Department of Art

TICK TALKs: Questing Ticks with Laura Beloff, Kira O'Reilly and Jani Sormunen

Artists Laura Beloff and Kira O'Reilly discuss methods of tick population fieldwork with Jani Sormunen from University of Turku.
Promotional Graphic for Tick Talks. Yellow and Purple text on a green background

TICK TALKs is a series of conversations by artists Laura Beloff (Head of the ViCCA Programme) and Kira O'Reilly with experts from the biosciences and the humanities concerning ticks, the pathogens they carry and the implications for humans and non-humans within changing environments.

In TICK TALKs: Questing Ticks, Jani Sormunen from the Biodiversity Unit, University of Turku, talks with Beloff and O'Reilly about his research into tick populations - both urban and rural and the pathogens they are host to against the changing environment impacted by climate change. They discuss some of the methods of tick population fieldwork and its history in the Finnish context.

"During recent decades there has been a notable increase in tick populations, the expansion of tick-infested areas is attributed to the increased warming of our climate. With this has come a heightened awareness of ticks and tick-borne diseases that can be contracted by humans.
That we need to learn to live with this pervasive proximity to increasing numbers of ticks is evident, and that this will require new attitudes and adaptations from us that will potentially change our behaviours and everyday routines.
From the perspective of the arts there has been very little activity concerning ticks and the complex systems they operate within as vectors of multiple pathogens. Since 2019 Helsinki based artists Laura Beloff and Kira O’Reilly have been exploring these issues with the Finnish context in their project TICK ACT which was funded by Kone Foundation in 2019.

This short series of conversations functions as both as a collection of reflections and as an archive in which Beloff and O’Reilly pause and reflect on some of the most pressing and intriguing research and areas of enquiry they have encountered."

Excerpts from Questing ticks, hidden causes: tracking changes in Ixodes ricinus populations and associated pathogens in southwestern Finland, 2018 by Jani Sormunen.

TICK TALKs is part of Biofriction, a European collaboration project committed to supporting bioart and biohacking practices. Biofriction project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Listen to TICK TALKs: Questing Ticks here.

Visit the Bioart Society website.

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