Field_Notes – From Landscape to Laboratory

Field_Notes - From Landscape to Laboratory (2013) is an extended outcome of the Field_Notes - Cultivating Ground field laboratory, which took place in Kilpisjärvi, Finland in 2011. The aim was to investigate the evolving field of art&science, specifically focusing on the recent development of bioart, from the Finnish perspective, but including reflections on the global scene.

One concept strongly present in the publication is fieldwork. Fieldwork is an activity referring to the collection of raw data. It is something that one does locally in the field and about the field. The term fieldwork specifically refers to a form of practice which cannot be done elsewhere. One could say that fieldwork keeps one close to the research topic. 

In the book, the accumulated knowledge and experience from Field_Notes field laboratory in 2011 is analysed to develop an understanding of various aspects of artistic and scientific fieldwork practices. It studies the processes that took place during the field laboratory with articles written by the participants, and expands these perspectives with more general texts by invited writers. 

From Landscape to Laboratory opens up views to both artistic practice in the field and inside the laboratory. The book examines links between the histories of art, science and exploration. It looks into narratives linking technological development and historical events. It raises questions concerning our understanding of fieldwork, the laboratory and research, and asks about the role of context and locality within this setting. Also questions concerning data are posed: what kind of data can be gathered from the field? What kind of data - sound, cultural meanings, tastes and social networks - remain outside of the scope of the natural scientific researcher? How can artistic fieldwork help to transform this data which seems outside of the scope of science, into knowledge? Further, the publication examines the concept of context and how it affects the processes of both artistic and scientific inquiry. 

The publication includes three sections. The first section - Rooting the Practice - contains a number of articles which introduce general notions in art&science practices. It also presents a broad view on art that is influenced by science. The second section titled Probing the Terrain is a collection of case studies, field reports and examinations as a direct result of Field_Notes field laboratory. These articles have a strong local relation to the Kilpisjärvi area. The third section, Impressions from the Field, contains personal accounts of the experience from the Field_Notes field laboratory, exploring concepts and associations triggered during the week. The three sections are finalised with a glossary where each writer describes a few keywords and concepts important to their text. The glossary is an extension of the articles and a summary of the themes explored in the publication. 

The publication presents perspectives from artistic and scientific fields and investigates interplay and crossovers within these disciplines. It is not aiming at making one singular claim; rather it is an investigation into the practices of art&science that concern the environment at large. 

The contemporary artistic approaches concerning the environment, presented in this publication, are updating well-established art practices, such as land art and environmental art by repositioning the questions inherent in them, in light of new scientific and technological developments. 

Editors: Laura Beloff, Erich Berger, Terike Haapoja

Contributors: Hannele Lehto (foreword), Laura Beloff, Oron Catts, Julie Freeman, Jennifer Gabrys, Maria Huhmarniemi, Antero Järvinen, Antero Kare, Rosanne van Klaveren, Tarja Knuuttila & Hanna Johansson, Dave Lawrence & Melissa Grant, Marta de Menezes & Luis Graca, Melissa Murphy, Niki Passath, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Corrie van Sice, Antti Tenetz, Paz Tornero.

Graphic Design: Sissu Muhujärvi

Cover Photo: Niki Passath, Robot as a Tourist, 2011, Kilpisjärvi 

Special thanks: The Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Kone Foundation

Download the publications as pdf (5.7MB)

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Photos of the book: Johanna Salmela