Research & Art

Interview with Antti Tenetz

This interview is conducted with Antti Tenetz by Bilge Hasdemir as part of the Outre: Encounters with Non/living Things exhibition.

What are the potentials and difficulties of  art and science collaborations, and working across and beyond disciplines?

Antti: Main challenges can be divided into language and communication, mutual direction and role co-creation.

First communication between parties from different disciplines and specialized professional terms dialects, ”languages” have to be made understandable and somehow mutually agreed to be a new hybrid of communication.

Mutual direction and understanding grows from understandable mutual communication and understanding different stand points, aims, goals  and developing your professional field and project from that.

Role of co-creation is growing from the change of role of arts and part or collaborative art/sci projects. Art is not a substitute of other knowledge making processes.

Have you ever experienced any conflict with the scientific laboratory protocols and/or health and safety policies of the institutions you have collaborated with?  Has it required any change in the direction of the research or  at the  initial plan? How do you usually negotiate with the possible restraints or limitations which might apply in such circumstances?

Antti: I have not experienced conflicts in that sense. Reason for it might lie in fact that bioart and other biological and technical processes in and out of labs are discussed , developed, conducted and reviewed through existing laboratory and security and ethical protocols. If there is any challenges they are discussed with lab, research, local communities before, during and after process. Negotiation or to be precise  explaining and reviewing, allowance and access with demanding projects can happened any part of process. Maybe challenging art works actually open the sphere for audience and expert communities to discuss  and reason the existence of status quo and its location and to negotiate paradigmatic shifts or understanding through questions that arise from art, act or process.

Based on your own experience, what kind of long-term transformations might be needed at the  infrastructural level to support and encourage trans-, post-, para-disciplinarity in art&science or biological art practices in a more sustainable way?

Antti: More sustainable ways will rise from defining what are  goals and methods toward more sustainable art/sci practises. Practises itself grow from existing artsitic, scientific, research methods and practicalities. So change on those or individual methodological practises can make a difference but in general it has to happen on an infrastructural level and through need of it. Somehow it is already happening now during times of COVID-19 but not through need of sustainability as itself but it comes through need to isolate, locate and close down traveling of actors in the field through security and health measures at large. Different disciplinary approaches towards it are mainly from my point of view handling issues that open different openings to subject, processes, research questions and focus.

What kind of challenges and limitations could  migrating to the digital realm in these pandemic bring to the  field of art & science, the bioart works which are heavily dependent on materiality and the biological  matter,  living organisms...etc?

Antti: To be honest not much. For actual experience with living art work and the processual nature of those yes, but distribution and representation has been happening in mediated form for a long time. Art objects or processes have been documented, explained, reviewed and stamped to art/sci history trough images, videos, text, articles, critiques etc.

Following the previous question, what could have been lost and/or gained during this migration?

Antti: Mainly the experimental part and verification of works ”true” nature is challenging through digital realm and lastly life processes cannot be transformed straight through digital realm. It has to be digitilized and brought back to other locations through different methods of growing, breeding and genetic modifications.

We can gain larger body of works true mechanical/digital reproduction that Walther Benjamin argued to be death of art objects artifact role and  role of art but there might lie second strength of approach. If first is life itself. Living watching and experiencing other living process as art object or experience binds spectator to work spatially. So second is death or transformation of art object artefact ical nature to multiplying structure and as multiplying idea that spreads grows and like life, cells or virus in digital realm and sometimes can be brought back to concrete from there. It's not live thus it cannot reproduce through sexual reproduction and evolution.

What kind of changes or challenges (conceptual, ethical, and practical) could be expected in the field of biological arts and art & science in relation to  the paradigm shift coronavirus pandemic have brought to (life) sciences?

Antti: In short restrictions to resources and lab work but these are the same as in all work in sciences.

What alliances can be found within the context of life, death, care, non/living actants, pandemic crisis and justice?

Antti:Hopefully we face ourselves as timely beings and our mortality is a bit more realistic now.

Have there been any particular influences of Covid-19 restrictions & reactions to your artistic research and your collaboration with other practitioners/institutions?

Antti:Go digital, Don’t travel, Change projects and application to two folded with plan A. And Plan.B. Deepen existing collaborations. It is all based on trust and delivery.

How has the Covid-19 changed the  form and format of art&science collaborations and  research networking activities?

Antti: Go digital and online.

What would creativity mean to you, could you please describe in three words?

Antti: It’s preferably state. Its opposite of multitasking. Deep clear water and concentration same time fear of depth. Dive in two fearful and unknown waters. Get up and look back. It is normal now.

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