The exhibition Outré: Encounters with non/living things showcases works from invited projects which were created fully or in part at the Biofilia Lab of Aalto University, where artists can cultivate inter-, cross-, trans-disciplinary research in dialogue with (citizen-) scientists and researchers from a range of fields. By welcoming, uncertainty, complexity and/or multiple realities and by allowing the unexpected results to happen, biological arts laboratories such as Biofilia acts as a fertile ground for research and experiment, in-situ prototyping, and creative work where students, artists and researchers alike can explore the possibilities of biotechnology.
The projects in the exhibition engage with wetware, living bio media, and biological matter such as bacteria, non-human species, living cells and scientific tools and techniques. While life as a raw material is being manipulated , transformed, deassembled, engineered, simulated and/or re-designed, the conception of life is being expanded in terms of new knowledge (and knowledge cultures), methodologies, applications and technologies. Life in the expanded view reminds us of how radical the uncertainty of ontological status can be, along with the ambiguity of the relationships between living and non-living, organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate, real and artificial or imaginary, and the ostensibly natural cycles of growth and decay – Where exactly does the one ends and the other begin?
The exhibition offers exciting and inspiring insights into the possibilities for growth, transformation, adaptation and becoming at the interface of ArtScience. The ethical and aesthetic commentary introduced by the artists, researchers, artscience practitioners participating in this exhibition raise new questions and discussions on the world we live in and how we understand it, including speculations on life, in/organic and extra/terrestrial matter(s), materiality, and knowledge systems or living systems. In a similar vein, the research projects following a rhizomatic approach in building intra-active relationships among different collaboratives, thereby revealing the different entangled relationalities in the interplay of human and nonhuman agency, their ongoing social, material and technological re-configurations.
Ceramic Scar Tissue by Christina Stadlbauer seeks to foster a deeper understanding of imperfection and transformative healing by way of the wabi-sabi worldview, the significance of the kintsugi (the Japanese art of mending) and their application to the microbial world. Whilst bacteria as a repairing agent is creating scar tissue over the breach, bacterial growth and natural transformation disclose the fragile line between life and death – in all their forms.
Margherita Pevere`s Wombs _W .02 _ W .03 tells of herinterest in complex visceral and bodily entanglements, deepening this exploration alongside biopolitical and bioethical interventions in the area of gendered bodies, sexuality and reproduction. Biomatter and the concept of leaky bodies not only dissolve the borders between inside and outside, but also between the ontological openings and epistemological closures of body, desire, sexuality and identity.
Antti Tenetz`s Perihelion critically intersects art, science and technology, connecting possible alternative futures in space. The project incorporates artificial intelligence, evolutionary computation, biotic evolution and abiotic conditions in outer space, and draws on both biological and extraterrestrial matters. Curvianus metalduransis happens to be bacterial partners in this experiment, Perihelion reassembles life as it could be.
Blck Vlvt: the at v2 version is part of collaborative transdisciplinary research conducted by Aamo artscience group, being composed of artist Bartaku, and scientists Janne Halme, Paulo Pinho and Merja Penttilä. The group has been coalescing around a constellation comprising Baroa belaobara, (bio)matter/energy, light and J.M.William Turner`s Snow-Storm. The real data to be streamed during the exhibition opens a new window onto the ecosystem of the exhibition alongside a chain of energy transductions and non-human vitality, featuring the agency and efficacy of the Baroa solar cells.
Waterbreath for the beginning by Noora Sandgren is a `habitat` in the process of becoming, made of manifold presences. While responding to changes in environment conditions such as temperature, light, moisture and humidity, the installation is an assembly of the (in)visible forces forming life, viability and microbial growth.
Slightly different than the other bioart projects involved in the exhibition, the Imitation Amber and Imitation Leopard Fur come from the Refashioning the Renaissance Team, using of organic matter and scientific methods to question the material and conceptual boundaries between original and fake, real and imitation, and to connect the past with present - or maybe vice-versa.
Curated by Bilge Hasdemir