Session 6: BioPolitcs and BioDigital Poetics

Daina Pupkevičiūtė. GREEN is not a color: conceptual instrumentalisation v/s affective entanglements

From “Green New Deal,” to conceptual framework proposed by art institutions and non-institutionalized entities, exhibition abstracts and open calls, GREEN and ECO seem to have become a costume, a form that one needs to fit in order to get a ride. Often pieces of art presented under the eco- keyword, fail to be produced adhering to eco- mindset, and instead contribute to the vast overproduction that keeps the art-market spinning.

In what way eco- in art production might be related not only to aesthetic and the superficial? In what way can eco- be a key – an instrument in thinking and practicing, instead of just remaining a keyword? What are the consequences of starting to work in an eco- way? These are the questions I am asking myself, my students, colleagues art practitioners and thinkers.

These are the questions around which I am constructing my artistic work in these last years, as well as my teaching practice based on bodily, affect based practices. For ECODATA I’d like to propose either a talk, or a talk+workshop, which draws on my research in the fields of environmental activism, noise, body and affect and my performance and sound related practice.


Daina Pupkevičiūtė works in the intersection of sound and performance art – as an artist, curator, educator, – and anthropology, and runs a climate-crisis information page.

She researches and thinks of noise – as an acoustic phenomenon, as a field of particular aesthetic, and as a lens to look through into the world we inhabit. Other important lines of research are those of the body and resistance – in physics as well as in human and non-human bodies, physical as well as mental ones. She is interested in definitions of norm and the normative; in power and gaze; in what, how and by whom is narrated; in structures of care and togetherness. Anthropological thinking helps her connect the dots between all of the above and beyond.


Anna Priedola. UnGreening Food [Art]

Food has stood for long in between the distinction of nature and culture – being something that is both grown and made. Nobody doubts that food is part of culture, but still national culture funds do not support the purchase of food as a material for art projects. Do we need to ‘ungreen’ food for it to ‘fit’ into the art world?

Author has researched ‘green’ food communities – mapping a “biologic” food distribution network and developing data recipes, analysed the history of food art, and now she is working on the Book of Food – an overview of Food Art strategies made of edible pages containing starters for recipes to stimulate multi-sensory knowledge-making. Strategies like social fermentation, speculative food design, hacking of food and/or metabolism etc.

In the Open Fields speech, author will analyse the ambiguity of what does ‘green’ mean in the common Western discourse about food – exploring examples when food choices labelled as ‘green’ and ‘eco’ lead to even greater damage of particular local environment (like vast avocado plantations following greater demand for vegetarian diet consume massive amounts of water in regions scarce of it) thus leading to what Timothy Morton calls “feedback loops of Dark ecology”. The idea that humanity can calculate and control the feedback loops in the environment and sustain some ecological stability has proven to be utopian.

The author argues that much of the choices in Western society are aesthetic, including food choices. Thus it is a concern of art research to explore and create the aesthetics of food culture. And currently the label ‘green’ has become toxic in its disguised ambiguity. By ‘ungreening’ the food discourse one frees food from dangerous biases about what is ‘natural’, and allows it to be used as any other ‘made’ material in art but with the added multi-sensory modes of aesthetic expression (olfactory, tactile, taste) – relevant cases of which author will analyse in her speech.

Anna Priedola is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and researcher exploring topics like sustainability, trade and consumption in data visualization, installation art and communal art forms. Anna Priedola is managing Liepaja University Art Research Laboratory and BA study programme “New Media Art” since 2016. Anna Priedola has worked on the production of several local and international art events and exhibitions, like the annual New media art festival “Update” in Liepaja, open-source art education platform “Open Lab” etc.


Vytautas Michelkevicius, Lina Michelkevice. Postdigital Ecologies of Representation in the „Atlas of Diagrammatic Imagination“

The choreographed performative talk will be based on a new publication “Atlas of Diagrammatic Imagination: Maps in Research, Art and Education” (eds. Lina Michelkevičė and Vytautas Michelkevičius, Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, 2019). It is a collection of 12 artistic and scholarly positions on diagramming and mapping knowledge and experiences.

The main goal of the publication is to show examples how artists and researchers can communicate complex data and knowledge through maps and diagrams as well as challenge the ecology of mind. Alternatively to computer-aided big data visualisations, we aim to propose embodied, sustainable and slow mapping approaches.

This atlas is also a response to the times we live in. In the face of ever-increasing information flows and the challenges of big data processing and rendition, a linear text is not always the most suggestive form of communication. Meanwhile in maps, within a single plane, we can operate with multiple layers of knowledge, and use different means of expression in order to discover unexpected links.

And yet, in the context of our lifestyles as driven by ubiquitous touchscreens, this atlas might appear as a capricious act of dissent.  We call our readers and users to slow down, get comfortable, and immerse or even lose themselves in the essays, diagrams, and fold-out maps.

Nevertheless, diagram is an ecological take of trying to represent piles of data in a mode of sustainable aesthetics.


Dr. Lina Michelkevičė and Dr. Vytautas Michelkevičius are researchers and editors based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Both working at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lina as researcher in the Institute of Art Research and Vytautas as Head of Photography and Media Art Department and programme leader of Art Doctoral Studies, they engage both in separate and joint research and/or curatorial projects. They share a long-lasting interest in maps and diagrams as a way of thinking and representation, that so far has resulted in several exhibitions, workshops, symposia papers, and books Mapping Lithuanian Photography: Histories and Archives (co-edited with Agnė Narušytė, 2007) and Atlas of Diagrammatic Imagination: Maps in Research, Art and Education (2019). They enjoy collecting and digging into creative diagrams, from time to time also drawing themselves or collaborating with artists and drawers.


Martin Krupa, Diana Kněžínková. Regional Reflection

The topic of this conference contribution is referring to ecological themes in art works of students and head of Digital media studio at the Faculty of Art and Design (University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně) in Ústí nad Labem in Czechia. The theme reacts towards the Ústí nad Labem region. This area is surrounded by communist’s times consequences caused mainly by devastation of landscape as open-cast mining, chemistry industry and social-historical connotations after the second world war.

Digital media studio has been led since 2008 by Michaela Thelenová and Radek Jandera. Both of them are active artists who reflect regional issues in their art works. This naturally inspires their students in their own approach which leads them to reflect these local ecological aspects.

Students are guided to use new media as a tool to reflect their own experience gained in this area. Since part of students are coming from different regions and one of the educational methods is going for excursions and getting along with the local experiences. It creates interesting dialog between students and teachers. These approaches create dialogs and space for collaborative works with the ecological background. Essential media which are used by this studio are video, photography, site-specific, sound and interactive installations.

Diana Kněžínková graduated with a Master’s degree in the Faculty of Art and Design of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem in the Curatorial studies progam. She co-founded curatorial platform 3Kuratorky and  she’s organized several exhibitions of young Czech contemporary artists in both Ústí nad Labem and Prague.

Martin Krupa graduated with a Master’s degree in the Faculty  of Art and Design of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem in Digital Media studio and he currently studies Ph.D. program in visual communication. He’s been a part of many exhibitions and art events of young contemporary art such as Jihlava film festival, ”Labyrinth” exhibition in Pragovka gallery, and TOTAL SOLO – Festival Neue Musik in Linz.