In May, Tuomas A. Laitinen’s solo exhibition, A Porous Share, which consists of glass sculptures and landscapes made inside light boxes, will fill Helsinki Contemporary. The exhibition will also include a new version of his Liminal Toxicity Cluster installation, which investigates the layers of the market economy, and which Laitinen showed at the prestigious ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program) Open Studios event in New York in November 2016.
A key theme that emerges from Laitinen’s working process is the circulation of energy and matter, along with the role played in this by humankind. Under scrutiny in the installation now on display are questions related to biopolitics and ecology. One of the work’s starting points is the infamous Monsanto Company seminar memo from 1969. As Laitinen says: “The text interestingly sheds light on the historical picture of how the discussion of ecology and human impact on the ecosystem has developed, and how big corporations have shaped this communication. This also involves a control that is woven into the very structures, and which affects any bodies that move around in the world.”
In his latest works Laitinen uses an artificial intelligence engine created with the aid of a customized neural network. The neural network has taken the texts and words fed into it and generated comments and answers to the questions posed in the work, and to statements borrowed from the seminar memo. The same neural network was also used in the Receptor installation shown in the ARS17 exhibition at Kiasma. As its learning material the artificial intelligence engine has been fed with about 30 of Samuel Beckett’s works, and conducts its discussions employing an algorithm that has studied the style of romantic literature.
Together with the exhibition’s other works the installation investigates adaptation to the future via the interplay between human and technology. In all their stillness the mask-like glass sculptures in the Sensory Adaptation Devices series speak the same language, and link into a discussion about ecological changes and adapting to them.
The light boxes in the exhibition contain traces of chemical processes. They are layered with events that refer, for example, to the practices of distributing environmental data and to archaeological presentation. The work contains absurd documents and graphs that have also come to be affected by chemical events. This landscape is like an imaginary archaeological stage on which fact and fiction are chaotically mixed.
The glass sculptures in the exhibition are manufactured in Riihimäki by Lasismi.
Tuomas A. Laitinen (b. 1976, Riihimäki) uses the moving image, 3D animation, light and sound in his working process. He has participated in numerous exhibitions and festivals abroad, including: Bucharest Biennale 7, 2016; SADE LA Gallery, Los Angeles 2015; Moving Image New York 2016; Mildura Palimpsest Biennale, Australia, 2015; 5th Cairo Video Festival, 2013; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, 2008; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, 2006. In 2014, Laitinen received the Fine Arts Academy of Finland Prize, which included a solo exhibition at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, 2014–15. Laitinen is part of a major joint project, Mobile Home 2017. This is being run by Finnish cultural institutes, and will show an installation by Laitinen and the German architects’ collective Raumlaborberlin that explores the meaning of home at the Finnish Institute in Germany in Berlin until 7 July. The installation will be presented in Helsinki in August-September 2017. Laitinen has made a work as a co-production between the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK) and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma for Kiasma’s ARS17 exhibition. This will be on display until 14 Jan 2018.