A flashback to spring 1995 in Berlin – the first UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has assembled, the topics mainly include procedural guidelines for the brand new panel, but the participants are quietly starting to realise that the contributions and responsibilities of different states are not always adequate with regards to the response to climate change. A couple of months later, in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the Soros Centre for Contemporary Arts Estonia opens an exhibition Biotoopia. Biology. Technology. Utopia., curated by Sirje Helme, Eha Komissarov and Ando Keskküla. The foreword to the exhibition catalogue says, ‘It is possible that the humanistic cultural tradition and the new circumstances and life forms of the changing environment are not equal partners within the architecture of the nascent reality’. Those two events and their concerns – the adequacy of contributions and the new circumstances of the changing environment – form the conceptual basis for the international conference Biotoopia, which takes place on 26-28 August 2021 in the Northern European republic of Estonia. Biotoopia is powered by the indoor gardener’s smart helper Click & Grow.
Biotoopia is captivated by the mutual influence and information exchange between living creatures, as well as the manifestations of intellect within natural associations, but it is also concerned about the human beings’ feeble response to protecting biodiversity on the whole planet. During the Anthropocene centuries, humans have interfered with nature’s self-regulation and set developments in motion that may prove fatal to the entire biosphere. Now, in the beginning of the 21st century, we are trying to halt bad scenarios and formulate new kinds of relationships between humans and nature. To give these changes a push, Biotoopia is searching for fresh forms of cooperation between the arts, sciences and biosphere, to prepare the ground for the germination of new thought patterns.
The main international speakers of Biotoopia 2021 are biologist Monica Gagliano, philosopher Timothy Morton, cultural theorist Ewa Domanska, artist Timur Si-Qin, biologist and writer Andreas Weber. In addition to talks and discussion panels, the conference also boasts an art and music programme inspired by the topics of the conference; all participants are also welcome to attend different workshops. Curator of the Biotoopia programme is famous Estonian artist Peeter Laurits.
Biotoopia is a hybrid conference – its physical presence event takes place in the art museum in Viinistu, a coastal village in North Estonia, but the main parts of the programme will also be accessible on our online conference environment Worksup all over the world via internet. The conference will obey all the rules and regulations of the Estonian government for organising public events and will ensure every guest’s safety and wellbeing. Preregistration for the conference can be done on Biotoopia’s home page www.biotoopia.ee, where there is also a limited number of concession tickets available for the early birds.
Main sponsor of the conference is Click & Grow, sponsor is Ecosh Life, partner is Viinistu Art Harbour.
Biotoopia is organised by the NPO Estonian Anthropocene Centre. The project has been created with a 5-year perspective. In addition to the annual conferences, it is aiming to develop a digital network of international scientists and artists to accelerate practical collaboration projects, and together with educational unions create a new cross subject art, ethics and biology course for high school students in Estonia.