Outimaija Hakala: I'm a master of arts and master of philosophy, currently a doctoral researcher in Aalto ARTS in Helsinki, Finland. In my research I'm trying to create artistic practice that tries to find new ways to see our relationships with liminal animals. My work is motivated by questions of how we can communicate together and look for ways to enable the conditions under which non-human animals can express themselves more fully. Art is one way to create places and situations where non-human animals can have the opportunity to express more about themselves as individual subjects. Philosopher Eva Meijer says that non-human animals have their own species-specific languages, dialects and cultural tradition, but when animals of different species form communities, interspecies cultural norms and ways of creating meaning come into being and evolve.
Art is a window of opportunity to think and learn new forms of coexistence. I'm interested in the lives, kindness and value of non-human animals. In research my focus is in artistic research, posthumanism, animal studies and animal ethics. Research is about creating better animal stories in visual arts and writing critical views to posthumanism by speaking of empathy and problems of speciesism in arts. Part of the central tenets of the posthuman theories requires nullification of the ontological distinction between inert matter and living creatures. I'm trying to find connections and ways to work between posthuman artistic thinking and critical animal studies.
Ethical questions of animals are hard to share and think about all the time. That's why I would like to take a rest from that and focus more on the human mind in posthuman. Still it is possible that my own interests in research affects my thinking and ideas and might block my trying to do something else. In my art I also study the meanings of materiality and the materiality of meanings. Through my artworks, I elucidate various materials interactions through ecological and ethical thinking. I'm a sculptor, but often use sound in my installations. My works are conceptual art, it is a way to connect words in a visual art and use my earlier studies of philosophy and art history. I'm interested in the materiality of memory, the material memory of objects that I have been carrying with me for over 30 years. Now I also have my grandparents' materials and think about what that matters for me. Matter matters, something. Who am I? Who is my family? Where are my roots? I have been reading Felix Guattari's ideas about subjectivity. It fits in my thoughts, when I'm thinking of art works about family matters and objects with memories, fragments of my own history and subjectivity. That might be a fruitful way to work with people in a posthuman network and fits better in themes of body and schizophrenia. Most of those objects are old stuff, artisan tools, handcrafts etc, I will mix them into my visual and sound memories and stories of my family. I don’t know why, but there are a lot of orange fruits even though I have been living in the north. Honestly I'm sketching about those ideas and will create them more in future, this is something that I will do next to my research for several years I think. I just would like to continue the collaboration from last year with posthuman networking.