Mirja Busch is an interdisciplinary artist and artistic researcher based in Berlin, Germany. She studied Fine Arts at the Braunschweig University of Art (until 2006) and participated in the postgraduate magister program for art theory and art practice at the Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile (2008−2009). A research residency at the Special Collection of the former Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013) led to a longstanding engagement with Land and Environmental Art movement, centered around the question of how ‚authentic‘ experiences are created and mediated through documents.
Her artistic practice focuses on the materialization of the immaterial and the capturing of background phenomena, such as distilling theory or archiving puddles. She is a founding member of the artist collective Pathetic Sympathy Seekers and co-director of the Alps Art Academy, Switzerland.
Mirja has been studying the ontology of puddles for over a decade. She has developed a deep understanding of the complex relationships between puddles and the environments in which they exist. Her artistic research and practice explore modes of co-existing in NatureCulture assemblages, experimenting with methods of relating to ecology and ecological conditions through multispecies, feminist, and speculative sensibilities. She also examines how to imagine planetary care.
Mirja approaches puddles as highly site-specific and embedded in their surroundings, rather than simply random accumulations of water. As such they are storied ecologies that articulate planetary processes and personal experiences and are indicators of an intact water cycle. Mirja’s research seeks to contribute to discourses around art and the planetary crisis by bringing attention to this overlooked phenomenon.
Throughout her research, Mirja has developed various modes of archiving and relating to puddles. She maintains an ongoing photographic archive of puddles from around the world, collects puddle water samples, and has developed a puddle forensics method to investigate dry puddles. Based on early methods of cloud determination in pre-modern meteorology, she has invented a scientific language to describe and classify puddles in a differentiated way. Additionally, Mirja offers puddle watching tours, taking people to visit and experience puddles as a way of responding to the lack of attention they receive, in dialogue with ethnographic methods and bird watching. Currently, she is collaborating with ecohydrologists in Berlin to explore the role of puddles in urban ecologies.
In sum, Mirja aims to open up new perspectives on cities, landscapes, and the climate crisis. She is interested in exploring the interaction of soil and weather and how human urban practices, site specificity, ecological, and economic conditions can be made visible and experienced through the medium of the puddle.
Her work has been exhibited at/in collaboration with Umweltbundesamt (Federal Office for the Environment, 2022), at Kaunas 2022-European Culture Capital (2022), at the Akademie der Künste der Welt, Cologne (2019), OVERGADEN. Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen (2018), and Art Safiental- biennial for Land and Environmental Art, among others. Her work has been funded by the Stiftung Kunstfonds (2023, 2022, 2020, 2015), the Berlin Senate (2016), Hans and Charlotte Krull Stiftung (2014), Goldrausch Programm Berlin (2011) and DAAD (2008), among others.