This issue of RUUKKU has its starting point in the Research Pavilion #3 project that brought together more than fifty artist-researchers from twenty countries over a period of twenty months. The project started with an open call for "Research Cells" in April 2018 and evolved through a series of Research Cell Assemblies organised in Helsinki to an intensive period of activity in the context of the Venice Biennale.
Behind the back of Linnaeus - Bakom ryggen på Linné
This bilingual exposition presents parts of the artistic research project “Performing with Plants”, video works created through repeated visits to a sycamore in Humlegården and a beech in Djurgården during the year 2017, and discusses the notion ecology of practices introduced by Isabelle Stengers. The exposition consists of an essay, the video works, and some working notes from the process as an appendix.
Denna tvåspråkiga exposition presenterar delar av det konstnärliga forskningsprojektet ”Att uppträda med växter”, videoarbeten som skapats genom upprepade besök hos en tysklönn i Humlegården och en bok på Djurgården under år 2017, och diskuterar begreppet praktikernas ekologi som introducerats av Isabelle Stengers. Expositionen består av en essä, videoverken, och några arbetsanteckningar från processen som bilaga.
Reading on Reading: Ecologies of Reading
Emma Cocker, Lena Séraphin, Cordula Daus
Reading on Reading is a series of experimental reading practices developed collaboratively by Emma Cocker, Cordula Daus and Lena Séraphin whilst working together in the Research Pavilion #3, Venice, 2019, for exploring what alternative modes of sense making are produced when reading is undertaken artistically, as an aesthetic activity.
Reading on Reading explores three interrelated foci: How can aesthetic practices of reading: (1) Shed new light on the phenomenology (or how-ness) of reading? (2) Transform the often-solitary activity of reading into a shared or communal act — and explore what modes of sociality, solidarity and emergent ‘we’ emerge therein? (3) Operate as a disruptive process unsettling normative conventions of reading through focus on the poetic, affective and material dimensions of readerly experience?
Within this artistic research collaboration, we consider the act of reading beyond the relation of the reader to a text read, as a micro-political or ethico-aesthetic practice through which to re-consider — perhaps even re-organise — the relations between self and other(s), self and world. Drawing upon Félix Guattari’s notion of ecosophy with its three ecological registers of environment, social relations and human subjectivity, in this exposition we consider how the modest practice of reading together could contribute to a wider ethico-aesthetic project: for cultivating shared poetics of attention, for the re-sensing of language through embodied vocalisation, for tending to the temporary gatherings of ‘we’ that reading together affords.
The aim of this exposition is to share the reading practices tested and explored in and through the collaboration of three artist researchers, alongside reflection on the questions and concerns emerging within this enquiry. Whilst operating as a document or archive of a specifically time-bound research activity, the intention is that our reading practices have scope to be activated by other readers.
The research exposition consists of a case study in non-human phenomenology. The topic of the study derives from Jakob von Uexküll´s (1864–1944) classic ecological studies on the “lifeworld” (Umwelt) of animals, the focus being on the lifeworld of a tick. The tick experience is approached in an embodied manner, as developed by the author based on his artistic practice. The study demonstrates that it is possible and meaningful to create virtual corporeal interfaces between human and nonhuman species. What are the epistemological and ecological consequences of that disposition? On what kind of knowledge can planetary co-habitation among radically heterogeneous beings be based in the future?
Situating Practices: An ecological approach to exhibition making
Claire Robyn Booth-Kurpnieks, Louise Atkinson
Situating Practices was a research-led exhibition (17.05.19- 01.06.19) as part of the Temporary Contemporary programme in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The exhibition was a showcase of the practice-based research work of nine postgraduate researchers from the University of Huddersfield and other higher education institutions.
It explored what it means to do research in, with and through practice and the potential new configurations of knowledge that is produced through their display, this included artist practitioners, architects and researchers working at the boundaries of social science and creative practice.
This exposition questions the concept of “curating research” (O'Neill & Wilson, 2015) from an ecological perspective, considering the interdependent, emergent and developing relations and tensions when curating research for public display in the context of the Situating Practices exhibition.
Embodied Encounters at the Site of Deep Ecology
Based on process philosophy and ecological philosophy, the project explores ecological awareness in the experience of a mountain. The fieldwork takes place at Tvergasteinstjørnet, a mountain area located in Hallingskarven mountain range in southern Norway, over a period of approximately five years.
The research aim is to explore, experience and artistically articulate the mountain. This includes the experience of ecological awareness or the sense of being embedded, being part of and being vulnerable.
This is art- and practice research where knowledge develops in the interplay between theory, practice and art production. Here, the body and the senses are the primary sources of knowledge. Sensibilisation is to enhance the ability to discern and find meaning in the continuously changing nuances of the environment, and this is both method and aim. Diary notes, visuals and sound recordings, together with readings of literature enhance sensibilisation and awarness.
The project explores in what way recording technology, photography, sound and video, facilitates, or distorts awareness of the mountain. Sonic and audiovisual artworks are developed the along the way. The project discusses the use recording technology in a way that enhances ecological awareness. The creative process stimulates reflection and the artistic outcomes contribute to the research findings.
The Eco-Mesh Approach: A Sustainable Methodology for Socio-Culturally Interrogative Artistic Research
One of the most striking features of Artistic Research is that apparently disjointed issues including pressing calls to action from social, ethical, political and cultural perspectives can organically unfold, evolve, and shape interdisciplinary academic discourses through the centralised lens of artmaking. It thereby creates a holistic picture of research in a manner that only an artist’s singular perspective can yield. A methodology approach that looks from the enmeshed and messy microcosms of ecologies at interplay to the broader macrocosms of the world, through the lenses of socio-cultural interrogation and ethical accountability, I argue, presents an sustainable model for a decolonised artistic research ethos to emerge. According in this publication, I offer "an ecomesh approach" to achieving a framework for "socio-culturally interrogative artistic research" with music and culture as my two key modes of inquiry. As a female native culture bearer of South Indian Classical music now also active within the sphere of Western academia, I feel that I have an ethical responsibility towards the ways in which culturally contingent aspects of my music and culture are represented in and communicated to the world (both in education and artmaking). I leverage my insider/outsider position to problematise aspects of power, belonging, and ownership in global ecologies of dissemination and reception of material and material labour.
Sensory excursion as a site of encounter
In this exposition I discuss a human’s relationship with the environment, in terms of sensation and encounter. I describe my artistic practice implemented with the artist group Ajauksia, as a member of it. We, as a group, explore various sensory encounters with the environment through sensory exercises and, to that end, organize sensory excursions in different urban environments.
We participated in the Research Pavilion # 3 (RP #3), coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki in the context of the Venice Biennale. Here I describe the work of Ajauksia within the project, from my perspective. I join in the theme of this Ruukku publication, ecologies of practice, by describing how we developed sustainable modes of artistic research in and through processes of collaborating, performing and discussing. Now, after the project, I reflect on the ideas, experiences and opportunities for interaction with different parties. I focus in particular on the two very different environments where we worked, the Kontula suburb of Helsinki and the island of Giudecca, Venice, where Research Pavilion #3 was located.
EPISTEMIC BUGS AT WORLDMAKING
This text-based exposition looks at epistemic affordances embedded in the insect condition. Drawing from the scientific study of insects, my project INSECTS AMONG US sets out to fathom insects’ ephemeral existence through art works. A rich media presentation of the project is available in the RC: https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/474888/514952.
INSECTS AMONG US was exhibited at the Helsinki Uniarts Research Pavilion 2019 on Giudecca Island in Venice. The Pavilion housed a series of small-scale site-specific installations that visually and acoustically mediated the eerie life worlds of insects to human ears and eyes.
Otso Tapio Lähdeoja
This exposition relates Claude-Lévi Strauss' concept of bricolage with two examples of the author's artistic praxis, with the aim that the subjective case studies will contribute to highlight a more general methodological standpoint of contemporary artistic creation, namely: the artistic work as a dialogical, enactive process where the discussion with the artistic material takes a guiding role. The proposal intends to resituate a classic concept from structuralist anthropology, which I find strikingly useful for analysing contemporary intermedia artistic processes and works.
The exposition discusses the philosophical implications of a practice that abandons itself to an unforeseen, dialogical relationship with the environment. The oeuvre then becomes an ecological process of using what is offered by the situation, in a constant discussion with the environment. Ideas, forms and materials are engendered, lost and transformed in a dynamic process that resembles a sort of artistic aikido.
The ecological strand of the discussion on bricolage leads to Anna Tsing's "Mushroom at the End of the World" and Timothy Morton’s “Dark Ecology”, where the concept of Nature and the value of naturalness are abolished in favour of a flat relationship between human and her environment: an ecological system between different manifestations of being, where human-made phenomena are not regarded as extra-natural. An artistic practice of bricolage finds a favourable breeding-ground in such a conceptual context.
"Artistic Research on Socially and Environmentally Engaged Art - Ethics of Gathering
Katja Juhola, Maria Huhmarniemi, Kaisa Johanna Raatikainen
Art symposiums and similar gatherings in which international artists come together to collaborate are a longstanding tradition of the global art world. In 2019, artists and environmental researchers and experts were invited to work with a local school on environmental issues to create place-specific art and scientific collaborations. Three interdisciplinary teams focused on locally current topics. In this article, we present the process of one of them: the freshwater pearl mussels sub-project. In addition, we discuss the research practice of the International Socially Engaged Art Symposium and the ethics related to the gathering. The research practice included various forms of dialogue, such as presentations, structured group discussions, reflections, mentoring and art-based practice with community members. Tight living together in a humble, small house supported the dialogue. Environmental issues, critical environmentalist thinking and the ethics of the practices were discussed in the process. The ethical elements of the symposium were considered during the processes of defining the themes and aims, curating and producing the event, respecting peer artists and researchers, interacting respectfully with the surrounding community such as school children and community members in countryside villages, and non-human nature, considering the environmental footprint of the symposium and aiming for a meaningful ecological handprint. The documentation, data collection and research reporting also considered ethical issues. The research is part of a cyclic development of art symposiums as socially and environmentally engaged events.
Traces from the Anthropocene: Working with Soil
Riikka Latva-Somppi, Maarit Mäkelä, Ozgu Gundeslioglu
Awareness of environmental issues, such as climate change and microplastics, has raised general concern about the state of the environment. Only recently has the discussion tackled the consequences of the human imprint in the contamination of the soil appropriately. In this artistic research, we use soil as the material mediator to explore and communicate the intertwined relationship between humans and the environment. This study combines environmental research with ceramic practice. We discuss how ceramic practitioners can use their knowledge and skill to meaningfully engage in the environmental discourse. The study was inspired by the call for Research Pavilion #3, which was organised by the University of the Arts, Helsinki, to be a place for ongoing artistic research during May-August 2019 in the context of the Venice Biennale. Working with Soil was presented as an ongoing research project taking place before and during the high season of Research Pavilion #3 in one of the six research cells: Traces from the Anthropocene.
from foaming exercises to scenarios of co-existencies – anticipating emancipatory practices of space
The structure and dynamics of worldly spaces are neighbourhoodly. In them, different kinds of life forms are connected, in a sharing relation, whether they like it or not. The other facet of the same coin is co-isolation and a state of shared closure. Any position from loving and intimate to aggressive or forced, from solidarity to imprisonment, is detached to and depicted through spatial relations. Infected by the “interpretation of foams” in the final volume of Peter Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy, I chose to take foam architecture onto a surgical table and take a closer look at its spatial, material, metaphorical and conceptual implications. I became driven in making inquieries on co-joined spatiality characterized by the “ontological nervousness of the co-existent, the other, the outer”.
The Foaming Exercises installation was part of one of the research cells of the Research Pavilion #3 and became the first part of an (ongoing) examination of spatial co-existencies. Since then, the study has evolved into an ongoing further study on co-joined spatialities in relation to the emancipatory potential of spatial practices in urban context.
Ecologies of Practice: Landscaping With Beavers
An interdisciplinary group of ten researchers including artists, cultural geographers, and anthropologists, led by theatre-maker David Overend and human-geographer Jamie Lorimer, visited the Bamff estate in Perthshire, Scotland for four days to explore “landscaping with beavers” and the possibility of multispecies collaboration. Building on previous experiments in Performing Wild Geographies at the Knepp estate in Sussex in 2017 and 2018, this project hoped to further develop our understanding of wild performatives, exploring the shifts in the local landscape in the wake of the introduction of a keystone species. This paper reflects on what emerged from our transdiscipline experiments and what endeavouring to collaborate with more-than-human actants taught us about developing multispecies ecologies of practice.
Vaikuttamisen festivaali oli vuosina 2016–2018 Baltic Circle -teatterifestivaalin osakokonaisuus, jossa etsittiin ja tutkittiin taiteen mahdollisuuksia vaikuttaa ja luoda vaikuttavuuden tiloja. Tämä ekspositio käsittelee taiteen vaikuttavuutta käsittelevää taiteellista tutkimustani, jonka toteutin festivaalin osana. Sovelsin tutkimuksessa tohtorintyöni metodia, videokuvan sukupolvittelua (Generational filming). Haastatteluissa tiedustelin festivaalin tekijöiden ja osallistujien näkemyksiä festivaalin vaikuttavuudesta. Haastattelin heitä sekä ennen tapahtumaa että sen jälkeen. Jälkimmäisessä haastattelussa kukin haastateltava näki koosteen edellisestä kerrasta ja reflektoi aiempia kommenttejaan. Projektin lopussa järjestimme työpajan, jossa keskusteltiin taiteen vaikuttavuudesta kuvaamieni videoiden pohjalta.
Tutkimuskysymykseni nousevat saamastani työtehtävästä: Mitä videokuvan sukupolvittelun avulla voi kertoa festivaaliin osallistuvien näkemyksistä taiteen vaikuttavuudesta? Mitä metodi tuo esiin taiteen vaikutuksesta festivaalin osallistujiin? Millä tavalla metodi tuo esiin osallistujien näkemyksiä taiteen yhteiskunnallisesta merkityksestä? Millaista itsereflektiota metodi synnyttää? Vaikuttavatko videoidut haastattelut kokemukseen taiteesta? Mitä metodi tuo esiin taiteen mitattavuudesta? Mitä taiteellinen lähestymistapa tuo taiteen vaikuttavuuden tutkimiseen?
Aesthetic practices of very slow observation as phenomenological practices: steps to an ecology of cognitive practices
This exposition presents three aesthetic research practices (framed dialoging, wiriting exploratory essays and the reading circle), one framework for realizing another aesthetic practice of research (notation) and the outline of four concepts originated by pefroming these practices and that, in turn, frame and underpin their performance (aesthetic practices of very slow observation, aesthetic research, aesthetic cognition and aesthetic phenomenology). All these practices and conepts converg towards the central idea in this exposition: the ecology of cognitive practices.