Department of Art

Art and Biopolitics

Communities of compost is a bioartistic research project examining composting, the decomposition processes, and soil-life relationships. The working group, consisting of multidisciplinary photographic artist Noora Sandgren, performance and visual artist Tommi Tuurenpoika, and biologist Janka Mojzer, asks how to secede from the perspectives, in which earth and soil are perceived as mere background noise or resources to be capitalized? How can a creative process and artistic work come to life through discussion with soil?

The group is interested in soil as a living multitude of interwoven organisms, and processes of human and other-than-human interaction. The group will explore scientific processes and artistic strategies as ways to give the soil a voice. Artists and a scientist work to unfurl continuums of decomposition, growth, and soil-life to create new understanding of these processes.

In May 2021 the group work in a residency for GREEN-project in Aalto-university's Biofilia lab, specialised in meeting points of arts and sciences. They examine the decomposition process specifically by working with vermicomposts in which organic waste is broken down through the synergistic actions of earthworms and microbial communities. The end product is a very nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. The group research the relationships of organisms of the compost-network through microbiological methods, microscopy, photographic materialities, and DNA-sequencing.

Via dialogical processes, including photography, installation, text-based and performative-somatic work, the aim is to create spaces for human beings to recognize and experience themselves as part of the decomposition process. The goal is a body of work that serves as a guided nature-expedition, i. e. tour through microbiological, embodied and internal mental layers of decomposition.
image of micorbial phenomena
New sensitivity map 1 (microbes, 9 days, +40C), 2018 by Noora Sandgren
GREEN revisited – encountering emerging naturecultures-Project-Logo2

Partner: EU Creative

Other partners:

  • RIXC Center for New Media Culture (Latvia)
  • Baltan Laboratories (The Netherlands)
  • Emmetrop (France)
  • Oslo MET(Norway)
  • Zavod Projekt Atol (Slovenia)
  • Liepaja University (Latvia)

More information:

Helena Sederholm

Helena Sederholm

Associate Professor of Art Education

Department of Art
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