Visited “The Museum of Nonhumanity” by Terike Haapoja & Laura Gustafsson and crew. The exhibition was translated in Finnish as “Epäinhimillisuuden museo”. The naming of their work was confusing as the piece was not concerned about non-human agencies. The stylish (meta-ironic) installation displayed technologies and cultural practices which are used divide, categorized and control human populations, sites and other organisms. “The Museum of Nonhumanity” showed a carefully selected series of historical events during which people have dehumanized and treated as animals in order to justify their control and slaughter. Texts and documents which were presented in the installation focused on statements and quotes made by warmongers and capitalist which presented the groups of people they wanted to control (or kill) as animals. These snippets of information were presented as evidence that our relations to animals are aligned with our relations to Others.

A gruesome part of the museum revealed that wild wolves and female soldiers of the Red Guards were discussed as pests. Apparently a lot of female soldiers of the Red Guards were killed during our Civil War in 1918. Their systematic slaughter was organized by the White Guard officials and they justified these monstrosities trough eugenics and saw it as a form of pest control!

Guests were handed catalogues which featured a nifty text by Giovanna Esposito Yussif which bashed museums as sites which use collections to justify the status quo of the regimes that fund them (The text didn’t discuss the fact that the same dynamics are evident in the majority of art that is made. Also museums are no longer dependent on their collections. They have converted in “event sites” which serve the public in a very similar fashion as the “The Museum of Nonhumanity”). The second text in the catalogue was by Salla Tuomivaara. She pleaded for empathy in human-human and animal-human relations. Unfortunately the artwork and the texts didn’t discuss the agencies of the animals or the human victims. There was no trace of their resistance and constant efforts to re-negotiate their treatment. Unfortunate animals and humans were presented as mere resources for colonial ambitions. The intent of the show was not to build awareness about the agency of animals – It presented a collection of methods and tools humans have used to instrumentalize their fellow beings. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.