C7 Talonen: Making friends in/with the isolation

Virva Talonen

Helsinki / online. As a video format via Vimeo. The link is accessible during the symposium.


The exercise is based on the score as follows:

1.Find a place to start.
2. Set the alarm in 8 minutes.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Concentrate on the surface of your skin.
5. Move in the space.
6. Open your eyes.
7. Approach and touch in close proximities.
8. Make friends with surroundings.
9. Play.
10. Make the end when you hear the alarm

This proposal takes a form of an improvised dance exercise / performance based on a score. The context lays in contemporary dance with my practice as a choreographer. The proposal is documented on a video format and can be accessed via internet during the time of symposium. The proposal is based on two different issues; the body and its playfulness and the multiple imaginary worlds playfulness can embody. Themes such skin, touching and close proximity are in focus on my artistic practice. During this time of crisis lock downs, social distances and “Do not touch” -requests are guiding our corporeal being. Isolation cuts the interactions and shared presences. Act of touching can be perilous. How to remain sanity in the isolated space with limited skin contact? Before the corona I worked on a dance performance based on the movement of close physical contact and ongoing touch between dancing bodies. As I needed to suspend contact rehearsals I entered in a vacuum space with no one to relate to. This condition was eventually visited by playfulness and started to fill up with unknown perspectives, hope and sensitivity to stay at the present moment and to cherish it. “Making friends in/with isolation” is a documentation about an excercise of being in touch with others in isolation. It is an attempt to practice touching and corporeal interacting with human and non-human things around me in isolated space and to approach the things as they are by making an acquaintance with and invite them to play. This might open up multiple worlds, lightness and empathy in these rather heavy times.


C7 Gathering in Lapinlahti park

Lapinlahti hospital park 27 July 10:00–18:00 EEST
9.45 Meeting at Venetsia building in Lapinlahti hospital park (Lapinlahdenpolku 8)
10:00–10:30 Maija Kerko: Hospital as a mirror
10:30–11:00 Ulla Leppävuori: Walking my Dog, Debe
11:00–11:30 Coffee at Venetsia
11:30–12:00 Mieko Kanno: Touch & Open-Window Concerts
12:00–12:30 Arlene Tucker: Knots
12:30–13:00 Nina Luostarinen: #playsign
13:00–13:30 Katriina Heljakka: Liberated through teddybears – resistance, resourcefulness and resilience in play
13:30–15:00 Campfire lunch by Metsätuokio
15:00–16:30 Parallel sessions
15:00–15:45 Ajauksia group: Sensory Experiences – An Articulating and Perceiving Body (in Urban Space)
15:45–16:30 Heidi Seppälä: Play (safe) and ponder
Keynote speaker Steve Fuller: Is the ’human’ being problematized out of existence?
16:30–18:00 Discussion
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C7 Porkola: Scores for Artistic Research

Pilvi Porkola

Helsinki, July 26

In the end of the day on Harakka island we gather together to sum up feelings, thoughts and reflections based on what we have seen and experienced during the sessions. We will be talking in small groups current issues of artistic research with an aim to create a score to be shared and completed somewhere in the future. The scores will be presented in the end of the session (3 mins. for each group).


Scores for an island

There are also some scores to do on the island during the day.  If you cannot join us on Harakka, you can try them on your own island (real or imaginary).



Listen to the seagulls.

Hear what they say.

Answer them.



Find a rock you can trust.

Tell it your problem.

Listen to the advice.



Listen to the concert of the waves.

Give applause when it ends.


Document the performed scores with filming or drawing. You can also write your own score inspired by an island and document that. 


C7 Velez, v Fraahsen: Swan Upping

Marina and Frei are delighted to invite you to a Zoom meeting to experience and discuss their collaborative work Swan Upping.

Time: 31 July 2020 05:30 PM London  31 July 2020, 06:30 PM CET

Join Zoom Meeting here

Meeting ID: 837 6434 9509 Password: 014638

Drawing from ideas related to preservation and nurturing of ecosystems, this collaborative work explores other knowledges, imagination and pathos as a way of resisting political dominant systems of thinking and feeling in relation to other species and the natural world. 

Loosely inspired by Citizen Science, modern psychology and Medieval manuscripts and the present predicament of species extinction, our collaboration addresses the relevance of preserving ecosystems of knowledges which require imaginative rigour, adventurous spirit and entanglements of love. 

This visual and audio guide is intended to be an explorative pursuit of trust, ethics and philosophical ideas of intra-species living and dying well. 

The title is inspired by the British Royal custom of collecting data from, and caring for, the swan population on the River Thames. This practice is called swan upping and it has been adopted by the Principate of Lorenzburg.

As contemporary royals, it is our intention to stimulate and promote cross species kindness and good stewardship of inner and outer worlds. 

We hope this guide is useful and inspiring to you.

Audio Guide Methodologies and Instructions

Spanish philosopher and environmentalist Jorge Riechman puts forward the idea that humans classify animals into concentric spheres of affection. Placing themselves in the middle of the inner group, humans allow into this sphere only certain animals, which they call pets. In this sphere the animals are invested with human emotions and they are looked after and cared for. This represents, according to Riechman, the endo-group. The next concentric sphere is where other animals, such as livestock, are placed, and this is the exo-group. In this group the animals are sometimes looked after but emotional bonds are not forged as the animals are used for profit. There is a third sphere, the outer-exo-group, in which humans place animals who are far removed emotionally. These animals are called pests and wildlife. 

In this collaboration we wish to expand and enrich Riechman’s ideas of endo and exo groups by suggesting that there exists another sphere created by human’s emotional needs, wishes and desires: the mythical creatures group which we call the mytho-group. 

The audio guide can help you to create spaces for intra-species empowerment and webs of emotional entanglements to occur. 

How to use this audio guide:

Please download the MP3 file to your mobile phone or computer. You can go for a walk in a nearby woods, beach or garden, find a safe space to sit down and listen to the audio. Alternatively, you can sit down in a comfortable armchair for the listening imaginative exercise. 

In this audio guide to your inner safari we will ask you to picture yourself in an imaginary inner circle. 

We will gently encourage you to remember the animals with whom you had an emotional attachment in your lifetime.

We will also ask you to picture animals you have seen, touched or smelled and place them in outer imaginary circles. 

Lastly we will ask you to imagine animals you have never seen. These will be pictured outside the imaginary circles. See image below for guidance. 

‘It matters what beings recognise beings’ 

Donna Haraway

Ideally, once you have done the exercise following the audio guide you will feel radically integrated with the other critters of this world and beyond. Please see image below for illustration.

If the desired effects escaped you, please repeat the process until integration is complete. You can listen to the guide as many times as you need for the integration to be achieved. 

Making kin. Making kind.

The background music used in this audio guide was produced by Scott Buckley and it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Swan Upping Audio Guide

Please download the accompanying visual material and questionnaire:

C7 Wibholm, Rejmus: Mermaid Oracles Are Walking The Line { local gathering @’Illutron’ Art Ship, Copenhagen }

Nanna Wibholm,  Iwona Helena Rejmus

@’Illutron’ Art Ship   Refshalevej 167M   /Refshaleøen, Copenhagen/

Local gathering: {Co-Created Workshop}  + audio-visual trace emerging from the artistic process

1 August, Saturday 12.00-15.30



Bring an object through which you can share a story of queer pleasure or challenge.

Bring a costume that reminds you of personal liberation through strangeness.

Bring ‘collective’ attitude so others can feel that you care … to inspire them by who you are constantly becoming.


through e-mail before the event:


– remember to write ‘Mermaid Oracle‘ in the title –

( Once you sign up, you’ll receive confirmation of your spot and further information)



Mermaid Oracle is You. Me. They. Curiosity and playfulness are our tools. (Re)searching and mapping new embodied knowledge is the mission. 

Queer is a spatial mode : deviating from a straight line. How is the actual world around us shaping cracks of queerness? Carnivalesque is a “literary mode” : subverting and liberating the assumptions of the dominant style or atmosphere through humor and chaos. 

In later years the notion of Queer has built so much ontological, political and emotional load, that it’s become almost impossible not to cross risky territory to initiate debate. ‘Queer’ has been connecting and separating people. We invite you to walk with us through a shared space, regaining ‘fresh eyes’ by re-searching, exchanging new ‘truths’. Together exploring and co-creating what “my unique inner queer” would move, feel and look like if the concept was born today. 

Our unique voices stirred up with playful elements of the carnival will be co-created to form a virtual trace for the future. We wish for your presence in ‘Mermaid Oracles Are Walking the Line’. The location will be a selected urban space in Copenhagen where you will feel safe to express yourself in a group. Together we’ll deviate from everyday life. From your ‘straight line’ You’s.

C7 Leppävuori: Walking My Dog, Debe

Ulla Leppävuori


We are having short walk through Lapinlahti park to observe the play of light and shadow.  Lapinlahti park is situated in my neighbourhood. The walk we do together often belongs to my morning walks with Debe-dog. The walk goes across open and closed space made by plants and shapes of the landscape and between different materials, among playful and varying light conditions. During May, June and  July 2020 I carried camera and made selection of photos for Nordic Summer University online:



Theme is related to my early writing Kävelyllä Händelin kanssa/ A walk with Händel, 2007, which was a short story about observations from visual artist’s point of view made by walking Händel-dog in Töölö, neighbourhood  of Lapinlahti area. The text was tribute to one’s own everyday environment and was inspired by Ned Rozell’s travelling novel Walking My Dog, Jane, journey along the Trans-Alaska pipeline with Jane-dog as traveller partner.

This part of NSU summer school is also belonging to my ongoing long term project, which is  working within border of build and unbuild environment.


As part of our re-designed 2020 summer session, the Nordic Summer University invites artists and researchers from all fields to take part in our artistic research circle. We are a migratory, non-hierarchical group of international participants. We welcome participants from all geographical, artistic, cultural and academic contexts and backgrounds, both outside and within universities and other institutions. The circle aims to share ways artistic research can explore, experiment with, critique, create and perform heterotopias, which are spaces, temporalities and practices that disrupt the continuity and the norms of ordinary reality. We hope not only to engage with heterotopic concepts, but to be a heterotopic space.

Each event should produce a trace which can be shared with the larger community: NSU’s artistic research circle our eight other multi-disciplinary study circles, and the wider members of the oldest nomadic Nordic university of its kind (read more about the history of NSU here!).

Grants are available for creating the event and its trace. Traces can be made individually or together with other participants. (See more below)

What is a trace?

Traces could be: online workshops; local meetings; an online panel discussion of papers; a reading or performance; a shared of meal or walk together (considering the appropriate manner of physical interaction that is possible in the time and place where you are situated); presenting a piece of art, or another creative shared activity. You can also apply with more traditional forms of conference presentation, but we encourage you to choose a format that still allows a trace of your presentation: a workshop, experiment, exercise, or interactive dialogue; something that allows sharing.

The trace of your event with NSU needs to be:

●  produced by a single individual or group of participants.
●  sharable and open to all during the Summer Session time frame
●  fitting to NSU’s overall goals, aims and vision.
●  related to the circle’s theme – which you can read more about here
●  created with its main language English or a Scandinavian or Baltic language. ●  those who ultimately make the trace must be a member of NSU (this requires paying a small membership fee & participating in the democratic forum of NSU
●  the team or individual creating a trace needs to provide some promotion material considered as an INVITATION to the trace, before the Summer Session in July: picture & 200-500 words.
●  those who make a trace need to provide a brief report of the trace to their coordinator (the form will be provided by Board, including amount of participants, goals, etc) after the trace has been produced.

What is this year’s theme of the Circle?

Pleasure and Playfulness

After departing from Elsewhere, passing through Absences and Silences and arriving at Disorientations, this summer we wanted to ask about new beginnings through pleasure and playfulness. 

The global crisis intervened in our plans. But perhaps in these circumstances of increasing anxiety and isolation the topic is more necessary than ever.

At a time when all our habitual and familiar ways of communicating, interacting, moving, living and being are put into question, we want to find new forms of encounter and togetherness. 

We still see pleasure and playfulness as heterotopic states and modes of being and as forms of purposeful activity that can generate new knowledges. All our linear notions of time, space, embodiment and subjectivity are challenged at the moment. In what ways can we maintain our spaces as sites of pleasure and playfulness?

We are interested in pleasure and playfulness as strategies and processes not just of research but living in general. We’re interested in way that they give us access to knowledges and practices unapproachable by “serious” means. 

We want to embrace their lightness and follow the paths they open up towards multiplicity, plurality, indeterminacy and surprise. We are interested in their capacity to enable a response to disruptions of familiar categories and unsettlements of habitual practices and thoughts. We would like to explore their possibility as refusal and resistance, and their potential as liberation. 

We want to know how we can play with weighty and serious things, especially in times of crisis. We’d like to perform and improvise, and ask about performance and improvisation as activities using pleasure and play. 

We also want to provoke discussion about how we understand pleasure and playfulness, from whose perspective, according to whose experiences – and who is excluded. Whose pleasure matters and who is allowed to play? What kinds of exploitations and displacements are often behind our enjoyments and sites of pleasure? In what ways can pleasure and playfulness be forms of violence as well as knowledge and joy?

What is the format?

We encourage work in progress, incompleteness and unfinished work, partial and fragmented efforts, lost or missing elements, especially when they reflect on forms and uses of pleasure and engage in playful subversions. 

Our plan was to invite proposals taking departures from issues such as the following. We are still interested in pursuing these points and lines of thought, but with specific relevance to our current situation. What new meanings, significances, resonances, potentialities and powers can pleasure and playfulness take in times of crisis?

– pleasure and playfulness as methods and strategies of artistic research 

– the meaning of play and playfulness within artistic practice and research

– the role of pleasure in knowledge and practice

– the body and its relationship to pleasure and playfulness

– non-hierarchical and non-competitive forms of playfulness and play

– playfulness as a way of embodying plural selves and inhabiting multiple worlds

– pleasure and playfulness in performance and improvisation

– the role of pleasure and playfulness in challenging socio-political hierarchies

– feminist, decolonial and queer theories and approaches to pleasure and playfulness 

Our summer symposium will not be able to take place as a large physical meeting, but will instead happen in distant and dispersed formats of encounter, sharing and connection reflecting on and making use of pleasure and playfulness. This will take the form of small local or online gatherings, which produce traces that can be shared with a wider community. The aim is to enable new forms of sharing and find new possibilities to be a community.

Trace = event + documentation

Each trace will take the form of an event (in-person or online) that consists of a collective activity or multiple short contributions, documented by participants in a suitable way. 

How do I apply?

The deadline to submit proposals is 31 May.  

To apply, please submit the following via the online form


1. A written proposal of no more than 350 words. 

This should include a title, a description of your proposed contribution or gathering, and its format.


2. A short bio in three sentences.

Offering grants to create traces

The Nordic Summer University is making funding available to produce the traces.We have a budget of approximately 5,000 Euros which will be divided between traces. The exact amounts will depend on the number of applicants and the types of proposals we receive. We would like to use the funds to enable as many participants to contribute as possible and will distribute them accordingly. The funding is intended to cover costs for events or as grants for people who are not securely employed and are in precarious financial situations.

As always, NSU is particularly interested in supporting people who are at the outskirts of the Nordic region – the Baltic and West-Nordic communities as well as those with special needs. So please do inform us if your application of a trace grant falls under the regional support or if the pandemic has had particular financial consequences to you. There is only a limited amount of grants available per circle, the deadline to apply is May 30th, 2020. When you are offered a grant to produce a trace, you will need to respond by email to accept the grant, otherwise it will be offered to the next person on the list.

I still need inspiration…

To celebrate 70 years of NSU’s activism and scholarship, in 2019 we embarked upon a series of arts-research projects which reflected the history of NSU and wider expressions of ‘Nordic’ values. From print-making to sound art, to VR installations and performances, our ten artists have been using every artistic-research-method under the sun! CLICK HERE to see how they’ve been putting it all together.

You can also follow the Artistic Research circle here on Facebook.


You can always visit our FAQ page.