Call for professional collaborators

FIELD_NOTES – Cultivating Ground

Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Kilpisjärvi/ Lapland/ Finland.

26. September – 2. October 2011


Deadline 30th of June 2011


Organized by the Finnish Bioart Society in the context of the Ars

Bioarctica project together with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station.


” Field_Notes – Cultivating Grounds” is a week long field laboratory for

theory and practice on art&science work at the Kilpisjärvi Biological

Station of the University of Helsinki in Lapland. Five working groups,

each hosted by an expert (Oron Catts, Marta de Menezes, Anu Osva, Tapio

Makela and Terike Haapoja) together with a team of four, will develop,

test and evaluate specific artistic approaches based on the interplay of

art&science. The outcome of Field_Notes will result in a publication

published by the Finnish Bioart Society in 2012.


We warmly welcome artists, scientists and practitioners to participate

and contribute to the development of the field.



“Cultivating Ground” refers to the intention of Field_Notes to develop

and strengthen art&science practice with a specific focus on the

locality of Kilpisjärvi. The local nature and ecology, as well as the

scientific environment and infrastructure of the Kilpisjärvi Biological

Station will act as a catalyst for the field work carried out.


Field work is an activity referring to the collection of raw data.

Fieldwork is something what one does locally on the field and about the

field. It is a form of practice which cannot be done elsewhere. However

it is not opposite of theoretical work, but a crucial component of it.

One could say that the fieldwork keeps one close to the research topic.

A very similar type of practice is inherent in the arts. This is

specifically apparent with art forms that aim at creating awareness,

mobilizing the public, and working locally with people in their

environment. In these kinds of practices the artistic research,

production and implementation are happening in the field, close to the

topics and to the public the artist wants to reach.


Practitioners, in both art and science, repeatedly argue that their

disciplines loose touch with the actual research subject or topic while

the focus is directed on lab work or gallery presentation. Field_Notes

aims to investigate and point out the importance of field work in

art&science. The fields where Field_Notes will be carried out

specifically are the subarctic nature, ecology and landscape, the lab,

the workshop, the study, the infosphere and the Field_Notes working

groups as such.



Groups, hosts and fields:


* Exploring the biological milieu – in search of substrates at the

sub-Arctic – hosted by Oron Catts

– in the sub-Arctic nature, in the lab and in the study

There is a growing realisation among biologist that the substrate plays

an important role in biological processes such as cell differentiation

and development. Some argue that the Extracellular matrix (ECM) and the

milieu are more significant than DNA in the development and processes of

complex organisms. This is a major shift from the reductionist

privileging of the database (the genome) towards a more complex

application of context as a major driver in engaging with our

understanding of life. We will collect materials form Kilpisjärvi and to

try and transform them into different types of substrates/biomaterials

for tissue growth, as an opening for a broader exploration concerning

the cultural importance of the biological milieu.


* Body/ Nature relationship – hosted by Marta de Menezes

– in the sub-Arctic nature, in the lab and in the study

The Body/Nature connection refers to nature as a body, something akin to

an organism, but also to the body, our body as a sensor, part of nature

and immersed in it: an interface with the rest of nature connecting us,

linking us and transforming our relation to it. This relation, this

communication is part of what defines us as humans, as animals and as

natural. This group will try to explore the possibilities of

manipulating life, nature and our own nature to express awareness and

concepts close to the idea of nature’s identity and our own in present



* Arctic Waters – hosted by Anu Osva

– in the sub-Arctic nature, in the lab and in the study

Kilpisjärvi is an important site for research on Arctic freshwater

ecosystems. During the last few years also Finnish artists have been

involved with water ecosystem research in Kilpisjärvi, with a focus on

phytoplankton and water fleas. The group will focus on the topic of

Arctic waters through artistic, anthropological, ecological,

philosophical, geophysical and other relevant tools. It will also

reflect and process previously collected raw data, experiences and

workshop methodologies achieved during the Arctic Waters workshop held

earlier this summer. Special attention will be given to collaborative

artist and scientist lead field work in nature.


* Politics and affect of environmental computing – hosted by Tapio


– in the workshop, sub-Arctic nature and amongst data sets.

Politics and affect of environmental computing looks at how researchers

and artists work with environmental data in the field and how it is post

produced to info graphics as well as into affective interfaces. What

kind of a sense and sensibility informs the data gatherer that connects

the information with a living environment? How can such contextual and

tacit experience be carried over alongside with the data? Artists,

activists and researchers are invited to bring along different kits for

sensing environmental data, yet more importantly, to engage in a field

and file note-taking experience of writing a mind map around how to make

data something to be felt. Is there perhaps a way in which affect of

environmental data may also become more political, an agent for change?


* Laboratory Life – hosted by Terike Haapoja

– amongst the working groups and in the study

The laboratory life group does research on all the other groups. The

group will disguise itself in the form of anthropologists in order to

look at how art&science projects on the field are created. The aim is to

critically look at the methods and practices of the field and to see

whether there are ethical or aesthetic questions specific to local

practices. The group uses the tools of ecocritisism, philosophy of

science, art history, interviews and documentation.



During one week the groups will organize themselves in working groups,

think tanks and workshops. They will carry out their work in the related

field environment as well as have common activities of lectures,

presentations and feedback sessions. Expected results include abstracts,

code, collaborations, data, documentation, future workshops, hardware,

ideas, knowledge, photos, presentations, prototypes, skills, sounds,

projects, videos etc. The languages used are Finnish and English


More information can bee found at



We are looking for 20 artists, scientists and practitioners, which are

interested to develop, collaborate and work in one of the groups.


Please send your application including CV, Biography, group preference

and a max A4 letter of motivation and/or direction of possible

Field_Notes research/contribution to


Deadline is the 30th of June 2011.


For the chosen collaborators Field_Notes will take care about the

expenses for a journey from Helsinki to Kilpisjärvi and back, as well as

full board and accommodation at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station.


Best regards


Field_Notes executive team: Erich Berger and Terike Haapoja


Field_Notes advisory board: Laura Beloff, Prof. Antero Järvinen, Anu

Osva, Antti Tenetz, Leena Valkeapää