Ars Bioarctica

Field work at Kilpisjarvi Biological Research Station with Ian Ingram, Antti Tenetz and Theun Karelse

Ars Bioarctica is a long term art&science initiative with a focus on the Arctic environment which was started in autumn 2008 in Kilpisjärvi, Finland. The executive partners of Ars Bioarctica are the Finnish Bioart Society and the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station / Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences/ University of Helsinki. Ars Bioarctica fosters concrete joint projects between artists and scientists to develop new kind of scientific and artistic thinking and through this participate and contribute to the discussion on the relation of humankind and nature.

Within Machine Wilderness there is a programme of fieldwork sessions called FieldRobotics and Ars Bioarctica forms the context for a session with a smaller, more specialized team. We’ve looked for teammembers that bring compatible skills, aimed at more advanced in-situ prototyping of technological systems that relate intimately to their surroundings in material and behavior. It consists of a 10 day period. The first 3 days would be to establish ourselves and get acquainted with the terrain, species distribution and find some potential locations for our experiments. During the rest of the time we implement them with feedback, advise, support from the other team members. The process is open to any level of collaboration and we have spoken about integrating the experiments together, but we start with the experiments and see how things unfold in-situ.

Results will be shown during the Digital Design weekend in the Victoria and Albert museum in London in September.


Antti Tenetz: has intimate knowledge of the area, and would work on adapting a drone to see the trails of lemmings like a bird-of-prey

Ian Ingram: focuses on machine / animal interaction in this case specifically birds from the Crow family.

Theun Karelse: mapping robotic biomes, developing Machine Wilderness design methodologies + documentation, dissemination and general assistance


Kilpisjarvi is specifically suitable for this second expedition because of:
– the visibility of long time-frames in the landscape

– the relatively slow ‘metabolism’ of the ecosystem that makes it less complicated to see causal networks

– the presence of already existing long-term research into these ecosystems