The Research Pavilion, hosted by the University of the Arts Helsinki, is organized for the third time in 2019 in the context of the Venice Biennale. Six research cells have been selected to be presented in the pavilion as well as in The Research Catalogue. The digital Research Catalogue provides a platform for presenting research through text, sound, still and moving image. In the Voices of the very first RUUKKU in 2013 Teemu Mäki noted that the expositions still lack smell and haptics. A slight problem due to the yet undeveloped digital form stated Mäki. He proposed the expositions to take form as multimodal essays in the future. In the same issue Esa Kirkkopelto wrote that artistic research may be reported like scientific research but that unlike other fields of research, artistic research is particularly dependent on its form of presentation. Thus research expositions can be one form of the research process itself welcoming the recipients experience as a part of the studied phenomena. Could there be a way to develop the present form of the exposition to include multimodal essays?
Just think if we could dwell in the research projects that challenge our thinking through not only vision and hearing but also smell, and haptics. Surely there are consistent attempts towards the utopia of the multimodal essay to take its form. As creatures of the digital era we expect the greatest discoveries to happen in the digital realm. While waiting for digital innovations truly avantgarde solutions may come out of the box elsewhere. There is a concept that allows multimodality in presentation, recipient experience, collaboration, sense of place and time as well as room for happenstance. This concept is called presence.
The first two Research Pavilions in 2015 and 2017 presented research in a form of exhibitions and various events. Research Pavilion #3 is built on the presence of the participating research cells. Evolving processes will happen during the high season in Venice. The Pavilion will be a meeting place and a catalyst of emerging co-operations in the area of artistic research. It will enable artist-researchers to engage with ongoing processes and audiences. The idea is to drop institutional facades and invite each other into awaited and unexpected co-actions. Engagement and immersion require presence. A central role of the Research Pavilion is to provide time and physical and mental space that enable researchers to get immersed in the well-planned processes but also to gear towards new encounters, ideas and adventures.
As co-ordinator and artist-researcher of one of the Research projects Traces from the Anthropocene. Working with Soil I will take part in the becoming of the pavilion. The project focuses on the anthropocenic contaminants in the Venice Lagoon and will be implemented in collaboration with the Finnish Environment Institute's contaminated land experts. It will also involve local stake holders and audiences. Collaborations with the other cells are cooking and surely new ones will emerge in the real time and place of the pavilion. There is truly potential for multimodal essays to happen!