Memory of War – Conversation


Happening during “Memory of War” exhibition,
Guests: Heidi Hänninen (Curator), Jenni Häkkinen, Mohammad Javid

Date: 12.07.2017 / 17:30 – 19:30
Address: Kaapelitehdas, Tallberginkatu 1 00180 Helsinki


“Memory of War” exhibition is a collaboration between Helsinki based artists of middle eastern and european dissent and is part of Art-Tu project that has started in 2016. In July, 2016 Art-Tu had an exhibition “Journey” at Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki. This year’s theme “Memory of War” explores how civilians experience the devastation of continuous state of war –near and far, in our present day as well as in our distant memories. Combating racism is one of the main initiatives of this project. Art-Tu 2017 is organized by Turvapaikanhakijoiden Tuki ry (Support for asylum seekers). Curator of the exhibition is sculptor, community artist and art pedagog Heidi Hänninen.


The reading group will be meeting at the tent installation in the exhibition, to have the regular bi-weekly conversation with the artists, curators and producers of this exhibition. The conversation is organized by This Might Not Work collective. The event is mixed with the reading group in Helsinki and is moderated by Hami Bahadori.



In the 2nd Chapter of The Human Condition, Arendt presents two realms of public and private space. We will be studying this concept in relation to education outside or within the walls of the institution. After reading Shahram Khosravi’s text ‘Illegal’ Traveller: An Auto-Ethnography of Borders (laiton-matkaaja), and Edward Said’s Orientalism and discussing cultural identity, issue of representation in regards to power, Marxist philosophy and production of knowledge, we are moving to Arendt’s ideas presented in Human Condition, Arendt’s vita activa (active life) and vita contemplativa (contemplative life), her philosophical notion of labor and work. The vita activa may be divided into three sorts of activities: labor, work and action. The problems Arendt identified are things such as diminishing human agency and political freedom.

“Exasperation with the threefold frustration of action — the unpredictability of its outcome, the irreversibility of the process, and the anonymity of its authors — is almost as old as recorded history. It has always been a great temptation, for men of action no less than for men of thought, to find a substitute for action in the hope that the realm of human affairs may escape the haphazardness and moral irresponsibility inherent in a plurality of agents.”

In one part, through analyzing the vita activa, she comes across ideas about automation and machines which is worth thinking about in contrast to contemporary technological developments, theoretical discourses on transitional modes of production, and the status of work in today’s post-communist era with the neoliberal hegemony.

As supplementary reading, we will also go over the ideas on political struggles of refugees in post-9.11 era, by Laura Pulido a Chicana activist and theoretician with her text A Day Without Immigrants.


Hannah Arendt – “The Human Condition” (Chapter II. part 4 – 7, until page 50)

Supplementary Reading:
Laura Pulido – A Day Without Immigrants: The Racial and Class Politics of Immigrant Exclusion
Gert Biesta – Making Pedagogy Public: For the Public, of the Public, or in the Interest of Publicness?
Karl Marx’s Capital, Vol. 1, Chapter 7 – 9 (to the end of chapter 9)


Optional RSVP



(artwork by Kristiina (Tikke) Tuura, photographed by Jamal Al-Ezzi)


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If you would like to join, just come in (free and open to all, feel free to bring friends).
You don’t need to read all the materials in order to be there.
There will be no group-reading-out-load at the meeting. There will be only conversations and socializing.

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We are open to collaboration and joint projects. The reading conversations are usually carried on collectively. We are not reading the selected texts during the meetings, but focusing on the conversation about the subject. The topic of each month’s reading varies based on the collective interest. We are reading books, essays and materials in topics regarding contemporary art studies, politics, philosophy, criticism, etc.
Feel free to bring your friends.