How can we describe what art is today? Sucha consideration must include the role of theartist and the positions occupied by artistsin the face of urgent planetary challenges. We mustask ourselves how artists engage with the materialculture of today, whether it is biological, ecological,or any of the other media and matters within theremit of the natural sciences. In many ways we mustacknowledge that now more than ever, artists are experimenters , those who through detailed obser- vation enact events that perform and devise thetopographies for new knowledges and enquiries. This book, Art as We Don’t Know It , published on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of theBioart Society in collaboration with Aalto Uni- versity School of Arts, Design and Architecture,demands that artistic practices of current times arechallenged in favour of new locations for the arts.Scholars, researchers and artists participating inthis publication have in common a multifaceted exploration on the contemporary material culture. This new role requires a transition between labo-ratory and artist’s studio, and a crossing betweenremote locations and urban spaces. No tangibleboundaries are imposed, interactions and inter- ventions are recon ﬁgured in these practices, andrepresentational boundaries around the subjects of ﬁeld-based research are reinterpreted. We maywonder whether
deﬁnitions of nature are accurateor if they intend to address notions of mutabilityand imprecise interpretations.
Te authors of the following texts propose toaddress these questions and present ideas about therelationships between art and the natural sciences. These propositions are seen through the lens oftheir relationships with the Bioart Society and itsmany projects; Solu, Field Notes, Ars Bioarctica,as well as their collaborative programs with Bio ﬁl-ia – Base for Biological Arts at Aalto University.
Through these structures the artists become collec-tors and natural relators: signals of natural phe-nomena are picked up from the
ﬁeld and inspected,also biological specimens, rocks, minerals, debrisfrom old plane crashes, lights in the skies, mythol-ogies, sounds, narrations, words and tales. As AllanKaprow once said ‘you reveal something and itsoddness by removing it from its normal usage’.
Thecontributors in this book craft ideas that talk aboutthe shadows in our understanding of the naturalworld that surrounds us.Why then bioart as an artistic movement man-aged to bring many of these questions together?During the course of the 21st century so far bioart has grown to intervene with and hack interactionswith other species and living matter outside oftraditional biolab scenarios and areas of expertise. Bio-artistic practice ranges from critical inter- ventions into contemporary biotech practices toproposals for techno-utopian solutions. Working between ﬁelds and disciplines allows for such inter- ventions and in these pages we can see how manyof these new methodologies are being applied in alltheir diversity.By bringing together both Finnish and interna-tional artists for residencies and
ﬁeldwork in Arcticl and scapes, in biological laboratories and in theirown gallery space, the Bioart Society has spent adecade inventing new topographies for enquiryand engendering a wide range of new projects and associations…