A new temporary museum is to open in Helsinki in September. The museum will present the history of the distinction between humans and other animals, and the way that this imaginary boundary has been used to oppress human and nonhuman beings. Elements of dehumanization are seen today in the hate speech that has entered contemporary political discussions.
Throughout history, declaring a group to be nonhuman or subhuman has been an effective tool for justifying slavery, oppression and genocide. Conversely, differentiating humans from other species has paved the way for the abuse of natural resources and other animals.
The museum will host an extensive lecture program in which civil-rights and animal-rights organizations, academics, artists, and activists will propose paths to a more inclusive society. The Museum of Nonhumanity stands as a monument to the call to make dehumanization history and to the start of a new, more inclusive era.
The Museum of Nonhumanity was launched by Gustafsson&Haapoja, a collaboration between the writer Laura Gustafsson and the visual artist Terike Haapoja. The first part of Gustafsson&Haapoja’s collaboration, The Museum of the History of Cattle (2013), was awarded the Kiila prize in Finland and is now touring internationally. The second work in the project, a courtroom performance called The Trial, had its premiere at the Baltic Circle Festival in 2014.
Opening: Suvilahti, Tiivistämö September 1, 2016. Open September 2–29, 2016.