Rhizome Project by Other Spaces introduces schoolchildren to bodily learning at Tehtaankatu Comprehensive School
A new work of art to be implemented with the Percent for Art principle has been started in Helsinki involving the pupils and staff of Tehtaankatu Comprehensive School for the next two school years. Rhizome Project by the Other Spaces collective is a series of experiential and bodily workshops at the school. The workshops look at the idea of the rhizome through various rhizomatic structures and phenomena occurring in the environment, such as mycelium, the internet, vaporisation or even the formation of language. Through these concrete rhizomatic phenomena, the series of workshops familiarises the pupils with non-hierarchical models of thinking, learning and organisation, where diversity, movement and free association are emphasised.
Opening Rite, the first workshop of Rhizome Project, was carried out with 13 school classes at the end of August in Eiranranta, where the school evacuated for the period of renovation of the Tehtaankatu school building.
The work of the Other Spaces group is based on collective bodily transformation exercises that allow participants to come into contact with nonhuman forms of being and experiencing. These visits to ‘other spaces’ momentarily liberate the participant from the human form and identity. The themes of the exercises include elements of nature, flora and fauna and nonliving phenomena, such as astronomy and physics, among other things. The underlying idea is that these exercises make it possible to come into contact with unfamiliar worlds of experience, which in turn leads to a more holistic understanding of and responsibility for the equality and interdependence of species.
Rhizome Project by the Other Spaces collective expands the range of Percentage for Art projects. Due to its participatory nature, the work will be included in the collection of HAM Helsinki Art Museum as a work concept. The collection will also include video documentation and a new exercise developed by the collective together with the pupils. The pupils of Tehtaankatu Comprehensive School can do the exercise together with the school staff even after the end of the project.
The City of Helsinki adheres to the Percent for Art principle, which means that approximately one per cent of the City’s new construction and renovation expenses are dedicated to the creation of new public art. In recent years, extensive construction efforts have made it possible to commission art for many public buildings around the city. HAM Helsinki Art Museum serves as an arts expert in these projects, and the works are added to HAM’s art collection.