In English

Rite Days – performers and abstracts


Art: Taika Bottner

Sami Henrik Haapala


At the Rite Days Forest Disco will be lead by actor, dancer, dj and an anthropologist Sami Henrik Haapala who also goes by the name of dj Samba Klaus (among others).
In Forest Disco the way to ritual is opened by a small live session, but the night is really meant for each to travel through their own trance. Some call it a party.

Forest Disco

Forest disco is the beat of the metropolis in the middle of a forest, a ritual that left the forest, travelled all the way to the big city and now returns back home. Raves, clubs and forest parties continue rituals thousands of years old in a new form.

Guðbjörg R Jóhannesdóttir


Guðbjörg alias Gukka has PhD in philosophy, adjunct lecturer at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Her area of expertise is environmental aesthetics, environmental ethics and phenomenology

Beauty, art and landscape – phenomenological perspective on the concept of beauty

The sense of beauty evoked by natural landscapes has in a profound way something to do with general features of our understanding of our relation to nature. The phenomenological concept of beauty elaborated in this presentation discloses a sense of relation felt by an environmental self, as it provides a possibility of experiencing a basic feature of our condition as embodied beings. The sensory immersion that is involved in the experience of beauty is a source of “sensory knowledge”. This is an experience that stirs our emotions and allows us to perceive the world in a manner that reveals to us our relations with the environment that are in a certain ontological way deeply ingrained and at the same time conditioned by actual circumstances. The phenomenological concept of the aesthetically perceiving subject is a concept of the self as a relational entity that cannot be abstracted from its surroundings.

Otso Kautto


Otso Kautto is a Finnish writer, award winning theatre director, and a performing poet. His work has been translated to several languages, and he has been directing both in mainstream and marginal theatres, mainly in The Finnish National Theatre, and in Theatre Quo Vadis. He performs his poetry with The Poetry Band. In his doctoral research for the Theatre Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki, Kautto focuses on sense of ritual. He studies the creation of credibility, and the possibility of power in rituals. The concept of ritual is seen through the scenic praxis, and scenic praxis through the ritual theories.

A healing words session

Say to me what you want me to say to you, and I will say it to you – Sano minulle, mitä haluat minun sanovan sinulle, niin sanon sen sinulle.

Kautto is having a private encounter with spectators –seen as clients- where the client tells what she/he needs to hear, and then Kautto says it aloud. The client can direct the expression in order to get the needed result. The research interest of this healing experiment is in the performative power of words.

Marianna Keisalo


Marianna Keisalo received her PhD in social and cultural anthropology at the university of Helsinki. Her dissertation Cosmic Clowns: Convention, Invention, and Inversion in the Yaqui Easter Ritual was a study of the Chapayeka ritual clowns of the Yaquis, an indigenous group in Northern Mexico. Currently Marianna is teaching at the University of Helsinki and continuing her research into the semiotics of comedic performance in a new project focused on stand-up comedy.

Clowns, Comedians, and Healing Humor

Using humor to heal has a long history. Comedy has been used in rituals to heal illness or to bring the relatives of the deceased out of morning at the end of funerals; humor can be a source of empowerment and agency by helping to find new perspectives in painful situations. ‘Laughter is the best medicine’, as the saying goes. In this presentation I will explore healing humor from an anthropological perspective through three ethnographic examples. First I will discuss clowning in Native North American healing rituals. Clowns and comedy are an important part of the rituals of many Native American groups. Some of these clown figures are also healers, and in some cases the clowns are considered to be even more powerful than the shaman. My second example is hospital clowns, whose aim is to bring joy and consolation and lighten the atmosphere especially in children’s wards all over the world.  The third example comes from stand-up comedy. When comedian Tig Notaro was diagnosed with breast cancer on top of a long run of tragic events only a few days before she was booked to perform, her options were to cancel, make jokes as before, or to speak openly about her situation. She chose the third option and the result was a legendary comedy show. I will discuss the differences, similarities, and cultural contexts of the three examples. All the examples involve interactive performance that may have various social, psychological, emotional, and physical effects. From this basis we can explore the potential of comedy and humor to act as healing rites with much to offer in different social contexts and individual situations.

Sirkku Ketola


MA Sirkku Ketola is a contemporary artist and a printmaker. She is known of her large scaled serigraphy installations in which are combined the heritage of the renaissance art, digital photography and working with hands. Playfulness and testing the material preconditions are very typical for her. The themes are lyrical which wander over light and night.

Beauty in Art

The exhibition is a dialog of the material and spiritual fragility, and the beauty of the moment. The unity of the works studies possible links between organic and technical structures, and the code of the life behind the rationality. The crosses of paper, silkscreen and image manipulation are travelling amongst the time lines. Compositions and croppings might create some windows.

Jaana Kouri


Jaana Kouri lives in the southwestern coast of Finland. She is a researcher of the Religious studies at the University of Turku. At present she is writing her dissertation work named Experienced, narrated and written environment. Her favourite places are in the forest, on the sea in wooden peasant boats and at the writing desk. She herself has practiced shamanism, organized rituals and build shaman drums over twenty years.

Shamanistic worldview – thoughts about health and beauty

A human being belongs wholly to her/his environment spiritually, mentally and physically. Shamanistic landscape or worldview is divided to three worlds, to the lower world, the middle world and the upper world, which all have their own ”geography”. The spiritual beings dwell in these realities depending mostly on their duties concerning the healing work. We human beings live in the middle world. When a shaman makes a journey, she/he journeys to these realities to bring healing or power back to whom it is concerned. Shaman is the balancer. Beauty appears in balance.

Sabrina Maniscalco


Professor at the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics, University of Turku

Beauty in Quantum Physics

Quantum Physics describes the fascinating world of microscopic objects composing the Universe where we live, and in this sense it is the most fundamental of all Physics theories. Indeed it is used in almost its sub-branch, from Cosmology to Superconductivity to Medical and Bio-Physics.

It is commonly believed that Quantum Physics, as all Physics, is terribly difficult and it involves such complicated mathematical formalism to make it unaccessible to the non-experts. In fact, it is true that the “language” spoken by physicists to describe the microscopic world is mathematics and it is a specialists-only-language. However, one should remember that mathematics is the language of all Physical Sciences, but nonetheless we have no problems in “describing by words” to non-experts a planet orbiting around the sun or a car driving at a certain speed on the highway, all phenomena described in Physics via mathematical equations.

What is more challenging and fascinating in Quantum Physics is that, not only a simple picture of physical phenomena of microscopic objects has not yet been found, but it is believed that it does not exist. This is an amazing statement of huge and vast consequences. What we are saying is that, if Quantum Theory is correct, and up to now no experiment has contradicted the theory in more than a hundred years, the nature of the most fundamental physical phenomena cannot be fully pictured or grasped in the human mind, by definition.

The human species has wondered and speculated about phylosophical questions such as the very origin of the Universe and its laws since the beginning of history. We have an innate desire of knowing why we exist and what is the Universe where we live. All western civilization stems from the Aristotelic and Greek Philosophy that has given us the framework of thought and of logical reasoning so deeply radicated in our mind and society. Under this light, the discovery of some sort of impossibility of understanding the fundamental laws of the Universe, using the simple mental concepts that we commonly use to describe cars driving and airplanes flying or everything else we experience in our daily life, is one of the most profound discoveries of the human mind.

It is natural therefore to ask ourselves whether we can use forms of communication other than language or mathematics to picture what is by definition unrepresentable in our mind. We certainly need a huge dose of imagination, as quantum physicists, to try to understand the puzzling features of microscopic objects. But can we use the power of communication and the freedom of expression of Arts to try to convey a message on the key concepts of Quantum Physics to the general public? Can we try to establish a dialogue, between quantum physicists and artists, from where a new attempt to describe our incredible laws of Nature originates?

Jani Närhi


PhD in Comparative Religion. Department of Comparative Cultures, University of Helsinki. Areas of expertise and interest: cognitive science of religion, which tries to explain the pan-cultural phenomenon called religion from the standpoint of the functioning of human mind. Portofolio.

Beauty, landscape and paradise – an evolutionary perspective

Paradise beliefs across the world are strikingly similar to the extent that there are cross-cultural patterns of general traits shared by virtually all paradise landscapes. I will cover the evolutionary aspects that explain the reasons for the uniformity, and assess the importance of evolution for the cross-cultural aesthetical experience of the paradise landscapes.

Jorma Paranko


PhD, Docent in Cell and developmental biology at University of Turku

Cells in our beautiful and changing body

Evolution is relative conservative and mainly utilizes the existing biomolecules and cell organelles – at the cellular level, evolution has not, for a long time, brought anything radically new or surprising. Basic structures and functions of human cells are pretty similar to those in single cell protozoan, for instance. Humans are multicellular organisms where the cells are organized into separate tissues and organs (like brain, liver, kidney, pancreas, etc.). The estimated number of protein coding genes in protozoans is at a range of 5 000–10 000, but already in the sea stars the gene number is about the same as in humans (20 000–30 000). The body of sea star is characterized by five extensions (arms) – the same mysterious structural organization can also be found in the human body.

In the animal species reproducing sexually, there are six stages or “physiological rites” which are repeated in every generation: fertilization, embryonic and fetal growth period, childhood/youth, puberty, adulthood proceeding towards senescence, and death. During the embryonic phase, internal genitalia in humans are programmed to differentiate from a bisexual (dual) composition either into male or female phenotype. During this process our physical sex will be determined. The process will later be reflected in sex-dependent ratings of beauty values.

When and at what age an individual is most beautiful – the answer must lie somewhere between the fertilization and death. All our individual properties and qualifications are embedded and carried along in our cells. Immortal we can´t be, because our cells are programmed to die. Experimentally, human cells can be induced to divide (proliferate) 60 times. This would correspond to the theoretical maximal age of 120 years.

In humans, the age and stage of life become easily visible in the skin, the largest organ of our body. Skin forms protection against the environment and mediates environmental signals to the nervous system. Skin does not only renew in a nonstop fashion but is continuously a target of harmful external effects, like UV-radiation. As a consequence, inevitable changes become visible when the skin tissue fibers loose elasticity and the cells start to slow down their proliferation rate. Therefore, it is the skin that categorizes us into a specific age group – independent of our will. In general, the body structures under the skin also change during aging but these changes are not the principal object for the evaluation of human beauty. In general terms, under the skin we all are similar, almost the same and composed of: lipids (fat), bone, cartilage, connective tissue, blood and nervous tissue. Nerve cells (neurons) do not renew by proliferation which makes them exceptional. As permanent cells, neurons can store the things we have learned and experienced. Maybe this is why we meet a paradigm when looking ourselves in a mirror – the mirror reflection from the body seldom, if ever, agrees with or corresponds to our mental self-image.


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