Erich Berger_Kovela

Erich Berger starts his residency remotely

2019 Accelerate Finland Winner

14 Feb 2021

Erich Berger is a Helsinki-based artist and curator. His focus is on the intersection of art, science and technology with a critical take on how they transform society and the world at large. As the winner of the 2019 Accelerate Finland Residency Award, he starts the first phase of his residency with a series of remote dialogues with CERN scientists. 

Berger investigates how radioactive processes produce landscape

Berger's current interest in deep time and hybrid ecology issues led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena, and their socio-political implications in the here and now. He moves between visual arts and science in an area he also investigates and develops as director of the Bioart Society in Helsinki.


In his research proposal, Spectral Landscapes, Berger investigates how radioactive processes produce landscape. This project's first work - 'Kovela-REE, gamma radiation intensity mapping' has been exhibited in the exhibition Splitting the Atom at Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius, Lithuania. 


About his residency, Berger says: "During these weeks, I'm going to be introduced to the experiments and the research of the Lab. Gaining insight into physics' current research will be an excellent way to explore some specific areas.  This experience will prepare me to further research during my residency at CERN later in the year.


My interest in geology and deep time has led me to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena, and socio-political implications. My work is driven by a keen interest in the nuclear, its materiality and the different spatial and temporal scales in which it manifests. In my current research Spectral Landscapes, I am charting the gamma radiation fields of natural uranium and thorium mineralisations. I am interested in how those fields form part of the landscape, although they are invisible to the human eye.


Instead of creating translations or metaphors in my work, I aim at stagging attempts where phenomena or processes can articulate themselves on their own terms. As I work with particle detectors and nuclear processes in my artistic research, I hope to learn more about particles and their interactions with matter through my dialogues with physicists working with and developing detector technologies. Mainly, I am interested in interacting with researchers working in The Isotope mass Separator On-Line facility (ISOLDE). This facility fulfils the old alchemical dream of changing one element into another."


Accelerate Finland, organised in partnership with the curatorial platform Capsula, is a country-focused programme set up to foster exchanges between the arts and sciences in different countries.