Throughout history birds have migrated through the Nordic countries and onto the Russian High North. They weave invisible and borderless networks. Over time, we have developed close relationships with birds that have helped shape the culture of the different countries. Our countries also experience many of the same challenges with declining numbers of birds, loss of habitat and conflicts between birds and humans as birds become refugees in cities due to lack of food in their normal habitats. In this project we therefore wanted to work with birds across these national borders and identify our common challenges and raise our gaze together to focus on birds.
Nests are curated site-specific platforms for artists, scientists and local partners to explore topics relating to birds and their habitats in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Russia. In dialogue with ornithologists and bird enthusiasts during our field trips, we identified four overarching concerns causing challenges for many bird species in these regions:
- Industrial practices in forestry, fishing and agriculture
- Increase of monoculture farmland
- Hunting practices
- Impact of climate change
With these concerns in mind, we chose the different Nest sites and identified five main themes that we found artistically interesting to work with and wanted to explore further. These themes have formed the basis for the entire project and the work in the various Nests.
- Territory and space
- Migration and border crossing
- Interspecies collaboration between humans and birds
- Attitudes, values and prejudice towards particular bird species
- Birds in language and literature
This has enabled us to work interdisciplinarily and locally with common core issues shared by the Nordic countries, generating important insight and focus for the collaborations.
The Nest activities got underway in 2020 and continued throughout 2023, partly disrupted by the pandemic. The first exhibition took place in 2022 at Pori Art Museum with the work from the Finnish Nest Chorus sinensis. Nest events and exhibitions have taken place in Denmark, Sweden and Norway throughout 2023. In 2024 exhibitions are planned at Österängens konsthall in Jönköping, Sweden and in Hanaholmen Cultural Centre in Espoo, Finland and at Terminal B, Kirkenes, Norway. More information can be found on each Nest, along with its progress and any upcoming public events.