Troubled Landscapes

“…maybe, and only with intense commitment and collaborative work and play with other terrans, flourishing for rich multi species assemblages that include people will be possible. I’m calling this the Chthuluscene – past, present and to come.”
Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble, 2016.

The impact of human activity on the natural world serves as the overarching theme for a few on-going projects. However, I have reservations about the concept of the Anthropocene and find the term “Capitolocene” more fitting, a sentiment shared by Haraway. Like her, I envision a strategy where we actively engage with the challenges we face, embracing the idea of “staying with the trouble” and working in collaboration with the more-than-human world. Haraway’s quote has been the catalyst for these projects that I call “Troubled Landscapes.” It aims to re-configure our relationships and encourage collaborative play.

Yet, the concepts of the “other-than-human” or “more-than-human” can be contentious, as humans are an integral part of nature, as anthropologist Tobias Rees highlights. As an artist, my aim is not to define these concepts but rather to let them inspire my practice. They shape the work that emerges from my deep reverence for the natural world, especially animals. I am fascinated by these non-human beings, by their physicality and presence, including leading me to speculate about entirely new species.

One project is made immersed in a Finnish forest setting under the title “Last Breath of Snow.” This body of works reflects on the gradual warming of the climate and introduced species that might handle it somewhat better than endemic ones. Another series, called “Wretched Ground,” is the result of several months of investigations carried out in Saint Louis, Senegal, where the city is alarmingly close to the rising sea level, prompting contemplation of this impending crisis. As Jane Bennett notes in her essay “Odradek,” “to live in the age of the Anthropocene is to live with the thought of extinction”.

Both series explore a tactile form of knowledge, rooted in the body – in the gut, the heart, and the hands. To achieve this, I employ various embodied and haptic methodologies, including analog film and photography, photo collages, voicing, and a self-made wooden instrument. These methods are combined in different ways alongside digital techniques, as we must make use of the tools already available to us. The theme of revisiting and recycling is unfolded throughout my works, emphasizing the importance of reevaluating and reusing what we have.