Espoo Museum of Modern Art

27.08.2022 - 15.01.2023

In Search of the Present

The exhibition explores the complex interactions between art, technology and nature. Its title, In Search of the Present, refers to an eponymous collection of essays (1929) by the Finnish author Olavi Paavolainen that examines the experiences and identities of modern people in a rapidly changing era. EMMA’s In Search of the Present is a series of exhibitions, the first of which took place in 2016.

Technology is sometimes seen as the opposite of nature and artificial intelligence as a threat to humanity. For the artists of this exhibition, however, technology is foremost an opportunity. Some of them collaborate with artificial intelligence to create an entirely new kind of art while others examine the need to develop systems that make artificial intelligence more equal, transparent and accessible.

The artists are interested in a new kind of coexistence between humans and nature that is not based on nature’s useful value. They look for new approaches to the major challenges we face today, such as the loss of biodiversity. Technology is used in the works of the exhibition to visualise things that can help us grasp the diversity of nature. Many of the artists draw our attention not only to artificial intelligence and its potential but also to other intelligences found in nature.

A key motif in many of the works is the impact of a reality permeated with technologies that shapes our identities and our view of humanity. Perhaps with the help of technology, we can achieve something that will help us understand ourselves but also make our relationship with nature more diverse. What kind of art do humans and artificial intelligence create together?

Some of the works in the exhibition belong to the collection of the Saastamoinen Foundation or the EMMA collection. New works have also been created for the exhibition.

Artists in the exhibition: Refik Anadol, Dora Budor, Sougwen Chung, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Stephanie Dinkins, Agnieszka Kurant, Teemu Lehmusruusu, Brandon Lipchik, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Sondra Perry, Jaakko Pietiläinen, Anna Ridler, Raimo Saarinen, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Jenna Sutela and Lu Yang.

The programme of In Search of the Present has been planned and implemented in cooperation with Aalto University, Espoo City Theatre and Helsinki Festival. The exhibition will feature the virtual-reality work Love Simulation EVE: Water Spirits by Eero Tiainen and the EVE work group, which is an independent part of a work that will be shown at the Espoo City Theatre in 2023.

The extensive mobile guide to the exhibition features background information and interview videos.

Some of the works in the exhibition belong to the Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection or the EMMA Collection. New works have also been created for the exhibition.

The exhibition is curated by Arja Miller and Ingrid Orman.
Project management: Milja Liimatainen
Graphic design: Milla Rissanen

A warm thank-you to the exhibition’s partners: Saastamoinen Foundation, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Embassy of Denmark in Finland, The Embassy of Canada to Finland.

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