“By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs. […] The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined centres structuring any possibility of historical transformation. 2
Chimera is the first part of a three-part body of work. The exhibition consists of an installation involving video, sound, text and photographs. The starting point of this multi-disciplinary project is an iron-age individual, who was buried in a small lake. The bones of over a hundred women and children have been unearthed from the ancient burial site of Levänluhta bog, located in southern Ostrobothnia. The site and the surrounding landscape is exceptional, as the water turns red in the spring, due to the rich iron content of the soil. The symbolic motives and ritual aspects of this wetland burial place have remained unknown.
The work makes use of both archival and new research material on Levänluhta. Through the motives of skin and touching the artists investigate the act and experience of nearing another being. During the artistic process, the collective followed and documented the forensic reconstruction of one prehistoric individual from Levänluhta. The very need to recreate the face of an ancient human being says a great deal about the contemporary approaches to our shared history. Chimera creates a new skin for the prehistoric individual using poetical methods and approaches. This new skin manifests itself as fragmentary features, and as a disembodied presence in the space. Through recreating this new skin, the artists explore and problematize the vast ethical, philosophical, and aesthetic concepts that relate to the human face and skin. In dialog with various experts in the medical field, the artists explore the impossibility of nearing another being, your loved one or this prehistoric individual. The works are a series of attempts to touch the other; and individual that vanishes even at the merest thought.
Other parts consist of:
The performance Nature Morte reaches out towards the prehistoric individual and contemplates our approaches to death and dying. The work problematizes the invisibility of death in our contemporary culture. Mad House Helsinki 16.3, 17.3, 20.3, 21.3. Tickets www.lippu.fi.
Site-specific sound walk at Levänluhta in Storkyro, Ostrobothnia. The soundwalk will use binaural sound technology that allows the creation of three-dimensional sound and a powerful illusion of touch. Anyone who visits the site can download the soundwalk from the internet and listen to it on their smartphone. In collaboration with Seinäjoki Kunsthalle and Vaasa Kunsthalle.
2 Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149