BioSignals project is a series of site-specific sound art, narrations and nature-based data streams by human and non-human cultural producers during Summer-Autumn 2018, culminating with a contribution to the next Pixelache Helsinki Festival in Spring 2019.
The artistic content of the project will focus on creative and actual interpretations of biosemiotics, energy as media and communication. Biosemiotics is an increasingly influential paradigm of thinking which brings together biology and communication, signs and signals of life in its myriad forms. In particular it offers conceptual tools to consider communications and environmental meaning-making from a non-human perspective, including plant and lichens, animal, bacterial, elemental interactors, via tactile, aural and signal-based biochemical means.
To explore this subject through art and culture production, festival gatherings hosting artistic and hybrid sound, dance and art-science practices in windy-coastal locations on Latvia (Sounds Days, Liepaja), Estonia (Toortuumik festival, Virtsu), as well as forum gatherings at Art Laboratory Berlin in Autumn 2018, and Pixelache Helsinki festival during Spring 2019, literally grounding the project. The participants, including young and established hybrid practitioners in dance, sound arts and new media, will have opportunity to set up recording conditions and influence non-human contributions to the programme. The online audience is intended to be mostly human, although we would also like to raise the contentious but curious notion that the broadcast and archives may also serve a potential non-human audience.
Low- energy and renewable energy platforms will set the limits for cultural production of new audio materials. As part of process, several workshops will be arranged to explore innovative practices of using temporary installations of (solar, wind, bio-) energy sources and recycled battery systems in audio field recording.
The work will be presented as online radio broadcasts via Finnish platform Korppiradio for the duration of the project. The media will be archived with commons-orientated (allowing re-use and adaptation) in Internet Archive repository, archive.org, accessible for future broadcasts by other not-yet-known audience. The archival aspect of the project will accompany the broadcasting programme as an integral part of the process, to ensure the ephemeral installations on site are documented in visual, manual-like form and spoken-word narratives, alongside the audio-signal nature data and media.
The activity attempts to bring currently topical artistic practices and discourses - that are developing in connection with so called post-humanist turn - to a deeper connection with one of the important theoretical grounds of it: biosemiotics. Through innovative design of interfaces between scientific/academic and hands-on artistic practices the project hopes to generate new ways of understanding the biosemiotics' role and importance in the post-humanist artistic and scientific strains and in the society at large.
The target audiences of this cultural production are a mix of local residents of the rural locations, to raise curiousity about local natural ecosystems via unusual formats, and attract artistic, natural science, biologist and engineering collaborators in the future with the associated cultural partners. The broadcasts in spread awareness of biosemiotics beyond the academic field via cultural formats, and promotes Nordic-Baltic research expertise in the subject of human and non-human communications.
Event #1: Mid-May 2018 (Friday 18.5. from 18.00-19.30) at Kuusi Palaa, Helsinki, FI
Presentation in Helsinki related to field-batteries, energy as communication & Launch of BioSignals radio broadcast..
Pixelache members present: Samir Bhomik, Andrew Gryf Paterson
BioSignals invite: Audio content from works of Martinka Bobrikova & Oscar de Carmen (Olso-Stockholm)
Radio: Live from workshop, focusing on battery energy as communication; Pre-selection of related content from Parasite Radio 2017 broadcast.
Event #2: Late-May 2018 (26.5.-31.5.) at Art Research Lab, Liepāja, LV
Sound Days Festival programme of workshops 26-28.5. (Antye Greie), 29.5.-31.5. (Krisjanis Rijnieks) & public event 28.5.
Pixelache members present: Juan Duarte (26-28.5), Krisjanis Rijnieks & Mikko Lipiäinen (26.5.-31.5.), Andrew Gryf Paterson (25.5.-29.5.)
BioSignals invite: Antye Greie (Hai Arts, Hailuoto-Oulu, FI)
Radio: Live from workshops & opening event or performance focusing on site-specific energy as communication; Pre-selection of related content from Parasite Radio 2017 broadcast.
Event #3: Early-June 2018 (2.6.-10.6.) at Maalabor's DAMA workshop & Toortumik festival in Virstu, EE
Workshop days 4.6.-9.6. (Juan Duarte) & contribution to Maalabor Toortumik festival day on 9.6.
Pixelache members present: Juan Duarte, Andrew Gryf Paterson
BioSignals invite: Laura Beloff (IT University, Copenhagen, DK)
Radio: Live from workshops & opening event or performance, focusing on biological energy as communication; Pre-selection of related content from Parasite Radio 2017 broadcast.
Over summer, process and archive audio content from Liepaja, Virtsu.
Event #4: Late August 2018 (24-25.8.)
Collaboration with Art Laboratory Berlin
Pixelache members present: Mikko Lipiäinen, Juan Duarte, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Aura Seikkula
BioSignals invite: Laura Beloff, Lilli Tölp, Pedro Soler (remote) & others.
Internal curatorial meeting & Public event.
Radio: Live from discussion or performance; Pre-selection of related content from BioSignals-themed Parasite Radio 2018 broadcasts.
October 2018 - April 2019
Radio broadcasting period after Berlin monthly 1 day, based on international Pixelache network nodes & other partners. (towards including the festival nodes in our festival planning)
May 2019 (dates to be confirmed)
Contribution to Pixelache Helsinki 2019 Festival.
Production, collaborators & members involved
BioSignals project is a collective production & curation of a group of Pixelache members including Mikko Lipiäinen, Juan Duarte, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Aura Seikkula, Krisjanis Rijnieks, Samir Bhowmik, and Jon Irigoyen. The project is executively produced by Paterson.
Collaborating production partners include Kalle Kuisma (Korppiradio, Helsinki), Lilli Tölp (Maalabor, Pärnu-Virtsu), Paula Vītola (E-Lab, Riga) & Anna Priedola (MPLab, Liepaja), Christian de Lutz and Regine Papp (Art Laboratory Berlin).
Leading biosemiotics scholarship is the Copenhagen-Tartu school which has developed since the 1990s, led by internationally renowned researchers such as Kalevi Kull, Jesper Hoffmeyer. They built upon the semiotic theory of the German scholar Thule von Uexküll, and that of his father Estonian Baltic-German Jakob von Uexküll, who developed the notion of Umwelt, the surrounding and meaningful environment of any given organism.
The BioSignals project emerges from experience hosting the Pixelache project ‘Maaland’ (2013) which explored hybrid curatorial interpretations to artists engaged with land as a site for creative practice and experiments in appropriate and sustainable technologies (supported within the context of RIXC Centre for New Media Art’s EU-funded Renewable Lab programme). One of the participants, Estonian performance artist Lilli Tölp, invited collaboration at her West Estonian -based ecological art and nature site in Virtsu, which is near to the ancestral home of the von Uexküll family, and the Estonian University of Life Sciences Biological station at Puhtu Nature reserve, once the property in the 1920s of Jakob von Uexküll. These connections opened up new ideas of regional and Nordic collaboration.
The emergant project ‘Parasite Radio’, an international radio network project in collaboration with Korppiradio (Helsinki) will be launched this year within the ‘Signals from the South’ thematic of Pixelache Helsinki 2017 Festival. It was recognised by Pixelache members to be an important platform to support future collaborations in our network and wider beyond our usual scope of communications. The BioSignals project would extend the Parasite Radio platfirm onwards through 2018.
The BioSignals process is supported by Nordisk Kultur Kontakt Culture and Art programme, funding cycle 2/2017.
Above image credit: Beloff & Bremse, rootSounds, Bioacoustic experiment, 2017.