NO NIIN & Baltic Circle

Illustration: Katri Astala & Pauliina Nykänen

Vuonna 2021 Baltic Circle tekee yhteistyötä itsenäisen itsenäisen, kuukausittaisen taideverkkojulkaisu NO NIIN:in kanssa. Vieraileva päätoimittaja Hector Sanchez antoi esimakua marras- ja joulukuun NO NIIN -numeroista. Kirjoitus on englanniksi.

This year, Baltic Circle collaborates with NO NIIN, which is an independent online monthly magazine at the cusp of art, criticality, and love. A portion of NO NIIN’s November and December issues is linked to themes, reflections and performances of the festival. The guest editor of the upcoming NO NIIN x Baltic Circle issues is Hector Sanchez (he/him/él), a Mexican anthropologist currently residing in Helsinki, who has been chosen through an open call and has specialized in the fields of Indigenous Studies, Interethnic Conflicts, and more recently, Hip hop Studies.

As Baltic Circle Festival in its current edition pays special attention to our social and ecological environments, while imagining sustainable futures, Sanchez is inviting contributors to  oversee care in these two different spheres. The November Issue approaches care among humans and the environment and the December Issue will be focused on care within society. It is through care as ‘a radical action’ that the many forms of art shed light on its revolutionary agency, but also on the struggles that care has to experience to come into existence. This conceptualisation proposes that, in order to have a revolutionary care action, we need to reflect on the struggles behind the current COVID-19 panorama. That said, collective trauma needs to be addressed as the pandemic has made an impact in our human senses, from individuality to the social interactions. In the same line, the magazine’s issues raise biodiversity loss at the same level of social trauma.

The November Issue will encompass essays around extractive land use in today’s world, and how to build a collective human care to protect those other than human agencies in our surroundings. Land exploitation by extractive industries has been called out largely since the beginning of our recent pandemic times, more than ever before. Perhaps our standstill ‘new normal’ has made humanity see more closely those resilience movements that have been fighting to protect the land for the wellbeing of humanity and beyond. In this context, our essays will touch problems such as industrialization, destruction, extractivism and deforestation. However, they will also shed light on their resilience counterpart, with ideas coming from social movements, Indigenous alliances, emotional attachment and in general the many ways of building care in a money-spinning world.

In NO NIIN’s November Issue, Helga West, a Sámi theologian who studies the colonial history of Finland and reconciliation processes, reflects on what ‘solidarity’ is and how alliances among Indigenous peoples can contribute to dismantle the extractive capitalist world we live in. In contrast, Anna Varfolomeeva, a scholar specialized in extractive industries in Siberia, analyses the notion of care in heavy industries and how by prioritizing productivity over well-being, industrial workers in the North-West of Russia see themselves exposed to a “destructive care”. Lastly, Ingrid Fadnes, a journalist who has closely followed Indigenous movements in Latin America and Sápmi, presents an essay overseeing the history of how human beings created a killer forest through a myth divided in seven acts. Seven is a magic number as it takes seven years for a eucalyptus tree in Brazil to grow. However, with the current industrialization this number has changed to three years. As the natural cycle of growing has been changing, so have been the narrations surrounding the landscape’s life. Fadnes is also an invited presenter during the festival with her documentary “MATA” and the photographic installation “Killer Forest”. These essays offer a glimpse on the discussions that the festival will carry out surrounding aggressive land use, and the artistic expressions that illustrate the need to build resilience: from the activist hip hop of Ailu Valle to the documentary MATA and more in between. Essays will come together with photographs offered by the authors themselves and collaborations from illustrators Minkki Nurmi and Zacharias Holmberg.

The December Issue, will include reviews from the festival’s events with a creative twist. That being said, readers should not expect the typical journalistic theatre play review, but instead they can expect to see personal approaches that interlink the social trauma in a post-pandemic world with the healing power from live events to restore care in our damaged society.

Text: Hector Sanchez

Illustration: Katri Astala & Pauliina Nykänen