Reading matters

28 Feb 2024 18:00 — 20:00

2 May 2024 18:00 — 20:00

Location: SOLU

With a new collection of books recently purchased for our library, including recommendations from members, we invite you to come and read them with us.

Reading matters is a regular reading circle that activates the SOLU library and brings people together to discuss matters connected to our projects and wider programme, in turn feeding them too with new information and operating as an incubator for thoughts and exchange. On occasion the reading circle is hosted by guest hosts who will open up their research and offer an opportunity to think-with others. Welcome to SOLU Space to converse, have discourse and interrelate!

During the Reading matters sessions, the SOLU reference library of the Bioart Society is open for those interested. The library is an important resource for us, our members and different publics to access books and materials from our projects, members, partners and the wider field of art and science. The library is a space dedicated to encountering ideas, discourses and practices, and fosters an environment for critical reflection and discussion.

The library is open for visitors from 12:00-18:00 on the Reading matters session days, and by appointment. To arrange a visiting appointment during other times, please contact




Reading matters: Microbial Suicide
2 May 2024

SOLU Space, Panimokatu 1 (3rd floor), Helsinki

In the second iteration of the Reading Matters, artist Bartaku invites you to read and think with Astrid Schrader’s essay Microbial Suicide: Towards a Less Anthropocentric Ontology of Life and Death.

Drawing on empirical research into programmed cell death in marine microbes, this article explores how, in their study of microbial death, scientists change not only our understanding of microbial temporality but also reconstruct the relationship between life and death, biological individuality, and assumptions about a natural teleology associated with bounded biological systems and genetic programmes. Reading this research together with a Derridean deconstruction of the limit between humans and other animals with respect to death, this article explores how the deconstruction of individuality from within biology may suggest alternatives to our anthropocentric notion of time and embodiment.

The text frames the conversation, connecting the complex ethical questions raised in the essay with Bartaku's current work, the Koelleven project.

Bartaku hosted a SOLU Dialogues session back in November at SOLU Space. During the evening, he presented his Koelleven project that explores how to attune to the unique microbiota within cooling towers of nuclear power stations. This Reading Matters session should be considered an independent sequel to Bartaku's SOLU Dialogues session, as it is also open for those who did not join in November.

To receive a copy of the text in advance, please contact by 30th April. The text will also be collectively read aloud at the start of the reading circle.




Reading matters: Aeropolis
28 February 2024

SOLU Space, Panimokatu 1 (3rd floor), Helsinki

For our first Reading matters session we will read a chapter from Nerea Calvillo’s recently published book Aeropolis: Queering Air in Toxicpolluted Worlds. The book 'immerses us in air’s materiality' and the selected section we will read specifically deals with toxicity and pollution (Chapter: Breathing pollution (and toxicity) p. 78-103). More on the book below.

Aeropolis: Queering Air in Toxicpolluted Worlds by Nerea Calvillo

How do we get to know air? Aeropolis: Queering Air in Toxicpolluted Worlds offers a speculative and interdisciplinary framework to reorient common understandings of air and air pollution as matter 'out there'. Aeropolis contests regimes of managing air which ultimately operate toward upholding dominant modes of world-making that are dependent on forms of exclusion and inequity. Instead, Aeropolis proposes that air is thought of as a city, to center its social, cultural, political, ecological entanglements. Drawing upon feminist technoscience and queer ecological frameworks, Aeropolis moves away from solutions toward a methodology of 'designing-thinking-making' that redirects and connects our understandings of air — as designers, as citizens — with ongoing struggles for just futures.

Moving through a series of design interventions, histories of air, and theoretical coordinates, Aeropolis thinks with air across its many forms — through smog and dust, bodies and breath, pollen and weeds, and from urban design to geopolitics, polluted environments to open data, parks to aerial infrastructures. It insists that we acknowledge the diversity of air and its relation to humans, non-humans, and environments, both physically and affectively. That we become sensible to air by following its unruliness — by living, breathing, seeing, holding, touching, queering airs.

Nerea Calvillo is an architect and researcher; an associate professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick; and an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

To receive a copy of the text in advance please contact before the 27th February. The text will also be collectively read aloud at the start of the reading circle.