The monograph Technologies of Care. From Sensing Technologies to an Aesthetics of Attention in a More-than-Human World by Yvonne Volkart has been released at diaphanes, Zurich. The presentation of the book will take place at the Panke Gallery, Berlin and ONLINE on December 1 at 19:00! More about the presentation HERE.
The book is the last outcome of the SNSF-research project. Open Access HERE.
The Chapter 2 of the book explores the project titled Ecodata–Ecomedia–Ecoaesthetics. The Role and Significance of New Media, Technologies and Technoscientific Methods in the Arts for the Perception and Awareness of the Ecological (2017-21) developed by artists-researchers Marcus Maeder, Rasa Smite, Aline Veillat and led by Yvonne Volkart in the Pfynwald forest with support of the HGK FHNW, ZHdK, the WSL and many more.
The Ecodata project is composed of a theoretical and a practice part. In the theoretical part, project leader Yvonne Volkart analyses a number of international ecomedia projects. In scrutinizing their aesthetic idioms, she develops a techno-eco-aesthetics of relationality and care that goes beyond the technological.
In the practice part, the artists-researchers Marcus Maeder, Rasa Smite and Aline Veillat develop aesthetic projects relative to the alpine forest Pfynwald. This forest in the Valais (southwest Switzerland) has been under close surveillance by natural-scientists for more than 25 years. Systematic experiments with irrigation and their close observation by the natural-scientists characterize the Pfynwald not only as an outdoor laboratory, but also as one of the unique sites in the world, delivering relevant data regarding the effects of climate change on the viability of forests. The artists-researchers work in close cooperation with the scientific institute WSL. The theoretical and practice parts are closely intertwined, trying to challenge the dualism of theory and practice and so working towards an aesthetics of theorypractice or practicetheory. In short, the project tries to establish a multifaceted artefactual poetics of the more-than-human.
TECHNOLOGIES OF CARE. FROM SENSING TECHNOLOGIES TO AN AESTHETICS OF ATTENTION IN A MORE-THAN-HUMAN WORLD BOOK BY YVONNE VOLKART
In the art of the last decade, a relational, cross-species turn has taken place—a techno-eco-feminist turn toward the environmental, toward ontologies of becoming-together and caring for the Earth. It is a new sensibility toward planet Earth’s grounding on physical forces, in the midst of the total technologization of the world. This eco-sensibility is based on technologies, practices, and aesthetics in art that enable, poeticize, celebrate, and deploy paying attention to the more-than-human as a political practice of desire and counterappropriation of dispossessed worlds––in short, Technologies of Care. In this process, technical means and data play an essential role; especially as they come with the hope that, on the one hand, measuring data can be used to render the factuality of unknown or denied environmental phenomena and, on the other hand, that they generate new forms of attention toward the environment.
The author claims, though, that the potential of technologies of care is to be sought less in the use of innovative technologies and well-intentioned themes than in the enabling of aesthetic experiences of co-existence with earthly beings, and their difference and foreignness. Her argumentation is based on the in-depth analysis of exemplary artistic projects; many of them are in the interdisciplinary field of art and science––an ideal site for strange encounters, and processes of mutual translation and distortion. The value of artistic practices, she states, does not lie in the visualization and transposition of abstract data into a language that touches. Rather, it lies in trans-making things, and in the disturbing effects that such acts of disfiguring trigger: the creation of cross-species commonalities instead of the othering which prevails in the dominant discourse.
Yvonne Volkart is head of research and lecturer in art theory and cultural media studies at the Institute Art Gender Nature, Academy of Art and Design FHNW Basel. There, she directs the SNSF research project Plants_Intelligence. Learning like a Plant (2022–2025). She also holds a teaching position in the Master of Arts in Art Education, Zurich University of the Arts. She works as freelance curator and project leader for art and architecture, Amt für Hochbauten (Department for Art and Architecture), City of Zurich Public Works Office, and writes regularly for the art magazine Springerin and others. In collaboration with Sabine Himmelsbach and Karin Ohlenschläger she curated the exhibition and book project Eco-Visionaries. Art, Architecture and New Media After the Anthropocene (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2018, ed. Pedro Gadanho), and Ecomedia. Ecological Practices in Today’s Art (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2007).
+371 67228478 (office)
+371 26546776 (Rasa Smite)