Critical Culture: Criticality in Cultural Production


What does critical cultural production and research look like at the moment? What are some of the main questions, topics and tools present in the field? How is the cultural field practicing ethical coexistence? We welcome you to join us in a conversation about criticality and cultural production in the cultural field today.

Critical Culture: Criticality in Cultural Production is the final instalment of the In Conversations with the Finnish Institutes discussion series, which has been organised online from late autumn 2021 to spring 2022. The series is organised by the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes and is produced and moderated by Monica Gathuo. In this discussion, we approach the subject of criticality in culture from an international perspective, with professionals from the UK, Belgium, Norway, and Finland.

Speakers: Aurélie Disasi (Belgium), Vishnu Vardhani Rajan (Finland), and Antoni Hætta (Norway)

Aurélie Disasi is a poet and a freelance workshop coordinator. They use poetry to raise awareness about intergenerational and cultural differences that touch base on mental health. Aurélie has worked in the cultural sector for several years, in which one of their most recent roles has been to work in theatre houses as a dramaturg where they enjoy meeting amazing, talented artists. As a workshop coordinator Aurélie also leads workshops around the concept of Safe(r) Spaces, from an artistic, racial and organisational working point.

Vishnu Vardhani Rajan based in Hyderabad and Helsinki is a body-philosopher and performance artist. A hyphenated identity, multidisciplinary practices and building connections between art, science, witchcraft, history and cultures define them. Vishnu’s work spans dance, non-performance-performance, performing arts, performance poetry, stand-up comedy, moving images, punk-architecture, and cultural poethics of community building. Quilting as a methodology centering topics of conflict, sleep and shame, Infinite Playlist Afterisms (IPA) centering politics of pleasure and joy and ‘Convivial Complaint Cell’ are their ongoing work. Vishnu’s persona, Vamp Master Brown, is the first Indian drag king in Helsinki. They are currently researching on how to combine various disciplines to achieve a new visual vocabulary and language in performance and storytelling. They are currently reading Sara Ahmed’s Complaint with a reading-circle. Vishnu’s guerilla curatorial praxis aims to address Multi-Scalar social challenges.

Anthoni Hætta is a young musician and composer from the Norwegian part of Sápmi. He has his base in Kautokeino, where he works fulltime as a professional musician. He is one of the two founders of Davvi Division – a cultural hub for young Sámi musicians and dancers, where he and dancer Ánna-Katri Helander are teaching and arranging events where youth and adults alike can experience, but most importantly perform music or dance. The seminar is produced in collaboration with intercultural and anti-racist platform #stophatrednow, the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute, the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, the Cultural Institute of Finland for Benelux and the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York,

#StopHatredNow is an intercultural and anti-racist platform organised initiated by UrbanApa arts platform in collaboration with several art and intercultural organisations. It takes place virtually from the 16th to the 21st of  May 2022. This year’s theme is Practising Coexistence. The programme for 2022 offers free-of-charge lectures, keynotes, discussions, workshops, and artistic outcomes.

Check out the full program on the #stophatrednow website.