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As within so without

Relocating to a foreign place is an experience that can manifest a personal sense of disconnection in cultural, social, and environmental aspects. In this research, I depart from my personal experience of relocation from Brazil to Finland to explore this feeling. Working from an environmental perspective, I observed that this sense of disconnection from the natural world is a symptom of modern living, where humans have positioned themselves above and separated from nature. Seeking ways to restore this connection is how I attempt to regain a sense of self and home in my local landscape through this thesis.


To realize this aim, I was inspired by indigenous peoples and their ways of living and knowing, which are based on reciprocity and kinship with their landscapes and other-than-human communities. By conducting this research through a practice-led methodology, I used indigenous ways of knowing as guiding methods, which supported the research with a sensorial perception and animistic attention. With this approach, I had the tools to develop creative practices of being and making with local trees and clay as other-than-human partners, as well as intuitive rituals as a means of building connections. Creative practices facilitate spontaneous and artistic interactions between the maker and their surroundings, consequently supporting the generation of connections and relationships in that process. The practices developed in this research include walking, painting, making clay artefacts indoors and outdoors, and foraging. Ritual practices were developed during the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, interweaving seasonal and material aspects of the landscape with personal memories through intuitive and sensorial actions. Both rituals and practices facilitated the access to important memories and insights that shaped my relation to the other-than-humans in my surroundings, deepening my relationship with the Finnish landscape in the process. As a result, I recovered a sense of home and self in place, creating in this research a set of practical tools that can be used for becoming naturalized in a foreign landscape, along with supporting anyone who wants to regenerate their relationship with the natural world.

Trees and Finnish red clay 2023. 

A work by Taísa Helena.

Master of Arts - Contemporary Design - Aalto University - Thesis Project .

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