20200803

The world is a tea: The taste of water is the taste of the world. #ॐ

Digging Onyx Ashanti’s 2019 presentation for Eyeo festival. He wants to turn computerizing into a spatial and temporal activity. As an interface he focuses on hands, because “they do stuff before asking the brain”. He echoes a believe that humans can be programmed trough the hand-interface: The tools we use shape the way we think. I believe there is truth to this. I feel rejuvenated after working with crafts projects or construction. I think writing is a development of our desire to do thinking with our hands. Ashanti’s interest on hands has a solid connection to Tetsuo Kogawa/mini-FM transmitter stuff (mentioned earlier) as both artists are using gesture-based wireless systems.

LOW←TECH MAGAZINE is operated from a solar powered server. Access to the site is depended on weather! The design of site is perfect: Brutal and bandwidth efficient. The premise of the design is the same as with our Ore.e Ref. website (notes on the design here) but the LOW←TECH implementation of image dithering and coding optimization is way more advanced. Their design premise: “Default typeface / No logo” is elegant and they also offer “print-on-demand copies of the blog.”

The Internet is not an autonomous being. Its growing energy use is the consequence of actual decisions made by software developers, web designers, marketing departments, publishers and internet users. With a lightweight, off-the-grid solar-powered website, we want to show that other decisions can be made.

Installed an alternative firmware (Beta3) by Ralim to my ts80p soldering iron. Sending bug/testing notes to the [Long] TS80P Thread development channel. Soldering iron with an alternative firmware and a development community feels like the pinnacle of modernity.

Visited the Makamik squat for the Makamik-fest. The artist lineup was great and there were gigs and performances for three consecutive days. I heard a few gigs on Saturday and visited Salla Valle’s performance on Sunday. Valle worked outdoors and focused on smoke. She hid in the grass and send smoke signals by vaping, then she attempted to store smoke in jars (critique on live-art archivism?) and played a ringtone/mating call mixtape.

We had our final Achille Mbembe reading group session last week. The process was well organized and I enjoyed meeting new people. As a side quest, we met with the Helsinki based group, at the Malmi cemetery for a necro-touristic tour. I escorted folk to the pear-tree garden, a concrete-fence-stage and a relocated mass grave. The visit ended at the discarded gravestone disposal facility, where we saw old gravestones which had been grinded into rubble. Some fragments of letters and numbers could still be identified. The rubble pile felt like a monument and a very fitting summary for the Mbembe reading group sessions: Rubble mesh of identity signs which is used for construction and the underpayment of roads.

20200721

The Broända spring seems to be destroyed. We visited the site (60.22312, 25.12607) yesterday and after a careful inspection of the surroundings it seems that the landscaping of the creek and the construction of the Vartiokylänlahti floodwalls have resulted into the destruction of the natural spring. I found a well in the proximity but it was dry. A survey Helsingin kaupungin ympäristökeskuksen julkaisuja 17/2013 (which Emmi found online) offers a thorough listing of all of the springs in Helsinki. According to this source the Broända spring (also know as “Viking Well”) was the best source for natural water in the city. The destruction of the spring is also confirmed on this blog and by browsing the history of the site on Helsinki ilmakuvina 1932–2014 service. Marko Leppänen has published a comment on a blog (summer, 2015), which details that a concrete rim of the spring well had been damaged by landscaping equipment.

We continued our expedition to the nearby Kurkimoisio spring, which according to the available photos seemed to be in the same condition as during the 17/2013 survey. As mentioned in the survey there were old wooded ground structures (dams?) in its proximity and I think more them were visible then before. The concrete ring placed around the spring opening was poorly covered and it had collected organic material. I tasted the water, it was drinkable but the water was discolored and had an odor. This spring would be great for a restoration project! We also strolled in the Kurkimoisionpuiston creek-spring area but no surface springs could be spotted. Apparently Helsinki area underground waters are not used as supplies for drinking water but there are facilities around the city tapped to the underground reserves, in case something goes wrong with the Päijänne Water Tunnel or the Silvola artificial lake (these are the water supplies for a million people). We spotted an odd facility named Broändan pohjavesilaitos near to the springs.

20200719

Assisted Riikka Kuoppala with her Vegan & Legal service yesterday. I offered mineral waters and chatted people up as her assistant. We worked in the Dallapé park and at Harjutori. I had fun and got an insight to Kuoppala’s project. I think, as an artwork Vegan & Legal is great for illustrating the technical and esthetic framework law is embedded to. The default look of law is gray and masculine.

Witnessing Riikka talk about law in a public park, wearing plain clothes and offering legal guidance, while serving kombucha felt oddly disturbing. This is because I’m not used to see law discussed in a comfortable setting and I’m not used to sympathize with people who work with it. All my dealings with law have been oppressive and violently bureaucratic. I hate everything about it, from the architecture of courts, all the way down to the the ugly sandwiches they serve in cafeterias.

On a practical level it was heart-warming to see Riikka offer legal guidance for free. Some had reserved a session and send her detailed questions to look up in advance. I think Vegan & Legal succeeds in making law more accessible and I hope this will encourage people working with law to work more publicly in the future.

20200713

Kukonmäen lähde (Rooster Hill Spring) an ancient site with a natural spring, cup-stones (Kuppikivi) in the proximity and the spring water is deemed undrinkable (which makes it all the more exiting). The spring has a concrete support (possibly build in the 30ties as it does not have a steel support) and willow in it’s proximity. The spring was renovated in 2009 by the self-organized Maarian Allas Association. In the renovation they removed a staircase which lead to the water and build a fence around the spring (to keep animals out of the water). Members of the association have organized Saint Lawrence day (10.8) harvest-celebration events at the site. Turku Museum Center has designated the spring as ancient and dated the site over 5000 year old. Planning a mineral water excursion with New Performance Turku.

A short history on sparking waters in Helsinki: Vadelmalimonaadia ja seltterivettä [Raspberry lemonade and Seltzer water] (2014) Kati Selänniemi. Pharmacists Edward Forsberg established the first sparkling water factory at Erottajankatu 4 in 1854. His venture expanded in 1865 as he was joined by seven pharmacists, who established the Apteekkarien Kivennäisvesitehdas Oy [Pharmasists Mineral Water Factory]. Around that time they started working with a some sort of carbonation technology which allowed them to produce artificial mineral waters. Here is a cute advert for their products and services. They also produced sparking wines, lemon sodas and offered sparkling water bathing treatments. According to this source (a collector of porcelain bottle caps) Apteekkarien Kivennäisvesitehdas was operation until 1959.

According to a 2020 article in Helsingin Sanomat (Pauli Jokinen), mineral waters were sold in kiosks as the water of the city wells was a health hazard. Most of the kiosks mentioned in the text are located around the city center boulevard and aimed for city bourgeoisie (I think this is why drinking bottled water is still considered fancy). If I understand it correctly, mineral waters were imported from abroad because they were safer to drink then local waters. When pharmacists learned how to manufacture them artificially they begun producing them from distilled water locally. Some of the waters in an old menu (provided by the Helsinki City Museum archives ) refer (or are from?) geological springs around Europe (Aachener, Emser, Pyrmonter, Selters, Vichy).

Apparently there was a sparking water boom. They were associated with bath-houses, bathing culture and sold as remedies for different heath concerns. Myths of fountains with healing properties were commercialized early on. Fredrik Berndtson’s 1845 book Helsingfors för Resande, i synnerhet Bad- och Brunnsgäster (available in a library in Sweden) offers guidelines and recipes on how to treat oneself with water.

Mineral waters in Tampere share a similar history.

20200514

Alkovi published an interview were we discuss the work I’ve been doing related to the In Various Stages of Ruins -project. The questions were send beforehand and the interview is conducted by Miina Hujala and video edited by Arttu Merimaa. Mineral waters are mentioned and views to the wild springs we found shared. The format is interesting, Miina is scrolling the screen vertically, the timeline is progressing horizontally and to read the longer parts one needs to pause the movement.

Konsthall C made an announcement for next weeks Mineral Water Sommelier Hotline performance. Build three piezo-amplifiers and seriously sourcing a sound card for the live stream.