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?
In the spring and summer of 2021 Hunter-gatherers organised workshops where we experimented in different ways with a different relationship with the urban environment and started to create the community’s story. In August 2021 the Hunter-gatherer camp lived in the lifestyle created full time in Kalasatama, Helsinki for 10 days. The camp could be visited on a guided tour or by happening on the scene by chance.
In 2022, there were again workshops from April and to July, and a camp in Kalasatama from 30 July to 7 August. You can listen to the stories of the earlier years’ experiences here