Biotoopia is a series of conferences and art events that seeks to strengthen the network between the arts and sciences. We borrowed the name from the 1995 exhibition curated by Sirje Helme and Ando Keskküla, the thematic developments of which we will continue.

We are living in a time of great changes. The pressure civilisation exerts on living environments has exceeded a reasonable limit, and the normally balanced natural processes are giving us increasingly unpleasant surprises. We are becoming aware of our responsibility for the life of the planet, for the continuation of biodiversity. We cannot solve the accumulated ecological problems with technology alone – we need an ally that has as much at stake as we do, but whose capabilities would exceed our own many times. There is no candidate other than the biosphere itself, with all its inhabitants, from migratory birds to microbiomes. It’s time to take a break from searching for extraterrestrial civilisations and instead learn to communicate with the consortia on our own planet. Nothing regulates the atmosphere better than forests and ocean flora. We need to achieve cooperation and good neighbourly relations with them, learn their sign systems and step into the negotiating space – after all, we see ourselves as an intelligent species. We are beginning to realise that other forms of life are equal, that it is possible and inevitable to interact with them, which is why we need a new ecology of knowledge, a new unifying approach that integrates the life sciences, cultural sciences, natural sciences and human sciences. It is in the symbiosis of the arts and sciences, in excited frontier areas, that a new understanding can emerge that will help us solve the accumulated problems creatively.