Henna Laininen, born 1980 in Espoo, Finland

Henna Laininen is a visual artist and a writer who is specialized in community art and environmental questions. She often works with researchers and artists from other disciplines to compose polyphonic stories. Her aim is to create tools to help humanity better understand its past, present and future.

In the video installation The Human Story (Ihmisen tarina, 2015) experts from different fields tell their own versions of the story of the human race. How is the story seen from the perspective of evolutionary biology, theology or astronomy? How were humans born? Is there a purpose to human existence? What will happen to humans in the future? Laininen interviewed each expert around a fire in an Iron Age hut on a dark winter evening. She edited the interviews into a polyphonic story where different worldviews live side by side. The video was installed as a life-size campfire circle in a dark gallery space.

In the video The Sacrifice (Uhri, 2013) she studied the relation between human and nature in the past, present and future with the help of dancers and actors. In the future scenario of the film, butoh dancers are asked to communicate with plants in the Turning Table greenhouse in the middle of Helsinki. The Sacrifice took part in developing The Green Production Plan in Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

In the community art project The Future Village (Tulevaisuuskylä, 2011) she built up an ecological village scene together with researchers, artists and activists in the central square of the city of Tampere. The village served as a meeting point for people of all ages to learn and discuss about sustainable future.

The Human Story is Laininen’s Master’s degree work for the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. At the moment Laininen is starting the fine arts doctoral studies to research sustainable life forms in the post fossil future. She is developing creative writing as a tool to react to environmental crisis: How can communal creative writing support the process of learning skills of sustainable life?

Laininen is also teaching and practicing creative writing, including ecological science fiction. Her poems has been published in anthologies and she has won several poetry prizes in Finland such as J.H. Erkko prize 2005. In the year 2008 she was the Finnish candidate in the poetry slam competition The International Slam Revue in Berlin. She lives and works currently in Helsinki.

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