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Leviathan: The Paljassaare Chapter

An exhibition by Shezad Dawood with contributions from Kärt Ojavee, Joonas Plaan, Peep Lassmann, ecoLogicStudio, Robert Treufeldt, Kai Künnis-Beres, Sten Lassmann, Lennart Lennuk, Graham Fitkin, Triin Loosaar, Annika Kaldoja, Katarina Kruus & Ann Müürsepp.

Co-curated by Inês Geraldes Cardoso, Karin Laansoo & Triin Metsla

Various Objects by Kärt Ojavee

Inspired by local traditional knowledgw and global mythologies around sea-related craft, Various Objects are based on tools developed through history resulting from passed down knowledge, know-how, and empirical experience. In Ojavee's hands, these traditional objects have been modified, foreshadowing a speculative scenario where future communities living near the sea use the resources available to them to delicately craft useful, and in some cases impractical, objects and materials. Each object opens up questions regarding the inherent value of materials, traditional knowledge, and techniques, and the relationship between fragile ecosystems and human societies that are part of them. 

"Dissolving Hat"

Dissolving Hat is made to last until it is exposed to water, after which it decays, leaving behind only the strings attached to it. The leather look-alike material consists of crafted sea-sourced raw materials, which are highly prized in the food and medical industries. Its shape, combining a tricorn and a fisherman’s hat is practical, particularly at sea: the turned-up brims form gutters that direct rainwater away from the wearer’s face, depositing most of it over their shoulders. This is an eco-luxury object with a predetermined shelf-life that shifts the focus away from synthetic to bio, and from mass-manufactured aesthetics to the irregularity of craft, looking simultaneously to the past and the future.

Constructed in collaboration with Kadi Adrikorn.

Techniques: sewing, braiding, authors technique.

Material: furcellaran-based material (author’s material), cephalopod ink, seaweed charcoal (from Fucus Vesiculosus), carbon fiber.

"Resting Sail"

This work responds to a vision of the ocean as a blue economy - the next golden goose. The extractive approach towards the ocean as a resource for raw materials encompasses both living orga- nisms and abiotic agents of marine environments: algae is seen as a promising solution for various issues and is trending in the worlds of cosmetics, medicine, superfoods, and bioplastics (films for packaging). The history of sailing the seas is strongly connected to knowledge of materials and the technology for making durable sails, as goods were traded across the world and voyages often entailed long distances. Here, the sail is resting, and resisting an extractive mindset. It blends ancient and contemporary materials including wool and linen, kevlar (invented by chemist Stephanie Kwolek for DuPont), optical fiber (typically used as a submarine communication cable) and polyamide (widely used for making fishing nets known as ghost nets, known to be the biggest plastic polluters in the oceans).

Techniques: hand weaving.

Materials: carbon fiber, linen, polyethylene, optical fiber, wool.

"The Tools"

"Net for harvesting"

"Tool for catching anything from the water"

These tools question the industrial scale at which materials are manufactured, moving towards a human-scale device, inspired by traditional techniques while employing innovative material proces- ses. Moving away from the extractive harvesting of nature’s virgin materials, these tools are instead aimed at collecting materials that get stuck in its branches and nets, including polluting matter, which might be handled as a resource and transformed into something else. The net device is made from an imported fiber that combines seaweed and cellulose (SeaCell). The fiber was spun by hand in Estonia into a yarn and crafted into a net. The handle of the tool (as well as the tool used to make the net) is pressed from post-con- sumer plastic from the cosmetics industry. There is an unknown stray object connected to the net, held by a hand-spun cord that combines local green seaweed and imported SeaCell fiber. The Tool for catching anything from the water is made of salt, ensuring its bio-obsolescence: the device will slowly dissolve while it is used.

Techniques: net making, injection moulding, laser cutting, spinning (by Juulika Roos), braiding, laser cutting. Materials: SeaCell fiber (seaweed and cellulose based fiber), green algae, post-consumer plastic (Precious Plastic Estonia), wood, unknown stray matter, salt, wood, metal.

"Healing Detox Shirt"

Healing Detox Shirt is made of a linen knit soaked in an extract of Fucus Vesiculocus and printed with a seaweed-based film (aut- hor’s material) which contains polysaccharides (derived from local red seaweed, Furcellaria Lumbricalis), seaweed charcoal (from Fucus Vesiculocus), and cephalopod ink. Seaweeds are a source of vitamins as well as minerals. Algae, which has become a key

ingredient in cosmetic products, is claimed to be naturally revitali- sing and moisturising, and is composed of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins that nourish the skin. The ink of cephalopods con- sists mainly of melanin, which is researched for its antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. A third ingredient, glycerol, is used in medicine for healing wounds and treating burns. The healing effect of the shirt, however, is highly speculative.

Techniques: author’s technique, knitting, heat pressing.

Materials: linen, seaweed-based film (author’s material), SeaCell fiber.

Author’s technique, sewing, nalebinding. Furcellaran, Furcellaria Lumbricalis, roots from unknown plant found at the seashore, wool.

"Relaxing Mittens"

Relaxing Mittens are tools for an invented ritual to be enacted somewhere between work and relaxation, forgetting and being present. Focusing on the hands, it emphasises the importance of these personal, highly-valuable working and communicating tools: the intermediaries that enable us to perceive the surrounding environment through touch. Wearing the mittens means taking a rest, putting the hands on pause. This procedure is a tactile expe- rience, as the material around the hands is living, breathing, and reacting, almost like a second skin. Due to the ingredients used in the material, the mittens have an effect on the molecular level.

Year: 2020



Concepts and development: Kärt Ojavee

Space design and installing: Kärt Ojavee, Tõnu Narro and Mihkel Lember

Light Design: Revo Koplus and Tõnu Narro

Photos: Mari Volens

Supported by Eesti Kultuurkapital

The objects are presented at the Kai Art Centre 19.09 - 08.11.2020

Thank you Julika Roos, Kerli Praks, Kadi Adrikova, Precious Plastic Estonia, Vetik OÜ, Johanna Ulfsak, Juhan Ulfsak, Siim Ojavee, Andrus Ojavee

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