Janna Holmstedt (KTH/SHM)


Dr. Janna Holmstedt is a transdisciplinary artist and environmental humanities researcher based in Stockholm. She is currently heading the art- and research project Humus economicus at National Historical Museums (SHM), Department of Collections and Research, which focuses on soil care, soil blindness, and soil as multispecies activity zone (see below). She is also research engineer at KTH Royal Institute of Technology at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment. She holds a Ph.D. in Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Umeå University and Lund University, Sweden, and has been part of The Posthumanities Hub since 2018.

Her research explores listening and storying as critical-creative modes of inquiry, the cultivation of care and environmental attention, multispecies relations, and composition in the expanded field of genre-disobedient art practices. In her work, dolphins, maize, earthworms and bladder wrack have been important companion species to think with and learn from. As part of her methodological tool box, she uses sound, listening sessions and soundwalks, as well as site-specific interventions and mixed-media installations, together with text, drawing and mapping (see www.jannaholmstedt.com).

Her Ph.D. dissertation Are You Ready for a Wet Live-In? Explorations into Listening (Lund and Umeå University, 2017) focuses on how sound and listening, in a visually dominated culture, could mediate new relationships with the more-than-human. It departs from the archival material, and especially the sound recordings, of American neurophysiologist John C. Lilly, who in the 1950s and 1960s conducted controversial scientific communication experiments with dolphins. Lilly’s experiments and sound recordings serve as a departure point for the consideration of new areas of perception and experience that sound technology has made possible: from the discovery of whale songs in the deeps of the oceans, to outer space with the hope of communicating with other intelligent life, to the womb and the sound environment of the fetus. Sound has a special capacity to transgress and renegotiate established perceptions and borders, at the same time as it renders the underheard or not-yet-heard tangible. To turn to an auditory domain though, is not a question of closing one’s eyes, but of taking more of the sensuous and bodily experiences into account. Holmstedt proposes that listening can be seen as a knowledge practice, and forms of active listening offer situated and deeply relational methods, with ethico-political implications that troubles Western, visually oriented knowledge systems in productive ways.

Her current research project Humus economicus: Soil Blindness and the Value of “Dirt” in Urbanized Landscape inquiries into radically altered human-soil relations, the invisible work of soils, and practices of soil care in times when soils are sealed and degraded at rapid rates. Through the Humus Economicus Collaboratory it gathers artists, environmental-, urban-, gender-, and heritage scholars, and connects with a growing number of soil stewards. The project explores how multiple forms of inheritance and potential futures meet in the subject of soil, as they tie together political ecologies into conflict zones where nature and culture, human and non-human cannot easily be discerned and held apart. Humus economicus intends to stay with these troubles. It also recognizes that soil is not a “charismatic other” as whales for example, which manages to mobilize empathy and action. Soil is rather un-charismatic and constitutes a wider form of bio-agency. The project combines issues of public space, communal experience, and biological processes to transform imaginaries of soil, and attends to living soil as a collaborator, an assemblage of multiple agents, and (with Puig de la Bellacasa) an urgent matter of care. This includes curating art-and-science-informed interventions that train our minds to go visiting in ways that spatially stitch together diverse sites in relationally complex knots. (Funded by Formas, a Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development).

Holmstedt has been invited to international Artists-in-Residence programs such as HIAP and Sumu in Finland, NIFCA in Estonia, Bemis Center in USA, and TCG Nordica in China. Most recently, Holmstedt’s work has been presented in exhibitions, festivals and talks at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Scandinavian Center, Jingdezhen, China, Public Art Agency Sweden and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Malmö Art Museum, Intonal Exprimental Music Festival and Inter Arts Center, Malmö.

Collaborations, Memberships and Networks:

Artistic Director of The Posthumanities Hub
Co-founder of the art- and research collective (P)Art of the Biomass, with Malin Lobell
Holi Biont, ongoing collaboration between interdisciplinary artists Janna Holmstedt and Åsa Cederqvist
Member of the Soil Care Network
Part of the Nordic and Baltic State of the Art Network
Part of Walking Festival of Sound, an international network of practitioners and researchers interested in sound and walking.
Member of Fylkingen – intermedia art and new music

Most Recent and Upcoming Publications:

Holmstedt, J., C. Åsberg, M. Radomska, C. Fredengren, and S. Johannessen. [Forthcoming] 2021. More-Than-Human Arts and Multispecies Futures, curated one-day Stream for the STREAMS international conference on transformative Environmental Humanities, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, 3-7 August.

Holmstedt, J. 2021. Follow the Blind, Mimic the Wind and Become a Worm: Sonospheric Mappings by a Bag-Lady Soundwalker, Unlikely Journal for Creative Arts, no.7, (March): Following Sonorous Bodies, eds. Anastasia Khodyreva and Elina Suoyrjö. Link: https://unlikely.net.au/

Holmstedt, J. and M. Lobell. 2021. “For Sisters for Planthroposcene”. In the exhibition Sustainable Societies for the Future, curated by A. Johansson. Malmö, Chicago: Malmö Konstmuseum and EXPO Chicago, 1 Feb-23 May.

Åsberg, C., J. Holmstedt and M. Radomska. 2020. “Methodologies of Kelp: On Feminist Posthumanities, Transversal Knowledge Production and Multispecies Ethics in an Age of Entanglement” In: The Kelp Congress, edited by H. Mehti, N. Cahoon, and A. Wolfsberger, Svolvær: NNKS Press, pp. 11-23.

Holmstedt, J. 2020. Interspecies Bodies and Watery Sonospheres: Listening in the Lab, the Archives and the Field, Leonardo Music Journal, vol. 30, (December 2020), Special Section, ed. Morten Søndergaard. Link: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/lmj/30

Publications since 2016:

Holmstedt, J. 2017. Are You Ready for a Wet Live-In? Explorations into Listening (PhD dissertation). Lund: Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, Lund University

Exhibitions, performances, etc.

Holmstedt, J. and M. Lobell. 2021. “For Sisters for Planthroposcene”. In the exhibition Sustainable Societies for the Future, curated by A. Johansson. Malmö, Chicago: Malmö Konstmuseum and EXPO Chicago, 1 Feb-23 May.

Holmstedt, J. and M. Lobell. 2020. (P)Art of the Biomass Presents: The Sea Garden, in the group exhibition The Water Market. Mossutställningar, Strömparterren, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. The Blowhole. Performance, the Cinema at SADA, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J. and Å. Cederqvist. 2019. Coming into Being – A Worm Session, Participatory event at Fylkingen, Stockholm.

Futurefarmers with Janice McEwen, Janna Holmstedt, Sergey Kostyrko, Alexander Kozachek, Julia Lohmann, Julia Parks, Danni Zuvela, Alexander Rishaug. 2019. Performance Coast, Line at The Kelp Congress, Lofoten International Art Festival, Svolvaer, Norway.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. Blåshålet. Performance at Antenn Sound Art Festival. Ljudtornet, Gnesta.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. Shared Surfaces. Performance at Walking Festival of Sound, Stockholm Edition. Curators: Tim Shaw and Jacek Smolicki.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. Flock Frequency Colony: Sonospheric Communards and Points of Listening. Participation in Interplanetary Species Society Assembly, by Jonas Staal, 24 Aug, part of Choreographing the Social, curator Edi Muka, Statens Konstråd/Public Art Agency Sweden, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. (curator) Sonic Sensibilities: /Mis/communication/s/. R1 Reaktorhallen, KTH, Stockholm, in collaboration with Posthumanities Hub, Fragmentarium Club and Statens Konstråd/Public Art Agency Sweden, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J. and M. Lobell. 2019. Participation in The Earth Market. Mossutställningar, Strömparterren, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J. and J. Smolicki. 2019. Sonic Sensibilities. Performance at Spring Clean. Marabouparken, Sundbyberg.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. Allotments and green infrastructures. Soundwalk and walkshop in Performing the Fringe urban research hikes, curatorial project by Inga Lace and Jussi Koitela, in collaboration with Konsthall C, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J., E. Nilsson and L. Siltberg. 2019. Popcorn & Film: Interfaces. Site specific public event in an urban allotment, Stockholm.

Holmstedt, J. 2018. The Blowhole. Performance at Sound around Kaliningrad, curated by Danil Akimov, Kaliningrad, Russia.

Holmstedt, J. 2017. Then, the Bark. Solo exhibition, Konstfrämjandet, Umeå.

Holmstedt, J. 2016. Articulations from the Orifice (The Dry and the Wet). Performance at Transistor 1: Broadcasting from the center of contemporary performing arts, Teatr Weimar, Malmö.

Holmstedt, J. 2016. Sound installation at Intonal Festival – Exprimental Music Festival. Inkonst, Malmö.

Holmstedt, J. 2016.  In the Greenery. Solo exhibition, Inter Arts Center, Malmö.

Holmstedt, J. 2016.  Hajar och andra djur. Performance at Öyvind Fahlström: Kalas på BORD. Moderna Muséet, Stockholm, Sweden

Holmstedt, J. and K. Wegsjö. 2016. Happiness, a Five-Year Plan. In Inspired, Taoxichuan Art Museum and the Scandinavian Center, Jingdezhen, China.

Peer-reviewed conference contributions:

Holmstedt, J. and Å. Cederqvist, 2020. Holi Biont: Coming into Being. Alliances & Commonalities, 2nd Conference on Artistic Research, Uniarts, Stockholm, Sweden, 22-24 October.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. Posthumanist Reflections on Listening, Interspecies Communication, and the Aesthetics of More-Than-Human Relations. RE:SOUND 2019 The 8th International Conference in the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark, 20-23 Aug.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. Articulations from the Orifice. Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices, Linnaeus University, 23-25 Jan.

Holmstedt, J., M. Radomska and C. Åsberg. 2018. Panel: The ‘we’ in the Anthropocene. State of the Art – A Multidisciplinary Collaboration Facing the Anthropocene. Independent Air, Silkeborg, Denmark, 10-13 Oct.

Holmstedt, J. 2016. YOU-TAPE-GOD. Explorations of Voice, Constructed Situations, and A/Orality from Within a Visual Art Practice. The Swedish Research Council’s Symposium on Artistic Research, Malmö, 25-26 Nov.

Other publications and presentations:

Holmstedt, J.  2020. Multispecies Communication. Invited lecturer. Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Holmstedt, J.  2019. What is the role of feminism in relation to the Anhtopocene? Invited lecturer. Imaging/Imagining, the Drawing Room. Nuda in collaboration with Stockholm University.

Holmstedt, J.  2019. Poetics of Future Work. Panel conversation between Sandor Albrecht, RISE, Janna Holmstedt,  The Posthumanities Hub, KTH, Per Johansson, philosopher, and Tove Chevalley, Digital Innovation Director, Electrolux. Moderator: Nina Bozic. Event part of DIGI Futures, lead by the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden in collaboration with ABB, Electrolux, Karolinska, Nacka Kommun, GodEl, and NAV Sweden.

Holmstedt, J. 2019. “Between Earthworms and Satellites”, research presentation and moderator, Open Humanities Lab Symposium: New Humanities & the Anthropocene, the Posthumanities Hub, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden, 14-15 May.

Holmstedt, J. 2018. “Plant communication and sonification in science and artistic practices, an overview”, research presentation, Working With the Vegetal II interdisciplinary seminar, Stockholm University of the Arts Research Centre, 29 Nov.

Holmstedt, J. 2018. “Flock Frequency”, research presentation, Re-Launch of the Posthumanities Hub, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, 28 May 28.

Holmstedt, J. 2018. “Intervju med Janna Holmstedt”, Konstnären no.1.

Holmstedt, J. 2018. “Flock Frekvens”, Tidningen Kulturen, no. 1.

Holmstedt, J. 2018. “Are You Ready for a Wet Live-In?”, research presentation, Posthumanities Hub, Linköping University, 25 Jan.

Holmstedt, J. 2017. ”Then, the Bark”, research presentation, Konstfrämjandet Västerbotten, Umeå, 9 Sep.

Holmstedt, J. 2017. “Are You Ready for a Wet Live-In?”, research seminar with Prof. Brandon LaBelle, University of Bergen, Umeå Art Academy, 4 Apr, 2017.

Holmstedt, J. 2016. Hålets artikulationer. Glänta: Djurkunskap, no. 2, pp. 84-95.

Holmstedt, J. 2016. “Parasites (In the Greenery)”, research seminar with Prof. Cecilia Sjöholm, Södertörn University, Inter Arts Center, Malmö, 29 Apr.


Personal website: www.jannaholmstedt.com
Profile at KTH