Wave Motion – Perspectives to Nature 2023

for string quartet, video and live-electronics will be performed at the Conference Reception, hosted by the University of Helsinki, on Wednesday 10 May at 18:15, Unioninkatu 33: Banquet Room


Wave Motion – Perspectives to Nature

for string quartet, video and live-electronics

Composers: Lauri Supponen, Riikka Talvitie

Musicologist: Juha Torvinen


Kamus String Quartet

Terhi Paldanius, violin

Jukka Untamala, violin

Jussi Tuhkanen, viola

Petja Kainulainen, cello

First Performance at Our Festival on July 30th 2021 in Järvenpää.

Composed in Collaboration with Suoni Research Association, with support from Madetoja Foundation.

Dedicated to Elokapina and all the global factions of the Extinction Rebellion.

As an introduction

Aaltoliike (Wave Motion) is a dialogical composition, which means, that several people have contributed to its creation. The collaboration started with the working group (Lauri Supponen, Riikka Talvitie, Juha Torvinen) by discussing about the complex connection between music and nature.

After long discussions, Juha wrote seven different descriptions how people are relating to the nature around us. Lauri and me started to compose musical equivalents to these descriptions. This material (descriptions of the relationship with nature, excerpts from music) were utilized already during the composition process in order to obtain audience feedback in the spring 2021. Those workshops for the audience were organized remotely in zoom, and they were recorded for research purpose. Some ideas and text fragments of the workshop participants are used in final performance.

After the workshops, the composing process was shared by Lauri and me. We tried to collaborate as much as possible with all the levels of composing – with broader questions of form as well as smaller compositional details. We also did the video and audio material together by filming and editing ourselves.

Seven different relations with nature

I Cornucopistic relation with nature

It is possible for us to view nature as a cornucopia that provides endless reserves for human use: energy, materials, food and experiences. From this point of view, there

are no insurmountable challenges in the human relationship with nature. Anything that seems problematic is just a misunderstanding or exaggerated in meaning. Yes, nature corrects itself. It may also be that all the things follow the order maintained by greater forces, which we do not even understand. This relationship with nature can be called cornucopistic (lat. Cornucopia = cornucopia).

II Denialist relationship with nature

The relationship with nature, called denialist, is closely related to the previous attitude, which considers nature as a cornucopia, but is a more negative version of it. According to the Denialist, for example, climate change is a great misunderstanding or a lie fed to us by politicians with the aim of narrowing individual freedom. It is also possible that it is just a strategy of big companys: by inventing climate change they bring new products to market. A denialist denies the opinion of the majority and experts if it conflicts with his or her own needs. The most radicals believe in international conspiracies that deliberately feed allegations of environmental problems.

III Romantic relationship with nature

In a romantic relationship with nature, nature appears as a miracle. It is an area of beauty, perfection, and ideality beyond man. Man can observe nature from a distance and strive to understand its secrets. All in all, nature is something sublime. Nature is an endless mystery. It is full of latent forces and mechanisms that, by imitating, one can try to perfect even oneself. The ultimate truth of things is outside of culture. Only nature is authentic and original.

IV Environmentally conscious relationship with nature

An environmentally conscious person is most often an educated and well-to-do city dweller. He/she sorts his waste, gives money to the WWF, buys an electric car, says he/she likes walking in nature, makes ‘green’ choices when shopping, and is genuinely concerned about the effects of climate change. He/she has considerable awareness of the threats in the environment, which he/she enjoys reading and discussing. At the same time, however, he/she follows the usual Western way of life, which involves a high consumption of energy and materials. In a choice situation, the well-being of one's own and loved ones most often takes precedence over environmental values.

V Loose relationship with nature

Many people living in a metropolitan area may, due to circumstances, be very unaware of what is traditionally called nature. Technological amenities, means of public transport, urban living, and the more or less ready-made food that is constantly used keep people fundamentally separate from non-built, non-human natural environments. Nature is a distant reality described by travel brochures, storybooks, and grandparents. It may be a source of momentary experiences but nothing to which a person would have a connection at the level of daily activities.

VI Activist relationship with nature

Overwhelming environmental problems drive many into activist activity. All possible means must be used to save nature, for this is a condition of all living existence. As long as no suffering is inflicted on humans or other organisms, virtually all means appropriate to the situation are permissible in pursuit of a greater common good. Hacking, occupation of houses and work machines, demonstrations, constant influencing of opinion on (social) media, tying oneself to trees under threat of felling, etc. These are accepted practices for the activist if they are considered to contribute to the well-being of nature as a whole.

VII Technology faithfulness with nature

There are problems in the relationship between man and nature. According to scientific research, nature cannot withstand our current way of life. However, the technology believer thinks that with the help of innovative technology we will be able to fix these problems sooner or later. We are developing renewable energy sources, building equipment for cleaning the seas and air, finding non-polluting forms of tourism, etc. The rush is pointless. The research and the economy that feeds it will ensure that current ecological challenges are solved.

Descriptions written by Juha Torvinen, translated by Riikka Talvitie