of the communal body.

Modernity as a practice of filling all the blank spaces (Z. Bauman).

I want to mention, in passing, our hike yesterday evening to the summit of a nearby fjell. The walk itself was some 2 hours up the hill and 90 minutes back to the base. hilltopfriendsphotowalkinghappy


8/7 day one: 7th summer school at Kilpisjärvi, we are starting up this morning at 10AM, now listening to Sergei Medvedev, Higher School of Economics professor, European history and programme co-organizer, describing his initial experiences in the north as a formative desire to set up a school where students could meet and discuss the modern condition. Prof. Medvedev has a long career in various Western European and American academic institutions, and is quite involved in the Russian public sphere, publishing commentaries for the Russian Forbes magazine, radio and television in Moscow.

Escaping the routine practices of the urban center, bringing students to a remote place near the Arctic circle, as much about education as it is isolation, northernness, remoteness, enhancing humanness. Lectures in the morning with interaction, lunch at noon, discussion of projects by students, a selection process to narrow down proposals and then movement toward creating finalized projects. An escape from networks for some time.

The organizersTapani Kaakkuriniemi (far left with S. Medvedev), Head of Education at Aleksanteri Institute, reminiscing on early life in the North. Temporalities of the North based on different attitudes than the march of progress associated with urban life. Sharing the experience associated with the land, climate, weather, the natural elements. Hiking during summers.

We have some preliminary discussions, including our sauna period, hiking areas, weather conditions, cycling, and the dangers of cycling in the north given the narrow roads and having to share the space with truck drivers, payment of accommodations and bus transportation (payable to Tapani). Tricky terrain in the area, so notifications of travel should be taken seriously.

First session: Art of Travel.
everyone Sergei M. — Travel as daily routine and ordinary, versus previous times, when travel was limited to merchants, traders, sea farers, taking travel for specific reasons, escaping debt, discovery, but not sentimentalism as it is today, as a journey of self discovery, as a reflective subject, that apart from reading can be accessed through traveling. Tourism, a standardized form, though its early development began as the “‘grand tour” for self development, necessary visits to Nice, the destination of young, wealthy, Englishmen. Tour emerges as part of cycling and sportsmanship and both, combined with the appropriation of space. Tour de France, cycling and covering the nation, “liquid modernity” (Z. Bauman), the idea of spread, expansion, exploration and appropriation of space, encircling space.

cordMass society–what was individual exploration, travel becomes mass tourism, the big resorts, sanatorium, standardizing bodily recreation and leisure, depositories of the human body, belonging to the state (as in Soviet Russia), requires states of rest, at resorts (Crimea), through jet travel (Boeing 747), economies of scale makes transAtlantic crossings a mass option, the secretary, the itineraries, discipline and practices, no longer imagining travel without the guidebook (lonely planet), confining to itinerary on the one hand, and enlightenment on the other. Stop using your own vision, but channeled through the guide book and losing the sense of personal discovery and exploration.

Textual and experiential. Do you first look at the image or at the textual description.

Tourist or Journeyman. The consumerist practice in addition to the guidebook includes the camera (and now Iphone, Ipad). People traveling for the purpose of taking photographs, standardizations and reproductions, proving their own reality (W. Wenders). Tourism as standard procedure overburdened through accessible practices, mediated through repetition (repeat visits, matrix of comfort). On the other hand, travel remains an encountering the other.
bus tourismfrom the window

Simon Infanger, Switzerland to KilpisJärvi by bicycle, project 5000. Traveling without a guidebook, and taking photographs, backpacking as a counterweight to tourism. Works in marketing, sports life, bicycling 13000 km/year. Project 5000: Cycling from Switzerland to Nordkap and back to Tromsø (5000km) within 28 days (+4 days off). Collecting money for Viva con Agua for drinking water in development countries. “Probably the most ambitious cycling tour ever from Switzerland to Nordkap”.

stationProject 5000: Press feedback (newspaper, television); Daily updates on tour (blog, social media); Presentations after the tour. A present form of travel mediated by technological advancements in clothing (weather gear enabling cycling during heavy rain); delivery of packages through coordination of internet and FedEx; bicycling equipment has radically changed to provide increasingly different and intensive performance.

Travel packaging delivery at destinations provided for specific weather conditions, differences between Germany and Finland, requirements differ. All of these requirements, traveling parcel to parcel, “a huge organization before you start, but when it works, it is super comfortable” [simplification by huge energy demands and organization, a striving for simplification] — streamlining the intensification of time-space compression, combined with “huge media feedback.”

desert“I have an Ipad and post photos and messages every day”. The length of the project, its speed, new, excitement, because it is only 28 days, versus something like 3 months which would become boring. “When I arrive back in Switzerland I will do presentations on the project to raise money and provide inspiration for others to try something new.”

mapAs part of preparation, a Youtube video of training was posted as well.

Inspiration: idea, that you can realize the idea, that you can focus, priorities, “if you can think about it you can do it…I fell in love with the North, and it took me three years to come back, the major goal, sometimes you have to do bad things to reach the goal, 50 hours a week sitting on a bicycle seat”. Doing things are needed to reach the goal, and not doing what everyone tells you to reach the goal, and the professionals responded, “You’re not a pro and this is very ambitious” — good to have concerns but good to be self confident and do the way you can do things.

25,000 followers on the blog, and comes up with an idea in Germany, providing an image of the roller coaster with his bike, to share on social media.

People living with the project through social media. The representation of endurance “arriving through muscle force and not car”.

in the busbusAfter Lunch: A short introduction to the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station , Scientific Research Station belonging to University of Helsinki established in 1964 by Prof. O. Kalela (who came to examine fluctuations in small fauna). The only part of Finland extending into the Scandinavian mountain ridge (Scandes). And plenty of flowers, mountain, high latitude flora. Between continental and oceanic climates, quite difficult to forecast. Mean annual temp. -2.3 c (+10.9c July/-13.6c January). Shortest growing season in Europe: 100 days (in southern Finland 180 days). The research station provides long series of observations on: fluctuations of small rodent densities over a 60 year period; population dynamics of passerines since 1957; changes in flora. Research activities include effects of global warming (ITEX project).

Eight permanent employees: director, station manager, department secretary, laboratory  mechanic, cook; 2 cleaning persons and janitor. Three part-timers: 2 cooks and research assistant. No permanent research positions.

cleanerSergei Medvedev: Introducing the program. Escapes from Modernity philosophy. All together 16-17 schools with hundreds of students (7th programme in Finland). Gathering people in remote places to discuss critical ideas, including in addition to Kilpisjärvi, Estonia, Tartu University sports station, gathering each February, Bavaria, in the Alps (media and information technologies), Catalonia (aspects of architecture and the modern city).

talkingEscaping from the big city, from modern society and hassles of daily life with the object of criticism being modernity. Modernity: something to which we all belong and yet seek to escape. The discliplinary institutions that restrain us and at the same time produce us. Reformation, Enlightenment, Industrialization/nationalism, 20th century (wars, mass, globalization). Key tenets of modernity (time) our measurment (no such thing as time in nature) — modern time, premodern cyclical time. In Lapland, time of the eternal now.

We saw a Norwegian movie yesterday on the way here, in the bus, entitled “North”, which presents the concept of time in the form of the low-hanging sun, the symbol of enduring time (not being afraid of death, reuniting with nature). Environmentalism as non-modern form of economic imagination.
fireheading top
Two-minute round of introductions of students:
Well, here, I am going to jot down the first names of students in attendance as each briefly describes their project idea. Afterward, there will be break out groups to decide which topic should be further explored. I have abbreviated the project ideas into key words:

Roosa, cult. anth., U Helsinki: maps, borders, naming.
Paulina, soc., Moscow: constituting North community.
Marina, hist., Moscow: legislation as source of identity.
Nastia, cult. anal., HSE: image of North in media.
Anastasia, media, HSE: information and social networks.
Natasha, law, HSE: recycling practices.
Vayna, law, HSE: legislation environmental protection.
Igor, demog., HSE: life expectancy indigenous.
Alla, lit., U Helsinki: climate change.
Sonia, lit., U Helsinki: Saami identity.
Mitya, polysci., HSE: cultural integration.
chickenAzamat, econ., HSE: recycling.
Edward, hist., HSE: crosscultural studies.
Tatiana, polysci., HSE: cultural heritage.
Sofie, for. affairs, HSE: interactive game.
Gritten, polysci., U Helsinki: new routines.
Nastia, econ., HSE: climate change.
Dimitri, econ., MGIMO: oil & gas companies.
Dasha, hist., HSE: animal rights.
Oleg, philos., HSE: mythology.
Masha, IRpolitics, NYU: economic equality.
Victoria,[], HSE: ecological politics.
Seyva, econ., HSE: education.

Regroup at 5:45

Six group titles:
New approaches to education as escapes from modernity
Beyond the borders
International corporations
Mythological influence in modern Scandinavia and Japan
Urban escapes
Climate change



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