Homo Homo Sapiens


As part of the Helsinki Fest 2020 we constructed an artistic laboratory in Gallery Rankka. In this laboratory we created a space where together with participants we could look at what is happens to a human being in times of rapid changes. We chose Decca, a homosexual male from an alternative reality where the majority of people are homosexual, as our subject. The Covid-19 situation changed the set-up of the artistic laboratory. Nine test cubicals protected by plexi glass were built in the hall that has previously acted as a techical school. Each cubical contained objects to aid create different situations, actions, atmospheres and/or feelings. We designed safety-distance-chairs for the people participating and requested everyone except Decca to wear protective surgical masks.
Altogether eleven “tests” took place with the maximum of 20 people viewing/participating between 20.8. and 5.9.2020. There was no script to what would happen in each test. Decca had the agency to move from one test-cubical to another as he chose. On average the test sessions took two hours.
The findings of the artistic laboratory will be published as a book in 2021.

Homo Homo Sapines (HHS) is neither a game nor a provocation, but an inquiry into the limits of human control, into the very character and resilience of the human soul, and the difficult but pressing questions concerning our understanding of ‘the natural’. HHS creates a framework for thinking about key aspects of contemporary life that need to be addressed with accelerating urgency. Adopting the frame of an artistic laboratory, HHS aims to examine our world through methods that are generally excluded from scientific space: dialogue, play, and collectively experiencing art. We are living in a time of unprecedented complexity, and while scientific data is widely available our familiarity with the facts seems of little help in alleviating the current global crises. The HHS laboratory thus aims to explore ways in which we might augment science proper by inviting imagination, critical thinking, and communication to help us enrich our understanding of the human experience in these severe times. HHS aims to explore the potential of a different model for approaching globally significant problems which have in many ways originated from the rapid development of modes of communication which threaten to delimit our humanity, thereby disabling our ability to respond not only to each other’s needs but also to the needs of nature at large.

HHS is a work that has formed and transformed during a three year period. The HHS core group consists of artist/architect Jaakko Pesonen, philosopher Kai Alhanen, art historian Donna Roberts and actor Aleksi Holkko. The artistic laboratory seen in Gallery Rankka was created mostly as a collaboration between Jaakko Pesonen and Aleksi Holkko. Donna Roberts helped place the work in an art historical context and acted as the main documentarist. Architect Albanor Krasniqi worked with Jaakko on the space. Designers/artists Saara Renvall, Amanda Ripatti, Nimco Hussein and Andrea Anastasio designed contents of cubicals and Deccas garments. Hair-artist Joonas Lampi designed Deccas look. Aada Kiuru helped in constructing the cubicals. Hanna-Kaisa Tiainen, Ansa Matikainen, Daniel Bumann, Jussi Matikainen, Niklas Rautén and Anna Moilanen also contributed to the work in Gallery Rankka.

HHS has been supported by the Kone Foundation.


Click here to read the publication given to participants of the laboratory.