Eco The Artist as Ecologist
Station Heimat


The Artist as Ecologist

Liveable environments in the age of media

Stadtverordneten-Saal at the Rathaus (Town Hall) Dieburg, Marktplatz 8
Nov 14 (14.00 –18.00h) – Nov 15 (10.00 –18.00h) 

The speakers and their topics (in order of appearance):


1.) Prof. Dr. Derrick de Kerckhove (Canada)
The (mis)Adventures of the Senses
McLuhan's-'Mosaic' approach and interdependency in the media sensual experience

The conquest of perspective by the painters and architects of the Renaissance firmed up our position as spectators of experience, both within the fiction reader’s mind, and without as we took our place in space and our seat in the theater. By then, the senses were under the control of the eye and touch was being replaced by trompe-l’oeil. The imagination of the reader is still dominated by visual information but not during dream where we are just as sensitive to all our sensorial information as when we are awake. But when our senses are stimulated by their digital extensions, we experience paradoxical situations and conditions. We touch without feeling. We see what isn’t. We hear sampled sound. Virtual Reality, albeit naïvely, signals the reversal of our sensory modalities from inner to outer oriented while 3D reclaims the priorities of touch in the visual realm. The role of the artist is homeopathic, but the role of art, huge. 

Derrick de Kerckhove is former Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology at the University of Toronto, and presently full professor at the Faculty of Sociology of the University Federico II in Naples. Scientific director of the Rome based monthly Media Duemila, he is author of a dozen books edited in over ten languages including Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian, Slovenian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. He is also Research Director at the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3) at l’Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona. His fields of research include Technopsychology, Psychotechnology, Neuro-cultural research, Art and communication technologies, Media Theory, Collaborative Educative Software, and Connected Intelligence.

2.) Prof. Dr. Helmi Järviluoma (Finland)
Soundscape Ethnography, Culture, and Sustainability
Explorations to senses and culture
In the paper, Järviluoma presents how (participatory) soundscape ethnography has been useful in the closely detailed, grounded and agent-centred study of auditory practical knowledge in European villages and small towns. She is using several projects as examples. First, in the project Soundscapes and Cultural Sustainability local (young) people were facilitated to develop strategies for exploring, understanding, and finally being able and empowered to have an effect their own sonic environments. New methods were developed and implemented in action in Dollar, Cembra, and North Karelia. In North Karelia the local actors have developed their own project Soundscape of Pielinen's Carelia in which youngster of Nurmes have been taught and incouraged to listen, to record, and to create small sonic portraits of their home town. Secondly, examples from the ESF project Silence and Listening as Resources in North Karelian Tourism Entrepreneurship (project manager Noora Vikman;  Principal Investigator Järviluoma) are analysed. The examples show different perspectives on the manyfold, confluent forcefield of cultural sustainability, soundscapes, listening and eco-tourism.

Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä is Professor and Director of the Doctoral Programme of Social and Cultural Encounters in the University of Eastern Finland, and Docent (Adjunct Professor) at the University of Turku. She is a specialist in studying the changing European soundscapes. During her research career she has published 160 international and national refereed articles, books, chapters and other publications, among others the results of the large international longitudal project “Acoustic Environments in Change” (2009) and the textbook “Gender and Qualitative Methods” (Sage 2003; also SageRM Online 2010). Her whole publication career has been permeated by a strong interest in research methodology, the history of disciplines, interdisciplinarity, and gender. She has intensively been involved in bridging the gulf of theory and  practice in the participatory music ethnography project “Becoming Audible!” and its outcomes.

3.) Antoine Schmitt (France)
An Ecology of Being
Dynamic interactions between human nature and the nature of reality

Building on screenings of some of my artworks which deal with the processes of movement to interrogate the dynamic interactions between human nature and the nature of reality, I will elaborate on this approach which addresses the world in terms of processes rather than data. Given that the laws of physics are dynamic, that animal and human bodies are soft machines, that the human psyché is a fluid and unstable mechanism, that many of the energies of the universe are unknown and potentially unknowable, given that art is the activity that plays with the crack between reality and its representation, programmed art, or the art of processes, is especially well suited to address the ecology of being.

Visual artist Antoine Schmitt creates artworks in the form of objects, installations and situations to address the processes of movement and question their intrinsic problematics, of plastic, philosophical or social nature. Heir of kinetic art and cybernetic art, nourished by the philosophical side of science-fiction, he reveals and literally manipulates the forces at stake, to confront human nature with the nature of reality. His work has been awarded internationally and exhibited in museums, festivals and galleries worldwide.

4.) Raitis Smits M.A (Latvia)
Emerging Techno-Ecological Art Practices
Shifts from new media to post media conditions

Today we are witnessing the transformation process from new media to post media situation which is characterized not only by equality and convergence of different media technologies but also by emergence of new “techno-ecological” paradigm. Namely, artists who once were in vanguard exploring digital frontiers, today are among those who are engaged in the quest for a more sustainable future. By working together with scientists and farmers, urban gardeners and rural communities, media archeologists and future visionaries, the artists are bringing to foreground ecological issues, yet staying rooted in new media. In my lecture I will introduce three more recent RIXC's exhibition cases - Techno-Ecologies (2011), Save As (2013) and the Fields (2014) analyzing the shifts from techno-scientific to techno-ecological paradigm. I also will argue that art is not anymore an autonomous field, but it plays a role of a catalyst fostering social, scientific and technological changes.,

Raitis Smits is a media artist and curator working with science and emerging media technologies. One of the founders of the first Riga-based electronic arts and media centre E-LAB (since 2000 – RIXC). Involved in many new media art and culture projects initiated by E-LAB and RIXC. Curator of the annual Art+Communication festival and one of editors of the Acoustic Space journal. Assistant professor at the Latvian Academy of Arts. Founder and lecturer in New Media Art program in Liepaja university.