Exhibition: Biocolour – Exploring Sustainable Colour at Rovaniemi 14.10.-5.12.2021

Biocolourant explorations and visions of future’s sustainable colour take over Arktikum building Valo and Katve I & II galleries 14.10.-5.12.2021. We invite you to reimagine our relationship with colour and envision the manifold ways in which bio-colours could become the natural new normal.

Biocolour – Exploring Sustainable Colour 
14.10. – 05.12.2021
Galleries Valo and Katve I&II
Arktikum building,  Pohjoisranta 4, Rovaniemi 
Open Tue-Fri 10-17, Sat-Sun 10-16. Free entrance

Opening seminar 14.10. More information here
Exhibition programme will be updated on this page.  

What are biocolours and biocolourants, and where do they come from? How could using them contribute to a more sustainable coexistence with the planet that sustains us? 

Our use of natural colourants has a long history but after the invention and global rise of synthetic dyes they have been marginalised. So how can we shift from a largely fossil-based monoculture of mass production towards diversity and a more sustainable colour palette? Change needs a new understanding of bio-based, eco-efficient colourant sources and applications. We also need to question our attitudes towards colours and what we expect of them.

How will biocolourant discoveries impact our lives, our behaviours, and the way we think of colour? In this exhibition you can see how people from a wide range of fields, from scientists and designers to artists and manufacturers, are exploring these questions. They connect ancient knowledge with today’s science and imagine future scenarios, acknowledging that the BIO in biocolourant stands for living beings. It reminds us that all our explorations and uses of biocolourants are collaborations with nature and non-human partners.

Biocolour – Exploring Sustainable Colour showcases some of the many organisms linked to biocolours: those that generate colourants, those who help us produce biocolourants with biotechnology, as well as the ones ensuring that they are safe for the environment and ourselves. You can explore bacteria, algae, fungi, animals and plants, as well as the themes of colour & light, colour & performativity, and a Finnish biocolour palette. They offer new perspectives on the world and research into biocolourants. 

Picture: Gero Grundmann

The exhibition Biocolour - Exploring Sustainable Colour is organised by the BioColour research consortium, led by the University of Helsinki and funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, and the Faculty of Art and Design of the University of Lapland. The BioColour project aims to develop novel methods for the large-scale production of biocolourants, along with their characterisation and applications. In addition to gaining a fundamental understanding of biocolourants, it investigates the important aspects of the societal acceptance needed to use biocolourants successfully.  The exhibition is curated by Prof. Julia Lohmann and doctoral candidate Ingvill Fossheim of Aalto University.  

Exhibits include material from the BioColour research consortium, collaborators as well as contributions from the students of the University of Lapland’s course Futures Studio. The course is based on Nordicness and the forecasting of fashion and textile trends. In their assignments, students investigate themes related to biocolour, biobased colourants and dyes, as well as explore colour futures and play with related scenarios.  

The exhibiton includes contributions by: Aman Asif and Valentina Guccini, Ferske Scener, Konrad Klockars and Noora Yau, Monica Louise Hartvigsen, Nour Ainasoja and Henna Lampinen, Open-ended Ry/Jenni-Elina von Bagh, Päivi Fernström, The Sami National Theatre Beaivváš, Tupu Mentu, Väkevä Collective, University of Helsinki Craft science students

Sponsors and collaborators: Aalto Studios, Dmitry Semenov, Kesko, Laurizon, LuontoPortti – NatureGate, Natural Indigo Finland, Nikari

The exhibition is accompanied by several events. The list and details of the event programme are updated on this page. 

Seminar Biocolour – Exploring Sustainable Colour 
Thursday 14.10.2021 at 10.00-15.15 (UTC +3)
Esko and Asko –auditorium (F1011) University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design, Yliopistonkatu 8, F- building, Rovaniemi
Program and more information

20.10. klo 14.00 Virtual tour in the exhibition (in Finnish), Instagram live BioColour-project’s Instagram page
21.10. klo 14:00 Virtual tour in the exhibition (in English), Instagram live BioColour-project’s Instagram page

Pop-up Indigo Dyeing Demonstration in the exhibiton 
Tue 30.12., Wed 1.12. and Sat 4.12. at 12-16.
Welcome to experience dyeing with a finnish woad fructose vat. Pirita Lauri (PhD student, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture) dyes textile samples in the exhibition and invites exhibition visitors follow along the dying process, and possibly participate in it themselves. Participation is free and registration is not required.

The exhibition is part of the Year of research-based knowledge programme. 


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