Venice Biennale 2019
Pavilion of Finland at the 58th International Art Exhibition –
La Biennale di Venezia
Miracle Workers Collective: A Greater Miracle of Perception
11 May– 24 November, 2019
The Miracle Workers Collective (MWC) presented their inaugural project, A Greater Miracle of Perception, for the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
The MWC is formed and informed by a transdisciplinary and anational community of artists, filmmakers, writers, intellectuals, performers, and activists.
Exploring the miracle as a poetic vehicle from which to expand perceptions and experiences, the exhibition presented MWC’s collective film work, which engaged in dialogue with a site-specific sculptural installation by Outi Pieski.
The Miracle Workers Collective
The Miracle Workers Collective is:
writer Maryan Abdulkarim
scriptwriter Khadar Ahmed
writer Hassan Blasim
choreographer Sonya Lindfors
artist Outi Pieski
artist Leena Pukki
artist Martta Tuomaala
artist Lorenzo Sandoval
cinematographer Christopher L. Thomas
storyteller Suvi West
curator Giovanna Esposito Yussif
curator Christopher Wessels
and curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
Exploring the miracle as a poetic vehicle from which to expand perceptions and experiences, the exhibition presented MWC’s collective film work The Killing of Čáhcerávga (2019), which was in dialogue with the site-specific sculptural installation Ovdavázzit – Forewalkers (2019) by Outi Pieski.
Exhibition: A Greater Miracle of Perception
The Killing of Čáhcerávga (2019)
Miracle Workers Collective’s film work The Killing of Čáhcerávga is a collision of five different short films that, together, tell a disjointed, communal narrative. Employing a call-and-response strategy, the film expresses a politicised dialogue around indigeneity, movement and migration in contemporary Europe.
The collective share an interest in exploring the potentiality in disciplinary disobedience.
Travelling through dreamscapes, lonely snowy plains, absurdist capitalist underwaters, greenhouse gardens and desert landscapes, the film stretches into a practice of impossible spatial rules, strange dialogue practices, and inconclusive, unresolved scenic endings.
Ovdavázzit – Forewalkers (2019)
Expanding beyond the confines of the pavilion, Outi Pieski’s Ovdavázzit – Forewalkers similarly prompted questions around movement and borders. Paying homage to the artist’s Sámi ancestors, the installation broiught into dialogue the Sámi traditional handicraft, duodji, with contemporary art.
Sharing both collective and personal histories and heritages, the installation gave voice to the complex internationalist discourse around the Sámi people’s collective struggle against colonial and nationalist enclosures.
Ovdavázzit – Forewalkers transported elements of the arctic tundra to the pavilion, through the series of “dancing” birch trees and reindeer lichen, a primary food source for reindeers.
Arctic peoples have thrived in a harsh environment for millennia, thanks to their extensive knowledge of the land and waters.
This ancestral, ecological knowledge is increasingly recognised as a crucial source for understanding Arctic biodiversity and to develop effective strategies for its conservation, learning from the Sámi philosophy of ‘agreeable life’, soabalaš eallin, that points to a life in harmony and accordance with the earth.
In addition, Movable Membrane (2019), a modular set by Lorenzo Sandoval was inviting audience to stop, pause and reflect. It was inspired by an element developed by architects Aino Marsio-Aalto (1894–1949) and Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) as one of their iconic signatures: the curved surface. The form worked as a deconstruction and a re-engagement of their work, rethinking the role of architecture in the construction of the welfare state – which at times has been presented metaphorically as a miracle itself.
Alongside the exhibition at the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion, MWC was exploring the parameters of the biennial concept by taking it out of Venice – their performative, discursive, filmic and sonic arm is manifested in public events in Berlin (Germany), Venice (Italy) Kárášjohka (Sápmi / Norway), and Helsinki (Finland) in 2019. Broadening the collectivity, these events presented diverse practices where notions of transmutation, divination, and healing become processes of rematriation, restoration, and joy.
A Greater Miracle of Perception is a publication available via Archive Books to accompany the exhibition now showing in the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
The book explores how miracle making – making the impossible possible – is reflected in artistic practices today. It includes commissioned essays and poetry by writers affiliated with the collective as well as by members of the collective itself.
Press copies: please contact Head of Communications Laura Boxberg (email@example.com).
The exhibition in the Pavilion of Finland was commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland.
Frame, an advocate for Finnish contemporary art, supports international initiatives, facilitates professional partnerships, and encourages critical development of the field through grants, visitor programme and residencies, seminars and talks, exhibition collaborations and network platforms. The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.
Partners and supporters
The exhibition A Greater Miracle of Perception was commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland.
The main partner for A Greater Miracle of Perception was City of Helsinki / Helsinki Biennial 2020 along with Visit Finland / Business Finland.
The main supporter of A Greater Miracle of Perception was the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, together with the Saastamoinen Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and Embassy of Finland in Rome. Media art production support by AVEK / Tuuli Penttinen-Lampisuo.
Special thanks to Petri Anttonen, Tiamaria Jukola, Ksenia Kaverina, Anssi Kömi, Heikki Lokki, Inkeri Lokki, Antti Johannes Peltonen, Roope Ruuska, Raimo Saarinen, Elina Varis. Angel Films Oy, EW Dive, Finlandia Park Hotel Helsinki, Hanaholmen – Swedish- Finnish Cultural Centre, The Museum of Impossible Forms, Sámediggi – The Sámi Parliament in Finland, Viherpaja Oy.
You can find press images and press releases in English, Sámi, Italian and Finnish from Frame’s media bank
For more information:
Head of Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org tel. +358 44 739 6079
PARTICIPANTS Miracle Workers Collective manifests through an installation by Outi Pieski; a collective film by Maryan Abdulkarim, Khadar Ahmed, Hassan Blasim, Sonya Lindfors, Leena Pukki, Martta Tuomaala, Christopher L. Thomas, and Suvi West; and a modular set by Lorenzo Sandoval.
CURATORS Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Christopher Wessels, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
COMMISSIONER Raija Koli, Frame Contemporary Art Finland.
Laura Boxberg, communications Frame Contemporary Art Finland
Lilia Di Bella, graphic design Archive Appendix
Chiara Figone, editorial coordinator Archive Books
Ida Enegren, project assistant Frame Contemporary Art Finland
Raija Koli, director Frame Contemporary Art Finland
Maikki Lavikkala, project manager Frame Contemporary Art Finland
David Muñoz, exhibition architect
Luca Piazza, technical assistant
Francesco Raccanelli, project assistant Frame Contemporary Art Finland
Ellen Vene, exhibition assistant
Lebrel Furniture, modular set production
Special thanks to Tiina-Maria Aalto, Maria Duncker, Teuri Haarla, Miisa Hatakka, Eeva-Kristiina Harlin, Jenni Laiti, Niillas Holmberg, Elina Juopperi, David Muñoz, Pauli Saijets and Polarmoss.
Duojárat / Sámi artisans
Denis Barudkin, Per-Stefan Idivuoma Nils-Johan Labba and Olavi Sakari Saijets.
Danai Anagnostou line producer / produttore esecutivo, Simon Al-Bazoon performer, Noora Dadu performer, Tanja Glad camera assistant / assistente alle riprese, Lotta Esko production assistant / assistente di produzione, Salla Hakanpää underwater mobility coordinator / coordinatrice mobilità subacquea, Iiris Hosia performer, Aleksi Hämäri grip / macchinista, Ilkka Kunttu sound designer, Áile Kirste Lokki performer, Miro Mantere studio recordist & mixing / fonico di studio & montaggio audio, Fiona Musanga performer, Pirita Näkkäläjärvi performer, Nelli Nyman camera assistant / assistente alle riprese, Lou Strömberg sound recordist / fonico di presa diretta, Esete Sutinen performer, Leo Tuominen performer, Johannes Valkonen composer / cantautore, Vishnu Vardhani performer, Hánssa Ristena Kerttu / Kerttu Vuolab song writer / cantautore, Sarrah Wilkman colorist & Janina Witkowski assistente alle riprese.