Photo reportage from the exhibition 'Shallow Springs' at Kohta, Finland

For some reason they thought this exhibition should be titled Amber. Amber could be a natural resource, a souvenir, a wall colour, or a way to accidentally preserve mosquitos full of dinosaur blood, making Jurassic Park possible.

They are imagining this curator. Her name is Amber. She is on a Baltic-Nordic tour, taking the long trip from LA to Vilnius, making her way through Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki to look for inspiration. Afterwards – Ibiza, for fun and romance.

Maybe Amber is from a tiny spa town with an air of mystery. Shallow Springs, Wyoming. Shallow Springs, Arizona. She has left town, she has made it in the art world, but what happened in Shallow Springs is haunting her dreams.

On her way across the Baltic-Nordic zone Amber sees what other curators were not able to see. This survey of the region is not giving her the typical post-Soviet archive, austere-but-cozy Lutheran interiors, mystified relationships to lichen or strained X-is-the-new-Berlin coolness.

Amber is having a great time. These sites appear lavish and bewitching to her. Maybe it is her presence that makes them so. She is dancing. People think too much, she tells herself. Her new Baltic friends offer her a super-slim cigarette. Is it a Vogue? she asks. No, a Glamour, her friend responds.

Shallow Springs

Gabrielė Adomaitytė (Lithuania/Netherlands, 1994); Māris Ārgalis (Latvia, 1954–2008); Milla Aska (Finland, 1993); Marikki Hakola (Finland, 1960); Madlen Hirtentreu (Estonia, 1993); Elvyra Kairiūkštytė (Lithuania, 1950–2006); Miska Kukkohovi (Finland, 2001); Daria Melnikova (Latvia, 1984); Rait Prääts (Estonia, 1952); Anna Škodenko (Estonia, 1986); Viktor Timofeev (Latvia/US, 1984); Justinas Vilutis (Lithuania/France, 1991)

Anders Kreuger (Sweden/Finland, 1965); Jaakko Pallasvuo (Finland, 1987); Miša Skalskis (Lithuania/Finland, 1994)

Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art, Tallinn; MO Museum, Vilnius; Museum of the Latvian Artists’ Union, Riga

Lithuania’s cultural attaché to Sweden, Finland and Denmark; Lithuanian Culture Institute, Vilnius

Photography: Jussi Tiainen