The new publication Altern Ecologies explores contemporary art’s methods to address ecological emergencies

The first publication of Framed Conversations series, Altern Ecologies. Emergent Perspectives on the Ecological Threshold at the 55th Venice Biennale, edited by Taru Elfving and Terike Haapoja, is published on Thursday, 8 September.


The new anthology sets out to map an alternative ecology of art practice and research that can be traced in the cacophonic maze that is the Venice Biennale. The state of emergency caused by the current environmental crises has drawn forth the necessity to re-evaluate the centres of gravity in our world, including the means and ends of the arts. It has become evident that the practices within contemporary art are also complicit in the current unsustainable order of things even while critically addressing it.

The publication responds to this call for a thorough rethinking, from the methods and modes of perception to the apparatuses and organizational structures of production. Altern Ecologies presents a number of approaches that artists are currently employing on the task of radical unraveling and complex reimagining of subjectivity and otherness, relationality and representation, codependence and communication in response to the ecological urgencies.

”Urgent debates on ecology have intensified in the arts since the seeds for this book were planted in Venice 2013. We are proud to be able to shed light on this critical moment of coming together while proposing an alternative mode of navigating the biennale as a platform for emergent thought. The book is aimed as a catalyst for further conversations and lays thus a founding stone for the new publications series by Frame”, says curator Taru Elfving, one of the two editors of the publication.

”It is also necessary to reflect on the roles of institutions such as the biennale, and the ways in which they can support or help dismantle destructive hierarchies”, continues Terike Haapoja.

Growing out of the conversations following the symposium A Counter Order of Things, organised in connection to the exhibition Falling Trees in the Nordic and Finnish Pavilions in 2013, the anthology includes a selection of presentations from the symposium. A number of national pavilions from the 2013 edition of the Biennale were also invited to present their exhibitions alongside these commissioned articles.

Altern Ecologies includes contributions by Ursula Bieman, T. J. Demos, Catherine de Zegher, Taru Elfving, Anselm Franke, Simryn Gill, Terike Haapoja, Hanna Husberg, Alfredo Jaar, Harri Laakso, Antti Laitinen, Laura McLean, Tuula Närhinen, Khaled Ramadan, Henk Slager, Syrago Tsiara, and Stefanos Tsivopoulos.


Altern Ecologies launches Framed Conversations, a series of publications by Frame dedicated to drawing together a multiplicity of practices and research with a critical focus on contemporary art. The anthology is published by Frame Contemporary Art Finland in collaboration with the University of the Arts Helsinki and designed by Studio Emmi.

The publication can be ordered from Frame: info@frame-finland.fi.

It can also be read online at Issuu.