“But who knows the fate of his bones, or how often he is to be buried? Who hath the oracle of his ashes, or whither they are to be scattered? The relicks of many lie like the ruins of Pompey’s, in all parts of the earth; and when they arrive at your hands these may seem to have wandered far, who, in a direct and meridian travel, have but few miles of known earth between yourself and the pole.“
Urne-Buriall, Sir Thomas Browne
Chimera is a collection of works, consisting of an exhibition, a theater performance, a binaural sound walk and a radio essay. The starting point of this multi-disciplinary project is an iron-age individual, whose grave was 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 Finland. 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.
In the process, we collaborated with forensic scientist Chris Rynn (Dundee University, UK) in order to reconstruct the face of one prehistoric individual from Levänluhta. By turning a prehistoric being into a digital cyborg, we want to investigate the boundaries of the human body in our radically medicalised world. Through examining today’s culture surrounding death, we want to investigate why death is hidden in our everyday lives.
In these works we want to emphasize the ethical and political questions that are manifested when the material of the human body crosses the actual human–nonhuman border. What are you when you are a chimera, a cyborg or a hybrid? What are the responsibilities of humans interfering and creating new species by xenotransplantation? What possibilities arise from these new beings, and what is our common future? In the process we also collaborated with microsurgeon Patrik Lassus from Helsinki University Hospital, who was responsible for the first face transplantation in the Nordic Countries.
Exhibition: Chimera, Sinne Gallery, 2018. Vaasa Kunsthalle, 2018.
Performance: Nature Morte, Madhouse Helsinki, 2018
Radio Essay: Spring, Finnish Public Broadcasting Company
Soundwalk: 62°57’01.0” 22°25’05.6”E, Levanluhta Bog, Ostro-Bothnia, Finland