The sea is a place of uncertainty. It is never still, always sighing even on the calmest of still summer nights. The Baltic is the second largest inland sea in the world, composed mainly of brackish water, a mix of saline inflow from the Atlantic together with fresh water run-off from its huge catchment area, which is four times the size of the sea itself. Today, the Baltic is one of the most polluted seas in the world. The continual flow of commercial shipping bringing raw materials, food and retail goods to ports around it leaves trails of pollution in its wake. The run-off of agricultural fertilizers, particularly nitrogen and phosphates, via rivers on the coast, have led to eutrophication and the growth of massive algae blooms that are a feature of both the coastlines and open sea regions. Many factors, local and global alike, affect the continuing ecological catastrophe facing the Baltic.
Imagining Godzilla is an experimental and mobile art-science research and network platform set up to investigate these environmental challenges. Its goal is to help draw attention to this situation by inviting artists and other researchers to experience the sea first hand, and to reflect on that experience through their work. The artworks connect to the sea, the wind, the waves, the wildlife, technology and society. The network platform is focused on the sailing catamaran Godzilla, with the Bioart Society in Helsinki as co-developer. The aim in coming years is to expand the network around the Baltic to include other partner organizations, such as artistic residencies and scientific research centers.
Andy Best is an artist with an international career encompassing sculpture, performance, media, net, and bio-art. He is an experienced curator, producer and educator, and is currently lecturer in sculpture within Transdisciplinary Arts Studies in the Department of Art, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Media at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Andy’s long-term collaborator is Merja Puustinen, his wife. Together, they were amongst the world’s first online artists, and during the 90’s they created beautiful, provocative multiuser 3D worlds on the internet. They developed a web-based 3D multiuser community platform as well as virtual pet and e-learning applications for mobile phones. Now they focus on developing playful, physically engaging installations and public art works. They have founded Espoo Kunsthalle, an initiative to bring critically engaged art to suburban areas, and the Imagining Godzilla artistic residency network platform, which uses artistic methods to investigate the environmental challenges facing the Baltic Sea.