Re-distributing the Sensible in Environmental Art

Practices of transcribing environmental data into various tangible, visual and audible experiences forms a significant part of art and ecology practice within new media arts. Sometimes seemingly abstract operations, at times very engaging, nevertheless alter how the environmental phenomenon is felt, acted upon and remembered.

How is artistic environmental data to be valued? What is its relationship with practices of science? With Jacques Rancière one could suggest that environmental media art may re-distribute the sensible, and transform processes considered to be without aesthetics and interpretation into an unpredictable form. Yet sometimes one also can detect similar tendencies as in 1970s cybernetics, where the term ‘environmation’ suggested control of living ecologies using environmental information. The author will also discuss some examples from the M.A.R.I.N. residencies.

Tapio Mäkelä is a researcher and a media artist based in Helsinki, Finland. He is working mostly on new media and cultural studies research as well as research driven media arts practice.
Mäkelä is a co-founder of Marin Association and M.A.R.I.N. (Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network), an art, science and ecology research residency and network initiative.
He has recently been an AHRC Research Fellow with department of Creative Technology, School of Art and Design, The University of Salford, working on social and cultural uses of location based media. Mäkelä was the programme chair of ISEA2004, the 12th International Symposium of Electronic Art. Mäkelä has also realized several media art works and projects, often with a focus on public spaces and networks. He also founded the Polar Circuit media arts workshop series. With m-cult he has worked with new media arts and culture policy research resulting in three publications.