• Marko Karo: Untitled (Theatre), 2023, 92 x 120 cm, Pigment ink print mounted on Dilite, framed Ed. 1 / 6 + IIAP
  • Marko Karo: Untitled (Outer Space Mining), diptych, 2023 82,5 x 230 cm Pigment ink print mounted on Dilite, framed
  • Marko Karo: Untitled (Cinema I), 2023 90 x 120 cm Pigment ink print mounted on Dilite, framed
  • Marko Karo: Untitled (Red Planet), diptych, 2023 82,5 x 230 cm Pigment ink print mounted on Dilite, framed

Marko Karo

Desert Notes

Huuto III 23.11.-17.12.2023

Marko Karo
Desert Notes

Desert Notes is a constellation of photographs and texts that examines the desert as an archive that transgresses human dimensions. In the exhibition, the desert serves as a speculative yet thoroughly tangible stage for exploring the ruthless unavoidability of change on our struggling planet. Blending different genres (documentary / sci-fi), the exhibition sets the past and the current moment for reflection from the viewpoint of an imagined future. Here a crucial role is played by texts, field reports from an undetermined future, by a narrator that ponders the nature of the desert through traces left by its extractivist histories.

On this basis, the desert emerges as a visual agent, a silent witness of sorts: the traces, signs and remains inscribed in the desert tell us above all that it is not a desolate place of emptiness. Contrary to the eurocentric and colonialist emphasis of the desert as a barren and lifeless place, it comes forth as a complex, resilient and adaptive domain in which diverse life forms, habitats, spaces, times, and cultures have met. Moreover, by showing the crushing effects of more than a century of mining practices by largely Western corporations, Desert Notes underlines the desert as a touchstone for our possible futures on a planetary scale.

The Desert Notes exhibition continues Marko Karo’s work from recent years, characterised by weaving together distict timeframes. This approach, shedding light on marginal histories and possible futures, serves as a vehicle for inquiring about the visuality and temporality of violence and the forces impacting our ways of being together. While his most recent exhibition in Helsinki explored systemic violence amidst the ruins of a submerged prison, the focus is now on mining towns built in the heart of the most arid desert. The Desert Notes exhibition is a kind of interim assessment of a broader project on the subject matter resulting in a video work and a photo book.

Marko Karo is a Helsinki-based visual artist whose lens-based work engages with conflictual sites of various kinds: historical accounts, human/non-human boundaries, geopolitical contexts, juridical apparatuses. He has studied photography at the University of Arts and Design (now Aalto University), law at the University of Turku and critical theory at Birkbeck College, University of London. Marko Karo’s works have been exhibited in several exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In Helsinki, his work was shown most recently at Gallery Hippolyte in the solo exhibition Sea Change in 2021. Karo’s eponymous work won the first prize at the Blue Sea Short Film Festival (Rauma, Finland) in 2022. Currently he is examining sites and operations of systemic violence with the help of a three-year grant by Arts Promotion Center Finland.

Thank you
Arts Promotion Centre Finland
Kone Foundation
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University
Ennisofia Salmela Flores
The Embassy of Finland, Santiago de Chile

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