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Interspecies social sculpture

Rõõmu garden and forest, Võrumaa
Since 2023

Interspecies social sculpture conceptualises gardens as an environment for interspecies co-creation. Engaging in dialogue with the concept of ‘social sculpture’ by Joseph Beuys, which emphasises everyone’s creative potential in initiating social change, I am borrowing this transformative concept to our times where the world needs to adapt to degrowth and expanding it to multispecies context in order to emphasise the creative agency of many living beings.

The interspecies social sculpture is in its physical form a small countryside garden and forest in South-Estonia with a diverse local more-than-human community. Interspecies social sculpture is formed on one level by increasing biodiversity (ecological dimension), on the second level by initiating interspecies co-creation (co-creational dimension) and on the third level through inclusive community and artistic activities (interventionist dimension), and conceptualising the garden as an interspecies social sculpture in articles, exhibitions and presentations. I carry out interventions to support biodiversity and interspecies meaning-making, considering the role of manual work in relating to nature, initiating community activities, walks, curated moments, I value local and collaborative ways of doing, where creative and educational activities have an impact on social processes.

If social sculpture focuses on the art’s transformative potential in human society, then interspecies social sculpture allows the inclusion of non-humans into the sense of “us”. As an artist, one should critically ask what role other species play in interventions, how to empower their voices in addition to imagining their views, so that others can emerge as dialogic actors and the whole composition would be multi-perspective. The charm of multi-perspective co-creation is in the constant willingness to change and to feel oneself as a part of a bigger whole. Interspecies social sculpture could be a model of how to act more locally, sustainably and meaningfully in cooperation with humans and non-humans.

This artistic research case is connected to the project “Artists and designers as researchers, rethinkers and partners of  nature” (01.07.2023–31.12.2024), PR02049.

Related exhibitions, events and articles

  • Article "Koosloome paneb kõlama teiste liikide hääled", ERR Novaator, January, 2024.

  • Exhibition "From Sowing Confusion to Gathering Knowledge" with Marta Konovalov, Tallinn Botanic Garden, January-March 2024

  • Conference presentation "Aed kui liikidevaheline sotsiaalne skulptuur", doctoral school conference of Estonian Academy of the Arts, April 2024.

  • Conference presentation "Paljuperspektiivilised ökokunstilised sekkumised", with Tiit Remm, Estonian Annual Conference of Humanities, April 2024.

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