Jyrki Siukonen, an invited critic from Finland
Jyrki Siukonen, an invited critic from Finland, recognized a number of these issues in a personal report on his visit circulated during the Symposium. Functioning as an observer “with no real work to do,” Siukonen accessed the Historical Archives on Amos within the Maison de la Culture and discovered that a concentration camp, Spirit Lake, had been built in 1915 soon after the area had been settled. In 1916 the imprisoned civilian population of German, Austrian, Czech, Slovak and Turkish immigrants from around Canada who were once paid to work for the railway numerically equalled the population of Amos. The site of the camp then became a monastery. Spinning analogies from the two towns, “one visible and present, the other invisible and missing,” into the present temporary project, Siukonen suggests that by allowing Amos residents and visitors to “see artists at work” has its limitations:
[It recognizes] the right of local people to know what goes on in their public spaces but it does not recognize the work of the artists in relation to their different cultures and histories, nor does it question various ways of understanding art and communication. In their hope to bring art into the everyday, the organizers have given each artist a role of an entertainer with a body of a worker. . . art speaks with confuses paroles, something that does not always translate into simple physical labour in front of an audience and on a marked spot.
What this intervention gave additional notice to was a growing unease of whether or not an international symposium can have a conference that can properly function without adequate translation support. The organizers had decided, as they explained for budgetary reasons, to have the proceedings conducted in one language. The Scandinavian artists, critics and curators from Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark who use English as a common second language expected more accommodation from an international forum.