Systems Collapse Program

Thu, Otakaari 1X, Auditorium A2

13:00 Antti Majava, Tere Vadén, Karoliina Lummaa: Tracing cultural transitions for sustainability
13:30 Erich Berger: Radical Witnessing – Deep Time, Art and the Scope of the Real
14:00-15:00 Jan van Boeckel & Jeroen Lutters: Fostering Agility through Art, presentation 1 & 2
15:30 Riikka Mäkikoskela: BREAKING OUT THE SILOS! From Art and Engineering – Perspectives towards Circular Economy and Sustainable Society
16:00 Maija Lassila: Living Worlds of Colour and Light in a Northern Finland Swamp
17:00-18:00 Rob van Haren & Irmgard Starmann: Panarchy in the Anthropocene


Tracing cultural transitions for sustainability

Antti Majava (MFA), Tere Vadén (PhD), Karoliina Lummaa (PhD)
Thu, 13:00, Otakaari 1X, Auditorium A2

The needed social and cultural shift towards sustainability has noteworthy historical predecessors. Culturally oriented sustainability research might ask for example, what is energy production for, and how energy use is connected to values that are developed through social, and cultural processes. It is also worth of investigating if artistic avant-garde movements have potential in creating a new network of meanings which might allow humans to reconnect with organic/nonhuman systems and non-consumerist cultural ideals.

Antti Majava (MFA) is an artist who is writing his doctoral thesis about the effects of nature, society and science on the development of artistic phenomena. Philosopher Tere Vadén (PhD) specializes in the material and intellectual underpinnings of politics and culture, in particular the experiential dimensions of energy. Karoliina Lummaa (PhD) is a researcher of literature and environmental humanities. Natural scientist Jussi T. Eronen (PhD) concentrates on the study of ecosystems and the climate. Majava, Vadén, Lummaa and Eronen work at the multidisciplinary BIOS Research unit.

Radical Witnessing – Deep Time, Art and the Scope of the Real

Erich Berger
Thu 13:30, Otakaari 1X, Auditorium A2

Phenomena which are beyond our human sensory comfort zone are easily considered complex or inhuman. Yet as a society or species we have to increasingly deal with processes which surpass human time understanding like nuclear waste or climate change where we enter the realm of deep time. In my presentation I will explore the above with the question and examples about artistic strategies for radical witnessing, in the event when human scope is not able to meet the scope of the real.

Erich Berger is an artist, curator and cultural worker based in Helsinki/Finland. He directs the Finnish Society of Bioart creating interdisciplinary encounters between art and science. Throughout his artistic practice he has explored the materiality of information and information and technology as artistic material. His current interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now.

Fostering Agility through Art, presentation 1 & 2

Dr. Jan van Boeckel, Dr. Jeroen Lutters
Thu 14:00, Otakaari 1X, Auditorium A2

Our papers discuss how facilitated artistic practice may be a catalyst in developing an aesthetic grounding in immediate experience. Such an emergent grounding is deemed conducive to efforts of developing resilience and agility in the face of the challenges posed by the dynamic uncertainty of our postnormal condition. The extent to which such a presumed relationship between art-mediated rooting and augmented mental dexterity can indeed be established will be an overarching question in this exploration. The presupposition thereby is that through art-based learning, the fostering of open-ended artistic process, conditions can be shaped for letting art teach.

Dr Jan van Boeckel is a visual artist, art educator and researcher. Currently, he is professor in art education at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn. Previously, Jan was program director in design theory at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Together with others, he established the international research group on arts-based environmental education at Aalto University in Finland. In 2013, he presented his doctoral thesis, At the Heart of Art and Earth: An Exploration of Practices in Arts-Based Environmental Education. From 2007 onwards, Jan is a member of the International Eco-Art Network.

Dr Jeroen Lutters is professor of Arts and Cultural Education at ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands, and is also honorary professor at Windesheim University of Applied Arts. He took part in the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis and managed long-term research projects relating to culture education, such as D21: School Designs in the 21st Century (2016). Publications of him include: Teaching Objects: Studies in Art-Based Learning (2015). Ema: Nude on a Staircase: Studies in Art-Based Learning (2017) and The Trade of the Teacher. Visual Thinking with Mieke Bal (2018).

BREAKING OUT THE SILOS! From Art and Engineering – Perspectives towards Circular Economy and Sustainable Society

Doctor of Arts Riikka Mäkikoskela, Sculptor, and Visual Arts Teacher, Sibelius High School, Helsinki
Doctor of Science (Tech.) Nani Pajunen, Leading Specialist, Circular Economy Team, The Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, and Visiting Researcher, Aalto University, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, School of Chemical Technology

Thu 15:00, Otakaari 1X, Auditorium A2

The current state of the environment has been achieved by acting linearly. Simultaneously, we know that transition towards sustainable society cannot be made trusting only the market economy and economic growth. Recent research has shown that the lofty words of sustainable strategies do not appear in operational activities. We have a new kind of cooperation as we combine two disciplines, engineering science, and visual arts, for environmental research. This research combination makes the existing information visible in a new way, and this changes attitudes and ways to act by means other than traditional, linear rationality. We aim at increasing material efficiency, saving natural resources and extending product lifecycles via product design and material development. We employ the cyclic, artistic means for creative solutions, which are tested and put into practice in the same action. We have tested our research combination in the first case study with the product of construction industry. The case was carried out in three workshops, in which the artistic means raised the awareness of sustainabilities. In addition, the used methods of artistic research and environmental education will be presented in detail in this paper.

Riikka Mäkikoskela (FIN) is trained as a sculptor and visual arts teacher. She is doing practice-led and artistic research from the point of view of a practitioner, emphasizing working by hand, materiality, and movement. Her research interests focus on how phenomena are identified in sensory, material, and bodily experiences and how thinking is intertwined with this activity. Through this, Mäkikoskela is developing artistic thinking. She is also interested in the methodology of artistic research and how it can be applied transdisciplinary.

Nani Pajunen (FIN) has an M.Sc (Tech) in Civil Engineering, Lic.Sc. (Tech) in Environmental Management and Law and D.Sc (Tech) in Environmental management and material processing. She has many years of experience in project coordination in various types of R&D projects. She has been working in both in the industry and in research. At present, Nani is working at The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra’s Circular Economy team as a leading specialist. The target of the Circular Economy team of Sitra is to promote new sustainable business models and transition towards circular economy society.

Living Worlds of Colour and Light in a Northern Finland Swamp

Maija Lassila, doctoral candidate, University of Helsinki, MFA graduate, Academy of Fine Arts
Thu 15:30, Otakaari 1X, Auditorium A2

In this paper I present a thought process, and a work in progress, in relation to my own research about future mining landscapes in Northern Finland. My central fieldwork case has been the Sakatti mining project in Sodankylä’s Viiankiaapa swamp. The landscape, threatened by large-scale mineral extraction in the future, is a place of paraller worlds. In addition to more traditional ethnographic research that I have conducted in Sodankylä, a question has emerged, on how to reach the multispecies worlds that are threatened by the mine. The construction of nature and natural resources in the capitalist, modernist ontology has been connected with a visual imagery, such as maps of mineral resources and other scientific and authoritative and cartographic knowledge of land. These visual knowledge practices highlight the Cartesian dualist ontology of nature and culture, where nature is external, and empty in relation to human beings. How to see and look differently? I have experimented with artistic and visual methods in order to reach the swamp from other-than human perspectives. While it is an open question, whether these perspectives can be truthfully reached by humans, a conscious move away from a scientific gaze to a more artistic or imaginative approach can be of use. I present some of the findings from my research and welcome discussion on what kinds of visual language would be needed that would advance the political agency and perspectives of other than humans.

Maija Lassila (b.1985) is doctoral candidate at University of Helsinki, in the doctoral programme of political, societal and regional change. Her recent ethnographic research is focused on future landscapes of mining in Northern Finland. Lassila is equally visual artist with painting as her main medium. Her first larger solo exhibition, Continent of Colours was at Gallery Huuto, Jätkäsaari 1 in last February. Lassila’s long-term interest has lied in the social and political consequences of the nature/culture dualism. Her goal is to find alternatives to the dominant histories and practices, and to search for a reciprocal and open connection to the world.

Panarchy in the Anthropocene

Rob van Haren & Irmgard Starmann
Thu 16:00-17:00, Otakaari 1X, A235

We, humans have our roots in pre-Anthropocene eras where we gathered skills for survival and establishing our culture. The cumulated tacit knowledge, the skills, ideas and experiences that can only be shared by personal contact and mutual trust, is evolved and cumulated during this pre- Anthropocene era. This tacit knowledge is geared to our existence and to local circumstances, it is the indigenous knowledge necessary for local adaptation and for (cultural) perseverance. The Anthropocene era however, is characterized by rapid changes with respect to environment, climate, food sovereignty, culture and more.

Rob van Haren, , Bob Verheijden and Robin Punt: Minerva Art Academy Groningen, The Netherlands;
Irmgard Starmann: Color&Brain, The Netherlands