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Amos Anderson Laboratory for Artful Making

AmosLAB is a knowledge laboratory for ”artful” projects in the cityscape.
We operate in the borderland between art and science in collaboration with extensive international networks based at the Swedish-speaking university in Finland, Åbo Akademi University (

AmosLAB is named after Amos Anderson (1878–1961), who was a Finnish entrepreneur, a newspaper magnate, a benefactor, and a patron of the arts.

Past Events

Notes From a Border River / Robert Powell

Notes From a Border River (40 pages) was published by AmosLAB in July 2020. It is inspired by Robert Powell’s collaborative project ‘Voicing The Bridge’ on the Irish border in 2019, with artists Jan-Erik Andersson and Eileen Hutton. Supported by Irish artists, musicians and performers and funded by the Finnish Institute London, ‘Voicing The Bridge’ focused on the border river Finn, and in particular the extraordinary bridge at Clady, County Tyrone, to consider the theme of ‘freedom of movement’.

Notes From A Border River is a mix of poetry, diary, and imagery, tracking the project as it developed during the troubled Brexit negotiations of 2019. It also aims to share something of the creative process – how the poems Powell produced emerged from encounters, walks, research, and happenstance.

Notes From A Border River is a companion-piece to ‘Voicing The Bridge’, Jan-Erik Andersson’s film from the same project. Voicing The Bridge

Robert Powell was born and raised in Canada and now lives in York, England. He has produced four poetry collections and two short films, including Source with Jan-Erik Andersson. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for his promotion of the role of the arts in place-making – a key part of the AmosLAB ethos.

Aura – Robert Powell

Published by AmosLAB, Aura (44 pages) was produced during Robert Powell’s 2018 residency at Saari, created and managed by the Kone Foundation. Inspired by the River Aura, it contains poems, photographs, and collaborative works by Frank Brummel, Leif Kronberg, Marjo Malin, and Jan Kenneth Weckman, with English poems translated by Jyrki Kiiskinen. It also includes a link to ‘Source’, a video-poem created by Jan-Erik Andersson and Robert Powell. Source

Life on a Leaf 1 symposium 19th of June, 2017

Life on a Leaf – Research, Art, Architecture, Urban landscape. A house as a research station

The support group for the Life on a Leaf house together with AmosLAB arranged a symposium in the Life on a Leaf house on the 19th of June in 2017. The theme of the symposium was the development of the house, a total artwork created by the artist and doctor in fine arts Jan-Erik Andersson, into a research station connected to the Åbo Akademi University and the Turku University.

In the symposium the participants discussed new methods and ideas how the house, in the best possible ways, would serve the interests of art and science and to function as a node for creating new surfaces for dialogues between universities in Finland and abroad.

In a world where the new challenges demand new solutions, is it possible that art and artistic thinking can create new value also in the academic world? What would the activities in the house look like when art meets science? How does our future milieu look like, where we will build our future? How can research and art affect it?

Opening speech by Cay Sevón. Introduction by moderator Bengt Kristensson Uggla

Keynote speeches

1. Robert Powell: Artists, the Art, & ´Place´. A Personal Journey

2. Jan Kaila: Artistic Research

3. Hanna Johansson: Art, the public sphere and semi-public houses

Symposium discussions

Pier Luigi Sacco: CULTURE 3.0. Cultural Participation as a Source of New Forms of Economic and Social Value Creation: A European Perspective

AmosLAB, together with Åbo Akademi University and Svenska Teatern  (The Swedish National Theater) in Helsinki arranged a one day seminar with professor Pier Luigi Sacco, Milan, Italy,  one of the world’s leading experts on Cultural Economy. He has presented ground breaking research on the importance of culture and cultural participation for innovation and growth from a broader societal perspective.

In association with the lecture, a research seminar hosted by Amos Anderson Professor Bengt Kristensson Uggla, was arranged with presentations by Jan-Erik Andersson, Johan Storgård and Joakim Lind together with responds from Professor Sacco.

The event  took place Wednesday, February 14, at Svenska Teatern, (Norra Esplanaden 2) Helsinki. The title of Professor Sacco’s presentation was: CULTURE 3.0. Cultural Participation as a Source of New Forms of Economic and Social Value Creation: A European Perspective.

The lecture is  presented briefly in this PDF document: CULTURE 3.0. Cultural Participation as a Source of New Forms of Economic and Social Value Creation: A European Perspective

Art Approaching Science and Religion

How can science and religion be explored from the perspective of the arts?

Thursday, 12 May 2016 at the Sibelius Museum, Åbo/Turku.

The symposium Art Approaching Science and Religion was arranged by AmosLAB together with the Donner Institute, with support from the Kone foundation and the Hjelt foundation.

The symposium aimed at bringing together the fields of art, science and religion. How can science and religion be explored from the perspective of the arts? Themes to be discussed will unwind from and be elaborated on contemporary notions of beauty, ornament, and public art. The public and aesthetic space offer not only timeless objects of appreciation, aesthetic value and use, but also habits and rituals. The aim was to bring out different images of how aesthetics, as a historical and contemporary tradition, is formed together with strands of artist research, art criticism, art history as well as the humanities, philosophy, and religious studies.

Opening of the Symposium: Bengt Kristensson Uggla

KENT BLOOMER “[The Greeks] called it KOSMOS which means ornament” Response: Pauline von Bonsdorff

MELISSA RAPHAEL The Creation of Beauty by its Destruction Idoloclasm in Modern and Contemporary Jewish Art Response: Ruth Illman

The Temple of Non-Being Response: Catharina Raudvere

The Aesthetic Turn Response: Esa Saarinen

Bengt Kristensson Uggla Amos Anderson Professor of Philosophy, Culture, and Management at Åbo Akademi University.

Kent Bloomer Founder of Bloomer Studio and Professor on the Faculty of Architecture at Yale University.

Pauline von Bonsdorff Professor of Art Education atthe University of Jyväskylä.

Melissa Raphael Professor of Jewish Theology at the University of Gloucestershire.

Ruth Illman Docent of Comparative Religion, Director of the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, Åbo.

Serafim Seppälä Professor of Systematic Theology and Patristics at the University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu,and an ordained monk and priest in the Orthodox Church of Finland

Catharina Raudvere Professor of History of Religion, University of Copenhagen.

Mark C. Taylor Professor of Religion at Columbia University and author of several books on religion and philosophy, art, architecture, media, technology, financial markets, and higher education

Esa Saarinen Professor of Applied Philosophy, Aalto University, Helsinki.

Art Approaching Science and Religion

AmosLAB arrangerar tillsammans med Donnerska Institutet för religionsvetenskap och kulturhistoria ( ett internationellt symposium 11-13.5.2016.

Symposiet strävar till att föra samman konstens, vetenskapens och religionens fält med frågan hur undersöka vetenskap och religion ur konstens perspektiv? Teman för diskussionen utgår ifrån och utvecklas kring samtida uppfattningar om skönhet, ornament och konsten i det offentliga rummet.

Läs mera om det symposiet som förs på engelska här.


Titanik galleria

Hur upplever dagens konstnärer skönheten? Är ordet totalt uteslutet från den konstnärliga dialogen? Finns det ännu en plats för ornamentet? Hur ser ett ornament ut i dagens värld? I utställningen Ornament & Beauty kommenterar en grupp konstnärer dessa frågor, dels genom de utställda konstverken, men även genom texter, vilka finns publicerade i detta häfte.
Utställningen är kuraterad av konstnärerna och doktorerna i bildkonst Jan-Erik Andersson och Jan Kenneth Weckman, vilka tillsammans med filosofen och professorn Bengt Kristensson Uggla drar AmosLAB, ett laboratorium vid Åbo Akademi. Dess uppgift är att föra in konstnärliga projekt och konstnärligt tänkande i den akademiska miljön

Miten taiteilijat kokevat kauneuden tänään? Onko sana täysin kadonnut taiteellisesta keskustelusta? Onko ornamentille vielä tilaa? Miltä näyttää ornamentti nykyään? Näyttelyssä Ornament & Beauty esillä olevien taideteoksien ohella, taiteilijat haluavat myöskin kommentoida näitä kysymyksiä tekstien avulla, jotka ovat julkaistu tässä vihossa.
Näyttelyn kuratoivat kuvataiteilijat ja kuvataiteen tohtorit Jan-Erik Andersson sekä Jan Kenneth Weckman, jotka yhdessä filosofi ja professori Bengt Kristensson Ugglan kanssa toimivat AmosLAB´issa, Åbo Akademin yhteyteen perustetussa taiteellisen tutkimuksen laboratoriossa. AmosLAB pyrkii tuomaan taideprojektit ja taiteellisen ajattelun akateemiseen ympäristöön (

Gallery Titanik
May 5 – May 29, 2016

How do artists experience and address beauty at the moment? Has the notion of beauty vanished completely from artistic discourse? Are still ornaments allowed? What does a contemporary ornament look like? In the exhibition Ornament & Beauty, besides the art works presented, the artists also want to comment on such questions in the texts published here.
The exhibition is curated by artists DFA Jan-Erik Andersson and Jan Kenneth Weckman together with philosopher and Professor Bengt Kristensson Uggla, within AmosLAB, a laboratory for artistic research in connection with Åbo Akademi University. AmosLAB engages in bringing art projects and artistic thinking within academic environments

Ornament & Beauty

7.12.2015. Lecture arranged by Jan-Erik Andersson and AmosLAB in Humanisticum, Turku, Finland.

Ian Hunter and Celia Larner are the artist directors of the Littoral Arts Trust, which for over 25 years has been promoting new critical art practices in response to issues to do with accelerated social, cultural, environmental, and economic change in mainly rural areas in the UK. (

Ian Hunter & Celia Larner: Agri-Merz: from ArtBarns to the Merz Barn

How Kurt Schwitters came to the aid of English hill farmers; Pillar III, artists propose a new cultural framework for EU CAP agriculture reform and rural development policy.

Following the FMD (Foot and Mouth) farm animal epidemic in Britain in 2001 which cost the United Kingdom some £8 billion (Euro 11 billion), the UK Government called for radical new creative thinking in rebuilding the post-FMD rural economy and in promoting innovation in the agriculture sector.

In response, the Littoral Arts Trust persuaded Arts Council England to support the establishment of a national arts and cultural strategy for the agriculture sector. However, the Arts Council, initially, said that it was “not their job to support farmers”, etc., and also that, in their view, there were no precedents for making art work on farms! So we brought in Kurt Schwitters and referenced his extraordinary Merz Barn project in rural Cumbria (

The rest, as they say, is history! We also helped to set up the Rural Cultural Forum ( in 2007, as a cultural advocacy and lobby for farming culture and creative rural communities.

19–20.9.2015 Jan-Erik Andersson, AmosLAB and the Turku City Art Museum (WAM) arranged Language Eating.


The main idea of the event was to explore the role of food and language to give identity and solidarity to people instead of the national borders. The highlight of the event was the Language Eating-performance where languages and cultures met for a symbolic meal.
In Turku around 100 different languages are spoken and the ambitious goal was to gather as many people as possible representing these languages, for the performance. Exhibition assistant Cecilia Gustafsson succeeded in getting persons representing 22 languages to take part in the performance.
In an attempt to mix the lectures with artistic interventions, sound artists Shawn Decker (Chicago) and Dirk Huelstrunk (Frankfurt) together with Edible Finns (Finland) were invited to participate.
The aim of AmosLAB is to produce material which can be used for educational purposes. Therefore all the participants have kindly given permission to publish their lectures (in English, Swedish and Finnish) and most of the performances on video (YouTube).

Day 1

Performance by Edible Finns: Kielikylpy. The Finnish word Kielikylpy consists of two words; kieli meaning tongue as well as language, and kylpy meaning bath. The English translation, Language Immersion, doesn’t have the same connotations. In the beginning of the video is an introduction to the Language Eating happening by curator Susanna Hujala.

Business lunch. CEO:s from companies, or other people with experience from having business lunches, discuss eating habits and cultural differences. The serving is handled by the performance group Edible Finns. Participants: Christoffer Taxell, Bengt Kristensson Uggla, Pekka Ruola, Roger Broo and surprise guests from the audience.

Lecture by PhD Ruth Illman: Good Food – Better Soul?

Lecture by artist and Doctor in Fine Arts Jyrki Siukonen: In search of the Ursprache, The end of the Universal languages of the Baroque era.

Lecture by PhD Päivi Mehtonen: The abstract element in language and literature in the early 20th century modernism (dada, Kandinsky, Schwitters).

Sound artist Dirk Huelstrunk performs and discusses Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate. Due to copyright issues only the discussion afterwards is documented on video.

Abendbrot happening in the club of the german speaking community in Turku. A short lecture about the Abentbrot tradition. Visitors make themselves abendbrot from a variety of ingredients.

Day 2

The main performance Language Eating, with people representing 22 different language groups in Turku. They share food, which brought with them, with the audience. Sound artist Dirk Huelstrunk made a sound loop of the participants speaking the word food ithey n their own language.

Apple Concert. Artist Jan-Erik Andersson with sound artist Shawn Decker. Interactive sound performance in four parts. In one part the audience becomes a choir, each person eating an apple simultaneously.

Stefania Federico: MangiAMO…an emotional travel into the food

Rico ja ruoka. Video movie by Jan-Erik Andersson about the Italian restaurant owner Ulderico de Santis, who has been having restaurants in Turku for 30 years. He speaks in a Finnish language he has learned solely by serving people in the restaurant.(Video will be published later)


4.11.2014 AmosLAB in collaboration with the Turku City Art Museum Language Eating Preject Day.

AmosLAB´s preject day, preparing for the forthcoming project Language Eating, was held in November 2014 in the old Humanisticum building, which is the home of the laboratory at Åbo Akademi University in Turku. The preject day was organized as a continuous discussion, with food and drinks, between 1 and 7 pm, with a flow of people contributing to the contents and design of the project from different fields and disciplines.
The focus for the brainstorming was the coming Language Eating event, which will take place in the Turku City Art Museum on the 19th and 20th of September 2015, when the whole museum will be transformed into a scene for a large performance and seminar happening during two days. The aim of Language Eating is to elaborate on the questions concering people’s identity, not from the starting point of nationality, but exploring the complex web of relationships between language and eating habits.
Originally, the idea was created by Turku artist Jan-Erik Andersson, who is also the artistic leader of the AmosLAB. During the preject day at Amos LAB, the original concept was developed, cultivated and extended by the input from several people. One of the basic idea of the AmosLAB is to act in the borderland between art and science.
In this successful preject day a number of collaborators participated and contributed with their competences: Museum Director Päivi Kiiski, Museum Curator Susanna Hujala, Art Instructor Tea Langh, Reasearch Leader (German language) Christopher Schmidt, Professor of Philosophy Martin Gustafsson, Director of Donnerska Institutet Ruth Illman, and Journalist Olav S Melin from Magma thinktank.
The preject day was hosted and conducted by the scientific leader Professor Bengt Kristensson Uggla and artistic leader Artist and Doctor Jan-Erik Andersson, at Amos Anderson Laboratory for Artful Making.
Hungry for food and thoughts? Book the dates September 19–20, 2015!


14.8.2014 Ornament – Creating Cosmos out of Chaos

AmosLab introduces: Artist Jan-Erik Andersson and invited musicians Mats Lillhannus and Ulf Långbacka in collaboration with sound artist Dirk Huelstrunk and Florakören.
For the Aboagora conference AmosLAB presents a workshop led by visual artist Jan-Erik Andersson, who has a long interest in the role of ornament in creating architectural and mental space. The original meaning of the word ornament comes close to cosmos and order and represents an energy for bringing order into chaos.Although Modernism repressed the role of the ornament, Andersson believes that it still has an important, at least symbolic, meaning in creating a sustainable society; caretaking, fun, slow life, communication. We can find traces of ornamentation also in surprising places as the minimalism of the music scene in USA in the 50-ties and 60 ties.The workshop mixes ornament theory with pictorial documentation and contributions by invited musicians and a sound artist. The workshop also strives to create a happening-like situation by involving the audience in interaction and discussions.

The individual parts can be found at:
1:35 Jan-Erik (part of “The Destruction of Beauty” video)
6:00 Florakören choir
11:39 Dirk (“Breath.Out”)
16:10 Jan-Erik (Lecture about ornament in architecture, sound as ornament )
53:11 Dirk (“The White Thing”)
1:04:15 Mats. Medieval singing as embellishment
1:10:20 Ulf. From Chaos to order. Sound improvisation.
1:17:05 Dirk (“Repetition”)
1:23:49 Discussion

Jan-Erik Anderssons polemical book Wow – Åsikter om finländsk arkitektur ( April 2014) about contemporary Finnish architecture has been published by Schildts & Söderströms. Andersson discusses the contemporary architectural ideal, which seems to be the “black box”, and searches for examples for a future architecture more based on fantasy, surrealism, artistic interventions, colour, ornament and organic forms.

Raine Johanssons book documenting the Nurope meetings around Europe, will be released in the autumn 2014.

AmosLAB will launch the first two major projects concerning art and the cityscape in the autumn 2014.

About Us

AmosLAB is a knowledge laboratory for “artful” projects at the interface between science and society. This experimental laboratory provides a knowledge platform to projects based on artistic actions in the public space. These art projects are documented and provide a basis for reflection and interdisciplinary learning through seminars, courses, and conferences.

By increasing the visibility of art in the urban landscape and in the university environment we want to strengthen the arts and the importance of artistic thinking for scientific work and use this as a starting point for conversations about urban planning, creative economy, and sustainable development.

AmosLAB explores how art, in addition to its intrinsic values, can serve as a strategic component in both academic and business activities and thus contribute to a “socially responsible transformation of society” (Michelangelo Pistoletto).

We want to operate as an experimental platform for both art and R&D projects where the artistic dimension of urban planning, research and development together with the communicative functions of arts can be explored.

The profile of AmosLAB highlights the importance of art as a resource for social impact, knowledge, learning, and development.

Three Knowledge Venues at AmosLAB

AmosLAB aims to contribute to the positioning of Åbo Akademi University as a border-transcending University of Bildung. This would necessitate creating interdisciplinary initiatives between disciplines within the university as well as interaction with the city, its cultural sector and business community.In geographical terms, it would mean operating in extensive international networks in the art world, academic life, and society.

By locating some of our operations in the settings of the University, we want to contribute to a stronger interdisciplinary campus experience and focus on the artistic dimension of research and education through the establishment of platforms for creative meetings, joint reflections, artistic representation, and communication.

Photo: © Samuli Lintula / Creative Commons

By art interventions in the urban environment, we want to contribute to the development of the city and the public discourse on urban planning and community development through activities that combine art, research, and education.

By activities in the Leaf House (, we want to create a space for a cultivated and public dialogue in an inspiring environment with global horizons.

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Background to AmosLAB

AmosLAB is based on the experience of the Nomadic University for Art, Philosophy and Enterprise) (, which during more than four years was successfully conducted at Åbo Akademi University in collaboration with the European Cultural Parliament ( and Citadel Arte Fondazion Pistoletto (

Nurope, Zadar
Nurope, Zadar

AmosLAB is also based on the experience of European Capital of Culture in Turku 2011 ( through its focus on such questions as how to sustain the long-term viability of the culture of the city in coming years.

Kulturhuvudstadsåret i Åbo 2011
Kulturhuvudstadsåret i Åbo 2011

One of the driving forces at AmosLAB is the Turku-based artist Jan-Erik Andersson and his collaborative work in which art, science, entrepreneurship, and community building are combined , for example, the Sounding Dome Sauna, the Bridges in Bio Valley and the Theatre Bridge Ornamentation as well as the internationally acclaimed total art work Life on a Leaf (

Jan-Erik Andersson / Onion sauna
Jan-Erik Andersson / Onion sauna


The operations and activities at AmosLAB is organized in projects, where each project is characterized by collaborations between artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians in different configurations …

Project Logic

Each project is conducted by a project manager and a budget of its own (where the major part of the costs are covered by external financial support). The process is regulated by the following phases:

Preject phase:

  • Preliminary work on the project plan.
  • Brainstorming-day when issues related to funding, pedagogical concepts, documentation, communication and constellation of collaborators are being processed.
  • Kick off.
  • Revised Project Plan is presented.

Project phase:

  • Implementation.
  • Educational activities.

Postject phase:

  • Documentation.
  • Evaluation.


Amos Anderson Laboratory for Artful Making

Amos Anderson professuren
Henriksgatan 7
FI-200 50 ÅBO

Artistic leader
Jan-Erik Andersson, artist and Doctor in Fine Arts.

Scientific leader
Bengt Kristensson Uggla, Amos Anderson-professor i filosofi, kultur och företagsledning.

Jan Kenneth Weckman, artist and Doctor in Fine Arts.


Reference Group
Berndt Arell, Director General at Nationalmuseum, Sweden

Faculty Network
• Professor Shawn Decker, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA.
• Professor Pierre Guillet de Monthoux, Copenhagen Business School