Institutional presentation / From Landscape to Laboratory
- Abstract: Bioart Society is a Helsinki-based art association developing, producing and facilitating activities around art and natural sciences with an emphasis on biology, ecology and life sciences. It runs SOLU Space, an artistic laboratory and platform for art, science and society, and Ars Bioarctica, a residency program with focus on the sub-arctic environment.
The conceptual framework of the work of the Bioart Society is guided by the idea of hybrid ecologies and aims to develop, test, and evaluate artistic practices able to address the current environmental challenges. Hybrid ecologies are a thought vehicle to talk about the intentional and unintentional transformation of our planet through human activity. They address the convergence of our environment with technology. A hybrid ecology consists of naturally evolved actors but also of those which are human-made and -caused. These include technologies, like robots, software, AI, networks, and infrastructure, but increasingly also genetically engineered plants, animals, and bacteria, as well as sites of extraction, pollution, and waste. The new biological actors specifically blur the boundary between the traditional binary of natural and artificial as they are biological in material but technological in nature. From this, it becomes clear that the environment which contemporary environmental art needs to address has radically shifted from its original understanding. What is contemporary environmental art in a time where the biological becomes a question of technology, engineering, and commodification? What kind of artistic engagement and practices can contribute, among others, as a force and vector for transformation to address and act towards the increasing pressure human activity is putting on the planet and on the quality of life of contemporary and future beings? With a diverse program of workshops, work-labs, field laboratories, artwork productions, residencies, and exhibitions the Bioart Society aims to unravel artistic questions about the contemporary biological condition.
- Biography: Erich Berger is a curator, cultural worker and artist with over 25 years of experience of working with transdisciplinary projects within art, science and technology. Since 2009 he directs the Bioart Society in Helsinki/Finland, an artist association fostering transdisciplinary work between art and science with a focus on biology, ecology and life sciences. Prior to that he worked among other venues as chief curator for Laboral Centro De Arte in Gijon/Spain (2007-09), as content developer and producer for Atelier Nord (2004-06) in Oslo/Norway and as researcher at the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz/Austria (1996-99). With the Bioart Society Berger has successfully developed, managed, produced and participated in several multi year projects like HYBRID MATTERs (Nordic Culture Fund) or Changing Weathers, Techno Ecologies and SYNENERGE (EU Culture and FP7). In 2017 the Bioart Society under the direction of Berger received the Finnish State Prize for Interdisciplinary Art.
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