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Artists' Association MUU » LAURA LAUKKANEN – KOHTELIAS YSTÄVÄ (POLITE FRIEND)
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LAURA LAUKKANEN – KOHTELIAS YSTÄVÄ (POLITE FRIEND)

1.6.-20.6.2019
MUU Gallery
Lönnrotinkatu 33, Helsinki, Finland
Open: Tue – Fri 12-17, Sat – Sun 12-16

image: Laura Laukkanen

Laura Laukkanen’s video installation at MUU Gallery continues her series of exhibitions showcasing courtesy and kindness.

The installation draws heavily on the writings of two social psychologists, Erving Goffman and Norbert Elias, who often use examples relating to eating in their texts. Eating is associated with the development of behaviour and emotions. Where Goffman studied practices in mental hospitals, Elias explored 16th-century court life.

Join us for the opening of the exhibition on Friday, 31 May 2019, from 17:00–19:00. Welcome!

For Norbert Elias, changes in customs are indicative of broader cultural development. The more clearly we examine ourselves and others as individuals, the more we avoid any contact between bodies. The idea of food tainted by the saliva, hands, and mouths of other individuals awakens feelings of shame. According to Elias, customs have become an invisible wall of protection for us. They prevent the mixing of bodies.

In the early 20th century, Kathryn Hulme wrote The Nun’s Story, a novel partly based on real events. Social psychologist Erving Goffman refers to the novel in his classic book Asylums.

One of the penances used in the cloister was “begging of the soup”. The nun to be punished had to beg for soup from the sisters in the convent one spoonful at a time. A crucial aspect of the penance was that the sisters could give their spoonful of soup only after they had started to eat. The begging would continue until even the youngest of the sisters had shared from her soup and the bowl was full. The nun would have to endure the punishment without showing her feelings.

Neither Goffman nor Elias studied friendliness as such. However, the step from courtesy to kindness is not long. The video installation showcases various table manners. The behaviours have a different feel to them depending on whether they are used among friends or in a more formal gathering.

The exhibition is generously supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland and The Finnish Cultural Foundation.

muugalleria(a)muu.fi