Frontiers in Retreat


Frontiers in Retreat & Zooetics: Non-human, Non-animal

Seminar at Museum of Nonhumanity on September 24th

Rock, water, mushroom. How far can we go in our definitions of ‘life’, and where might its extension take us? Human relationships with other species, other life, have already changed and evolved towards greater empathy and the notion of rights and legal standing. What might a next evolution of relationships amongst all life forms look like? The non-human, the non-animal; how can we get beyond binaries and taxonomies? How might notions of the discrete, which are so deeply ingrained in our assumptions and language, shift towards better understandings of symbiosis, mutualism, and interdependence?

In the HIAP-led five year art research project, Frontiers in Retreat, these questions are being raised in artists’ projects including recent works by Urbonas Studio, Tracey Warr, Mirko Nikolic, Richard Skelton and Terike Haapoja. In the seminar, Tracey Warr and Dionizas Bajarunas will present the mycelium Zooetic Pavilion by Urbonas Studio, which was inspired by J.G. Ballard’s fictional living plant technologies. Tracey Warr will talk about her water exoplanet fiction, Meanda, where water is one of the main protagonists. Mirko Nikolic will discuss his project Lives of Metals: ‘Copperlove’. Richard Skelton’s short film ‘In Pursuit of the Eleventh Measure’ (2016), will be screened. 

The programme is co-curated by Jenni Nurmenniemi (HIAP; Frontiers in Retreat) and Tracey Warr (artist and writer, Frontiers in Retreat; Zooetics). The event will be moderated by artist, Professor Kira O’Reilly (Master’s Programme in Ecology and Contemporary Performance at Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki).

Programme 13:00–16:15

13–13:15 Introduction
Tracey Warr: Frontiers in Retreat & Zooetics
Kira O’Reilly, moderator: session programme
13:15 Mirko Nikolic: Lives of Metals: ‘Copperlove’ (2014–)
14:00-14:30 Coffee Break
14:30–14:45 Richard Skelton: ‘In Pursuit of the Eleventh Measure’ (video, 7 min) with an introduction by Tracey Warr
14:45-15:30 Dionizas Bajarunas & Tracey Warr: Mycelium Zooetics Pavilion
15:30-16:15 Tracey Warr: ‘Meanda’


Museum of Nonhumanity

Suvilahti, Buidling 5

Kaasutehtaankatu 1



Museum of Nonhumanity: Weekend Seminars

Museum of Nonhumanity will host a series of weekend seminars, where invited Finnish and International practitioners discuss and develop possibilities for an inclusive society. The seminars are free of charge and will take place at the café of the museum.


SATURDAY 10.9. 12–16PM
Re-imagining the Future Through the Past

(In English)
Seminar curated by: journalist Maryan Abdulkarim
Discussion: Suvi West, Pauliina Feodoroff and David Muoz
Moderator: Maryan Abdulkarim

The known history of human kind is one of oppressions and
transgressions against all living things. What is it to build a future through a past? What terms do we use to describe the systematic destruction and oppression which we fight? For whom are words
significant and how do we bring about a vision for a future that is rooted in the past relationships with all living things?

SUNDAY 11.9. 12–16PM
Over the Borders! Gender and human rights
– towards freely flowing gender identities?

(In Finnish)
Seminar curated by: Pia Puu Oksanen, director of human rights issues, Amnesty Finland
The seminar is supported by Amnesty International – Finnish Section
Discussion: Pia Puu Oksanen / Amnesty, Juha Kilpiä, Maru Hietala, Aro Mielonen / Transforces

At the seminar we will hear statements; we will have open discussions; and we will enjoy the performative elements that the collaborators and participants create in the space. What would our reality look like if gender diversity and gender fluidity guided our understanding of gender and human rights? During these four hours we will ponder, empathize, and give room for this positive utopia.

SATURDAY 17.9. 14–16PM
Empathy, sociability and morality

(In Finnish
Seminar is curated by:
Elisa Aaltola – philosopher, and Sami Keto – activist / researcher

Empathy is a term which is rapidly becoming popular, but which still is seldom defined. The seminar explores the meaning of empathy and its different varieties. It will also map out empathy's function in the history of human species, various problems related to empathy, and empathy's role in the development of morality and sociability. The seminar will also offer different methods for increasing empathy skills.

SUNDAY 18.9. 12–17PM
Rights for the Majority! – How to make our society recognize animal rights
(In Finnish and English)
Seminar by Animalia / Salla Tuomivaara and Mai Kivelä
The seminar is supported by Animalia non-profit association.
Speakers: Jeff Mannes, Visa Kurki, Liisa Kaski, James Nikander
Moderator: Mai Kivelä

The human being is only one species amongst the animals, but we have excluded all the others from having any fundamental rights. Nonhumanity has meant inhuman behavior towards animals. However, the profound and clear distinction between humans and other animals is being challenged. Already some countries, such as U.S. and India, have declared certain rights for some of the other species. Is it possible in a human society to recognize animal rights? If so, how can we move towards such society?

Frontiers in Retreat & Zooetics: Non-human, non-animal
(In English)

Seminar curated by: Tracey Warr and Jenni Nurmenniemi
Speakers: Tracey Warr, Dionizas Bajarunas, Mirko Nikolic, Saara Hannula
Moderator: Kira O'Reilly
Other program: Richard Skelton's short film – In Pursuit of the Eleventh Measure

Rock, water, mushroom. How far can we go in our definitions of ‘life’, and where might its extension take us? Human relationships with other species, other life, have already changed and evolved towards greater empathy and the notion of rights and legal standing. What might a next evolution of relationships amongst all life forms look like? The non-human, the non-animal; how can we get beyond binaries and taxonomies? How might notions of the discrete, which are so deeply ingrained in our assumptions and language, shift towards better understandings of symbiosis, mutualism, and interdependence?

SUNDAY 25.9. 12–16PM 
Decentering History – Artistic Interventions
(In English)
Seminar by History of Others / Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja
Speakers: Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Minna Henriksson, Laura Gustafsson & Terike Haapoja

The seminar discusses artistic practices and projects that, by re-writing history, aim at mapping the blind spots of our culture. The common thread to all these approaches is the critique of western modernism, and the ways in which institutions of knowledge have normalized and justified discriminative practices. The series of seminars in the Museum of Nonhumanity will conclude with a panel discussion in which we will ask what does it take to decolonize a museum display, and how to include one's own position in the critique.


Museum of Nonhumanity
Suvilahti, Buidling 5
Kaasutehtaankatu 1


HIAP 2015 Publication Launch

The second annual publication of HIAP - Helsinki International Artist Programme will be launched on Thursday September 15th at HIAP Project Space. The publication features a special Frontiers section.

The publication features FiR artists Sylvia Grace Borda, Carl Giffney, mirko nikolic and Tracey Warr, who also contributed a text about 'Zooetics'. Frontiers Curator Jenni Nurmenniemi reflects in her texts the unfolding of the project so far as well as the'Excavations' exhibition that took place at HIAP Gallery Augusta, 'Deep Time Séance' at Residency Unlimited, New York & Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki as well as 'Adaptations Utö' incubator in Turku Archipelago, Finland. 

You are warmly welcomed to the publication launch on Thursday 15th of September, at 4-7pm! On the same day HIAP hosts an 'Open Studios' event at HIAP Suomenlinna Studios and Project space. 


HIAP - Helsinki International Artist Programme


Frontiers artist Tuula Närhinen's Public Examination of Doctoral Thesis in Fine Arts

September 24th, 2016

VISUAL SCIENCE AND NATURAL ART: A study on the pictorial agency of natural phenomena

Tuula Närhinen’s doctoral research is built around an artistic practice that explores tracings and (photo)graphic recordings created by waves, rain and seawater. Re-adapting instruments derived from natural science, she constructs visual interfaces that enable us to move beyond the explicit and to grasp the unfurling of a world invisible to the naked eye.

Public Examination of Doctoral Thesis in Fine Arts
24.9.2016 at 13.00 in SES auditorium Kino K-13, Kanavakatu 12, 00160 Helsinki.
Examiner: professor Yrjö Haila, Chairman: professor Mika Elo



Frame Espresso discussion and book launch: Altern Ecologies

On September 9th at 5-7pm, Frame Contemporary Art Finland organises a discussion and book launch of 'Altern Ecologies' at the Museum of Nonhumanity, Tiivistämö, Helsinki. Frontiers artists Hanna Husberg and Tuula Närhinen have contributions in the book, and Terike Haapoja and Mari Keski-Korsu will participate in the panel discussion chaired by curator Jenni Nurmenniemi. The Altern Ecologies publication is co-edited by Terike Haapoja and Taru Elfving, Programme Drector of FRAME and one of the initiators of the Frontiers in Retreat project.

The first publication of Framed Conversations series, Altern Ecologies. Emergent Perspectives on the Ecological Threshold at the 55th Venice Biennale, edited by Taru Elfving and Terike Haapoja, will be launched with a discussion on Thursday 8 September 5–7pm at Suvilahden Tiivistämö (Kaasutehtaankatu 1, Helsinki). 

In the Frame Espresso discussion Terike Haapoja will be accompanied by curator Jenni Nurmenniemi (HIAP), artist Mari Keski-Korsu (Pixelache), director Erich Berger (The Finnish Bioart Society) and Paavo Järvensivu (Mustarinda). The discussion will be held in English. The new anthology sets out to map an alternative ecology of art practice and research that can be traced in the cacophonic maze that is the Venice Biennale. The state of emergency caused by the current environmental crises has drawn forth the necessity to re-evaluate the centres of gravity in our world, including the means and ends of the arts. It has become evident that the practices within contemporary art are also complicit in the current unsustainable order of things even while critically addressing it.

The Frame Espresso discussion and book launch responds to this call for a thorough rethinking, from the methods and modes of perception to the apparatuses and organizational structures of production. The discussion invites together artistic and curatorial practices arising from and invested in addressing the ecological threshold through their work in Finland. Altern Ecologies presents a number of approaches that artists are currently employing on the task of radical unraveling and complex reimagining of subjectivity and otherness, relationality and representation, codependence and communication in response to the ecological urgencies.

Growing out of the conversations following the symposium A Counter Order of Things, organised in connection to the exhibition Falling Trees in the Nordic and Finnish Pavilions in 2013, the anthology includes a selection of presentations from the symposium. A number of national pavilions from the 2013 edition of the Biennale were also invited to present their exhibitions alongside these commissioned articles.

Altern Ecologies includes contributions by Ursula Bieman, T. J. Demos, Catherine de Zegher, Taru Elfving, Anselm Franke, Simryn Gill, Terike Haapoja, Hanna Husberg, Alfredo Jaar, Harri Laakso, Antti Laitinen, Laura McLean, Tuula Närhinen, Khaled Ramadan, Henk Slager, Syrago Tsiara, and Stefanos Tsivopoulos.

The audience is invited to visit the Museum of Nonhumanity exhibition after the discussion. It is a temporary museum presenting the history of the distinction between humans and other animals. Museum of Nonhumanity is a part of History of Others, a long term project by visual artist Terike Haapoja and author Laura Gustafsson.



Frontiers artist Sylvia Grace Borda is profiling her Farm Tableaux at the UN International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress


Frontiers artist Sylvia Grace Borda is profiling her Farm Tableaux work developed as part of her HIAP residency at the UN International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress forum "Planet at the Crossroads" this September. The IUCN forum will be host to some of the world's most innovative strategic and global thinkers to discuss how to address the critical challenges and opportunities of our time, including the imperative to scale up action on biodiversity and sustainable development goals.

Sylvia’s presentation in particular will illustrate how the arts can be a catalyst for both innovation in contemporary image making and in social policy.  Sylvia is fortunate to be the only invited artist to present solely on the role of the visual arts in activating conservation action and awareness. Through her participation in IUCN, Sylvia will share outcomes of her dialogues with the Frontiers network on how international and global organisations to grass roots agencies are tackling global environmental and developmental challenges.

Read more about Sylvia’s work and the IUCN World Forum at the following sites


Carl Giffney: I really don't feel them

3 days event at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin

I really don't feel them is a 3 day event at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. Its central work is a feature length documentary movie by the same name, shot in The Netherlands, Scotland and Finland, produced by Carl Giffney. 

The movie will be screened on the big screen once each evening at a seated viewing starting at 18.00hr. 

I really don't feel them and its related projects were made across five residencies within Frontiers In Retreat (2013 - 2018).


Artists in Residence: Janne Nabb & Maria Teeri Sept 1 – Oct 13 2016 at European center for culture and debate GRAD, Belgrade, Serbia

Cultural center Grad continues with activities regarding international artist exchange in project Frontiers in Retreat. During September and October in Belgrade and Sirogojno we will host two artist from Finland Janne Nabb & Maria Teeri.


Janne Nabb's (b. 1984) and Maria Teeri's (b. 1985) joint practice is based on observations of encounter, interaction and fusion between artists and other things, which often happen to be commodities. Nabb's and Teeri's works and projects, many of which are temporary, examine in particular the levels of artistic labour in the relationship with everyday society. The physical matter they work with is often the material surplus or in-situ material traces left by human or non-human activity. Discovering, scavenging, collecting and rediscovering, focality, experiments with objects, 'object ringing' and the observation of circulation and swarming of objects form the vicious circle of Nabb's and Teeri's current practice. Diverse modes of representation and documentation have a central role in their work. Nabb and Teeri are graduates of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki (MFA, 2011) and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, School of Fine Art Kankaanpää (BFA, 2009). They have been working together since late 2008. Nabb and Teeri were selected as the Young Artists of the Year 2014 by Tampere Art Museum, FI. Recent duo exhibitions include Mesh at EMMA Museum of Modern Art, FI, Tuntemattomien juhlien jäänteet at Tampere Art Museum (2014), FI, Thingness at Pori Art Museum Gallery Poriginal, FI (2013), Indications of Spring at Galerie Anhava, Helsinki (2012), Schwarzwald wird immer bunter at T66 Kulturwerk, Freiburg, DE (2012) and a place for everything and everything in its place at Helsinki Art Museum Gallery Kluuvi (2011).


Museum of Nonhumanity Opens in September

A new temporary museum is to open in Helsinki in September 2016. The Museum of Nonhumanity will present 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. 

Throughout history, declaring a group to be nonhuman or subhuman has been an effective tool for justifying slavery, oppression and genocide. Conversely, differentiating humans from other species has paved the way for the abuse of natural resources and other animals.

The museum of Nonhumanity will host an extensive lecture program in which civil-rights and animal-rights organizations, academics, artists, and activists will propose paths to a more inclusive society. The Museum of Nonhumanity stands as a monument to the call to make dehumanization history and to the start of a new, more inclusive era.

The Museum of Nonhumanity was launched by History of Others, a collaboration between the writer Laura Gustafsson and the visual artist Terike Haapoja. The first part of the History of Others project, The Museum of the History of Cattle (2013), was awarded the Kiila prize in Finland and is now touring internationally. The second work in the project, a courtroom performance called The Trial, had its premiere at the Baltic Circle Festival in 2014.

Opening: Suvilahti, Tiivistämö September 1, 2016. Open September 2–29, 2016.

Museum of Nonhumanity is co-produced by the project Frontiers in Retreat.



Mustarinda Incubator: Post-Fossil Experimentality

Mustarinda Incubator will take place in Hyrynsalmi, Finland, August 11–16, 2016

During its first years, Frontiers in Retreat has brought together artists and residencies as a Europe-wide network. Skills and knowledge on ecological issues and contemporary artistic work have been generated and circulated. Yet, on a practical and experiential level, there is still work to be done: How to organize the network and its nodes in ways that provide meaningful and inspiring responses to the global ecological crisis? What is the relationship between artistic work and ecological practices in a post-fossil fuel era, which is defined by an increasing realization of how our lives (and work) are conditioned by fossil fuels and attempts to reach beyond their massive use? The Mustarinda Incubator invited artists and residency organizers to discuss and experiment with post-fossil fuel ways of being, drawing on the remote location next to one of the rare still remaining old-growth forests south of Lapland in Finland.