(above) “We will harvest the cotton on time. 1st cotton harvest. 2nd cotton harvest. 3rd cotton harvest.”

During the past couple of weeks my project research has been concentrating quite exclusively on the USSR and Central Asian political and cultural history, events which have been leading to the Aral Sea disaster, Soviet propaganda art and films and the Post-Soviet landscape, also how landscape and culture evolves around post-war ruins and nuclear wastelands such as Chernobyl and Hiroshima. Central Asia and the former USSR is filled with these sceneries; abandoned nuclear and bio-weapon test sites and old military bases which are highly radioactive, contaminated and more often completely non-supervised (such as Vozrozhdeniya island, also known as Aralsk-7 bio weapon test site in the middle of the Aral sea, used to test i.a. smallpox, anthrax and plagues in biological warfare between mid 1950’s and late 1970’s). These sites are still a major concern locally as the radiation, pollutants and toxins in soil, air and water cause a large variety of serious, complex, long-term health and environmental problems.

I feel that I am now at a good place to start working more actively with the actual works – my studio work and activity has suffered as I needed to build my research base first, to gain confidence and some level of certainty of the project going forward. Now when I feel confident and prepared with my research base, the work follows quite naturally.

I am currently testing a few different mediums and materials to develop my work further, trying to find the most effective ways to translate these themes into images, sculptures and/or film. Today I started working with a very recent idea involving cotton stems, starting to work with film and ceramic sculpture:

Marianna Peltonen