What if we lived differently?
What would the modern world look like to our ancestors?
You could say that the most successful and sustainable lifestyle in humankind’s history has been that of the hunter-gatherers. During the entire evolution of the human species, all of our ancestors lived in small mobile groups hunting, gathering, and fishing. Some have continued to this day, some began to settle down around 12,000 years ago to cultivate land. Populations began to grow, societies became more complex, making a living more challenging – towns, hierarchies, and private property developed, then trade, militaries, civilizations, states – and here we are now. Did we leave something along the way?
Hunter-gatherers is a social experiment and a utopian art project.
It seeks inspiration from humanity’s collective past and applies what it has learned to the present. We will form a band of modern hunter-gatherers living in the urban landscape of Helsinki utilising its leftover resources. Anyone interested can join. There are also opportunities for remote participation.
Hunter-gatherers is an excursion into a different lifestyle. This artistic experiment is created together with the participants, as a collective attempt to look at the world in a different way. At its heart are issues critical to both prehistoric people and us – the relationship with the environment, community, sustainability, making a living, a good life. Our current way of life has reached a point where it needs to change. What solutions could the people who faced these questions first offer us? And why were they not problems for hundreds of millennia?
For hunter-gatherers, the whole world was alive and full of souls: there were spirits in plants, stones, water, places. What is the spirit world of the city like? What non-human actors inhabit it and how should we cohabit with them? The concept of time was multi-layered – the ancestors and the mythical times were always present and their songlines criss-crossed the landscape. What is life like if our ancestors and the future generations are always there with us? The known world consisted of oral traditions, stories. What is the city’s folklore? What is its map like when it consists of stories? Hunter-gatherers followed the resources to where they were at that moment instead of accumulating property. What can you hunt and gather in the city, where and how?
Hunter-gatherers began in 2021 and will continue in 2022. In May-July 2021 we developed the lifestyle of the Hunter-gatherers in open workshops. You can read about the workshops here. Between 12.-22.8.2021 the Hunter-gatherers lived in their camp in Kalasatama. The experiences were told into stories that you can listen to here (they are mostly in Finnish, but there are some in English). In the summer of 2022 the camp will return. As our plans –, you will find more information here.