[ISEA2022] Artist Talk: Tuomas A. Laitinen — The Boneless One

Artist Statement 

June 14, MACBA – Convent dels Àngels. Session: Scale and the Politics of Other Living Systems

Keywords: Octopus, Adaptation, Other-than-human lifeforms, Decentralized mind, Metamorphosis

This body of research and artworks is an ongoing endeavour that started in 2016. With these works, Laitinen is approaching questions of (ocean) ecologies, adaptations, and shapeshifting bodies.

In recent years, Tuomas A. Laitinen’s artistic practice has revolved around other-than-human lifeforms, focusing on octopuses in particular. This body of work builds on Laitinen’s previous works with questions of ecology, symbiotic processes, and various paths of tentacular knowledge production. In the presentation, Laitinen will give an overview of his research and future works emerging from this endeavour.

A Proposal for an Octopus (2016-ongoing) is a series of twisting glass sculptures with tubular chambers and amorphous apertures. Not only do the architectures evoke the tentacular and malleable forms of cephalopods, but they provide potential habitats for boneless bodies. The video Haemocyanin (2019) follows an octopus as it plays with, investigates, and squeezes through one of Laitinen’s vessels. The video’s name derives from the types of proteins, which contain copper atoms that transport oxygen through the bodies of cephalopods, imbuing their blood with a bluish tinge.

A glyph typeface Ctongue (2018) is derived from research and observation on octopus arm movement. The work exists both as glass sculptures and a functional typeface drawn by the artist, creating a mutating body of speculative language.

  • Tuomas A. Laitinen (FI) is an artist who works with moving image, sound, light, glass, chemical and microbial processes, as well as algorithms to explore the entanglements of multispecies coexistence. Laitinen composes situations and installations that inquire into the porous interconnectedness of language, body, and matter within morphing ecosystems. In recent years, Laitinen has been working with questions of ecology, the notion of the extended mind, and processes of knowledge production. The works are often made with translucent and transparent materials in order to find ways to layer and diffract material relations and different epistemological systems. Laitinen´s works have been recently shown in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, 1st Helsinki Biennial, 7th Bucharest Biennale, Screen City Biennale 2019 (Stavanger), SADE LA (Los Angeles), Amado Art Space (Seoul), Moving Image New York, A Tale of a Tub (Rotterdam), Art Sonje Center (Seoul), Helsinki Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, MOCA Shanghai & Cinemateca do MAM Rio de Janeiro. http://www.tuomasalaitinen.com