Tallinn Botanic Garden


Upcoming Biotoopia Talks session focuses on the relationship between technology, art and nature

Upcoming Biotoopia Talks session focuses on the relationship between technology, art and nature

On May 25th, Von Krahl Theatre will be hosting the third Biotoopia Talks session focusing on
the post-humanist relationship between nature, technology, art and man. The discussion will
be led by researchers, lecturers and students from the Estonian Academy of Arts who will
guide the audience through the wild jungle of the topics.

In the context of the eclectic Biotoopia discussion sessions, debates have emerged analysing
why humans give meaning to nature as they please. The relationship between man and
nature is also mediated by technology, so it is fitting that the series of talks continues as we
wander through the world of technological advancements. “Above all, we see technology as
an aid, particularly in terms of its ability to help us make decisions more quickly, to provide
an urgent solution to a time crisis. Whether this is sustainable, and where the collaboration
between humans, technology, art and nature could go, is the main topic of this session,” said
Kelli Turmann, CEO of Biotoopia.

One of the session’s moderators is Lilian Hiob, a researcher in the field of posthumanist
aesthetics, who is currently engaged in Curatorial Studies at the Department of Art and
Visual Culture at the EAA, and is also writing her master’s thesis on “The aesthetic wave of
posthumanism in contemporary art trends”. Hiob examines how attitudes towards
technology and the environment have changed among the younger generation of artists;
what are the characteristics of the new wave of art; and how artists’ work relates to a
growing awareness of the destructive impact of human activity on the environment. “In my
research, I draw heavily from the ideas of post-humanist thinkers Donna Haraway and
Katherine Hayles, who already 30 years ago stated that we cannot talk about people versus
technology, as the two fields are too intertwined to be opposed,” said Hiob.

Urmas Lüüs, lecturer and artist at the EAA, will also be joining as a moderator. In the
sessions, students also take part – Valdek Laur, a student of metal arts at the EAA, and Jette-
Loona Hermanis, a choreography graduate and performance artist from the Amsterdam
School of Art SNDO, who will reflect on whether algorithms and machine learning in art are
just window dressing and a fad for the underprivileged, a bogeyman proclaiming the end of
the creative economy, or an enabler of humanity’s next evolutionary leap.

The event is free of charge, but please register on the event’s Facebook page in order to
better organise the session. You can also follow the live stream of the talk on ERR Culture
Portal and on the Biotoopia Facebook page.

The Biotoopia Talks sessions have come to life to spread the message of the Biotoopia
community and in the run up to the conference-forum to be held in Viinistu Art Harbour on
17-19 August. The 2022 Biotoopia conference will be curated by Peeter Laurits and Herkko
Labi, and it will focus on eco-aesthetics and reconciliation ecology.

The session is supported by the Tallinn Culture and Sports Board, the Citizens’ Initiative
Foundation and ERR. The talks are organised by the NGO Estonian Anthropocene Center.