Tuomas A. Laitinen’s research and work combine ecology, chemical processes, and fiction to create multilayered situations that blend old and new technologies.
Tuomas A. Laitinen (b. 1976) is an artist who works with moving image, sound, light as well as chemical and microbial processes. He is interested in ecological issues, the formation of awareness and knowledge, and porous systems. Porous is a concept Laitinen uses to describe morphing boundaries between beings. In his works, Laitinen examines, amongst other things, how different technologies and transmitters influence our experience of the world. According to the artist, the transmitter can be anything through which we encounter the world, such as electricity, skin, spoken and written language, or an individual technology.
In recent years, Laitinen has studied the special type of intelligence of the octopus and has collaborated with artificial intelligence researchers. These multifaceted starting points produce layered installations. They look at human activity in different ecosystems, moving from microscopical particles to society’s power relationships. Continuous change, permeability and transparency are key features of the works. Laitinen has been influenced by, amongst other things, science fiction and posthuman philosophies that seek to outline a new foundation for sustainable coexistence on Earth.
“The material components of my installation environment are inextricably intertwined; their very existence is inherently symbiotic. The work is based on the concept of multi-layeredness and the porous intertwining of materials. The underlying idea concerns the formation of knowledge within an unstructured realm where it is impossible to pigeonhole things, desires, and events in strict categories.
The work comprises microbiological elements, alchemical illustrations, glass, video, and audio transmitted via ultrasonic speakers. The narratives and recipes are linked to the idea of a fictitious zone that is subject to constant radical fluctuation. The title, ΨZone (Psi Zone), refers to the wave function and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which opens the door to all manner of possible universes.
The online component of ΨZone – which will have its debut before the opening of the biennial – is a soundscape that will expand month by month as a ΨFm ambient radio transmission every full moon. Based on a medieval scale, the AI-generated music will be patterned on mRNA logic and it will keep changing constantly throughout the day. This molecular ‘code’ is what enables living organisms to create the necessary proteins to sustain life. Real-life sounds such as poetry recitals and recordings from outer space and deep in the earth will be added to the radio broadcasts in spring 2021.”
Tuomas A. Laitinen
Photo 1: Perttu Saksa
Tuomas A. Laitinen
Site-specific installation: 3D animation, glass, ultrasonic speakers
Soundtrack programming: Bronze AI
Vocals, original recordings: Milla Mäkinen
Thank You: The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)
Commissioned by HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2021