Curated Expeditions

Curated Expeditions is dedicated to observing and experiencing fascinating earthly phenomena

Archive for July, 2008

Thank you for our collaborators and supporters

The expedition of Mireia, Agnes and Ulla is about to begin from Helsinki railwaystation. Mireia did already fly from Barcelona to Helsinki, and Agnes and Ulla will join her tomorrow, Ulla by train from Pori and Agnes from Cologne. I have received several messages from Tommi from his way, that did start by bicycle and now continues hitch-hiking. He has passed by Vologoda, NIkolsky, Kotlas and River Ob and the last news was that he was heading towards the tundra…

It is a good moment to thank all the supporters who has made possible the good start for this first Curated Expedition. The Novosibirsk Zoo and it´s directors, Rostislaw and Olga Shilo that at first hand were ready for the collaboration and has invited us to stay in the Zoo for 10 days. Also special thanks for Mrs. Natalia and Mrs. Sveta that has helped us to get the visas and have answered to our questions about the Zoo activity.

Agnes´work and trip to Novosibirsk has received a special support from
General Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Novosibirsk.

The postproduction of her Moon Goose Experiment will receive a very important support from HMKV Dortmund, a grant that enables working on the piece during six month´s time period. Also AirBerlin gives their support for her work.

The Institute of Russia and Eastern Europe in Helsinki and Mrs. Anneli Ojala reveives a special thanks from the whole expedition group. Her expertise in Russia and kind help in linguistic issues has been very valuable.

Clara and Andrea from A Minima magazine not only have encouraged me in the project, but they also have given me the possibility to publish in the magazine. The general explination of the project has been published in the last issue of A Minima and in the end of the year a larger and more exhaustive text with explorers pictures and comments will be published

Mrs. Tuuli Hakulinen from Kymi Travel in St.Petersburg very patiently helped me in making the reservations in the Russian trains that, during the summer and holiday season are really full. The mass movement that the total solar eclipse causes in Russia, was also one of the reasons for the fact that the tickets were quite difficult to be purchased. But she managed to do it!

In Moscow, 23rd of July we will have the chance to meet Mrs. Kerstin Kronvall from

Finnish Embassy in Moscow and in Ekaterinburg NCCA Ekaterinburg

will kindly offer us a place to sleep.

Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki and The Sabater Pi Collection in Barcelona and their directors Seppo Turunen and Jordi Sabater Pi had been very helpful and advised Mireia in her work, and University of Art and Design / Pori Department kindly printed the posters for the Zoolar Eclipse.

We also received support from: VR (Finnish Railways)  Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, SAS Royal Hotel (Helsinki), Sodexo Oy / Hostel Satakuntatalo (Helsinki), Antares Ltd (Barcelona) and Garcia de Pou ( Barcelona).

Carles Schnabel from Sabadell Astronomic Group from Barcelona, will let us the material that he and his collegues will record in Novosibirsk, as a part of IOTA (International Ocultation Timing Association) Research in Novosibirsk eclipse zone. Hope to meet these astronomers in Novosibirsk!

Beside the institutional support we would like to thank our families and nearest persons and the individuals in Russia, Germany, Spain and Finland, as Roman, Marina and Artem – we´ll see each others very soon!

Once the Expedition has finished, our work will continue, the works of the three artists will be postproduced and the exhibition and other formats of presentations will be prepared. I hope new institutions and companies will join the list of official supporters and also make new expeditions reality.

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Exploratorium – stories from the path of totality

Exploratorium has selected stories and photographs of historical expeditions to Sumatra, Japan and Spain among others from 1858-1918.

Least like a sunset, it was too sombre and terrible. The pale, broken circle of coronal light still glowered on with thrilling peacefulness, while nature held her breath for another stage in this majestic spectacle.

Well might it have been a prelude to the shriveling and disappearance of the whole world–weird to horror, and beautiful to heartbreak, heaven and hell in the same sky.

Absolute silence reigned. No human being spoke. No bird twittered.

Corona and Coronet: Being a narrative of the Amherst Eclipse Expedition to Japan, in Mr. James’s Schooner-Yacht Coronet, to Observe the Sun’s Total Obscuration, 9th August, 1896 by Mabel Loomis Todd

A drawing of the 1858 total solar eclipse.

A drawing of the 1858 total solar eclipse.

It was a far more imposing sight without than with the telescope, and long has been my experience in the investigation of celestial phenomena, and calm and unimpassioned, at such times, as my temperament has become, the sublime majesty of the scene thrilled me with excitement and humble reverence.

Nor was it less effective upon others. Two citizens of Olmos stood within a few feet of me, watching in silence, and with anxious countenances, the rapid and fearful decrease of light. They were totally ignorant that any sudden effect would follow the total obscuration of the sun. At that instant, one exclaimed, in terror–“La Gloria!” and both, I believe, fell to their knees in awe.

An Account of the Total Eclipse of the Sun on September 7, 1858, as Observed Near Olmos, Peru by Lieut. J. M. Gillis.

This year´s eclipse is going to be webcasted live by The Exploratorium’s eclipse expedition team from the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China near the Mongolian border. Possibility to follow the phenomena easily at home! In case you will move your body to the total eclipse zone, please send your experience to: ulla@capsula.org.es, the best stories will be rewarded by an official Capsula eclipse bag!

The “Zoolar Eclipse” by Mireia

The postcard by Mireia C. Saladrigues

The postcard by Mireia C. Saladrigues

Mireia is finalising the contents of Zoolar Kit in Barcelona and the postcards and posters are almost finished to be printed out before the actual journey, that is about to begin on 22nd July at 18.23 pm from Helsinkin Railway Station. The selection of the animals that she wants to pay special attention in the Novosibirsk Zoo during the eclipse consists of the following species:

White Handed Gibbon, Polar Bear, Indian Marten, Liger (the hybrid of the Bengalensis Tiger female and the African Lion male), Eurasian Eagle Owl and Great Bustard. The artist encourages the people not only write about their observations but also draw their experience about the animal behaviour when the light of the sun suddenly disappears. The selection is based to the artist´s own preferences and to the valuable information given by the director of Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki, Seppo Turunen and Dr. Jordi Sabater Pi, ethologist and anthropologist in Barcelona. Mireia did interview personally these specialists in Helsinki and Barcelona to define the selection that in Novosibirsk is going to be observed by one hundred visitors of the Zoo.

The study in wild animal behaviour during the total solar eclipse, made in Zimbabwe Mana Pools Natural Park in 21st June, 2001 has also been very useful for Mireia´s “test-animal” selection. Paul Murdin, English astronomer, author, broadcaster and astronomy consultant has written very interesting article about this study, put together of the notes of 250 volunteers that observed Park´s animals during the whole day of the eclipse. The cousin of Paul Murdin and former president of WEZ (Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe, Shirley Cormack, is the person behind this initiative, that was the first systematic study of its kind.

Visit to Geese Farm in Germany

Agnes chasing geese in Germany

Agnes chasing geese in Germany

Most of the preparative work that is able to do in distance, has been carried out for the three works, but we are still missing proper geese farm for Agnes´Moon Goose Experiment. We have been offered all kind of birds from chicken to ducks, but where are the real geese growing in Siberia?

During her research she found out that a goose recognizes the animal or the person who takes care of it during the first two weeks of it´s life, so also an human can be a “mum” of a goose. If we did know about how complicated it can get to find geese in Siberia, Agnes could have raised some of her own and travelled with her own goose family to Novosibirsk. Now it is too late, and we can only hope that we are lucky enough to find the ones for Agnes bio-poetic investigation.

Agnes takes measurements for the goose harness

Agnes takes measurements for the goose harness

Tommi´s Expedition is about to begin

On 3rd July I took to first big step towards to the North. I left hot and sweaty Barcelona and arrived to Tampere in Finland. There I met Tommi Taipale, and participated in recicled and recovered bicycle workshop on the courtyard of Annikinkatu wooden quarter, nearly 100 years old historical neighbourhood where Taipale lives. The bicycles were meant for the first stage of the “Journey to the Eclipse” of the photographer, escorted by three other “slow travellers”, Selja Eskonen, Siiri Anttila and Heikki Tuorila.

Tommi Taipale is preparing recovered bycicles for the Journey to the Eclipse

Tommi Taipale is preparing recovered bicycles for the Journey to the Eclipse

The travel plan of the group was to accompany Tommi until Ääninen lake in Russia by bicycle and then, Taipale would continue his trip by his own, mostly hitchiking towards to Siberia. His arrival date there is not known in beforehand, but ideally he will arrive around 27th of July to be able to take part in the rest of the expeditioner´s last preparations for the eclipse.

Some cheerful neighbours from Russia brightened up the cool and fresh summer night – Russian songs sang by Slava, Potsha and Ukbar who were cooking some gulash in the same courtyard, creating a perfect athmosphere for the workshop and for our expedition preparations.