Gustafsson & Haapoja is a collaboration between visual artist Terike Haapoja and writer Laura Gustafsson. Their long term project explores problems that arise from the anthropocentric world view of Western traditions, and seeks to open paths for ethical ways of interspecies coexistence coexist. By imagining histories according to other species, investigating how language enables othering, or mapping out the long history of animalization Gustafsson&Haapoja brings forth questions regarding the impact of biotechnologies, industrialization or systems of knowledge production on the lives of both humans and other animals.
The work of Gustafsson&Haapoja manifests itself in exhibitions, stage work and texts. The Museum of The History of Cattle, first exhibited in Helsinki, 2013, was awarded with the Kiila prize for socially engaged art. The publication History According to Cattle was released in 2015 by punctum books and Into publications. The Trial, a participatory performance on the legal personhood of nonhuman animals had its premiere in 2014. The large scale installation and lecture series Museum of Nonhumanity opened in 2016 in Helsinki and has toured in Italy, Norway, UK, Taiwan and Denmark. The book Museum of Nonhumanity was published by punctum books in 2019. Gustafsson & Haapoja received the Finnish State art council’s Media Art Award in 2016. Waiting Room, a sound installation that investigates normalized violence, premieres in Amsterdam in the fall of 2019. Their latest project, the 3 channel video installation Becoming is based on interviews that ponder what nascent forms of humanity and being should be nurtured so they can grow and create a just, sustainable future.
Laura Gustafsson is a Finnish author, scriptwriter, and playwright based in Helsinki. Her debut, a genre-bending fairytale and feminist pamphlet called Huorasatu (2011, “Whorestory”), was nominated for the Finnish Book Foundation’s Finlandia Prize. Anomalia (2013, “Anomaly”), addresses the themes of language, violence, and the imaginary line between man and beast. Korpisoturi (2016, “Wilderness Warrior”), a story about the end of the world as we know it, was a biggest Finnish export prize nominee. Her latest novel Pohja (2017, ”Ground”) is an autofiction/autopsy, it’s been called a brave portrayal of female life. Gustafsson graduated with an MA from the Theatre Academy Helsinki. She has written a number of stage and radio plays. She also gives lectures on art and writing and is actively involved in public debate. Her works have been translated to German, French and Turkish.
Terike Haapoja is a visual artist based in New York. Haapoja’s large scale installation work, writing and political projects investigate the mechanics of othering with a specific focus on issues arising from the anthropocentric world view of western modernism. Her projects include Closed Circuit – Open Duration (2008/2013), last seen at the Venice Biennale, which focused on questions of mortality, co-existence and the relationship between humans and nature; The Party of Others project (2011), which appropriates the form of a political party in order to look at the status of other species and other groups excluded from the law. Haapoja contributes regularly to Finnish and international art publications. She represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 2013 with a solo show in the Nordic Pavilion, and is the recipient of several prizes, including ANTI Prize for Live Art (2016), Dukaatti prize (2008), Säde prize (2009), and Ars Fennica Award nomination (2011). Haapoja is an adjunct professor at Parsons Fine Arts and NYU, New York.