News and Events

New Publication: “Making Middles Matter”

24 March 2020

Publishing news! The article, “Making Middles Matter: Intersecting Intersectionality with New Materliasm”, co-authored by the project researchers, Milla Tiainen, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Taru Leppänen and Tara Mehrabi, was published on 23 of March, 2020 in NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research. As the title indicates, the essay aims to intersect theories of intersectionality with new materialist thinking in an affirmative and productive way, especially through an elaboration of the concept of the “middle”. The article also aims to show how this intersecting can work in close analysis of empirical research material.

You can find the article here (DOI).

An Event Series on New Materialisms #07: Elisabeth Belgrano – ORNAMENTING-as-a-METHOD

12 February 2020

Wednesday 19 February, 4.15–5.45 pm – Room E321, Minerva 3rd floor, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku

Elisabeth Belgrano

ORNAMENTING-as-a-METHOD: exploring a poetical onto-ethico-epistemology

In this presentation, Elisabeth performs an insight into the process of developing a research method that is based on a practice-led/diffractive/artistic research methodology. The results include a true story about a woman’s vocal awakening through the concept of NOTHINGNESS; about seventeenth-century voices and musical manuscripts; about voicing experiences in Venice, Kyoto and Jerusalem; about a collection of poems dedicated to one of the first opera singers – Anna Renz Romana – who became NOTHINGNESS on stage; and about touching on Italian Nothingness and French Je-ne-sais-quoi. As a (provisional) endpoint to this story, the presentation will articulate a process of ornamenting-as-a-method that allows for the emergence of a poetic-onto-ethico-epistemology.

Elisabeth L. Belgrano allows her performance research to diffract through contemporary vocal studies and 17th century vocal music. She is a recipient of the Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society (2005), and was awarded a PhD in Performance in Theatre and Music Drama for Performing Nothingness through Operatic Mad Scenes and Lamentations at the University of Gothenburg (2011). Elisabeth is also a supervisor and examiner through ‘performative methodologies’. Currently she is investigating the Art of (Vocal) Ornamentation as an intra-active research tool for measuring Nothingness and the Unknown.

Dr Belgrano’s artistic research portfolio can be found here.

This event and event is co-organized by Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Academy of Finland, 2017‒2021), A New Materialist Network, and Gender Studies, University of Turku.

Elisabeth’s talk is the seventh in a series of guest lectures and other events centered on new materialist thinking and research. The event is open to everyone, welcome!

An Event Series on New Materialisms #06: Amy Cutler – The “New Humanitrees”?

7 January 2020

Thursday 9 January, 4.00–5.30 pm – Media Studies Library Room (E327), Minerva 3rd floor, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku

Amy Cutler

The “New Humanitrees”?

At a moment when the meaning of the forest is suffering increasing standardisation, Dr. Amy Cutler discusses the forest’s history as a space of “querying”. Bringing together the department’s interests, and participation from each of our crossed disciplines and fields, how can we go beyond its “eco-normative stamping”, to take responsibility for the materials and lives of the forests in which we currently live – and examine far stranger human and sylvan horizons?

Amy Cutler has worked in the GeoHumanities and Environmental Humanities and taught in nonhuman philosophy and geography since completing her PhD, and recent finished an Early Career Leverhulme Research Fellowship on the meaning of forests and sylvan thinking. However, she also now works independently of academic institutions, challenging public discourses of nature in its own arenas and monopolies. This includes her exhibition of 100 artists and scientists on forest memories, “Time, the deer, is in the Wood of Hallaig”, her BBC Late Junction radio show on experimental forest ecologies, politics and the nonhuman (“Into the Forest”, 2018), and her contribution to the BBC’s “The End of the World Has Already Happened” (airing 16 January 2020). She currently curates the internationally touring film festival/concert Nature’s Nickelodeons, which queers or hacks the power of the modern nature documentary (Sheff Doc Fest 2018, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2018, San Francisco Green Film Festival 2019). She has also completed her first artist’s film residency (Dec 2019 – Jan 2020), on narratives of extinction and the biodiversity of Örö fortress island in the Finnish archipelago, previously a closed military area.

This event and event is co-organized by Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Academy of Finland, 2017‒2021), A New Materialist Network, and Gender Studies, University of Turku.

Amy’s talk is the sixth in a series of guest lectures and other events centered on new materialist thinking and research. The event is open to everyone, welcome!

An Event Series on New Materialisms #05: Helle Breth Klausen – Struggling with technology in ASMR experiences

22 October 2019

Wednesday 30 October, 5.15‒6.45 pm ‒ Media Studies Library Room (E327), Minerva 3rd floor, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku

Helle Breth Klausen

Struggling with technology in ASMR experiences

Helle Breth Klausen is a visiting PhD fellow at the University of Turku from the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. She is currently working on a project on technologically-mediated ASMR, also known as ‘whisper videos’, on YouTube. As a media scholar, she is interested in how the intended bodily intertwinement with technology serves certain goals in regard to ASMR; enabling telepresence, digital intimacy, and para-sociality. She recently published an article on what technologically-mediated ASMR is capable of through sound.

Helle’s talk in this event series will present some of her ongoing research on the theme of struggling with technology in ASMR experiences by diving into comments on the videos on YouTube and by playing around with theoretical concepts in order to explain how ASMR videos can be seen as a solution to the struggle – in some cases – while being the source of struggle in other cases.

This event and event is co-organized by Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Academy of Finland, 2017‒2021), A New Materialist Network, and Gender Studies, University of Turku.

Helle’s presentation is the fifth in a series of guest lectures and other events centered on new materialist thinking and research. The event is open to everyone, welcome!

An Event Series on New Materialisms #04: Yoga for Academic Writing (Registration Closed)

18 September 2019

Friday 4 October, 2.15‒4.15 pm ‒ Room E321, Minerva 3rd floor, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku

Yoga for Academic Writing

This workshop, run by creative writing and yoga teacher Kirsi Saivosalmi, and organized by the research project Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Academy of Finland, 2017–2021), combines academic writing with yoga. The workshop introduces a toolbox of embodied and relaxing writing exercises, yoga-based movement and easy breathing techniques that are tried out in relation to some concepts of new materialist thinking. It aims to offer a few novel tools for a creative and balanced writer’s life. This workshop

  1. introduces the “free writing” technique.
  2. offers practical 5- to 10-minute new materialist writing exercises.
  3. teaches simple yoga-based movement to release tension in the body and re-sharpen the mind.
  4. guides to a set of easy mindfulness techniques to relax and re-focus while writing.
  5. inspires to reflect on one’s strengths and weaknesses as a writer and choose techniques that suit your own purposes.

The exercises are intended only for personal use and not shared with others. No experience from yoga, creative writing or new materialisms is needed to attend this workshop.

The yoga movements are gentle and done standing, sitting or lying on the ground. You can wear your normal clothes. Yoga mats are provided by the organizer so you don’t need your own. Take along your notebook, pen, and possibly also your laptop.

The main language of the workshop is English.

Registration guidelines

The workshop has a 12-person limit and is now full.

Registration is closed.

Unlikely Journal for Creative Arts I Call for Submissions – “Following sonorous bodies”

6 September 2019

Guest editors Anastasia Khodyreva and Elina Suoyrjö (Turku, Finland)

Deadline for abstract proposals: October 14, 2019

This Unlikely issue aspires to work with the processual methodology of following in order to think with and through various sonorous bodies. Against habitual hierarchizing, binary and human- centric thinking, we wish to think about (and with) sonorous bodies enfolding and unfolding in relation to registers of gender, class, race, ethnicity, age, as well as human, more-than-human, posthuman, ahuman, and non-human. To attune differently to sonic bodies, we invite authors and artists to deploy, twist, and crack the intensively processual meta-methodology of following (as inspired by process philosophies such as Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Karen Barad, Erin Manning, Brian Massumi, Jane Bennett, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Milla Tiainen and Ilona Hongisto).

>> See full Call for Submissions here (pdf).

Anastasia Khodyreva joins Localizing Feminist New Materialisms

1 September 2019

I have gone approximately half-way with my doctoral research project, which bears the working title of An Affective New Materialist Study of (Russian) Gendered Corporealities: Autoethnographic Attunement to Five Films. As the title hints, the primary material of my work is cinema and my own bodily engagements with it. I scrutinize the potentialities and limitations of affects if practiced as new materialist methodologies and “follow” what embodiments emerge in the assemblage of a body of films, my own breathing-living body and of screened bodies. Theoretically, I ground myself in the cinematic and textual works of Trinh T. Minh-ha “reading” her inspiring insights as thoughts in practice. Engaging with her texts and films I also “ally myself” with Karen Barad, Erin Manning, Kathrin Thiele, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Affects as explicitly bodily intensities are in the spotlight of my research (in particular, methodological) wonderings, that is how I am also engaging with the ideas of Brian Massumi, Sarah Ahmed, Sianne Ngai, and Jack Halberstam.

My general curiosity about the matter and multiple materialities different bodies co-constitute branched out into one smaller-scale project where with feminist new materialisms I started thinking about one particular materiality that is the sound /sonic/sonorous. This side project is unfolding into a special issue of The Unlikely Journal for Creative Arts which we are currently working on with wonderful Elina Suoyrjö, Ph.D. and feminist curator.

Kirjanjulkaisutilaisuus: Katve-Kaisa Kontturi – Ways of Following

10 May 2019

Ke 22. toukokuuta, klo 18.00, Titanik, Itäinen Rantakatu 8, Turku

Tilaisuudessa julkaistaan Katve-Kaisa Kontturin monografia Ways of Following: Art, Materiality, Collaboration

Open Humanities Press, 2018, 258 s.

Tilaisuudessa kirjasta keskustelevat Taina Erävaara (koulutus- ja tutkimuspäällikkö, Turun taideakatemian kuvataiteen ohjelma), Visa Immonen (arkeologian professori, Turun yliopisto), Elina Suoyrjö (toiminnanjohtaja, Titanik) ja Norie Neumark (ääni- ja mediataiteilija, teoreetikko, Melbournen yliopisto; residenssitaiteilija, Titanik).

In Ways of Following, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi offers rare, intimate access to artists’ studios and exhibitions, where art processes thrive in their material-relational becoming. The book argues for an ethical and affirmative mode of engaging with contemporary art that replaces critical distance with sensuous and transformative proximity. From writing-with to dancing and breathing, from conversations to modelling, it maps ways of following that make the moving materiality of art intensively felt. Drawing on long-term engagements with selected contemporary artists and their art-in-process, Kontturi expands the concept and practice of collaboration from human interactions to working with, and between, materials. With this shift, Ways of Following radically rethinks such core tenets of art theory as intention, artistic influences and the autonomy of art, bringing new urgency to the work of art and its political capacity to propose new ways of being and thinking.

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi toimii taidehistorian yliopistonlehtorina ja nykytaiteentutkimuksen dosenttina Turun yliopistossa. Hän on Honorary Fellow Melbournen yliopistossa.

Kirjaa on tapahtumassa myynnissä rajoitettu määrä, 10e (vain käteinen).

Tilaisuuden järjestää tutkimusprojekti Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Suomen Akatemia, 2017–2021), A New Materialist Network, Turun yliopiston sukupuolentutkimuksen oppiaine ja Titanik library

Tilaisuus on osa ”an event series on new materialisms” -tapahtumasarjaa.

Second guest lecture of an event series on new materialisms

24 April 2019

Wednesday 8 May, 4.15 pm ‒ Room E327, Minerva 3rd floor, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku

Norie Neumark

Speaking of Atmospheres: more than voice and voice of the more-than

Speaking of atmospheres evokes something palpable, something that moves us—inviting or repelling. When atmospheres speak to us—they tincture our relations to a place and the people and things that compose it. We sense and respond to an atmosphere—of a room, say, or an artwork or a garden—but even as we attend to its call, its vibe, we also sense something more. A more-than-ness. Like voice, atmospheres call out and connect. And, like voice—with voice—atmospheres “traverse distinctions between peoples, things, and spaces,” attuning us to ambiguities “between presence and absence, between subject and object/subject and between the definite and indefinite” (Anderson 2009, 77-78). Voice and atmosphere have much to say, resonating with each other. Voice alerts us to the complexities and more-than’ness of atmospheres. And, in turn, attuning to atmospheres opens up our thinking with/through voice. With new materialism, we can explore these entanglements of atmospheres and voice through engaging with a number of artworks.

Reference: Anderson, Ben. 2009. “Affective Atmospheres.” Emotion, Space and Society. 2. Pp 77–81.

Professor Norie Neumark is a theorist and sound/media artist. She has a collaborative art practice with Maria Miranda as, which began in radio, then expanded to include media art, site-responsive and unsitely installations and performances, and radiophonic essays. Their award-winning work has been commissioned and broadcast and exhibited nationally and internationally. Their earlier work engaged with questions of culture, place and memory. Recent projects, such as Waiting, Coalface and Shredded, have engaged with questions of ecology, power and ethics. Norie’s 2017 monograph, Voicetracks: Attuning to Voice in Media and the Arts (MIT Press) explores voice and new materialism. Norie co-edited Voice: Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media (MIT Press, 2010) and At a Distance: Precursors to Internet Art and Activism (MIT Press, 2005). She is founding editor, Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts

Affiliations: Norie is Honorary Professorial Fellow at VCA, Melbourne University and Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University. She is currently resident artist at Titanik, Turku.

This event and event series are co-organized by Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Academy of Finland, 2017‒2021), A New Materialist Network, and Gender Studies, University of Turku.

Professor Neumark’s lecture is the second in a series of guest lectures and other events centered on new materialist thinking and research. The event is open to everyone, welcome!

Launch of an event series on new materialisms

3 April 2019

Wednesday 17 April, 2‒4 pm ‒ Room E321, Minerva 3rd floor, Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, University of Turku

Mattie Sempert

Essaying bodies with conceptual loose ends: A necessary conclusion

What if essai (French for aim, or attempt) is allowed to become a thing in its own right: an essaying body that thinks as it moves and moves as it thinks. As a verb, the essay needs to move and its body is shaped—that is, grows text-tissue—relationally, by what it encounters as it moves. The essaying body, I propose, “[finds] its patterns in contingent motion” (Retallack, p. 36). There is a materialization of the body in language that takes shape in open-ended process. As a writing form, essay doesn’t merely talk, but demonstrates how its immanently growing body is a site for knowledge production, always quivering with more-than possibilities. However, in order sedate the flow and force of further thoughts forming—that is, to fix it into a readable form—the conceptual loose ends need to be burned, or therapeutically cauterized.

Reference: Retellack, J. (2003). Wager as essay. Chicago Review, 49(1), pp. 31–51.

Dr Mattie Sempert is a practicing acupuncturist, creative writer and researcher. Her PhD project (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia) explores the intersection of three practices: creative writing, acupuncture, and process-oriented philosophy. In blending these distinct fields, through lyric and experimental essay writing, she discovers the body as a site for knowledge production—alive—always in process. Her affiliations include RMIT’s non/fiction Lab, SenseLab/3 Ecologies Institute and Fascia Research Society.

This event and event series are co-organized by Localizing Feminist New Materialisms (Academy of Finland, 2017‒2021), A New Materialist Network, and Gender Studies, University of Turku.

Dr Sempert’s lecture is the first in a series of guest lectures and other forthcoming events centered on new materialist thinking and research. Light refreshments will be served. The event is open to everyone, welcome!

You can watch or listen to Dr Sempert’s lecture here.

Ways of Following – the Melbourne launch

15 December 2018

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi had her monograph ‘Ways of Following: Art, Materiality, Collaboration’ launched at the closing event of the AAANZ conference in Melbourne, 7 May. The book was introduced by Professor Norie Neumark (University of Melbourne). During the conference organized by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Katve-Kaisa also co-convened a panel on ‘Minor Activisms’ with presenters from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Her project Feminist Colour-IN (with Kim Donaldson) was part of the artistic program of the conference (by invitation only). The Finnish launch of the book will be held at Galleria Titanik, 22nd May, 2019, 6pm.

Funding for a new 4-year project led by project researchers Kontturi and Tiainen

6 December 2018

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi and Milla Tiainen have received funding from the Kone Foundation for their 4-year project on ‘New Economies of Art-Working’ (413,000 euros). Kontturi’s and Tiainen’s multidisciplinary research team consists of social and political scientists Mikko Jakonen and Paul Jonker-Hoffrén, Finnish literature scholar Kaisa Kurikka, sound artist and researcher Taina Riikonen and media scholar and data analyst Varpu Rantala. The advisory board of the project includes artists, art directors and politicians. The project will start in July 2019.

Collective vortex and other responses

New book on feminist pedagogy

23 November 2018

The first Finnish collection on feminist pedagogy (Feministisen pedagogiikan ABC ‒ Opas ohjaajille ja opettajille, eds. Anu Laukkanen et al., Vastapaino) was launched at the Annual Finnish Gender Studies Conference, 22 November 2018. Our project members Taru Leppänen and Katve-Kaisa Kontturi contributed to the book with their articles on ‘How to Write Gender’ (Leppänen), ‘Practicing Feminist Participatory Pedagogy with Asylum Seekers” (Järviluoma & Leppänen) and ‘Feminist Colour-IN’ (Kontturi & Donaldson).

Tara Mehrabi joins Localizing Feminist New Materialisms

24 May 2018

I have newly started my postdoc, Queer ecologies of death as part of the Localizing New Feminist Materialisms project. My current postdoc research is a continuation of my doctoral dissertation, Making Death Matter (2016). It is theoretically grounded in new materialism, feminist posthumanities and queer theories and draws on the same ethnographic material that I collected for my dissertation in an Alzheimer’s science laboratory. I investigate how heteronormative and humanistic ideologies about “purity” and “pure Nature” shape the space of the laboratory and regulate waste management practices. How the materiality of the living and dead matter problematizes such fantasies of purity and prescribed categories of laboratory waste. How transgenic fruit flies’ bodies, living and nonliving, cross the boundaries between inside and outside, natural and unnatural/artificial, safe and hazardous waste, and life and death, and create queer ecologies of death.

Aesthetic Intra-Actions

16 March 2018

Our first major publication is online! Ruukku: Studies in Artistic Research #9


Practicing New Materialisms in the Arts

Issue editors: Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Milla Tiainen, Tero Nauha & Marie-Luise Angerer

Contributors include: Dorota Golonska, Fiona MacDonald, Natalie Blanc and Frédéric Barbe, mirko nikolić and Neda Radulovic, Taru Leppänen and Milla Tiainen, Elisabeth Belgrano, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Zuzana Štefková and Helena Grande Vicente, Heidi Tikka, Rebecca Najdowski and Jane Vuorinen, Helen Palmer, Jessica Foley, Vicky Hunter and Karolina Kucia, Anna Hickey-Moody and Mika Elo

This issue dedicates itself to co-constitutive relationships between new materialist theory and artistic or practice-inspired research through a sustained focus on physicist and philosopher Karen Barad’s concept of intra-action and via a wide variety of previously unpresented projects. The issue hopes to generate constant transfers between practice and theory: between ways of doing, making, feeling, thinking, and conceptualizing.

The issue is divided into four sections:

“Ecologies”, studies environmental arts and performance as co-productions or intra-actions between the non-human and the human in relation to such artistic processes as large-scale drawings on the landscape, a “feral practice” co-composed with ants, foxes and other non-human animals, community gardens, and elaborations of critical plant studies in performance art.

“Soundings”, explores how musical sounds, especially in practices of singing, emerge in relations of mutual influence with particular bodily techniques of sound production, aesthetic predilections, theoretical concerns, and questions of sex and gender. Both expositions of the section concern processes of vocalization related to western ‘classical’ singing and opera.

“Visual-material practices”, gathers together three expositions that address and reconfigure various art practices including curation, sculpture and photography by examining the inseparable entanglements of the visual and the material within them.

Finally, “Collaboratives”, investigates the potentialities of the notion of intra-action in relation to cooperative, intra-active art and knowledge practices across the contexts of creative writing, dance, performance, photography, sculpture, and socially engaged visual art.

Ruukku #9 is a collaborative initiative and effor of the working group New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts, which is part of the project New Materialisms: Networking European Scholarschip on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’, funded as action IS1307 by COST: The European Cooperation in Science and Technology supported by the Horizon 2020 (2014‒2018).