The Stroker, 2018 15:16 two-channel video installation
The Stroker is a two-channel video installation based on Takala’s two week-long intervention at Second Home, a trendy East London coworking space for young entrepreneurs and startups. During the intervention Takala posed as a wellness consultant named Nina Nieminen, the founder of cutting-edge company Personnel Touch who were allegedly employed by Second Home to provide touching services in the workplace. Nina strolled around Second Home being friendly to everyone, greeting and lightly touching people as she passed them by. It gets the office talking, workers gossip amongst themselves, visibly bonding over a common confusion – she was nicknamed ‘The Stroker’.
The responses of the ‘touchees’ varied widely, most were polite, but there were those whose body language registered a visible discomfort. Perhaps simply due to the cultural context of this invasion of personal space, or perhaps as a result of the inner conflict that arises when one does not feel able to truthfully or openly react. When unable to assert oneself, this kind of embodied negotiation may take the place of words.
The nuances of movement demonstrate how people negotiate the dilemma of being mediated bodies under social pressure, and how such responses are controlled by the tacit conventions governing what is deemed to be ‘acceptable behaviour’. In the clear-walled, open-thinking space of The Stroker, we witness a physical negotiation of boundaries where there seemingly are none.
Director of Photography: Katharina DießnerSound Recording: Karl Laeufer, Luke David HarrisEditing: Elisa PurfürstSound Design: Christian Obermaier Choreographer: Emma Waltraud HowesCo-writer, Production Assistant: Iona RoisinProduction Assistant: Amelie BefeldtCurator: Teresa Calonje TrenorTitle Design: Ana Fernandes Performers: Donna Celay, Hais Hassan, Laura Hemming-Lowe, Manos Koutsis, Matthew Moorhouse, Patricia Mories, Iona Roisin, Emma Waltraud HowesThanks: Sam Aldenton, Second Home staff and members, Carlos/Ishikawa / Vanessa Carlos, Helsinki Contemporary, Reetta Huhtanen, Hannes Bruun, Nicole Vögele, Stine Marie Jacobsen, Maria Pulli, Nina Yuen
Supported by AVEK / The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture, Finnish Institute in London, Koneen Säätiö, Second Home, Taike / Arts Promotion Centre Finland
installation view, The Stroker, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin, July – September, 2019, photo: Kasia Kaminska / Temple Bar Galleryinstallation view, The Stroker, Second Shift, Kiasma, Helsinki, August 2018 – February 2019, photo: Pirje Mykkänen / Kansallisgalleria