The concept of the Art Ii Biennial 2018 is built around the concept of water: water as the fundamental element in all forms of life, a cultural interface, a transformable material, a natural storage medium.

Water (H2O) forms the world’s rain, streams, lakes and oceans. It is vital for all living organisms and is the major constituent of their fluids. The fact that the human body itself consists of 70% water (and the percentage is even higher with newborns, up to 85%) alone demonstrates how crucial water is to our life.

Throughout history, civilisations have flourished around rivers, seas and other major waterways. In Ii, a town built on the banks of the River Iijoki  that runs into the North Sea, water has been an essential element as well.

An especially interesting aspect about water is that it exists in three states:  solid material, liquid or gas.. Water keeps changing its form and yet it stays present in different environmental circumstances. Snow and ice, the sea, the rivers, evaporation and the constancy of the annual changes of water play an important role in the forming of the Northern landscape that, in its turn, influences the everyday lives and world views of the people who inhabit those territories. Water can also be seen as a flexible, metamorphosing border and a cultural interface. Water used to separate the lands of different tribes in the same way it separates many countries today.

Yet, water unites territories as much as it divides them by offering a channel for transportation and exchange. In many ways water functions as a communication and resource network and natural storage medium that shapes and reshapes the landscape.

Water is not only the mother but also the matrix of life. Life on earth existed primarily in water for 3.8 billion years, and it was only 5.4 million years ago that lifeforms moved to the terrestrial milieu. Water is one of the constituent parts of life and without water, life cannot sustain itself. Water is a universal solvent that dissolves more substances than any other liquid. It lubricates cells, transports materials and molecules, carries nutrients, cleanses waste and facilitates chemical reactions. Still surfaces and raging torrents, underwater realms,splinters of ice and clouds of fog – whether we approach water with excitement or fear, it always fascinates us.

Why is water so important in today’s world? How does it reflect changes that are taking place on a global scale? How do environmental and biological art adapt to their transforming surroundings and interact with them? These are some of the questions that the Art Ii Biennial 2018: States of Matter addresses.