Feral Helsinki: Making Sense With More-than-Human Urban Ecologies

Aalto Space 21 (www.aalto.fi/space21)

A process-led course for Contemporary Design students (MA) at Aalto University, Finland. Organised in Autumn 2023, in collaboration with the Uroboros Collective as the main course partner.

23 Oct Mon

8 Dec Fri


The process-led course provided a co-creative space for feral investigations of more-than-human ecologies in Helsinki and its surroundings. Through the seven course weeks, we explored and drifted with local other-than-human creatures – trees, crows, sparrows, hobby-horses, abandoned houses, park benches, rocks, Norse mythologies, house plants, algorithms, and sounds behind our windows – to form new relations and make sense of local ecologies together. While drifting, we questioned who has the ability and power to produce knowledge and data about local everyday realities, whose interests and concerns are taken into account, and who often remain less visible, un-heard, un-noticed. On the way, we reflected on our own positions as human creatures and researchers, paying attention to what data we are collecting about whom, who can collect data about us, and for what ends. Among the many questions that we set to explore were:

What forms and shapes can more-than-human co-creation of knowledge and data take in practice? What possibilities, challenges, and concerns might arise while collaborating with other-than-humans? How can we understand and embody ‘data’ in the context of more-than-human co-creation? How can this data look, smell, feel, sound, taste like?

Our creative investigation was guided by feral ways of sensemaking that invite open-ended, embodied, sensory-rich, and spontaneous encounters unfolding beyond the bounds of human control. In practice, we experimented with various performative and imaginative sensemaking techniques including walking, drifting, listening, storytelling, prompting, crafting, baking, noticing, and sometimes simply remembering, to collect experiences and co-create feral data artifacts of varied formats. We documented our processes and artifacts as short films, self-reflective diaries, and creative essays compiled into the Feral Zine.

The course outcomes were showcased in the National Gallery Prague, as part of the Uroboros Festival and Fotograf Festival joint public programs (December 2023).

• Course teacher: Markéta Dolejšová

• Teaching assistant: Zoë Robertson

• Guest tutors: Jaz Hee-jeong ChoiVille MJ HyvönenAndrea BoteroOssi Oikari 

• Course participants: Hana Rehorčíková, Saga Rantanen, Luise Arnold, Minchen Haga Stenersen, Mingzhu Fan, João Floréncio Justino, Soli Uuttera, Mattia Anderle, Fanny Kajela, Yutaro Komaki, Dario Aguet 

• Course partner: Uroboros Collective

🐍 All course outputs including short films, diaries, and essays are available HERE 🐍

Markéta Dolejšová

Markéta Dolejšová is a practice-based researcher working across participatory art and design to explore the shapeshifting dynamics of more-than-human coexistence and the changing relations among humans, nature, and technology. She is currently affiliated as a postdoctoral research fellow at Aalto University - School of Arts, Design and Architecture (FI) and has co-founded several art-design research initiatives including the Uroboros festival, the Open Forest Collective, the Feeding Food Futures network, and the Fermentation GutHub. In 2020-22 she worked with the CreaTures – Creative Practices for Transformational Futures EU project where she led the Laboratory of experimental artistic productions.