Hydrofuturology looks at the changing water landscape in Helsinki’s Central Park and exlplores different futures based on what we know now and can imagine to be possible.
The project has it's roots in the artist Sophea Lerner's research on her grandmother's childhood village in Western Finland. Learning that the land’s rising out of the sea has led to lakes draining away prompted her curiousity about the future of our waterways. The residency is an opportunity to begin exploring those questions.
The project starts off with research into the history and present of the park's water landscape, and into some projected changes. Spending time in the park observing and listening as well as engaging in conversations with people with specialised and local knowledges about the park waterbodies. The research and listening phase will be followed by a workshop to speculate about the future, perhaps ending up with some science and social fiction or possible/desirable scenarios. From the listening, small audio pieces will be created for the Central Park Achives collections.
It's easy to feel pessimistic about the future when we think about changes going on at a global scale. Getting together to think about how things might change nearby, and how as a community we could have agency in the local landscape brings these wicked problems down to an approachable scale. Whatever the future holds, our imagination will be required, and we should exercise it.
Sophea Lerner is an artist in residence for the Central Park Archives project in Autumn 2021.