SUBSTRATE defined by a dictionary.
Substrate is not only material from which an organism lives, grows, or obtains its nourishment, but the dictionary defines it also as a material that provides the surface on which something is inscribed.
So, when looking back at what we did this week; through the processes of decellularization of various materials that were collected from here (around Kilpisjärvi) and then adding various growth mediums, we inscribed something on them, which was not there before. This inscription is an act and an intervention that creates a change in the material but also in our relation to this object or material.
By another dictionary definition a substrate is a language that is replaced by another invading language, but in the situation the original language still provides features to the invading language. This is also related to the processes or experiments we did during the week; we manipulated an existing language of various organisms that simultaneously provided features or base for a possible new substrate-language(s) to emerge.
Finally, what kind of relation develops between us and this thing or material, which has now a potential of its own but which is created by technological intervention? I have no answer to this……
About LAB ACTIVITY.
Theorist Lisa Gitelman talks about when scientists invent a new instrument; they have to demonstrate the use and meaning of this instrument. If they are successful other scientists start using the instrument and its general acceptance will gradually make the technology and its protocols a transparent fact of scientific practice; in other words the used instruments and technology becomes self-evident commodity which existence is taken as granted. So, we easily become unaware of our use of technological tools, their defined aims and underlying structures (in science and in our everyday life), although it will keep influencing us, and the contexts within which we use it.
In a situation when there are artists working in a lab or with scientific methods who do not necessarily have the training for science protocols (and who possibly work somewhat chaotic); one could say that creating either purposeful or accidental failures becomes firstly attractive because of their surprise effect, but secondly these accidents also have a possibility to make the existing methods and used instruments again visible and thirdly, they open up a space for something new to emerge in art and also in science. LB