Conversations with objects

Conversation with objects 2019 Helsinki
Photo: Tani Simberg | Baltic Circle

For the "Conversations with objects"  the audience and invited experts from various disciplines gather around an object.

As part of Baltic Circle – International Theatre Festival, the second edition of "Conversations with objects" took place in Helsinki on November 14th 2019. In this format, developed at the Goethe-Institut Sao Paolo, the audience and invited experts from various disciplines gather around an object.
"Conversations with Objects" invites its audience to participate in a discussion with selected objects. Departing from the premise that objects are social agents as much as humans are, the chosen objects are the event’s protagonists that provoke discussion around something new, indeterminate and unknown. Confronting the objects creates an opportunity for questioning current discursive practices and re-examining the relationships we establish with things. The emerging discussion reflects the value systems and the beliefs affecting both the discussing group and its surrounding cultures.
In Helsinki, conversation centered on two objects that were provided by the National Museum of Finland. Neither the date of creation, nor the creator, country of origin or function of these objects were known at the beginning of the event. The initiators Bassam El Baroni (curator and researcher, assistant professor, Aalto University), Antti Lahelma (university lecturer in archeology, University of Helsinki), Sigga-Marja Magga (Duodji researcher) and Kate McIntosh (artist) were invited to share their thoughts with and about the animal-like objects. 

The conversation developed from initial assumptions regarding materiality, whether they are real animals, to the desire to touch or wear the objects. Seal stories came up, but so did the question of animal rights. The ambivalence of the relationship between humans and animals was always on the table.