Metamorphoses is a series of sensory and material explorations beyond the human and non-human divide.

How to read:
1. In this meeting the relationship between language and matter is investigated.
2. You will read through both your mind and senses.
3. Gather in a group of 5–10 people in a dimly lit room. Sit down in a circle.
4. Pass the text fragments around the circle and read them out loud.
5. Listen to the sound. Use raw materials, such as fat, to build something together in the middle of the circle. Try to think as little as possible.
6. Reflect on the feelings, thoughts and images that the experiment evoked. Were there any connections between the first and second parts of the experiment, between the intellectual and ‘bodily’ ways of reading?

Abram, Daniel. Becoming Animal (Text excerpt). Mythic Imagination Institute, 2010.

Abram, Daniel. The Spell of the Sensuous (Recommended book). Vintage Books, 1996.

Abramovic, Marina. Statements (Quote). 1992.

Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses (Recommended book). Random House, 1990.

Ackerman, Diane. Deep Play (Text excerpt). Random House, 1999.

Andersson, E. N. Ecologies of the Heart (Recommended book). Oxford University Press, 1996.

Bataille, Georges. Inner experience (Recommended book). SUNY Press, 2014.

Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an ecology of mind (Full text). Jason Aronson, 1987.

Bell, Catherine. Ritual Theory (Full text). Oxford University Press, 2009.

Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Full text). Duke University Press, 2010.

Bettelheim, Bruno. Uses of Enchantment (Full text). The New Yorker, 1975.

Bilgraami, Akeel. Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (Recommended book). Harvard University Press, 2014.

Birnbaum, Daniel and Olsson, Anders. As a Weasel Sucks Eggs: An Essay on Melancholy and Cannibalism (Recommended book). Sternberg Press, 2008.

Borer, Alain. The Essential Joseph Beuys (Recommended book). Thames and Hudson, 1996.

Bortoft, Henri. The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way of Science (Recommended book). Floris Books, 1996.

Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth (Recommended book). Anchor Books, 1988.

Cixous, Hélène. Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing (Text excerpt). Columbia University Press, 1993.

Dallmayr, Fred. Return to Nature? An Ecological Counterhistory (Recommended book). The University Press of Kentucky, 2011.

della Porta, Giambattista. Nature Magick (Full text). Transcribed from 1658 English Edition.

Derrida, Jacques. The Animal That Therefore I Am (Text excerpt). Trans. David Wills. Critical Inquiry, Vol. 28, No. 2, 369-418. 2002.

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus (Full text). Trans. Brian Massumi. University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

Doniger, Wendy; Eliade, Mircea and Trask, Willard. Shamanism (Reviewed text). Published by Princeton University Press, 2004.

Eco, Umberto. The Book of Legendary Lands (Reviewed text). 2013.

Eliade, Mircea. Myth and Reality (Full text). Trans. Willard R. Trask. Harper Torchbooks, 114–138, 1963.

Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion (Full text). Trans. Willard R. Trask. Book Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. 1917.

Freud, Sigmund. The Uncanny (Full text). 1919.

Goethe. Metamorphosis of Plants and modern Plant Genetics (Full text). Trans. Peer Schilperoord-Jarke. 2000.

Gottschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (Recommended book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

Greer, John Michael. The blood of the earth (Recommended book). Scarlet Imprint, 2012.

Guattari, Félix. The Three Ecologies (Full text). Trans. Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. The Athlone Press, 2000.

Harding, Stephen. Animate Earth (Film trailer). Animate Earth and Angel TV, 2014.

Harvey, Graham. Animism (Recommended book). Columbia University Press, 2005.

Hayward, Tim. Ecological Thought (Recommended book). Wiley, 1995.

Hume, Lynne. Portals (Text excerpt). Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007.

Kafka, Franz. Metamorphosis (Full text). Trans. David Wyllie. The Project Gutenberg EBook, 2005.

Kastner, Jeffrey. Nature (Recommended book). MIT Press, 2012.

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything (Recommended book and film). 2014.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction (Recommended book). Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014.

Lucretius. The Nature of the Universe (Full text). Trans. William Ellery Leonard. Written 50 B.C.E.

Lussier, Mark. Blake’s Deep Ecology, or the Ethos of Otherness (Text excerpt). Vol. 35, No. 3, Green Romanticism, 393–408. Boston University, 1996.

Machon, Josephine. Immersive Theatres (Recommended book). Macmillan Education UK, 2013.

Marten, Gerald G. Human ecology (Full text). Earthscan Publications, 2001.

Miller, William Ian. The Anatomy of Disgust (Recommended book). Harvard University Press, 1997.

Monbiot, George. Feral (Text review). 2013.

Morley, Simon. The Sublime (Recommended book). MIT Press, 2010.

Mouffe, Chantal. Agonistics (Recommended book). Verso Books, 2013.

Ovid. Metamorphoses (Full text). Trans. Sir Samuel Garth and John Dryden, et al. Written 1 A.C.E.

Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of The Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Text excerpt). John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005.

Ranciere, Jacques. Dissensus (Full text). Continuum International Publishing, 2010.

Roffe, Jon and Stark, Hannah. Deleuze and the Non/Human (Text excerpt). Palgrave MacMillan, 142–162, 2015.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. The Imaginary (Full text). Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2004.

Schumacher, Claude. Artaud on Theatre (Recommended book). Ivan R Dee, Inc, 2004.

Levi-Strauss, Claude. Myth and Meaning (Full text). Schocken Books, 1979

Trencsenyi, Katalin. New dramaturgy (Text excerpt). Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2014.

Vince, G. Adventures in the Anthropocene (Text review). Random House, 2014.

Visser, Margaret. The rituals of dinner (Recommended book). Penguin Books, 1992.

Wolf, Mark J. P. Building imaginary worlds (Text excerpt). Taylor & Francis Group, 2012.

Yoshihara, Jiro. The Gutai Manifesto (Full text). 1956.

Marina Abramovic
Statements I, 1992

“In our ‘civilized’ world the non-rational capacities which we still possess as children are completely destroyed within a rational education system. Bit by bit we are pushed into a rational pattern, losing our non-rational abilities and instincts. Our society is constructed entirely upon rational patterns. Everything which is not rational is treated with a certain secrecy. Only among good friends can someone admit that he believes in dreams, telepathy, acts of providence, astrological prophesies, magical power or visions. Our rational way of thinking demands proof, evidence, but this is only one element in our perceptive capabilities. Things which we cannot explain rationally are eliminated from our lives, as if they were non-existent. We don’t want to know anything about them. Art is a field in which the non-rational may sometimes be tolerated, where it is creatively employed. I want to introduce the non-rational into our society. In far eastern cultures the non-rational is part of the everyday; there things we reject as miracles or pure ‘chance’ are not excluded.”

Deleuze, Guattari
A Thousand Plateaus, 1987

“structuralist critique of the series seems irrefutable. To become is not to progress or regress along a series. Above all, becoming does not occur in the imagination, even when the imagination reaches the highest cosmic or dynamic level, as in Jung or Bachelard. Becomings-animal are neither dreams nor phantasies. They are perfectly real. But which reality is at issue here? For if becoming animal does not consist in playing animal or imitating an animal, it is clear that the human being does not “really” become an animal any more than the animal “really” becomes something else. Becoming produces nothing other than itself. We fall into a false alternative if we say that you either imitate or you are. What is real is the becoming itself, the block of becoming, not the supposedly fixed terms through which that which becomes passes. Becoming can and should be qualified as becoming-animal even in the absence of a term that would be the animal become. The becoming-animal of the human being is real, even if the animal the human being becomes is not; and the becoming-other of the animal is real, even if that something other it becomes is not. This is the point to clarify: that a becoming lacks a subject distinct from itself; but also that it has no term, since its term in turn exists only as taken up in another becoming of which it is the subject, and which coexists, forms a block, with the first. This is the principle according to which there is a reality specific to becoming (the Bergsonian idea of a coexistence of very different “durations,” superior or inferior to “ours,” all of them in communication).”

Juhani Pallasmaa
The Eyes of The Skin: Architecture and the Senses, 2012

“Oral versus Visual Space
But man has not always been dominated by vision. In fact, a primordial dominance of hearing has only gradually been replaced by that of vision. Anthropological literature describes numerous cultures in which our private senses of smell, taste and touch continue to have collective importance in behavior and communication. The roles of the senses in the subject matter of Edward T Hall’s seminal book The Hidden Dimension, which, regrettably, seems to have been forgotten by architects. Hall’s”

Jane Bennett
Vibrant Matter
A Political Ecology of Things, 2010

This book has a philosophical project and, related to it, a political one. The philosophical project is to think slowly an idea that runs fast through modern heads: the idea of matter as passive stuff, as raw, brute, or inert. This habit of parsing the world into dull matter (it, things) and vibrant life (us, beings) is a ‘partition of the sensible,” to use Jacques Ranciere’s phrase.’ The quarantines of matter and life encourage US to ignore the Vitality of matter and the lively powers of material formations, such as the way omega-3 fatty acids can alter human moods or the way our trash is not “away” in landJills but generating lively streams of chemicals and volatile winds of methane as we speak.’ I will turn the ligures of “life” and “matter” around and around, worrying them until they start to seem strange, in something like the way a common word when repeated can become a foreign, nonsense sound. In the space created by this estrangement, a vital materiality can start to take shape.”

Fred Dallmayr
Return to Nature?
An Ecological Counterhistory, 2011

“More recently, the long-standing attack on nature and its effects has triggered a widespread sense of crisis. As it is rightly felt, if continuing unabated, this attack is threatening to destroy not only an external environment but the human habitat, that is, the very condition of human life on earth. As a result, an insurgency or countermovement has emerged in many parts of the world dedicated to reestablishing a proper balance or (what one may call) a symbiosis between humankind and nature. The first requisite of this “ecological” effort is that the rigid divide between “man” and nature be cancelled in favor of wholeness or a more holistic relationship; differently phrased: the wall of separation has to be breached so that humanity can again enjoy the company of nature, and nature the company of humans. The movement in this direction is nurtured by many different resources and traditions. Some of these resources are religious or spiritual in character; others are literary or poetic (2). All such resources are no doubt helpful and important. However, given that the “man-nature” split was first articulated at the onset of modernity, and especially in the philosophy of Descartes, it seems appropriate also to invoke possible philosophical remedies. After all, a dilemma articulated so forcefully by modern philosophy can hope to fi nd a resolution or settlement only through additional philosophical argument. This, in any case, is the trajectory pursued in the present pages. Traditionally, philosophical inquiry dealing with the natural realm was called “philosophy of nature.” More recently, partly in response to the present ecological crisis, the endeavor has come to be termed “ecophilosophy.” In this sense, the present pages are meant as contributions to ecophilosophy.”

‘Changes of shape, new forms are the theme which our spirits impels us now to explore…’

Metamorphoses are processes of radical change in form, function and state of being, that can be found in nature and mythologies from all over the world, as well as in contemporary industrial processes, where natural resources are transformed into commodities. They are often mysterious processes, taking place hidden from the light.

Once a month, a fluid group of explorers meet at different locations to engage in poetic and imaginative dialogues with non-human materials and beings. For each occasion, new collaborations are initiated with artists and designers. The group embarks on a journey across the mineral, vegetal, animal and human realm, investigating how different bodies intermingle and transform into something ‘other’.

What can we learn from the non-human nature and how we can communicate beyond verbal language? By inspiring the guests to engage in deep and attentive encounters with non-human beings and materials, the aim is to challenge the way that we relate to nature, both within and outside our bodies. As the material world corresponds with inner landscapes, the intellect with the senses and animal instincts, the artificial with the natural, the project strives to cut across the life-matter and human-nature oppositions. Like an alchemist’s laboratory, the atmosphere is dark and quiet, to heighten the participators’ sensory awareness, and leave space for imagination, thought and reflection. The collaborative works will eventually feed into a final exhibition in London in 2016.

More info: Vilma Luostarinen