Why Do We Do the Things We Do? is a question my head had been whispering to me for quite some time before starting this project. Even though the question changed constantly it always seemed to respond to the same primary conflict: the work I was doing as an artist being confronted to the emotional complexity of the person I am. It was only while having the odd opportunity of concentrating on a single project for two years at Aalto University is when I decided to do something about it. Initially, I stopped producing and thinking about the usual strategies and expectations I have when working so I could create a quieter mental space for listening to that conflict and its call for attention, eventually a natural desire of comprehension and disclosure emerged and with this the necessity of someone else to listen.
During these two years a group of artists, curators and I practiced conversation with numerous participants as a method for interpersonal self-exploration so to speculate collaboratively about ourselves and the motives behind our choices. To house these conversations we created a protective, acoustically isolated intimate space, a biodegradable sculpture that allowed us to slow down by speaking within silence.
In a few words, Why Do We Do the Things We Do? is a series of conversations hosted in our sculpture, installed in Kampintori square in Helsinki City Center, between 25th of September and the 29th of October 2015. During 35 days the project invited members of the community to participate on one-to-one conversation (for not less than 45 minutes) with one of five project members. Altogether 103 conversations were held, and short excerpts of these conversations played into the surrounding area by the sculpture’s built in speakers, aiming to create a living communion with the cityscape by inviting others to listen and participate in this encounter.
The conversionalist team