Today we are witnessing an emerging line of digital platforms for exhibiting and distributing the moving image, which has opened up a new path for independent online curatorial work, events and biennials. When dealing with global subjects we need to explore the proper ways to reach a global audience and take advantage of the Internet’s social, cultural and political potential for distributing artistic content beyond borders and restrictions. Art Republic wishes to encourage this effort and highlight the artists and curators forging this path. KunstTV was launched as a pilot in conjunction with the Screen City Biennial 2019, presented as a hotel channel in collaboration with Clarion Hotel in Stavanger, Norway.
During November and December 2020, KunstTV presents works of artists and curators, bringing forwards new ideas around climate action in the irreversible decisions of the time, and how to counteract its structural speed – in strong relation to the current Covid19 situation.
Curated by Daniela Arriado and Vanina Saracino.
Machines of Deceleration
The online program Machines of Deceleration considers the potential of the screen to become a space to expand different temporalities and to counteract acceleration and speed, the predominant pace of growth and progress in the dominant economic system. The culture of speed has led to a quick depletion of resources and to the deterioration of the world’s ecosystems favor the profit of a few. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the year 2020 has globally imposed a decelerated rhythm of life, reassessing ideas about the mobility and sustainability of our lives in relation to climate change. It has brought some of us to further question our relationship with the planet’s resources, our role in the deterioration of ecological balances, and finally our place as humans.
As an expression of the transition between an unsustainable past and an uncertain future, the program conveys reflections about the urgent socio-ecological change that is needed in order to build a more sustainable future. The four video works included shed a light onto multiple ways in which we can reflect upon the fast-paced, production- and extraction-oriented logic, and gaze through alternative worldviews where the planet is understood as a complex organism formed by irreplaceable life forms, elements, forces and relations among them, rather than treated as a supplier of resources.
Daniel Jacoby’s work Nehemías portrays the life of a man who has taken distance from the metropolitan environment of Lima and moved to the small village of Cocachimba in the high jungle of Peru, where he struggles for integration within the local community. What are the consequences of abandoning material comfort? What does it bring to live life at a different speed?
In Strujanja (“Currents”), Katerina Duda inquires into the life of many plants still inhabiting the abandoned building of the Croatian oil company. Every week, a woman waters them and interacts with them, gradually witnessing their time, movement and transformation. Initially brought into the space as corporate culture’s office decoration, the plants silently reclaim space as growing and interacting ecosystems.
Michelle-Marie Letelier’s Outline for The Bonding poetically explores the practice of salmon farming, stressing the importance of Sámi epistemologies in questioning the anthropocentric worldviews that led to the genetic manipulation of fish. A narrating voice (Ande Somby) is reflecting the merciless condition of animal life, doomed to exploit the biochemical work of other living beings to survive. Is our subsistence necessarily entangled with the annihilation of other living beings?
Finally, The Institute by Alexander Glandien inquires into the importance of biodiversity for Latin America’s cultural and economic independence, through the animation of a conversation with leading biodiversity expert and transgender activist Brigitte Baptiste, recorded by the artist at the Instituto Humboldt in Bogotà.
The online program expands from Vanina Saracino's homonymous text, originally published in the book Barricading the Ice Sheets. Artists and Climate Action in the Age of Irreversible Decisions, edited by Oliver Ressler (Camera Austria, 2020) and it is connected to the topics developed during Screen City Biennial 2019, Ecologies – Lost, Found and Continued.
Outline for The Bonding
Tuomas A. Laitinen
KunstTV’s inaugural program in 2020 presents a selection of works by Finnish artist Tuomas A. Laitinen. Laitinen works with moving image, sound, light, glass, chemical and microbial processes, as well as algorithms to explore the entanglements of multispecies coexistence. Laitinen composes situations and installations that inquire into the porous interconnectedness of language, body, and matter within morphing ecosystems. In recent years, he has been working around questions of ecology, mythology, the notion of the extended mind, and processes of knowledge production.
KunstTV presents an overview of Laitinen’s artistic research on the octopus’ complex mind and body. It departs from his latest video works Haemocyanin (2019) and Blend 01 (Chromatophores), 2020, and comprises the AR experience Tentacle Tongue (2019), which has been commissioned by Screen City Biennial (SCB) Ecologies – Lost, Found and Continued, and exhibited outdoor, on a large scale billboard placed at Torget (the City Square in Stavanger, Norway) throughout October 2019. Visitors and passersby walking along the square could experience the AR activation of Tentacle Tongue through their phone or tablet, by quickly downloading the app and pointing the device toward the billboard.
Connected to Laitinen’s video works and AR experience is also the series of mouth-blown glass objects Proposal for an Octopus (2016–ongoing) and the glyph typeface Ctongue, drawn from the research on octopus arm movements. Images of both these works are also presented below.
Laitinen´s works have been recently shown in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, 7th Bucharest Biennale, Screen City Biennale 2019 (Stavanger), SADE LA (Los Angeles), Amado Art Space (Seoul), Moving Image New York, A Tale of a Tub (Rotterdam), Art Sonje Center (Seoul), Helsinki Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, and MOCA Shanghai. In 2013, Laitinen received The Fine Arts Academy of Finland Prize.
Photo: Ilkka Saastamoinen
Blend 01 (Chromatophores)
HD Video, 6’2’’, 2020
Octopuses can blend into their environment by the help of chromatophore cells. In Blend 01, a machine learning system is attempting to produce an image sequence based on a database of images that are showing the animals blending into their environment. The video is part of a series of experiments made with a collection of images of Cephalopod camouflage. The mutating textures are mimicking how these animals can morph their bodies in myriad ways.
Photo by Oddbjørn Erland Aarstad
Photos: Jussi Tiainen
Courtesy of the artist and Helsinki Contemporary
Proposal For An Octopus (selection)
Myriagon (Tuomas A. Laitinen & Jenni Nurmenniemi)
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