Lectio recut

Text and pictures: Joonas Vola

In the blog, Joonas Vola presents a radical reworking of his Arctic research “Homunculus: Bearing Incorporeal Arcticulations” by cutting the introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria of his public defence into pieces and reconstructing a new whole from its fragments.

Besides of linear reading, the text may form surprising and unexpected links self-referentially, enstrengthening the argument or even making way for new ones. Intratext (see Palmer 2002, 1; Sharrock 2019; Vola 2022, 5–6) has the capasity to restructure the data that it consists of, that is to say, it may know and learn. An argument or a research finding might already be in the text, but we haven’t yet made the connections. We don’t know that the text knows …

You may reconstitute the text from the phographed pieces of cut text, in respect of the role of the reader. Some of the contents are written down fragmentarily to ease the accessability.

the Arctic in Change

ARCTICULATION,  joining a-part of the Arctic” […] ‘what if the Arctic is not the same phenomenon, but rather an outcome of scientific and artistic practices, an entanglement of discursive traits that have been put together’. Following the terminology of Karen Barad: What if the Arctic is rather cut together than being a part of the same unity.

In writing my doctoral dissertation, I replaced the research questions with a research outcome, an answer towards which to navigate through different questions and research tasks. A unified research object “the Arctic”, under critical study and alternative ways of writing led to a portmanteau word “Arcticulation”, blending together the words Arctic and articulation. This term emphasises the critical approach towards the unifying features of the Arctic, and emphasises the heterogenous and actively connected differentiated parts joined (articulated) together. Here it is critically important to recognise the role of the research, where the research concerning the Arctic in change is articulating and constituting both the Arctic and its conditions.

The single most defining feature of the Arctic currently, is the permanency of this continuous change, that makes it the only constant, the only unifying feature of the Arctic.
A quote from J. D. Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye: ‘I thought what I’d do was, I’d pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes’

While one contributes to the Arctic research, the given statements becomes part of the Arctic discourse, bearing its weight and carrying it further. For a critical scholar, one has to bear this in mind, not to turn a blind eye to the history of the terminology or involved scientific practices.

Umberto Eco’s term: an open text, for future re-workings, to follow Karen Barad’s words.
While working in a textorium [Max van Manen], in accordance with Jean Paul Sartre, writing really is the method.

Since we can consider arctic as a scientific and political discourse, where discourse should be considered both linguistically and materially, a word incarnated, any repetition or rewriting either re-establishes a status quo or radically challenges the current status of the subject under study. Therefore, the research does no only take place in a specific territory as a research field, or due to implicated policy briefs, but begins to change in the moment when the studied phenomenon is pinned or written down. The research subject has another related live in the textual landscape. 

So(?), is the Arctic in Change, a fact or a work of fiction?

Because the understanding and image of the Arctic is constituted from different descriptions and recordings, utilising the means and methods of both science and art, and since it has historical, mythological and modern meanings, one has to ask whether the research topic is factual or fictional. To state this radically, the Arctic is not a research object or field, it is an outcome of research; in other words, it does not precede research, but becomes in the process. Here the mimesis (art imitating nature) and anti-mimesis (nature imitating art) have to meet in a synthesis (the art of nature-making).

This most obvious constancy, is the one we should most carefully observe, since the obvious is the one that hides the extraordinary.
Applying the literal work of Milan Kundera, I would state that the Arctic is an intelligible lie, and an unintelligible truth.

It is common to find the Arctic from spectacles, such as declarations, strategies, works of art, and vast scale crisis, “natural” or “political”. These occasional performances are intelligible moment where the Artic is underlined, but which nevertheless disregard the constant state of relations in alteration. That is the unintelligible part of the Arctic, arcticness or arcticality. The critical thought should be targeted to the most obvious and mundane things, where the Arctic ‘takes place’. They are source where the Arctic hides and resides, and may bear fruit for critical inquiries and radical thought.

This is not about the hat, this is about digesting and incorporating a paradigm constituted by science. This is about bearing incorporeal arcticulations.

The scientific practice for developing critical Arctic studies, must recognise what the paradigm which it both feeds into and emerges from has eaten and what keeps its literal body running and growing.   

Joonas Vola is a scholar of political science in the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi. Vola has concentrated in Arctic research context and has an interest in politics of aesthetics, post-humanism, new materialism and political economy.


Barad, Karen (2010). Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Relations of Inheritance: Dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and Justice-to-Come. Derrida Today 3(2), 240–268.

Barad, Karen (2012). What Is the Measure of Nothingness: Infinity, Virtuality, Justice. 100 Notes,100 Thoughts. Documenta Series 099.

Eco, Umberto (1984) [1979]. The Role of the Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Kundera, Milan (1984): The Unbearable Lightness of Being. London: Faber and Faber.

Palmer, Kent (2002). Intratextuality: Exploring the Unconscious of the Text. http://archonic.net/Lx01a14.pdf [Accessed 1.2.2022].

Salinger, Jerome David (1951). The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Sharrock, Alison (2019). Intratextuality. Oxford Classical Dictionary. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.8281 [Accessed 25.6.2021].

van Manen, Max (2014). Phenomenology of Practice: Meaning-Giving Methods in Phenomenological

Research and Writing. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, Inc.

Vola, Joonas (2022). Homunculus: Bearing Incorporeal Arcticulations. Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 334. ISBN 978-952-337-309-9, ISSN 1796-6310. Lapin yliopisto, Rovaniemi. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-309-9

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