In the End of this World

Commissioned work for Land Body Ecologies
by Jenni Laiti & Outi Pieski

2021 – 2023

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Colonialism and capitalism have stolen, devastated, industrially exploited, plundered and destroyed Indigenous worlds for over 400 years. As a result, climate change, mass-extinction, ecological collapse, the economic depressions, financial implosions, political upheavals, pandemics, plagues, floods, fires, and social breakdowns are already happening or on their way.

The end of the civilization of death is now easy enough to see, merely three to five decades away. We know that there is no realistic current politics will halt global warming over three degrees nor stop the oncoming ecocatastrophes. It ́s evident that this civilisation, this model for our societies and its dreams have been revealed for the nightmares they truly are.

The Indigenous Sámi people is an Arctic people. Our survival depends on the cold, ice and winter. We are nothing without the winter, we are nothing without the snow, we are nothing without the ice. Up here, we have a temperature increase of more than double the global average. This causes the collapse of our Arctic environment and ecosystems. We are in a crisis where our world is vanishing in front of our eyes and melting into water.

We live in persistent traumatic stress environment and witness how words, expressions, knowledge, ways of being, worlds vanish, go missing and disappear every day, some are lost forever. Every day, we reconcile ourselves with death, collapse and disappearance, at the same time, we have to comfort and care of our land. This time is crucial because the speed of changes on our land is so fast that we don ́t have time for adaptation - we live in a situation of forced climate change adaptation.

Commission ́In the end of this World ́ will be working on the theme of the loss of home, a loss of our entire world. Our commissioned work is a story from the end of the world to the world beyond. Working method of the commission is listening and communication in the understanding and teachings of traditional Sámi reciprocal land practices. These practices are based on accountability, consent, trust, reciprocity and transparency and are genuinely consensual.

This work will be conducted, crafted and created together with local Sámi communities in our traditional territories in Deatnu river, where Outi lives and Sirges reindeer herding Sámi community where Jenni lives. Local Sámi communities embody our ancestorial communities on our traditional territories, present communities and futures communities too. Commission is local, land-based and it spirals across time and space with ancestral and futuristic spirit.

Our art & research station is based in two different winter villages; in Dálvadas1 Finnish side of Sápmi and Dálvvadis in the Swedish side of Sápmi. Dálvadas is a concept of traditional Sámi winter village – a physical place of community where people survive(d) through the Arctic winter. In this commissioned work will be asked questions on climate adaptation and resilience. According our ancestorial knowledge, the Sámi winter villages have been our survival strategy how we have survived over 10 000 years in our traditional territories. For us, it is not about the survival of the fittest, but rather that the strongest communities will survive. There will come next 10 000 years, are we eager enough to dream true the dreams of our land?

The outcome of the commission will be something with the land, on the land and by the land. Sámi customary law pracicies are followed in this work and we will continue to work with issues of ethics on land-based art practice.