TEEMU LEHMUSRUUSU: Field Observatory

site-sensitive installation

Hanhipuisto park, Kirjurinluoto, Pori

Field Observatory is a temporary public art work situated by the pond of Hanhipuisto at the Kirjurinluoto park in Pori, Finland. The site serves as a gathering place where visitors can slow down to observe happenings of the growing season through the processes of the soil. While modelled by the artist from the starting point of a traditional barn, the measurements of the minimalist, dark-toned pavilion features elements reminiscent of a temple or a room of silence.

Inside the structure the audience meets a large-scale clay sculpture on which a generative, moving image animation is projected, as well as a soundscape created by three instruments – guitar, piano and clarinet. The installation serves as a window, as a portal into the volumes of the ground, creating perceptible events and processes taking place in the soil. Both the visual and the audio elements change in real time in response to soil measurements taken from a specific field that is undergoing a biological soil improvement cycle – creating connotations towards an underground weather station. The installation is programmed to modify the stream of images and sounds in synchrony with variations in the temperature and humidity as well as CO2 flux in the soil. Thus, the work changes with the bioactivity pulse of the field.

The underlying core concept of the work is the impact of plants in the biological regeneration of compacted soil. Its aesthetics are inspired by the root systems of alfalfa, tall fescue and white clover as well as other plants. The project is founded on a sustained dialogue that the artist has conducted with farmers as well as researchers committed to identifying and promoting carbon farming practices, soil improvement and regenerative food production methods. The data used in the work comes from sensor measurements made at the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s research farm in Qvidja where Teemu Lehmusruusu has worked since 2018.

A new book, Trophic Verses, will also be published in conjunction with the work (Rooftop Press, 2023). Edited by Saara Karhunen and Teemu Lehmusruusu, the book is a multidisciplinary and polyphonic examination of soil phenomena and the attendant interplay between science and art. The book will be available for purchase from the museum’s container that will be set up near the installation.

Teemu Lehmusruusu (b.1981) is a transdisciplinary artist based in Helsinki and Kemiönsaari. His practice spans across hybrid interfaces between digital technologies, research-based art and architectural thinking in a quest to create experiential embodiments of biological phenomena that are otherwise inaccessible to human senses. In his art, Lehmusruusu explores connections to the invisible and unknown life-sustaining events whose meaning and existence we often ignore in our everyday lives.

In many of his works, Lehmusruusu re-considers the concept of landscape from an alternative angle, from below and within the soil, through the agencies residing in it. His work has in recent years encompassed artistic research related to soil ecosystems, undertaken within a network built around a project entitled Trophic Verses. The works were created in interaction with regenerative agriculture practitioners and farmers as well as climate and soil scientists. The most recent works include an open-air installation, House of Polypores, commissioned by the Helsinki Art Museum and exhibited at the Helsinki Biennial in Vallisaari in summer 2021, and Parent Matter, shown at EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art in 2022–2023 in the In Search of the Present exhibition. Lehmusruusu is currently working on his doctoral thesis at the Department of Art and Media at Aalto University. Field Observatory comprises the second artistic production created for the dissertation.

Field Observatory was commissioned by the Pori Art Museum for its 2023 exhibition programme, which takes place in exceptional sites due to the closure of the museum building for renovation until the end of 2024. Within the context of the Pori art scene, this project represents a continuum in which art is presented in public spaces or exceptional temporary venues. Many of the featured works have been created by autonomous or artist-driven organisations such as NYTE ry, Tehdas ry, Porin Kulturisäätö ry, or Ars Pori, and also as part of the curriculum and research of the Aalto University Department of Art and Media in Pori.

Viewing times:

Fri 16.6. at 13–20 (opening at 18–20)
17.–21.6. Sat–Wed 11–18 (closed on Monday)
Thu 22.6. at 11–15
Closed on Midsummer 23.6.–25.6.
26.6.–31.7. Mon-Sun 11–18
1.8.–20.8. Tue-Sun klo 11–18

(21.8.–31.8.2023 Open by reservation only)


Artist: Teemu Lehmusruusu
Research collaborators: farmer–researcher Juuso Joona, climate researchers Jari Liski & Liisa Kulmala, soil researcher Jussi Heinonsalo, Carbon Action & Finnish Meteorological Institute
Carpenter: Santeri Pöytäniemi
Real-time animation and programming: Roberto Fusco
3D animation: Vilja Achté
Music: Ville Tanttu guitar, David Rothenberg clarinet, Eetu Vekki piano
Typography: Jaakko Suomalainen
Co-production: Trophic Verses and Kunstventures, with support from AVEK and Kone Foundation.
Comissioning and production: Pori Art Museum
Curators: Saara Karhunen and museum director Anni Venäläinen

Pori Art Museum team:
Arttu Merimaa, chief curator of exhibitions
Henri Smura, technician
Kati Kunnas-Holmström, curator, digital services
Mirja Ramstedt-Salonen, head of public programmes
Ilona Juntura, curator of education
Anu Lankinen, curator, customer services
Heidi Porttila, curator, customer services
Venla Lehtonen, Kanerva Kivistö, Miranda Paloviita and Olivia Laine, museum attendants and guides


More information:
chief curator Arttu Merimaa
+358 44 701 3965

Event information

16.06.2023 - 20.08.2023
Hanhipuisto Garden Park, Kirjurinluodontie 2