58. Biennale – The Miracle Workers Collective (MWC)

Venezia - 08/05/2019 : 24/11/2019

The Miracle Workers Collective (MWC) rappresenta la Finlandia alla Biennale di Venezia col progetto A Greater Miracle of Perception.


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Miracle Workers Collective
A Greater Miracle of Perception
Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
May 11–November 24, 2019

Opening reception: May 8, 3:30pm

Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

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The Miracle Workers Collective (MWC) present their inaugural project, A Greater Miracle of Perception, for the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale

The MWC is formed and informed by a transdisciplinary and anational community of artists, filmmakers, writers, intellectuals, performers, and activists including: writer Maryan Abdulkarim; scriptwriter Khadar Ahmed; writer Hassan Blasim; choreographer Sonya Lindfors; artist Outi Pieski; artist Leena Pukki; artist Martta Tuomaala; artist Lorenzo Sandoval; cinematographer Christopher L. Thomas and storyteller Suvi West, as well as curators Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Christopher Wessels and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.

The collective's proposition underlines a critical engagement with collectivity and practices that articulate notions of the miracle as poetic vehicles from which to expand what can be perceived, experienced, done, and imagined. Drawing upon Nigerian playwright and poet Esiaba Irobi’s reflections on the miracle as “a trope of spiritual and political resistance” and as “an act of community,” the collective’s approach connotes a disciplinary disobedience to emphasise the constant questioning of perception as a political act.

The MWC is organised through the analogy of a living organism. The Finnish Pavilion features a site-specific installation Ovdavazzit – Forewalkers (2019) by Outi Pieski that enunciates the complex internationalist dimension concerning the Sami people’s collective struggle against enclosures, and The Killing of Cáhcerávga (2019), a collective film by Maryan Abdulkarim, Khadar Ahmed, Hassan Blasim, Sonya Lindfors, Leena Pukki, Martta Tuomaala, Christopher L. Thomas, and Suvi West, that dives into the miraculous to explore its experiential poetics. The modular set Movable Membrane (2019) by Lorenzo Sandoval functions as a place for osmosis and encounters.

Public events and publication
Alongside the exhibition at the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion, MWC is exploring the parameters of the biennial concept by taking it out of Venice—their performative, discursive, filmic and sonic arm is manifested in public events in Berlin (Germany), Venice (Italy) Karasjohka (Sapmi / Norway), and Helsinki (Finland) in 2019. Broadening the collectivity, these events present diverse practices where notions of transmutation, divination, and healing become processes of rematriation, restoration, and joy.

A Greater Miracle of Perception: The Venice Iteration is the second in the series of public events taking place on May 10 from 2pm at the Finnish Pavilion. The event will include the members of the collective as well as invited guests, indigenous rights activist Petra Laiti and dance artist Esete Sutinen.

Furthermore, the publication A Greater Miracle of Perception explores how miracle making—making the impossible possible—is reflected in artistic practices today. Departing from the traditional exhibition catalogue, the publication includes commissioned essays and poetry by writers close to the collective a well as by members of the collective itself. A Greater Miracle of Perception is published by Archive Books and Frame Contemporary Art Finland.

The exhibition in the Pavilion of Finland is commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland. Frame, an advocate for Finnish contemporary art, supports international initiatives, facilitates professional partnerships, and encourages critical development of the field through grants, visitor programme and residencies, seminars and talks, exhibition collaborations and network platforms. The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.

The main partner for A Greater Miracle of Perception is City of Helsinki / Helsinki Biennial 2020 along with Visit Finland / Business Finland.

The main supporter of A Greater Miracle of Perception is the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, together with the Saastamoinen Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and Embassy of Finland in Rome.

The iteration in Venice is supported by Goethe-Institut Finnland.