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Helsinki School

Gallery Taik Persons

Aomori Water Walks

Water is everywhere. It is inside us, it is in the air we breathe and it runs deep under our feet.

From April 30th to May 25th, I completed seven walks: 90 kilometres. From every walk I collected about one litre of water from a river, sea or brook and stored it in a cheap water bottle. Usually, I carried it with me inside my backpack, two times I returned to the site and collected the water later.

The installation consists of maps drawn on the walls of the exhibition hall, describing the routes I took when I was climbing Mt. Hakkoda, hiking to valleys or walking down to the Aomori harbour. Below each map there is a small cup of water collected from that walk.

Most of my earlier work has been connected to concepts of traces, presence, absence, memory and disappearance. The Aomori Waterwalks plays with the notion of temporariness.

I did not leave many traces in the landscapes, and the water I collected will evaporate in the porcelain cups. After the water has vanished, the exhibition is also over. The photographs in the series Waterwalks do stay and resist the merciless process of time for a while, but they are only fragments of memories from the hike and my physical efforts.

The Aomori Waterwalks is a continuous process: I will collect water and add new parts to the installation during June 2004.

Aomori Contemporary Art Center, Japan, May 2004

Download Saarto's Statement Aomori Water Walks