Bartaku research evolves around the relations between light, energy and living matter. The enquiry itself is often to be seen as the art work itself. Consequently, distinguishing between audiences and collaborators becomes a mere useless exercise.
Since March 2016 the work develops in the context of practice based Doctoral studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University in Finland. A key feature of this University is to develop transdisciplinary practice, which is at the heart of Bartaku working method.
One vibrant artscience research strand investigates the transformation of light into electrical energy using plants and microbial colorants. The idea is to create a solar panel interpretation of an iconic painting by a human art Master like JMW Turner. The research is carried out in collaboration with various scientists and supported by internal Aalto University SEED funding.
Often, the process is the most important output. In the above case two mixed media installations have been presented in 2018: Troping Turner and Leaky Light Paper Protocol, Rhytm Protocol (4×3)+(1×4), Baroa belaobara from Aizpute Bacterial Root Symbionts protocol (accidental documentation).
The dyes of plants have been key agency in the research on light, electrical energy and living matter. The Undisclosed Poiesis of the PhotoElectric Effect (PhoEF) is the umbrella name of artistic research that started in 2007, and seems to be never-ending, although the term is not used as such anymore for some years. The most acclaimed work here is temporary Photoelectric Digestopians Lab Series (tPED), featuring digestible solar cells with plants as light-to-electric agency, as a means to question the relation of the human species with energy.
Since 2009 the main ingredient of the tPEDs is the berryapple Aronia melanocarpa to be renamed as Baroa belaobare. The epicenter of inspiration is the “1 Ha Aronia Power Plantation (1HAMP)” a former Kolkhoz at the edge of Latvian town of Aizpute. Bartaku visits annually this site, during which new work, collaborations and speculations merely happen. The Phd research features this interspecies plant-human entanglement.
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