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Marketta Haila (formerly Seppälä) is currently an independent curator. She was founding director of the Pori Art Museum in Finland from 1979 to 1998, director of Frame Visual Art Finland Finnish Fund for Art Exchange from 1998 to 2010 and editorial director of Framework: The Finnish Art Review, published by Frame, from 2003 to 2010. She co-curated with Alanna Heiss “Arctic Hysteria” at MoMa/P.S.1 in 2008 and “Parallax - Geographical Resonances” with Giovanna Esposito at Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City in 2014. She has also worked with Jimmie Durham on “Strangers in the Arctic: Ultima Thule and Modernity in 1995-1997″ (Copenhagen, Toronto, Helsinki) and on Durham’s one-man installation Suggested Route in 1997 (Pori).

Marcel Mauss. A General Theory of Magic. First published, in collaboration with Henri Humbert in French, 1902. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.

The Arctic Hysteria exhibition is indebted to the early studies of magic by Marcel Mauss. In his A General Theory of Magic, Mauss claimed that “(W)hen two cultures come into contact, magic is usually attributed to the lesser developed.” Among classic examples he mentioned the Finns and Laps, both of whom were accused of sorcery by Scandinavians. Instead of believing in general universal laws of social phenomena, Mauss, who was interested in comparisons, pointed out laws of unequal generality. He clarified the dependence between the powers of the magician and group in question by “how, in magic, the individual neither thinks nor acts except as directed by tradition or driven by a collective suggestion, or at least by a suggestion which he gives himself under pressure from the group.” Despite traces of contemporaneous evolutionary thinking, Mauss’ notions about determinism have profoundly influenced later developments of cultural sciences, especially those emphasizing local and contextual patterns.

Jimmie Durham, Waiting To Be Interrupted. Selected Writings 1993-2012. Edited by Jean Fisher. Milan: Mousse Publishing, 2014.

Jimmie Durham, a Cherokee descendant, is a collector of information about our being in the world. His artistic practices reveal the “supernatural” effectiveness of art-be it a question of his objects, drawings, performances, poems or essays. With sharp intellect and outspoken political clarity, they merge into an inalienable rite that transcends all divisions. Waiting To Be Interrupted comprises his writings from the period since A Certain Lack of Coherence was published in 1993. It is perfectly in line with what Marcel Mauss stated in 1902, that “There are no uncivilized peoples, only peoples with different civilizations.” In Durham’s ongoing project, “trying to become Eurasian,” “architexture” and the foundation of Eurocentrism are among his conceptual tools to keep in sight the wider picture of Western colonialism. Over the years he has erected poles at the center of the world-in 1995 in Yakutsk, Siberia, and in 1997 he suggested a route for it from Pori, Finland, to Chalma, Mexico.

Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London and New York: Verso Books, 2012.

In her much debated Artificial Hells, Claire Bishop’s critical stance on participatory art-the field of art that since the 1990s has generally been equated with political art-is grounded in Jacques Rancière’s concept of an “aesthetic regime.” She argues that there has been a disavowal of the aesthetic with respect to the ideological, turning art into another realm, far from being oppositional to spectacle. Instead of losing art’s ability to disagree, she calls for art with more compelling and troubling forms of participation and criticism. Bishop’s concern about preserving art’s counterstrategies was interestingly echoed by Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, in his keynote speech at the Moscow Biennale in October 2015. He alerts artists to be afraid of the powerful in our society, as he believes culture has become alienated from its original power by homogenizing and instrumentalizing conditions of market economies and their bureaucratic structures.