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Sculpture on a Burning Planet

Online Lecture series: Sculpture on a Burning Planet
Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts, Helsinki


Our planet is literally burning, and our present-day Neros are certainly fiddling. Distracted by war and egotistical power struggles, our leaders do nothing to effectively slow climate change. Energy shortages caused by the war in Ukraine lead to renewed exploitation of fossil fuel reserves. Weather systems have become more extreme and destructive – and not just in the usual “hurricane belt” – Europe, China, and Northern America have all seen extreme drought and flooding again this last year. These “once in a hundred years” phenomena are now the new normal. Exploration and mining for rare-earth elements for so-called “clean energy” puts increasing pressure on pristine wilderness and indigenous people’s lands. How do artists and the art world react to these developments? The international art world itself is driven by carbon-hungry practices, in the production, presentation, and marketing of artists and artworks. In this lecture series, four renowned experts (philosophers, artists, and researchers) present hopeful possibilities for future artistic practise in this age of environmental crisis.

Photo: Mirko Nikolić


Wednesday 21 September Elisa Aaltola: Philosophy of Love and the Nonhuman World
Wednesday 5 October Pia Lindman: Chill Survive Network
Wednesday 26 October mirko nikolić: After Extractivism in the Semi-periphery
Wednesday 16 November Maarit Mäkelä: Working with Soil

The series is presented by Professor Andy Best, Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts, Helsinki
All lectures start at 17.00 (GMT +2) and are held online using the Zoom platform. They are free and open to all. The language of presentation is English. Please remember to use the passcode to access the meeting, and keep your mic muted unless asking a question.
Wednesday 21 September 2022, 17.00 – 19.00 (GMT +2, Helsinki)
https://uniarts.zoom.us/j/65689597891
Passcode: 422930

Elisa Aaltola: Philosophy of Love and the Nonhuman World
Discussions concerning the climate crisis often ignore nonhuman viewpoints. Yet, it is predominantly nonhuman animals, who suffer most from a warming climate, whether by undergoing agonizing deaths in forest fires, struggling due to loss of habitat or by facing species extinction. The lecture focuses on how moral love holds the potential of reminding us of other-than-human perpectives. Two philosophical definitions of love (by Plato and Iris Murdoch) will be introduced, and the role of art in evoking love toward animals will be mapped out. Can art make us fall in love with the nonhuman world?
Elisa Aaltola, PhD, works as a senior researcher and adjunct professor in philosophy at the University of Turku, Finland. Her research has focused on animal philosophy and normative moral psychology. Aaltola has published 12 books on these topics, including Esseitä eläimistä (Into 2022), Varieties of Empathy: Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics (Rowman & Littlefield 2018) and Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture (Palgrave MacMillan 2012). In 2021 she was awarded the Pro Animalia Prize for her life’s work for animals, and in 2022 she was awarded the Reformer of the Year Prize by Maailman Kuvalehti.
https://www.utu.fi/en/people/elisa-aaltola
https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisa_Aaltola
Wednesday 5 October 2022, 17.00 – 19.00 (GMT +2, Helsinki)

Pia Lindman: Chill Survive Network
https://uniarts.zoom.us/j/65300671383
Passcode: 024187
Chill Survive Network is a platform for mutual exchange and collaboration between researchers, curators, artists, and institutions in the North-beyond-the-global-North. We engage in human and nonhuman entanglements and the development of new strategies, tactics, methodology and language that speak to our present ecological crisis. The objective is to explore, learn, mediate, cope with the future transformations in the Arctic. The network consists of several physical and online meetings including seminars and workshops.
Pia Lindman as artist and researcher works with performance art, healing-as-art, installation, microbes, architecture, painting, and sculpture. In “Nose, Ears, Eyes“ (Sao Paulo Biennale, 2016) Lindman gave treatments to members of the audience and made paintings based on the visions she saw during these treatments. As Professor of Environmental Art at Aalto University from 2013 to 2018, Lindman initiated the art/science network Chill Survive focusing on the Arctic and organised the first global Radical Relevances Conference (2018). Since 2017, Lindman is doctoral candidate at the program of Nordic Cultures and Environmental Politics at Lapland University researching her concept of the subsensorial. A result of many years of investigation into the body and its place within the cultural space, Lindman’s work now moves beyond the human body proper to multiple realms of organic and inorganic life.
http://pialindman.com/
https://chillsurvive.org/
Wednesday 26 October 2022, 17.00 – 19.00 (GMT +2, Helsinki)
https://uniarts.zoom.us/j/62121956520
Passcode: 813978

mirko nikolić: After Extractivism in the Semi-periphery
As the climate and ecological crises escalate, the metal mining sector is attempting to position itself as a fundamental provider of materials for the “energy transition.” Never before seen quantities of minerals are projected to substitute fossil fuels in the quest for lower-carbon and cleaner energy, transport and infrastructure technologies. While possibly reducing the carbon footprint of material use, the effects of mining on water, air, human and more-than-human communities are less visible in the technocratic discourses and calculations.
Well documented are mining industry’s deep relations with colonialism, imperialism and related social engineering techniques of militarisation, policing, racism and sexism. Mining as part of a larger set of strategies of large- and long-term use of “natural resources” coagulates in the logics of extractivism. The concept and discussion was born in Latin America, but has since travelled across fields and geographies to tell many histories and illuminate a multitude of alternative world-making projects.
In the discussion we will explore how the evolving notions of extractivism and alternatives relate to our life, work and being.
mirko nikolić (Institute for Culture & Society, Linköping University) works through text, place-based performance and organising, often in different collaborative constellations and collectives, in solidarity with climate and environmental justice efforts. Since 2015, the principal focus of activity has been tracing the impacts of “mining booms” in North and South-East Europe, and non-extractivist alternatives from below.
https://minoritarianecologi.es/
https://www.hiap.fi/resident/mirko-nikolic/
https://liu.se/en/employee/mirni99
Wednesday 16 November 2022, 17.00 – 19.00 (GMT +2, Helsinki)
https://uniarts.zoom.us/j/62423118318
Passcode: 576714


Maarit Mäkelä: Working with Soil
Recently I spent one year in New-Zealand. Because of its volcanic nature, the place offered diverse raw materials that were suitable for ceramics making. The core of my creative practice became the natural environment and the earth samples – sand, stones, and clay – I gathered during my walks. The materials were processed further in the studio and then used as raw materials for ceramics. The lecture presents this ‘seed’ project with four interrelated projects where these practices are used in urban context. Three of the projects were conducted together with Working with soil group: first
took place in Research Pavilion #3 in the context of Venice Biennale 2019; second in Design Museum Helsinki 202
0-2021; third in Espoo Museum of Modern Art EMMA 2021-2022. All the projects discuss the entangled relationship between human and soil from different perspective. The fourth project is ongoing research with the aim of learning how to use geopolymers to work with soil matters with the result of construction that would not need firing.
Doctor of Arts Maarit Mäkelä is an Associate Professor of Practice-led Design Research at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland, where she is leading EMPIRICA research group and Contemporary Design master programme. Her own creative practice locates in the context of contemporary ceramics. She uses her own ceramics making as an embodied, slow practice through which to (re)consider the entangled relationship between human and non-human realms in the context of soil. Her current research interest lies in collaborative creative processes, especially how craft-based practices can be used for raising critical discourse around the stage of the environment. She has published and exhibited widely in international arenas.
https://www.maaritmakela.com/
https://empirica.aalto.fi/traces-from-the-anthropocene

PH & EBL Seminar/Webinar with Prof. Thom van Dooren, 30th May, 13:15-15:00 CEST

It is our great pleasure to welcome you all to the upcoming Posthumanities Hub and The Eco- and Bioart Lab Seminar/Webinar with Prof. Thom van Dooren (University of Sydney/University of Oslo) on “The craft of poisoning: learning not to eat cane toads

The seminar/webinar will have a hybrid format.

When: 30th May, 13:15 – 15:00 CEST

Where: Room FAROS, Tema building, Linköping University (Campus Valla) & on Zoom. For the registration link, see below.

The craft of poisoning: learning not to eat cane toads

Abstract:

Since their introduction in 1935, cane toads have been making their way across the top half of the Australian continent. As they’ve moved, they have left a wave of death in their wake, animals poisoned by the unfamiliar toxins that toad’s carry. All efforts to eradicate toads, or even slow their advance, have failed. In recent years, however, a new set of approaches to coexistence with cane toads have begun to emerge. These approaches centre on large scale efforts to teach native species not to eat toads through a ‘conditioned taste aversion’ that is produced with the use of nauseating toxins. This paper explores the history and ethics of these multispecies pedagogical experiments. It asks how the various toxic substances that are deployed by both toads and by scientists open up new possibilities for learning, for becoming differently together, for reshaping ecosystems and shared lives, while also carrying with them significant, and often mortal, dangers.

Bio:

Thom van Dooren is Deputy Director at the Sydney Environment Institute and an Associate Professor in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney, and a Professor II in the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities at the University of Oslo. His research and writing focus on some of the many philosophical, ethical, cultural, and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human entanglements with threatened species and places. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia UP 2014), The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds (Columbia UP 2019), and A World in a Shell: Snail Stories for a Time of Extinctions (MIT 2022). www.thomvandooren.org

REGISTER HERE:  https://liu-se.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5csd-6rrDoqHteMOaRhfLomKPCSZuh01xBa

‘END OF THE SEA? ART AND SCIENCE FOR MULTISPECIES FUTURES’ WORKSHOP, 13th December 2021.

It is our great pleasure to announce our upcoming event, hosted by The Eco- and Bioart Lab and The Posthumanities Hub, and generously supported by The Seed Box and Åke Wiberg Foundation:

End of the Sea? Art and Science for Multispecies Futures Workshop takes place on 13th December 2021 at 13:15 – 17:00 – on Zoom!

For registration details – see below.

As the planet’s largest ecosystem, oceans and seas stabilise climate, produce oxygen, store CO2 and host unfathomable multitudes of creatures at a deep-time scale. In recent decades, scientific assessments have indicated that marine environments are seriously degraded to the detriment of most near-future human and nonhuman communities. This matters to us, too. Climate change, environmental destruction and diminishing biological diversity form the key pillars of the present more-than-human crisis of planetary proportions. This calls for our attention and for responses from the more-than-human humanities.  

Still, a lot remains unknown at the levels of oceanic shallow waters, its depths and along coastlines. Western cultural imaginaries picture the ocean and the sea as those which wash away, neutralise, conceal and hide in their limitless volume ‘under the surface.’ The ocean and the sea are culturally marked as the spaces of ‘forgetting’: out of sight, out of mind. 

‘End of the Sea? Art and Science for Multispecies Futures’ workshop, hosted by The Eco- and Bioart Lab and The Posthumanities Hub, aims to bring together artists, researchers, writers and other practitioners, who – through their critical and creative, inter- and transdisciplinary practices – explore the boundary areas of the coastline and the estuary, and their accompanying cultural and scientific meanings. The workshop will zoom in on the wrack zone – particularly in the context of the Baltic Sea – with its low-trophic communities of algae, mussels and other species not only as key actors in the polluted, warming waters of climate change, but also as catalysts for new co-creations, collaborations, creativities and environmental imaginaries. What happens at (before? after?) the end of the sea? How can humans be a more caring and attentive ecological force for multispecies futures by the edge of the sea?  Join us on 13th December to find out!  

The workshop has been generously supported by The Seed Box and Åke Wiberg Foundation (for ‘Havshumaniora’).

The Eco- and Bioart Lab connects artists, artistic researchers and other practitioners, as well as doctoral students whose practice and research focus on art and the environment in their broadest understanding. EBL opens up a transdisciplinary space, where artistic practice converges with philosophy, cultural theory, art studies, visual culture, queer death studies and posthumanities in synergy and as equally legitimate voices. 

The Posthumanities Hub is a research group and a multi-university platform for postdisciplinary and more-than-human humanities, for philosophy, arts and sciences informed by advanced cultural critique and creativity. In our research, we specialise in the more-than-human condition and inventive feminist materialist approaches to it. We work to meet up with pressing societal challenges, across the natureculture divide and target specific cases. Curiously, creatively and critically. 

The event is co-curated by Dr Marietta Radomska and Prof. Cecilia Åsberg.

SPEAKERS:

Sarah Blissett (independent artist and researcher, UK)

FRAUD (Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo, UK) 

Fiona Hillary (RMIT University/The Algae Society/The Centre for Projection Art/The Journal of Public Space, AU)

Ase Brunborg Lie (independent artist, NO)

Julia Lohmann (Aalto University, FI)

Natalie Lowrey (Deep Sea Mining campaign (DSMC)/Aid/Watch, AU) and mirko nikolić (Linköping University, SE)

Nina Lykke (Linköping University, SE/Aarhus University, DK)

Lena Tasse (Linköping University, SE)

REGISTRATION:

In order to take part in the event, please register by sending an email to the.posthumanities.hub@gmail.com by 10th December 2021 at noon (CET) the latest.

The Zoom links will be sent to you on 12th December in the evening.

Seaside Arts and Low-Trophic Imaginaries: A State of the Art Network Mid-term event

On 30th September and 1st October we will have a pleasure to host the event forming part of the State of the Art Network (SOTAN) activities, which will take place on the island of Ornö in Stockholm Archipelago. It will have a hybrid format (with eight participants on location and others taking part via Zoom) and will be open to all SOTAN members as well as registered non-SOTAN participants.

REGISTRATION

In order to take part in the event, please register by sending an email to the.posthumanities.hub@gmail.com by 27th September 2021 at noon (CEST) the latest.

The Zoom links will be sent to you on 28th September in the evening.

SEASIDE ARTS AND LOW-TROPHIC IMAGINARIES, Location: Ornö, Stockholm Archipelago, and online. 

All through the extended history of Earth, the coastline has been a zone of unrest, where waves and tides have forged life and land on this planet. Oceanic algae, once terraforming the Earth into a breathable planet, still produce most of our oxygen. Today, beaches and oceans are haunted by plastic waste, eutrophication and diminishing biological diversity. Kelp forests and mussel beds (and all the other species that depend on them) are receding with the warming waters of climate change. Yet, as also remarked by late marine biologist Rachel Carson, the edge of the sea remains a strange and beautiful place. We think it is a sanctuary for co-creation and worldly re-imaginings. The marine wrack zone, a boundary area between sea and land, hosts low-trophic species, like mussels and seaweeds, and it harbours marine hope. Like the common bladder wrack in the Baltic Sea, it mitigates the eutrophication of the sea and provides shelter for all kinds of creatures and creativities.  

The State of the Art Network (SOTAN) mid-term event SEASIDE ARTS and LOW TROPHIC IMAGINARIES, hosted by The Posthumanities Hub and The Eco- and Bioart Lab, welcomes artistic and scientific entanglements with the environmental humanities to the seaside. This workshop invites salinity to brackish times by bringing together environmental engineers (like bladder wrack), sea garden activists, artists, feminist blue humanities scholars, marine biologists and those with local know-how for a situated encounter by the edge of the sea. The aim of the event is to re-tool our oceanic imaginary with insights and creative suggestions for how humans can be a more caring and attentive ecological force for multispecies futures by the edge of the Baltic Sea.  

State of the Art Network (SOTAN), initiated and headed by Bioart Society/SOLU in Finland, is a Nordic-Baltic transdisciplinary network of artists, practitioners, researchers, and organisations who have come together to discuss the role, responsibility, and potential of art and culture in the Anthropocene. By developing creative practices, transdisciplinary collaborations, and public engagement, the network aims to create resilience and concrete actions for living the change in culture, economy, and environment, and to find concrete hands-on methods to deal with the Anthropocene and environmental crisis. The network wants to strengthen competencies in remote hosting and participation as well as practical sustainability, which will be applied in the production of the activities and throughout the network: https://bioartsociety.fi/projects/state-of-the-art-network        

The Posthumanities Hub, partner and co-pi of SOTAN, is a longstanding feminist research group and multi-university platform for more-than-human humanities. It brings art and science to the humanities, and transformational insights to the people. In the interface of Swedish-international networking, the Hub has pioneered feminist cyborg studies, technohumanities, medical humanities, environmental humanities and recently taken a turn towards the marine fringes. Fostering doctoral careers, academic activism and societal commitment, the Hub has recently spawned two sub-groups, one of them is The Eco-and Bioart Lab. https://posthumanitieshub.net/

The Eco- and Bioart Lab connects artists, artistic researchers and other practitioners, as well as doctoral students whose practice and research focus on art and the environment in their broadest understanding. EBL opens up a transdisciplinary space, where artistic practice converges with philosophy, cultural theory, art studies, visual culture, queer death studies and posthumanities in synergy and as equally legitimate voices. Web: https://liu.se/en/research/the-eco-and-bioart-lab

Remote participation programme. All times indicated in CEST.

30th September (Thursday)

14:00 – 14:30 – Welcome & presentation of the programme of the mid-term meeting SEASIDE ARTS AND LOW-TROPHIC IMAGINARIES.

14:30 – 16:00 – Performance/panel “Seaside Arts” (Andy Best & Merja Puustinen, Jessie Peterson, Caroline Elgh Klinborg)

16:00 – 16:30 – Break

16:30 – 17:30 – SOTAN mid-term meeting (internal)

17:30 – 18:00 – Break

18:00 – 19:30 – Keynote 1: Stacy Alaimo (University of Oregon), “From Seaside to Abyss: Deep Sea Creatures and Low Trophic Imaginaries” + discussion.

1st October (Friday)

14.00 – 16:00 – Panel “Sea Gardens” (Janna Holmstedt, Malin Lobell, Cecilia Wibjörn, Maria Bodin, Lena Kautsky)

16:00 – 17:00 – Break

17:00 – 18:30 – Keynote 2: Anne-Marie Melster (ARTPORT), “WE ARE OCEAN: A global program linking the arts, sciences and education for ocean protection accompanying the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development” + discussion.

18:30 – 18:45 – Break

18:45 – 19:30 – SOTAN: closing discussion.

If you missed the event, you still have a chance to watch the recordings of several of the talks via our YouTube channel: Seaside Arts YouTube Playlist

Join us in a Midsummer Fertility Ceremony for Bladderwrack – an Invitation from (P)Art of the Biomass

During calm nights in May and June, and synched by the full moon, bladderwrack releases its eggs and sperms. If you want to pay tribute to the forests of the sea and help bladderwrack reproduce, especially in the Baltic Sea, you can help it find new homes.

You don’t need to erect an underwater Midsummer pole, as (P)Art of the Biomass did together with marine biologists Cecilia Wibjörn and Maria Bodin at Tjärnö Marine Laboratory, Sweden. The only thing you need is a large rock where fertilized eggs of bladderwrack, zygotes, can settle. Or a brush, with which you can scrub a cliff clean from green algae, below the waterline, nearby where bladderwrack grows. If there’s an abundance of green algae, bladderwrack might find it hard to find a surface where the tiny zygotes can settle and grow.

Midsummer full moon occurs the 24th of June, 8:40 p.m. (CEST/Swedish time). If it’s a calm evening, the bladderwrack will spawn. Before this happens, take a walk with us to the sea.

It’s the smell of home I guess

Denna bild har ett alt-attribut som är tomt. Dess filnamn är lobell_blastangjuni2021-14-1024x683.jpg
Sound, voice and editing: Janna Holmstedt. Field-recordings from an intertidal zone and singing by Janice McEwen in Lofoten, Norway.

Find your way to the sea
Seek out where bladderwrack grows on hard cliffs and stones
Air-filled pods keep the algae afloat
Spongy bladders are swelling when ready to spawn
Prepare a clean, hard surface
Scrub a cliff
Sink a stone
Feel the sponginess and readiness
Smell the tangle
And for a moment, be that stone

This ceremony has been composed by (P)Art of the Biomass for the Nordic-Baltic transdisciplinary State of the Art Network in which the Posthumanities Hub is a member, and was originally posted here.

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