The BodyBuilding Project (2007–2016)
The BodyBuilding Project was a collective inquiry into the sensibilities, subjectivities and relational modalities we, both as interdependent beings and as a species, might develop in response to the planetary urgencies and changes we currently face. It encouraged us to reimagine the propensities currently identified as “human,” and to begin building bodies capable of prefiguring life beyond the collapsing horizons.
The project was originally initiated in 2007, in the context of a collaborative artist residency at Watermill Center, New York. Later on, it developed into an interdisciplinary and international research platform activated periodically by an mutating body of artists, theorists and practitioners.
The collective research process focused on the investigation of the complex interrelations between human and nonhuman entities, as well as the development of embodied, experiential and relational practices that molded human perception and experience by shifting the ways in which we relate and respond to other life forms.
The practices were transmitted and shared with others in the context of public events. The form, composition and content of each event emerged in response to the specific material, geological, biological, social and political conditions the event was situated in, which made the events both highly context-specific and unrepeatable.
Between 2007 and 2017, the project organized events in Watermill Center and Chez Bushwick (NY, United States), Baltic Circle, Theatre Academy, HIAP Gallery Augusta, Mad House Helsinki and Kiasma Theatre (Helsinki, Finland) and Skills of Economy – Mattering City, an exhibition shown in Gallery 68 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
Working group I (2007-2009): Daria Faïn, Christina Guerrero-Harmon, Scott Elliott, Saara Hannula, Robert Kocik, Elisa Laurila, Riikka Notkola, Alan Prohm
Working group II (2014-2016): Anniina Ala-Ruona, Outi Condit, Saara Hannula, Ilpo Heikkinen, Robert Kocik, Satu Palokangas, Alan Prohm, Tommi Vasko, Carmen C. Wong
Visual Material: Saara Hannula and Tommi Vasko
Documentation: Tani Simberg, Christopher Hewitt, Salla Lahtinen and working group
Production: HIAP, Baltic Circle, Kiasma Theatre
Funding: Kone Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland
The basics of the approach developed in 2007 were laid down in two essays self-published under the title “Enactivism: on Urgent Art for Social Climate Change” and in The BodyBuilding Project, the original research report of the project.