You might get the impression nowadays that science can answer every question. But art sometimes answers questions no one has managed to ask. If we combine art and science, then under favourable conditions a vortex will appear which will thoroughly change our intellectual climate and dethrone our fossilised thought patterns. And this is why the founding idea of the Biotoopia conference – which takes place on 26-28 August in Viinistu Art Harbour – is to instigate fresh modes of cooperation between arts, sciences and biosphere. With the aim to bring forth ideas that would have a positive impact on tackling the challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, destruction of ecosystems and aspects of ignorant anthropocentrism.
Tuomas A. Laitinen, “Haemocyanin”, 2019, Trailer
Leaning on the theoretical starting points of the conference, Biotoopia’s art programme has been curated in collaboration with artists whose work has centred on links between natural and human associations, environmental concerns and posthumanist ethics. The artists of Biotoopia are analytical, interfering and provocative in their approach. Taking a cue from the location of the conference – Viinistu Art Harbour – the art programme of the first Biotoopia is primarily focused on marine ecology.
The art programme has been composed in a way that would allow it to be broadcast and followed as completely as possible on the conference’s online platform. The artists will present their works either as video presentations or as digitally mediated site-specific works exclusively produced for the conference. One of the key speakers of the conference, Timur Si-Qin will present his eco-theoretical framework A New Protocol which is accompanied by the ‘New Peace’ brand installations, inspired by advertising aesthetics. In the video pieces by Finnish glass artist Tuomas A. Laitinen we can follow octopuses tirelessly crawling in and around glass containers specially made for them by the artist.
Estonian artist Uku Sepisvart is exhibiting sculptures made in collaboration with beavers, titmice and bees in Viinistu’s former mazut storage. Kärt Ojavee presents her research into organic technology, which results in textiles and designs made of organic materials. Kadri-Liis Rääk will create a chill-out space called Risoopia in the conference grounds, where everyone can relax amidst gigantic mushroom and microbe shaped cushions. Kristina Õllek presents a spatial video installation on the topic of cyanobacteria. Kristo Sild is installing mysterious glowing sea objects in the cove, and artist Taavi “Miisu” Varm will develop a smartphone-accessible hybrid reality environment for the conference. Norman Orro will create an eco-ironic video installation of visions of the future, which will also form a foundation for the artist’s concert Music for Your Plants. Peeter Laurits will premiere a polyptych dedicated to the virus and originals of the works used to promote the conference.
Furthermore, the art programme also includes a concert by Ensemble U, who will use VR technology to perform a composition Maa ja mere laul (Song of Land and Sea) by Märt-Matis Lill.
Biotoopia is a hybrid conference that takes place on 26-28 August 2021 in Viinistu. The physical presence event of the conference will occur in Viinistu Art Museum, but participation is also possible online via Worksup. Tickets to the conference may be purchased on the Biotoopia home page www.biotoopia.ee, where there is also a limited number of concession tickets available for the early birds until 30 April. There are also discount tickets available for teachers (€49 per day). To obtain the discount code, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main sponsor of the conference is Click & Grow. Sponsors are Ecosh Life, ePPC and Wizon. The art program is supported by Republic of Estonia Ministry of Culture. Partner is Viinistu Art Harbour in Viinistu, Kuusalu Parish.
Biotoopia is organised by the NPO Estonian Anthropocene Centre. The project has been created with a 5-year perspective. In addition to the annual conferences, it is aiming to develop a digital network of international scientists and artists, and create a new and unique biology course for high school students.