Artist talk: Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja MUSEUM OF NONHUMANITY

20 October 2018, 15:00–16:30

Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja
Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja

Welcome to a conversation with writer Laura Gustafsson of Gustafsson&Haapoja as part of And Tomorrow And. The artist Terike Haapoja and writer Laura Gustafsson present their video manifesto, Embrace your empathy! within the exhibition. The talk will expand from the manifesto and focus on the long term project that the duo created, called the Museum of Nonhumanity. This temporary museum project presents the history of the distinction between humans and other animals, and the way that this imaginary boundary has been used to oppress human and nonhuman beings.

The exhibitions, stage work and publications of Gustafsson&Haapoja focus on the problems that arise from anthropocentric world view, and seek to open paths for more inclusive notions of society. Gustafsson&Haapoja were awarded with Kiila Prize for socially engaged art in 2013 and Finnish State Media Art Award in 2016.

The first part of the collaboration, the large scale exhibition Museum of the History of Cattle, was first shown in Helsinki in 2013. The accompanying book History According to Cattle (Into Publishing, punctum books and Gustafsson&Haapoja) was published in 2015. The participatory court room performance The Trial, commissioned by Baltic Circle Festival / Eva Neklyaeva, explored the notion of nonhuman legal personhood and rights of nature. As Flow Festival’s Visual Artists of the Year, Gustafsson&Haapoja presented their work Embrace your Empathy! at the festival in 2016. Their third project Museum of Nonhumanity, a touring museum that presents the history of the human-animal boundary and how it’s been used to oppress beings of all kinds, opened in Helsinki in 2016 and has since toured in Momentum Biennale Norway, Santarcangelo Festival Italy and Turner Contemporary UK.

Laura Gustafsson is a Finnish author, scriptwriter, and playwright based in Helsinki. Her debut, a genre-bending fairytale and feminist pamphlet called Huorasatu (2011, “Whorestory”), was nominated for the Finnish Book Foundation’s Finlandia Prize. Anomalia (2013, “Anomaly”), addresses the themes of language, violence, and the imaginary line between man and beast. Korpisoturi (2016, “Wilderness Warrior”), a story about the end of the world as we know it, was a biggest Finnish export prize nominee. Her latest novel Pohja (2017, ”Ground”) is an autofiction/autopsy, it’s been called a brave portrayal of female life. Gustafsson graduated with an MA from the Theatre Academy Helsinki. She has written a number of stage and radio plays. She also gives lectures on art and writing and is actively involved in public debate. Her works have been translated to German, French and Turkish.

Terike Haapoja is a visual artist based in New York. Haapoja’s large scale installation work, writing and political projects investigate the mechanics of othering with a specific focus on issues arising from the anthropocentric world view of western modernism. Her projects include Closed Circuit – Open Duration (2008/2013), last seen at the Venice Biennale, which focused on questions of mortality, co-existence and the relationship between humans and nature; The Party of Others project (2011), which appropriates the form of a political party in order to look at the status of other species and other groups excluded from the law. Haapoja contributes regularly to Finnish and international art publications. She represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 2013 with a solo show in the Nordic Pavilion, and is the recipient of several prizes, including ANTI Prize for Live Art (2016), Dukaatti prize (2008), Säde prize (2009), and Ars Fennica Award nomination (2011).

The artist will be in conversation with Index Curator of Learning, Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris and the Index Teen Advisory Board. Free. All welcome.