August 7, 2019 - Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art - Pilvi Takala: The Stroker
August 7, 2019

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art

Pilvi Takala, The Stroker (still), 2018. Two-channel video installation, 14:26 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Pilvi Takala
The Stroker
August 17–October 27, 2019

Opening: August 16, 7pm
Pulverturm, Am Schlosswall, 26122 Oldenburg

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Katharinenstraße 23
D-26121 Oldenburg
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The Stroker by Pilvi Takala is a two-channel video installation based on the artist’s two-week intervention at Second Home, a trendy East London coworking space for young entrepreneurs and start-ups. During the intervention, Takala posed as a wellness consultant named Nina Nieminen, the founder of a cutting-edge company called Personnel Touch, which was allegedly contracted 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 by them. It got the office talking—workers began gossiping among themselves, visibly bonding over a common confusion. They nicknamed Nina “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.

Such nuances of movement demonstrate how people negotiate the dilemma of being mediated bodies under social pressure and how these responses are controlled by the tacit conventions governing what is deemed “acceptable behavior.” In the clear-walled, open-concept space of The Stroker, we witness a physical negotiation of boundaries where there seemingly are none.

The Pulverturm (Powder Tower) belongs to the former castle wall and is the only remaining building of the fortifications of Oldenburg. Its history goes back to 1529, when Count Anton I (1505–1573) renewed the city’s military facilities. Since 1996, the Pulverturm has been used for cultural purposes during the summer months.

Opening times:
Friday: 2–6pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11am–6pm
During Nacht der Museen (Night of the Museums), September 14, 2019: 11am–midnight

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
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The Stroker
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