Pedro Hurpia

Visual artist

During the residency in Saari, I will be working on my project that deals with the relation between faith and science in the use of the ancient practice of dowsing. Also known as ‘water witching’, dowsing is an activity in which people use an age-old technique of divining – usually just a tree branches – to tap into energy fields below the surface of the land to locate ground water, buried metals, ores, oil and other materials. For many it is a popular belief, without conclusive scientific explanations, centered on an apparently useless and fragile object that leads ordinary people from various parts and cultures to use it and believe in its efficiency.

The act of ‘dowsing’ itself resembles a performative action surrounded by rituals, pre-defined commands and methods in order to be successful for those who manipulate it.

These are few questions I am working with – How can belief foresee lost objects or hidden materials? By mentalizing objects or situations, could we redefine geological aspects? Could we elaborate a series of rules to apply it anywhere?

My method is based on developing resignified devices and fictional narratives in order to propose playful ways of generating knowledge that challenge our common understanding.

I expect to find a place connected to nature and creative tools that will allow me to develop these artistic strategies. I like the fact that Saari was an island surrounded by the sea up until the early 11th century. “As a consequence of the land uplift, however, it gradually merged into the mainland. The fields you see here today were once the seabed.” Probably, where we are now was underwater for a long time, hidden from everyone. Somehow this fits in with the poetics of my project.