Growing a Language


Exhibition by Collective Intelligence



Tuesday 18.9. at 18:00 - 22:00, with a performance by guest artist Vishnu Vardhani Rajan.



Wednesday - Saturday 12:00-18:00

Sunday 12:00-17:00

Monday - Tuesday Closed



Saturday 22.9. between 18:00 - 22:00, performance evening with Saša Nemec,  Egle Oddo and Timo Tuhkanen.

Sunday 23.9. between 12:30 - 17:00, open brunch and improvisational interactions.



The title of the exhibition, Growing a Language, uses the word growing as opposed to developing because it wants to contest the idea of development in its entirety. Urban development for instance often excludes plants, animals, and other biological and emotional factors from its planning and implementation. The act of growing a common language implies the amplification of the relations between different creatures and their environments, being critical towards the typical rational mode of developing systems and realizing dreams.

The common discourse on sonic, visual, conceptual, or text-based approach, emerges from the different subjectivities, entangling and enlightening the intersections of the artists' practices.

The artist group Collective Intelligence will exhibit part of their ongoing artistic process during one week in Helsinki at Myymälä2 gallery. The show features a series of works realised between Finland, Germany and Sicily, on occasion of the artists’ participation to Manifesta12, and during their group residency at Fondazione Orestiadi. Their process will continue in October during the project Il Traffico, as part of Manifesta12’s 5x5x5 program.

Collective Intelligence participants are: Antti Ahonen (FI), Ionas Amelung (DE), Alan Bulfin (IE/FI), Johanna Fredriksson (FI), Jytte Hill (DE), Erika De Martino (IT/FI), Saša Nemec (SI/FI), Egle Oddo (IT/FI), Marjatta Oja (FI), Timo Tuhkanen (FI).

The exhibition in Myymälä2 is supported by Pixelache Helsinki and Myymälä2 gallery. Partners: Fondazione Orestiadi, Koelse.

Videos from the project Collective Intelligence:
Conversation: Empathy, Technology and Collective Intelligence
Throughout history, collective intelligence has secured the survival of our species. The vital importance of collaboration is resonated in the numerous neural mechanisms we have that give rise to empathy, comprising of skills for understanding other people’s thoughts, feelings, and for acting altruistically. At the moment humankind is facing problems of tremendous urgency and scale. Simultaneously, we have been able to devise a fantastic tools that have made humans more connected than ever before. However, our digital tools for collaboration are still in their infancy. Ironically, they do not support many things that are highly important for functional human interaction such as feeling of shared context, physical touch, synchronisation and rich expression of emotionality. Very often, these shortcomings seem to inhibit the emergence of empathy in digital environments, and as a consequence, collective intelligence. The digital realm is of course just one of the structures within which humans interact. All of these structures can either support or inhibit empathy and the emergence of collective intelligence. In the digital realm the problem stems mostly from the narrow bandwidth of emotional information that is available, two-dimensionality, over-emphasis of language, and neglect of other senses than the visual. In other contexts, empathy and collective intelligence can be inhibited by the structures that guide our conduct, for example the emphasis of competition over collaboration between individuals, or simply by the rules and goals that are set out for our interaction. The panel discussion, in its contemporary manifestation in countless events, seminars and festivals, can be seen as one of the most empathy- and collective-intelligence-inhibiting structures guiding interaction known to man. Too often these events act as podiums for broadcasting personal expertise, contrasting rather than combining viewpoints, and therefore ultimately not fostering empathy or fruitful problem-solving activity. In this seminar we would like to use the time we have not for highlighting or showcasing the impressive knowhow, expertise and individual intelligence of our participants, but put it to use for solving problems of empathy. Ultimately solutions to vicious problems do not arise from personal knowledge or capability but from the process of these becoming animate and transcendent in interaction with others. The seminar will therefore not be a panel but a joint problem-solving discussion where our brilliant participants try to find a solution to a few impossibly difficult questions. In this seminar, we will apply knowledge of what is needed for collective intelligence to emerge in discussion. Based on previous research, this requires quite simply the following: Empathy skills Short speeches, no monologues More positive than negative commentary Responsiveness towards the commentary of others Everyone gets a chance to speak Keeping these boundary conditions in mind, we ask the participants to have a discussion in order to find an answer to the following questions: In order to solve problems created by climate change and the increasing loss of biodiversity, which structure for interaction should be more empathy-enabling? Is it the Internet? Is it a structure guiding political decision-making? Is it a structure guiding consumer choices? How would you increase empathy in these structures? What would happen as a result of more collective intelligence emerging in these structures? The seminar is facilitated by Katri Saarikivi, Valtteri Wikstöm and Petri Ruikka. Marte Roel (MX), Katherine Behar (US), Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen (FI), Jaana Ristola (FI), Aleksander Nikulin (BG). The seminar took place on Friday the 23rd of September in the seminar room from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.