The Finnish Bioartsociety is a Helsinki based organization developing projects and offering facilities across the fields of arts, science, biology and ecology.
HYBRID MATTERs has been one of the Finnish Bioartsociety’s networking programs “investigating hybrid ecologies, the convergence of our environment with technology and essentially the intentional and unintentional transformation of our planet through human activity”. (www.bioartsociety.fi) The program is led by the Bioartsociety in collaboration with other Nordic institutions such as the IT-University of Copenhagen (DK), Malmö University (SE), Kunsthall Grenland (NO), Nikolaj Kunsthal (DK) and Forum Box (FI). The program has been successful not only due of its interesting take on currently relevant global topics, but also because its success as a collaborative project with partners across Scandinavia. The three year program concluded with a 2-day symposium (24th-25th of November) and the final exhibition in Helsinki.
What if the World War I never ended? Where do we go from there?
Jussi Parikka - New media theorist and Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics at Winchester School of Art (UK)
@HYBRID MATTERs Symposium, 2016
Plastic Imaginaries by Åsa Ståhl (SE) & Kristina Lindström (SE) "portrays a ragpicker and a composter that suggest different ways of living with or without plastics. They live in a late plastic age, where previous visions of ridding humans from restrictions posed by nature through the use of technologies have become troubled. In this late plastic age the dependency on plastics is severe at the same time as the resources to make it are running out. Meanwhile, the accumulated plastic waste washes up as a new kind of resource, worry, and curiosity."
In the Vast Ocean of Air
The installation In the Vast Ocean of Air by Hanna Husberg (FI/SE) "consists of a looped video projection and five neon signs. The film is set in a region that has been subject to exploitation of natural resources since the early 1600s–the Arctic archipelago, and former no-man’s land, of Svalbard. The neon signs evoke symbols used for controlling weather indoors; heating, cooling, humidification, air circulation and purification; addressing the homogenized air conditioned indoor spaces many of us inhabit.
Hybrid or parasite?
“We heard all these biological metaphors about the hybrid. The problem with the hybrid is that the strictly biologically hybrid is infertile, it’s sterile. It’s a dead end. Is that what we want? Is this the kind of engagement we are willing to engage in? It’s a beautiful thing, but in order to get more hybrids we can only clone it or regeneratively reproduce, because by definition the hybrid cannot sexually reproduce. So you cannot go anywhere with that. This idea of hybrid might not be the right metaphor. Maybe it’s parasite? ...The major steps in the evolution of the life on earth came through parasitic relationships not through random mutations or incremental steps of evolution as according to Darwinian idea... It is about systems coming together without initially having any mutual benefit, and by accident benefiting each other and jumping through the evolutionary scale.”
Oron Catts @ Hybrid Matters Conference
Do we need the term Anthropocene?
“When we use the term Anthropocene, there is a lot of hype behind that. But it is important to see beyond the hype and make use of it. There is a paradox in it, because it erects a monument of what we try to tackle. What is really interesting, you will hear a lot of different derivatives of it now. Maybe it points out that it is not this grand story what we need. We need many small stories. And we need each story to find its place instead of having one simple one which fits everything and which reduces everything into one concept.”
Erich Berger @Hybrid Matters Conference
Photos: Zane Cerpina @EE, 2017