Jälke(e)ni and Life Studies
The underlying notion of Kristiina Ljokkoi’s work Jälke(e)ni is the traditional Garden of Life and Death. It suggests that life is a continuum both in the spirit of eastern philosophy and also in the light of ecosystem thinking. The work consists of a quantity of soil that would be the end result of composting the artist herself. The soil serves as a substratum for plants, the seeds of which are part of the artist’s diet.
Life Studies is a city living inside a glass terrarium, forsaken by humans. The city is not without life, however, as the absence of people allows other forms of life to take over. Wood-decaying fungi and bacteria are breaking down the infrastructure and producing a substratum for new epochs.
Both works contemplate the changing idea of a city. For centuries, if not millennia, the idea was to isolate centres of commerce from the so-called untamed nature. The purpose of city walls, cobbled streets and buildings was to shelter city-dwellers from the elements, wild beasts and other natural phenomena that can’t be controlled. Now the fundamentals of city planning have changed due to our understanding of ecosystem functioning and the global scale of the advancement of humankind. The time of strict division between nature and culture is over, and community planning cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of other organisms any longer.