Research project

Art-Eco Project – towards empathetic-ecological humanity

We aim to investigate through art practice what empathetic-ecological humanity could be like. We are artist-researcher-educators working in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary group of people.

“The phenomenological world is not the bringing to explicit expression of a pre-existing being, but the laying down of being. Philosophy is not the reflection of a pre-existing truth, but, like art, the act of bringing truth into being.”
― Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception 2008, xxii-xxiii)

If the bodily experiences are ignored in the conceptions of human and of the world , the relationships between the mind and the body as well as the self and the world are disturbed. The epidemic of depression, violent outbursts and riots as well as the environmental crisis can be seen as problems caused by the Western dualism. A human being, who has an instrumental attitude towards himself and others, seriously limits the holistic dimension of his existence, not only towards himself but also towards other people and the world.

Art-based research aims to go beyond rational knowledge. We claim that through creative sensory practice we can find embodied understanding that reaches further than intellectualism.  We also want to question the demand for objectivity in the tradition of empiricism, and in contrast, celebrate the ambiguity and multiplicity of lives, which can be recognized in art practice with phenomenological attitude.

We locate our project in the EcoJustice framework. We understand that in order to reveal, and then release us from, modern assumptions (such as anthropocentrism, individualism, mechanism, etc.) we must start from the profound cultural analysis of – not just verbal but also – visual and performative discourses. We are interested in subjective and local knowledge, instead of believing in global and universal suppositions. Through art, both from maker’s and receiver’s point of view, we can imagine what could be, instead of what seems to be.

We aim to create spaces for dialogue among researchers, artists – and the public. Through research papers, conference theme groups, symposia, and book projects we can bring forward art-based research in the academic context; with art festivals, exhibitions, performances and films, in addition to social media, and radio and newspaper interviews, we can invite a broader audience into the discussion about art and empathetic-ecological humanity.

Research project (2015-2017) supported by

Kone Foundation

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