Accelerete Finland awardee selected

Spectral Landscapes_image artsatcern and jyrki autio

European Laboratory of Particle Physics CERN and Palkiskuru in Sápmi, the Northern sub-arctic part of Finland. Photo: Arts at CERN and Jyrki Autio.

Accelerate Finland Call for Entries closed on 4thNovember and the jury, comprised of Monica Bello, head and curator of Arts at CERN, Sabine Himmelsbach, director and curator of HeK (Haus der Electronischen Künste, Basel), Helga Timko, physicist from CERN and Ulla Taipale, curator at Capsula have decided to award among the 43 applicants the research proposal by Austrian, Helsinki-based artist Erich Berger.

erich_berger_field_work_photo Liisa Luohela

Erich Berger, photo by Liisa Luohela.

Spectral Landscapes by Erich Berger proposes a fascinating and poetic artistic research combining two very alien and contrasted sites and landscapes, the vast natural open space with a uranium ore in sub-arctic Finland and the huge, man-made science facilities of European Laboratory of Particle Physics CERN, in Geneva. The project continues Berger´s long-term artistic research on deep time and radiogenic phenomena, aiming at discovering naturally-occurring radioactive processes produced in a landscape and how they can be captured by detection techniques.

Arts at CERN and Capsula thank all the applicants for their dedication and interests towards to this unique possibility to dedicate one month´s period for artistic exploration at CERN, and Saastamoinen Foundation and The Committee of Public Information (TJNK) for supporting Capsula with the Accelerate Finland Call for Entries.

Erich Berger will start his residency at CERN in spring 2020, combining the summer and autumn season with research periods both in Geneva and in Enontekiö in Sápmi,  the Northern sub-arctic part of  Finland.

Herbologies/Foraging Networks

Photos: ©© Windowfarms, Annemie Maes, Ossi Kakko, poster: Ulla Taipale

The ‘Herbologies/Foraging Networks’ programme of events, focused in Helsinki (Finland) and Kurzeme region of Latvia, explores the cultural traditions and knowledge of herbs, edible and medicinal plants, within the contemporary context of online networks, open information-sharing, biological and hydroponic technologies. See the entire programme.

The traditions of finding and knowing about wild food in the local Nordic environment are slipping away from the current generation. How can one attract their attention: With books, online maps, workshops, mobile-guided tours, open-source information or DNA code? Or learn how to grow them yourself, over the dark winter months? The Pixelache Festival events introduce the different meeting points between the three collaborating partners, include presentations by international artists and Finnish botanical experts; workshops sharing that knowledge with the public in Botanical Garden of Helsinki; a round-table discussion about foraging in the urban context; a manifestation of the ‘WindowFarms’ project by Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray(US) that will be built and exhibited in the Takaikkuna of Kiasma, the Museum of contemporary art of Helsinki.

Following, in a pre-midsummer expedition to rural Rucava in Kurzeme, Western Latvia, SERDE Interdisciplinary Art Group will lead fieldwork to learn about the cultural heritage of Balts using wild plants, and create documents for the younger ‘digital native’ generation. These events are organised as a collaboration between Andrew Paterson (SCO/FI), Ulla Taipale/Capsula (FI/ES) and Signe Pucena/SERDE (LV). The project is supported by KulturKontakt Nord, AVEK, and Austrian Embassy in Helsinki. The Botanical Garden of Helsinki University is a collaborating and incubating the Windowfarms plants in their greenhouses.

Global EcoForum09

mc mahedero / zonas verdes photo: ulla taipale

mc mahedero / zonas verdes photo: ulla taipale

Capsula takes part to the second edition of Global Ecoforum, a meeting point of public and private sector and NGO´s, taking place on Monday 26th  and Tuesday 27th October in Barcelona. The first day is celebrated in Torre Agbar and the second in Espai Bonnemaison.

Yesterday, spanish artist MariCarmenMªMahedero occupaid a piece of urban soil, denominated as “zona verde” (=green zone) by the catalonian urban regulations and “painted” it green. MariCarmen and Raquel Rennó are invited to talk about their perspective about the urban space and residues on Tuesday 27the October  at 15.45 pm in the presentation called Art, thought and green citizenship.

In the following text MariCarmenMªMahedero explains the work (sorry in spanish only):

ZONAS VERDES / MCarmen GªMahedero
Hora y lugar: 27 de Octubre, 14-15 horas, Espai Bonnemaison, proyección en auditorio

Ironía y juego son los puntos de partida del trabajo planteado por MCarmen GªMahedero. Jugar con el espacio, con las palabras y con el entorno en que se ubica la “area preferente. zona verde”

Zonas verdes plantea un espacio público, la calle, como algo realmente común a todos: el que tiene coche y el que no. La “área preferente. zona verde” son áreas urbanas destinadas al aparcamiento de vehículos, creadas para aligerar el tránsito interno en la ciudad y combatir la contaminación. En principio beneficia a los vecinos del barrio que son los “abonados” (no olvidemos que es un servicio de pago)  al que el resto de usuarios “no preferentes” tiene acceso por un máximo de 2h a 2,54 €/h. Sin embargo, según urbanismo, “zona verde” son las áreas metropolitanas destinadas a parques y jardines de obligada construcción cada cierto número de habitantes por metro cuadrado.

La OMS recomienda que las ciudades dispongan, como mínimo, de diez a quince metros cuadrados de áreas verdes por habitante. Las zonas verdes y los espacios libres constituyen un sistema en la ordenación urbanística y son indispensables para proteger y mejorar la calidad de vida y conseguir el bienestar urbano

A raíz del aumento de plazas de parking con categoría de “area preferente. zona verde” MCarmen GªMahedero subraya el hecho de utilizar las mismas dos palabras zona verde, para definir dos realidades muy diferentes, la existente: áreas urbanas destinadas al aparcamiento de vehículos y, la declarada por urbanismo: áreas metropolitanas destinadas a parques y jardines de obligada construcción cada cierto número de habitantes por metro cuadrado. Asfalto, alquitrán y pintura luminiscente; ¿zona verde?

Bajo esta perspectiva, la artista ocupará durante varias horas la superficie de un vehículo, 15m2 de parking, con césped, registrando todo lo que ocurra en dicho tiempo y quedando totalmente expuesta a cualquier tipo de intervención por parte de urbanismo.

Raquel Rennó will present her investigation about “Waste materials used as informational and innovational potential”, which aims to comprehend the generation and usage modes of residues in urban spaces through the relations among language systems, understood as cultural elements.

The different manner in which informational and residual objects can be appropriated requires an intense ability of adaptation as well as the creation of a new language system. The appropriation of information, spaces and objects that appear randomly is related to the adaptability of an individual or group, although this adaptability is sometimes the result of an emergency and extreme deprivation.

MCarmen García Mahedero (Badajoz, 1980)

Desde que obtuvo su licenciatura en Bellas Artes en 2003, ha participado  en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, encuentros de artistas europeos y festivales artísticos en España, Portugal, Polonia y Austria. Ha realizado proyectos artísticos centrados en las relaciones que mantenemos con la naturaleza gracias a becas como “Ayudas a la creación Francisco Zurbarán” de la Junta de Extremadura, con la que edita el libro Pintando Naturaleza, y “beca para Talleres Internacionales de Paisajismo Blanca” (Blanca, Murcia 2009). Participó en la primera edición de Global EcoForum con una intervención artística llamada “En la ciudad”, realizada en el patio de Espai Bonnemaison el octubre 2008.

Raquel Rennó (Brazil, 1972)

Digital art researcher at CNPQ (National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development, Brazil), member of the Institut Català D´Antropologia (ICA, Barcelona) and the Scientific Comitee of FILE (Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica, Brazil). Holds a PhD in Communication and Semiotics. Has been working since 2001 in digital art projects with artists from Spain and France and presented pieces at ZKM, ACM Multimedia, BIACS (Bienal de Arte Contemporaneo de Sevilla), Matadero Madrid among other art centres. Has published a book in 2006 intitled “Do Mármore ao Vidro – mercados públicos e supermercados, curva e reta sobre a cidade” analising the urban space as a medium and has presented papers and projects at UCSD (University of California, San Diego), Plymouth University, Universidad de Buenos Aires and Sussex University. Currently is part of ZZZINC, a cultural association for cultural innovation and research in Barcelona, Spain.

Strange Culture_a film by Lynn Hershman Leeson about Steve Kurtz case

In May of 2004, Steve Kurtz’s wife of 20 years died in her sleep of natural causes. Kurtz is a founding member of an award-winning collective Critical Art Ensemble whose work aimed at informing audiences about the lack of regulation and potential risks of genetically modified food. When emergency medical technicials responded to his 911 call, they saw in his home petri dishes–part of an installation–filled with harmless bacterial cultures. They called the FBI.


At that point, the nation was still reeling from the 2001 anthrax scares that had shut down everything from Congress to the Supreme Court to the New York Post. Kurtz was detained on suspicion of bio-terrorism.

What makes Kurtz’s predicament film-worthy is that within a week, tests showed that there were no harmful biological agents in his house and that his wife had died of heart failure. But the case against Kurtz has not gone away. Forced to drop charges of weapons manufacture, the federal prosecutor in Buffalo instead brought charges of mail fraud against both Kurtz and Robert Ferrell, a professor of genetics at the University of Pittsburgh who sent Kurtz the (harmless and legal) bacterial cultures used in his art work. The “fraud” alleged is that Ferrell and Kurtz did not properly reveal, in a requisition form, the purpose of the mailing. It must be noted that neither the University of Pittsburgh nor Buffalo has asserted fraud, and neither Farrell nor Kurtz believed that there was anything fraudulent in their dealings. The allegation of fraud is made exclusively by the federal prosecutor–a first as far as anyone knows.

Even assuming that there were a defrauded party, one wonders why it isn’t being handled as a fairly routine civil matter–i.e., why on earth any putative misrepresentation regarding paperwork is being pursued as a criminal matter. But to give it the ultimate Kafka-esque twist, the charges against Kurtz and Farrell have been pursued under the USA Patriot Act. That means that the sentence for otherwise ordinary crimes is doubled. Since mail fraud carries a sentence of ten years, Kurtz thus faces a possible sentence of twenty years.

After all these years, the prosecution has yet to set a date for the trial. But meanwhile, Strange Culture, a documentary film based on Kurtz’s ordeal, offers a brilliant and moving examination of fear and its manipulations.

Strange Culture, a film by Lynn Hershman Leeson starring Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan and Peter Coyote.

source: The Nation, 5 October 07

Programa completo “taxonomies”


El proyecto Autoinducer_Ph-1(cross cultural chemistry) de Andy Gracie y Brian Lee Yung Rowe investiga la relación simbiótica entre la cianobacteria Anabaena y la planta acuática Azolla. Este sistema de intercambio de información explora las prácticas de cultivo tradicional en el sudeste asiático en donde la Azolla se utiliza en grandes cantidades como fertilizante orgánico rico en nitrógeno en los campos de arroz. La instalación presenta este procedimiento elaborándolo de nuevo como un laboratorio industrial de gran complejidad y que pretende ser un reflejo de las técnicas agrícolas occidentales y de la moderna relación con la naturaleza a través de ecosistemas controlados tecnológicamente.

Andy Gracie será artista en residencia en Comafosca en donde durante el tiempo de exposición de su proyecto, que se realizará de forma escalada – siguiendo el ritmo natural de crecimiento de los organismos y sistemas vivos que componen la instalación –  realizará un registro y seguimiento de la evolución del proyecto.

El artista estadounidense Brandon Ballengee retrata en Malamp: Visualizing Biological Abstraction in Nature el proceso de abstracción de la naturaleza tras la recogida y muestra de distintas especies de anfibios por medio de trabajo de campo. Los anfibios son una especie de “centinelas” del planeta, siendo un tercio de especies de anfibios los que ha sufrido la desaparición en los últimos 50 años. El resultado del proceso de investigación se presenta por medio de una serie de fotografías de los especímenes esculpidos por las condiciones del medio y que el artista ha recogido y retratado como análisis y registro del fenómeno de malformación en el área geográfica determinada.


Fundadora del Forschunsgfloss / Research Raft for Subterranean Reefology Agnes Meyer-Brandis presenta su proyecto Earth-Core Laboratory & Elf-Scan en el que investiga las capas subterráneas por medio de una instalación interactiva con muestras de sondeo geológicas. A través de la creación de diversas interfaces que pone a disposición del público la artista investiga los movimientos de los elfos que habitan las capas subterráneas y que diseñan un delicado paraje entre la realidad y la ficción.



5 de Octubre, 20 hs – Inauguración Taxonomías
6 de Octubre – Presentación Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Taller Earth-Core Laboratory & Elf-Scan

17 Noviembre- Presentación Andy Gracie
Mesa Redonda, Andy Gracie, Ramón Guardans y Vincens Jordana

14 Diciembre – Presentación Brandon Ballengeè

17, 18 y 19 Enero – Ciclo de cine medioambiental

CAPSULA and COMAFOSCA launch “taxonomies” Friday 5th October


In “taxonomies” the relationship between human and nature is under analysis through different strategies that comprise the project. “taxonomies” consists of an exhibition, round tables, presentations, workshops and other activities. Identifying, analysing and ordering are the terms of this project combined through the process of investigation of artists, thinkers and other guests, among them Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Andy Gracie, Brandon Ballengeè and Ramon Guardans.

In the last decades we have seen how the order in which science is based to observe nature has been modified by the discovery of determined phenomena and natural laws, especially in the area of physics and life science, combined with an escalated technological development. 
Around this cultural movement there have been experiences of a new clasification which – in real or fantastic manner – recreated the relation of the human being with nature and nature by itself, without leaving the materialism of science. This fact relates to the work and research of some artists, thinkers, writers and other intellectuals who intend to analyse the key issues of the present time through a new order of observation and classification on the natural enviroment and other species. 
Taxonomias analyses the relationship of human and nature through the prism of art and science, and the form in which both are conceived within this current and eclectic landscape in which taxonomical systems gain a new sense.

“taxonomies” consists of an exhibition, round tables, presentations, workshops and other activities.

COMAFOSCA, node of art and thought in Alella
Riera Coma Fosca, 42 08328 Alella Barcelona – Spain
opening hours>
Thursday to Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm
Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm / 5 pm to 10 pm de 10
Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm
Free entrance

organize by>
COMAFOSCA, node of art and thought in Alella y CAPSULA
with the support of>
Generalitat de Cataluña: Departamento de Cultura y Ayuntamiento de Alella
with the colaboration of >
Instituto Geológico de Cataluña and Reproducciones Sabaté

more information>
COMAFOSCA, node of art and thought in Alella