New game challenges us to more empathic forest conversations
Empathy artist Enni-Kukka Tuomala is creating a new artwork for the new permanent exhibition at The Finnish Forest Museum Lusto in 2024. The artwork will bring to life different forest values and perspectives, offering museum visitors a playful and collective empathy experience.
Tuomala’s artwork will invite museum visitors to explore different experiences and perspectives in the Finnish forest, and to adopt a range of forest-related roles across both human and non-human points of view. The shared experience is shaped around a new game, which aims to create a more open, accountable and inclusive space for examining our own forest relationships and understanding different values linked both to the forests of today and the forests of the future, offering a new framework for more empathic forest conversations. The upcoming site specific artwork will consist of a large-scale sculptural installation, as well as smaller playful objects, all made of wood, to be unveiled in 2024. The artwork will be based on Finnish people’s real experiences and stories of the forest and from the forest, collected by the museum and the artist between 2020-23.
Enni-Kukka Tuomala is the world’s first empathy artist. Her vision is to transform empathy from an individual feeling to a radical and collective power for systemic change through public interventions and large-scale installations, collaborative projects, environments and tools to fight the growing global empathy deficit. Her collaborative, multidisciplinary and research-based practice investigates the delicate relationships between empathy, culture, space and systems. After years of focusing her practice on interpersonal empathy, Tuomala has begun exploring interspecies empathy between humans and non-humans. The upcoming artwork at Lusto will add to Tuomala’s growing bodies of work “Forest Empathy”, investigating the perspectives and experiences of trees, and the “Empathy Ecosystem”, tracing the economic, ecological and social role of empathy in all human and non-human life.
Born and raised in Finland, Tuomala lives and works in London. Her work has been presented at leading museums around the world, including Tate Liverpool (2022), The Design Museum (2021), and The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2019-20). In 2021 Tuomala represented Finland at the London Design Biennale with the installation “Empathy Echo Chamber”, in collaboration with the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland and the Embassy of Finland in London. Tuomala is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, Imperial College of London and the University of Oxford.
The Finnish Forest Museum Lusto’s new permanent exhibition will open to the public before the summer of 2024. The museum renovations will be carried out in phases during 2023-24. The new permanent exhibition is realised with the support of the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Museum Vision grant.