The First Round Table Conversation:
Together with Tuomas A. Laitanen & Jenni Nurmenniemi
The idea for the video came up from my master essay In the White Room. In this conversation I
will elaborate on the questions which I studied in my theses as an organic conversation between
the two, artist and curator, in order to create knowledge.
Tuomas Aleksander Laitinen´s current work and research focuses on the entanglements of
human and non-human coexistence. Laitinen constructs situations and installations that are
exploring the porous interconnectedness of language, body, and matter within morphing
Laitinen´s works have been recently shown in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, 7th Bucharest
Biennale, SADE LA (Los Angeles), Amado Art Space (Seoul), Moving Image New York, Art Sonje
Center (Seoul), Helsinki Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, EMMA – Espoo
Museum of Modern Art, MOCA Shanghai & Cinemateca do MAM Rio de Janeiro.
Jenni Nurmenniemi is a Helsinki–based curator with a sustained interest in the intersections of art
and ecology. At HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, she ran the project Frontiers in
Retreat – Multidisciplinary Approaches to Ecology in Contemporary Art (2013–2018), followed by
the project Post-Fossil Transition (2018–). Her most recent exhibition Fictional Frictions, as part of
the Gwangju Biennale 2018 Pavilion Project, tackled how human life is entangled in other forms of
life and material processes. Next, she will curate the contemporary art section for the inaugural
Fiskars Village Art and Design Biennale.
In this round table talk we will start discussing about how we experience visual art. In my essay I
used my personal experiences as a perspective for the investigation, into how different practices in
photographic art have generated implications in a gallery space. In the discussion, we approach
the idea of whether a successful art work needs to be experienced physically and how do we
understand physical experience.
We live in a world where experience of life is fast-paced and even more fragmented than in the
past. It is good to challenge our thought of experience, and how we process contemporary visual
art in general. We dedicate more of our time on a variety of devices, such as smart phones and
It’s good to think about where do we experience art and how? Do we need to experience it in
physical space and what kind of space?
Actually, how are we receiving visual arts? Often the viewer is asked ‘did you understand the art
piece.’ Is the understanding of art the only way to internalize the work of art and what does this
mean? What do we mean by underlining the understanding part of processing art?
If visual art work were to deal more comprehensively with the senses, could we approach art works
in a more holistic way and see it as an experience more than just reading from the wall? Could this
be one way to challenge an eye-centred culture/ Could this be one way to challenge our
dominance of the visual realm?
In the 21st century, contemporary photography has been presented in galleries through
installations and not so much as rows of images. This can be seen as a trend, but how can bodily
and holistic experiences be developed / challenged with this kind of presentation? What could be
taken into consideration?