Museum of Nonhumanity to declare that dehumanization is history
A new temporary museum is to open in Helsinki in September. The museum will present the history of the distinction between humans and other animals, and the way that this purported boundary has been used to oppress human and nonhuman beings. Elements of dehumanization are seen today in the hate speech that has entered contemporary political discussions.
Throughout history, declaring a group to be nonhuman or subhuman has been an effective tool for justifying slavery, oppression and genocide. Conversely, differentiating humans from other species has paved the way for the abuse of natural resources and other animals.
The museum will host an extensive lecture program in which civil-rights and animal-rights organizations, academics, artists, and activists will propose paths to a more inclusive society. The Museum of Nonhumanity stands as a monument to the call to make dehumanization history and to the start of a new, more inclusive era.
History of Others
The Museum of Nonhumanity was launched by History of Others, a collaboration between the writer Laura Gustafsson and the visual artist Terike Haapoja. The first part of the History of Others project, The Museum of the History of Cattle (2013), was awarded the Kiila prize in Finland and is now touring internationally. The second work in the project, a courtroom performance called The Trial, had its premiere at the Baltic Circle Festival in 2014.
The authors of History of Others, Gustafsson and Haapoja, are Visual Artists of the Year at FLOW Festival, Helsinki's biggest, hippest music festival. A large-scale installation Embrace Your Empathy! will act as a prelude to the museum and feature adverts for a futurist vision of a truly equalitarian society. Embrace your Empathy! will be on display in the Suvilahti festival area August 16–18.
Suvilahti, Tiivistämö September 1, 2016. Open September 2–29, 2016.
museumofnonhumanity.org, publicist Pia Sievinen pias(a)saunalahti.fi
Museum of Nonhumanity is co-produced by HIAP Frontiers in Retreat project. The project is supported by Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland and co-funded by the Culture programme of the European Union.