Dystopia/Utopia is a joint art project by the artist duo Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts (Katriina Haikala & Vilma Metteri, FI) and photographer Gabriel Mellan (USA). Based on photography and scenario work, the project was carried out in 2013 and 2014 with the support of Kone Foundation at the Saari Residence in Mynämäki, Finland. The project is currently continuing until October 2015 in the greater Helsinki area with funding from the Myrsky project.
Dystopia/Utopia at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte consists of triptych portraits of youngsters who participated in the project as well as documentation photos from the project. An important part of the exhibition in Hippolyte is workshops where invited groups examine the themes of utopia and dystopia as well as their own future-oriented skills in dreaming and goal-setting. The exhibition also includes a community art seminar on Saturday 17 October 2015 under the title Artists as drivers for change within communities. In addition to Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts, speakers at the Finnish-language seminar also include Pia Bartsch, Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Jani Leinonen, Jari Tamminen, and Henri Terho.
Dystopia/Utopia was created in collaboration with 12–17-year-olds who are at risk of becoming marginalised. Working together with the artists, the youngsters used photography to visualise their own future prospects through the concepts of utopia and dystopia. In the workshops, they explored the future and chose sites in their own living environment that represented utopian and dystopian prospects for them personally. The young people photographed each other in these settings. The photo trips took them to all kinds of places, including a hippie commune, a construction site, even the Kakola prison in Turku. Together with a picture representing the present, the utopian and dystopian images build up a triptych. The project challenged the participants to consider fundamental issues: How can I avoid my dystopian vision of the future and attain my own personal utopia?
“It’s important to make abstract things concrete. It’s important to take that which is not yet visible in the present but hovers just around the corner as an image, and make it real. To contemplate the future and understand your own potential and opportunities can help you make decisions in difficult moments. At its best, art makes visible our fears, joys, wishes, emotions,” artist Katriina Haikala comments on her creative work with the young people. “The purpose of the project is to teach the youngsters to dream and take an active role, to be autonomous actors in their own life, and to show that a functioning community has sustaining power,” says artist Vilma Metteri.
The Dystopia/Utopia exhibition is part of the exhibition collaboration launched in 2013 between Photographic Gallery Hippolyte and the Saari Residence.
Tärähtäneet ämmät ARTIST TALKS:
Sun 4 Oct 2015, 12:30 (also in English, if needed)
Sun 25 Oct 2015, 15:00 (in Finnish)
Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts is an artist duo founded in 2007 by Katriina Haikala and Vilma Metteri. With its provocative projects, Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts challenges prevailing social norms and cultural phenomena that stand in the way of the individual. In its artistic work, the duo focuses especially on issues involving beauty ideals, femininity and equality. Its fundamental aim is to empower and encourage audiences, communities and individuals. Haikala and Metteri have designed and carried our several community art projects, attracting attention of the public with participatory workshops, performances and interventions.
Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts’ largest community art projects to date have been Get-InArt (2011–2013), Monokini 2.0 (2013–), Dystopia/Utopia (2013–) and Dresscode (2012–). The duo has also designed a collection of undergarments, Hairy Underwear, which has attracted international attention. The collection is a humorous comment on western conceptions of beauty. The duo has exhibited its work in public places, museums and galleries in Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Washington.
TÄRÄHTÄNEET ÄMMÄT / NUTTY TARTS
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Yrjönkatu 8–10 courtyard, 00120 HELSINKI
+358 9 612 33 44, email@example.com
Open: Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16
(Image: Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts & Gabriel Mellan, from series Dystopia/Utopia, 2014)