OPEN CALL: Arts in the Environment – Nordic Symposium, August 31 – September 2, 2017

Proposals for Art Works and Participation in the Artist Camp (August 25 – September 3)
Proposals for Papers and Presentations

Deadline for all proposals May 31, 2017

The Symposium is a multidisciplinary, international and contemporary art event that focuses on the intersection between environmental art and sciences. Arts in the Environment Symposium will spread across various venues throughout the Finnish capital Helsinki, August 31, 2017 – September 2, 2017. The Artist Camp will take place in Vartiosaari August 25 – September 3, 2017 and the exhibition September 3 – October 8, 2017.

Arts in the environment – Nordic symposium invites environmental artists, scientists, thinkers and the wider public to join a transdisciplinary program of presentations, experimentation, encounters and discussions that engage with current developments of environmental art and sciences.

The Symposium includes media-art evening and performances (31.8.2017), a one-day seminar titled “Collaboration of Art and Science” (1.9.2017) and a day of workshops (2.9.2017).

We invite artists to submit proposals for art works, and researchers, scientists and artists to submit articles or proposals for articles and presentations for the seminar and workshops. The adjoining publication is scheduled for 2018 release in collaboration with Theatre Academy (Teak).

The curatorial workgroup has invited artists from Nordic and Baltic countries to participate in the exhibition. Mari Keski-Korsu (Finland), Åsa Ståhl and Kristina Lindström (Sweden), Artist duo Martinka Bobrikova & Oscar de Carmen (Norway), Søren Lose (Denmark), Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir (Iceland), Patrick McKingley, AKA murmer (Estonia), Linda Vigdorika and Jānis Noviks (Latvia) have confirmed their participation.

Check more information on our websites


1. Call for Artworks and Participation in the Artist Camp, August 25 – September 3
We invite proposals for environmental artworks and performances, which will be installed on Vartiosaari island, Helsinki, between August 25 – 31. The exhibition opening ceremony will take place on September 2, 2017. The final discussion of the Artist Camp is on September 3. The exhibition will be open from September 3 to October 8, 2017.

The Autumn Camp is an opportunity to spend a week building your work in an unique island location, and network and share knowledge together with the other participating artists. Please submit your application at the latest by May 31, 2017 at 23:59 Finnish time (UTC +2 hrs). Please read more about the call for artists from here:

2. Call for Papers and Presentations
We are asking for proposals for contributions to the Arts in the Environment Seminar and Workshops. This call is intended for artists, scientists and researchers who would like to submit abstracts (and articles) and possibly a short talk for the seminar and/or for the workshops. The Symposium publication will be published in 2018 in collaboration with Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki (TeaK).

Deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2017. Successful applicants will be informed at the latest by June 22, 2017. The deadline for the articles is November 1, 2017. Please read more about the call for abstracts and articles from here:

Themes for the Symposium
The symposium and the associated publication is intended for artists, scientists and researchers who are interested in the following subjects:
1. (Environmental) Art & Aesthetics – A Dialogue Between the Pristine and the Constructed
Contemporary artistic practice, in whatever time and place it happens, is always in dialogue with pre-existing aesthetic judgements. What forms does this constant but often unnoticed traffic between practice and abstraction take in environmental art, and how does it help us reflect on our changing world?

What are the underlying characteristics of natural, cultural, or built environments, and how do these spaces relate to the concept of pristine nature? What role does aesthetics have in creating and maintaining the shifting boundaries between these layers of constructed space and unsullied nature? What narratives do these works create? How can these kinds of works influence larger societal discourse? Can they even, for example, impact at the practical level of city planning?
2. (Environmental) Art & Politics – What is Art’s Responsibility and Sphere of Influence?
The proper relationship between art on the one hand and society and politics on the other is a very old question indeed. In environmental art today the question is more acute than ever: how can, should and do practicing artists join the dialogue about how to change our opinions and decision making?

Clashes over ecological issues, land use and the crisis of democracy are increasingly creating conflicts. What are some of the underlying causes of these conflicts, and how could (environmental) art dissect and explain not only what is happening, but also why and what it means for society? Can art present solutions and does it need to? Who has rights to cities or to the (natural) environment? Can art be activism and how
3. (Environmental) Art & Science – Exploring Methods for New Collaboration
Both science and art are modes of enquiry, promoting human curiosity and learning, yet the dialogue between scientists and artists has long been a difficult one. Are we perhaps entering a stage where this situation might be changing?
How can scientists make their work heard and relevant to diverse audiences through storytelling and art? Should art make science more understandable or visible? Is that the role of art? How could artists and scientists work together creating new ideas, solutions or even utopias?

About Vartiosaari
The main symposium venue is an unique island called Vartiosaari located in eastern archipelago of Helsinki. The island has high landscape and biodiversity value, and it is among the nationally distinguished environments in Finland. The journey to the island is by boat only.

The island has several villas and vacation homes, but only around 20 permanent residents. Read more on the city of Helsinki’s official website and a Vartiosaari Association website (only in Finnish). The city of Helsinki plans to link the island to the mainland and build new urban infrastructure and housing for up to 7000 new inhabitants. The symposium-project supports preserving Vartiosaari as a recreational area.

The main organizational body behind the project is LARU ART Association, an artist-driven non-profit organisation based in Helsinki. In operation since 2005, LARU ART produces international environmental art events in which both media art and performance art are prominently featured. The symposium is organised in collaboration with Arts Promotion Centre Finland. Full list of collaborators and supporters are on the Symposium website.

– March 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017: Application period
– August 25, 2017 – September 3, 2017: Autumn Camp for the exhibiting artists on Vartiosaari, Helsinki
We expect all the exhibiting artists to be able to stay in Helsinki for the entire duration of the Autumn Camp, from August 25, 2017 at 14:00 to September 3, 2017 at 14:00.
– August 31, 2017, 18:00–22:00: Media Art & Performances
– September 1, 2017, 10:00–19:00: Collaborations of Art and Science – Seminar
– September 2, 2017, 12:00–20:00: Workshops and Opening of the Exhibition on Vartiosaari island
– September 3, 2017 – October 8, 2017: Exhibition on Vartiosaari island
– 2018: Publication launch

Application deadline: May 31, 2017.
Please submit your application online at the latest by May 31, 2017 at 23:59 Finnish time (UTC +2 hrs).