Heated discussions at 20 degrees below zero
Kilpisjärvi Biological Station (69°03’N; 20°50’E), March 2013
The Science and Photography Course offered by subzero network took up the concept of creating an inspiring and fruitful dialogue between scientists, Ph.D. students and Fine Art students during a 5 days multidisciplinary workshop in order to enhance critical visual reading, visual literacy, photographic thinking and photographic skills within the scope of scientific research vs. artistic representations.
Twenty students were further broken up into 3 small groups and each group was paired up with two instructors. The participants were split nearly equally between scientific and artistic fields. Through this combination, the workshop was supposed to encourage its participants to liberate their creative spirit and to combine their own artistic or scientific approaches. Students were also benefiting from each others experience and could critically investigate their own work in a peer level framework.
The whole project was arranged as a co-operation between the High North Academy, Subzero Network and Research Communication and Outreach, and was funded by the UArctic and the University of Tromsø.
Riku Paavola – Director Oulanka Research Station (Finland), Juha Suonpää – Professor Lapland University, Head of Fine Art TAMK (Finland), Walter Bergmoser – Professor BTK Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule (Germany), Lawrence Hislop – Photographer, GRID-Arendal (Norway), Antti Tenetz – Visual artist, Chair of Finnish Bio Art Society (Finland), Felix Sattler – Lecturer Bauhaus-University Weimar & Independent Curator (Germany), Alexander Markus Lembke – Lecturer, independent artist and photographer (Germany), Elina Halttunen – Course coordinator, High North Academy (Norway), Audun Hetland – Video and research communication (Norway)
Felix Sattler and me were both leading a workshop group on the subject of „Envisioning Evidence” which was part of the larger curriculum of the Science & Photography Workshop.
Idea Envisioning Evidence
It is widely assumed that science and art differ fundamentally in their approach on and findings about the entirety of observable evidence in the natural world. Rejecting this fundamental great divide (to speak in geological terms), we believe that however strong the continental drift that has divided art and science since the age of Enlightenment and especially since the age of Modernity appears, faultlines concerning the Weltanschauung, world-view, do not run between art and science in the western hemisphere.
Scientist are much more proficient about images than is usually admitted. In fact, artists can too learn from their knowledge and their possibilities in accessing images and processing them. Hence the workshop will depart from the idea of crossing-over preliminary knowledge from the visual arts and sciences and hence processing data, facts and images from a vis-à-vis point-of-view or understanding.
Workgroups and tasks „Envisioning Evidence”
The group consisted of three scientists from the fields of (molecular) biology and geography as well as three visual artists working in photography, sculpture and audio. The tasks assigned were keeping a Field Journal plus interpret one of the following two topics: Man – Measure of All Things and A) B) C) – Informing Images.
Samuel Faucherre, Kalle Kataila, Susanne Kortsch, Lasse Lecklin, April Anne Martin, Mari Walquist, Dominique Wollniok