Tarinat ja julkaisut



Wrapping Myself in a Cling Film of Methods

An Essay about an Art Project Gone Wrong

The Backbone and the Ground

This text is the result of a project funded by Kone Foundation, but as the topic is sensitive, I will not use the name of the project or the names of my colleagues. I hope this text can be of inspiration and support for others who are working in freelance work groups and dealing with conflicts. 

We started our project with a long list of research questions, but for me, the most important question was: “How can we create safe enough environments for the whole crew when working with radical vulnerability?” This question hugs artistic work, production, emotional safety, and tools. When we started the working period, the questions that grabbed my interest, which is also the topic of this essay, were: “How and why might you work with people who hurt you in the past?” and “Is it possible to work artistically together after a serious conflict?”. I want to underline that the topic of our artistic research project wasn’t the reason for the things that went wrong. The fact that we aimed to work with vulnerability, touch, and sexuality made the need for safety more obvious. My experience might have been similar no matter what the topics would have been. The need for safety and freedom in an artistic working group is always there, and our tools and methods made it possible to research my question in practice.

We organized the work as a group by meeting during two residency periods, first in Finland in January 2022 and then in Iceland in June 2023 as well as through Zoom calls. Between the residencies, we also had working time on our own to create and research. 

We worked with tools like check-ins and check-outs in every meeting or work session; Nonviolent communication; Filming sessions with negotiations and changing roles; Heart sharing; Contracts; Pleasure, excitement, and process-based working, to name a few. (You can find a full list of our methods with explanations at the end of this text).

The Enmeshment

“The question is not whether we are enmeshed, but how we negotiate, suffer, and dance with that enmeshment.”

(Nelson 2021, On Freedom)

This text is to celebrate the learning that I—and we as a group— achieved. This text reminds me to feel in my gut what is good for me and to make decisions based on that and not other reasons like money, career, or future potential. This text reminds me to listen and take it seriously when my nervous system is in panic. This text shares the good things we made, discloses our methods that supported the work, and tells a story about how to notice when methods, structures, and tools are not enough.

I enjoy power. I enjoy freedom. I love artistic and personal freedom when it’s paired with response-ability (Barad 2010, Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Relations of Inheritance) and care. And, as I am writing this text, I don’t feel free. I feel like my hands are tied behind my back, and my lips are sealed with tape like I am inside in bubble wrap or extra durable cling film that keeps my emotions tight, small, and inside.

The biggest impact was to go through this time together

To open my skin, slowly, carefully

To let air in under my muscles, slowly, in between nerves and skin

And to breathe.

I’m a Stone Covered in a Slime of Relationality

”I am a stone, not a therapist.”

Our hands are full of goo and slime, they are sticky. Boundaries are hazy and even the best methods, tips, and tools won’t work but will only move the challenge or conflict forward. Methods don’t save the projects if there are serious problems with trust. Why am I doing what I am doing? How do I take responsibility for my actions?

I claim here that methods can be used as theoretical make-up; they are tools. They can be used for manipulation, photoshopping the image. They can be used for masking problems and they can be used for covering the shadows.

My hands are sticky and gooey. When I touch my tools, the goo drips drops, and spreads all over my tool shed, my used-to-be-shiny studio floors, my keyboard, and my screens, everything is covered in slime. My room is full of sticky hand prints, my camera, and my body. The beautiful new pens I bought for this project are full of sticky stuff. I can’t use any of it, all my ideas, my thoughts, are covered in slime. What do I have left? Is there something in me that the stickiness didn’t touch?

Slime connects everything, it enmeshes me to you, you to me, us to we, floor to my feet. There are no boundaries, there is no me, there is no you. How can we get a project done with all this slime covering us?

I am sticky, I am slimy, I am shadowy. I am the river where the water runs, polluted, full of slimy creatures waiting to find their way out and up to the surface. They are blind, they don’t see, but slowly, someday they will rise. Washing my hands in that river just makes me more connected to it all.

I’m going through the notes on our shared Google Drive folder for the project. It’s a story that keeps unfolding. It’s a story with miscommunications and many characters. There we are, like how we are now, there we are, like how we are when we respond to trauma, there we are as children. And we are many; we are armies. Our weapons are learned from childhood, from bullying, from teasing, and from pain. There is neglect, there is push and pull, there is coercion, there is manipulation, there is being left out of the group, and many sad stories are not being heard.

The River

If i‘m the river, my surface can freeze,

But there is always a direction, a will, a way

If i’m the river, i’m always your lover

If i’m the river, no rock can stop me

I‘m the river when frozen

I‘m the river while dried out, when you see only the bed of me-river

I used to be your sweat, now i’m the rain,

Tomorrow the liquid inside a fly,

Then part of the Atlantic, mist on the mountains

Vein, the river, the bloodstreams,

The push, the rhythm of bubbles.

Why and How Do I Write without Blaming Anyone?

I blame trauma. I blame my eagerness to try to make something happen when my intuition was screaming STOP.

I can’t hear you when I am afraid you might hurt me more. And I can’t help that feeling of fear; I can’t override it. I can’t think it away. As I have been getting more aware of my nervous system and my trauma responses, I can’t shut it off anymore. It’s not fun, but it’s real for me. I can try and pretend that I hear you, but it will never come through as real, because it’s not real, because I can’t hear when I am in a panic or trauma response.

Let go let go let go let go, like waterfall falls falls falls falls and falls. It’s always new water, it’s always a new river. I’m the river frozen, not falling, falls, falls, falls.

The cries, grievances, tears, and tears like ruptures that are needed to repair and to forget are about fear.

Spiraling Sorrow

My heart freezes

Back to ice,

back of my eyes dry out,

I can’t move like waters move,

I’m ice, i’m dead, i’m done.

Methods Build Walls, Methods Protect, Methods Support

”One can and should always aspire to make conditions more conducive to practicing freedom, which is, as Foucault (and Arendt) says, a matter of making space, of increasing degrees of possibility and decreasing degrees of domination.”

(Nelson 2021, On Freedom)

In the project, we created, found, and actively used many beautiful tools for filming intimacy, like contracts, playplay, nonviolent communication, active listening, and changing roles. Most of these tools continue to be precious for my work. And sometimes tools are not enough and they only distract me from the feelings inside my body.

Why have we been stuck in figuring out structures for years and years and years? Can structures give us some protection from the chaos in which we live? We learn techniques and we intellectualize our behavior; we make up more protective structures, time limits, games, play, and scores to hold us from being present in the moment. Is this what we have been doing in this project? Did it work?

Which methods can I use as a protection against radical vulnerability?

I have been wrapping myself in an emotional cling film. I am confused about when to come out to breathe. There is no way to move, it’s sweaty, it takes away my responsibility because I can’t do anything.

Maybe tools and methods take away responsibility. How to keep response-able when using methods, and tools, being tied, and having your hands tied? In BDSM, binding someone is a way of assuming responsibility for their well-being and safety, in other words, In BDSM to tie someone is to take responsibility for them. And I can love that feeling when the response-ability and possibility to move is taken away from me and I feel supported, when I can trust the other person is holding it. We tied each other’s creative hands together and nailed them to the wall but forgot to negotiate who would take care while we all hung there. My body was telling me very clearly that something was wrong, but I didn’t have the power to change it from inside the project because my hands were tied. This situation made it very clear that I would have needed support from outside, for example from the healthcare system or from the funder.

How long can you use tools and methods to protect yourself from emotional harm? Does harm go through the body as touch and sound waves do? If intra-connectivity connects our nervous systems to each other based on affection, how does this impact knowing someone for years? If our fascias and nervous systems have been getting used to each other and co-regulating or dysregulating with each other for years, is it even possible to stop suddenly with the dissolution of a relationship?

Time to Let Go

(Not) to endure in order to find new ways,

to take distance, to start seeing,

Me as who I am.


Warm thanks to everyone who discussed, provided comments, edited, and listened during the writing process.

Collection of Methods and Tools

Check-in and check-out 

  • We always did a check-in at the beginning of meetings and work-sessions, and a check-out before finishing. The idea is that each person has time to talk about where they are at that moment, and if there is something others need to know about their state. Check-out in the end is to see what was meaningful in the meeting, what stayed, and if something needs to be talked about in the next meetings.

Heart sharing 

  • Sharing whatever is necessary for the heart and nervous system like emotions, needs, voice, movement, sound, story, or sensation.

Emotional Processing Stimming Drawing/Coloring

  • Drawing or coloring to process when someone else is talking or sharing to help stay connected.

Meetings on Zoom

  • Surprisingly, the meetings on Zoom helped us to be able to work together. It is a great tool if the physical presence of another person is difficult. Using Zoom and online meetings also tricked us into thinking it’s fine to be in the same space, since everyone called from their own safe bubble, and did not feel the physical presence of others.

Game of Seeds

  • Everybody starts on some task and then starts giving creative tasks to others. So one “seed” becomes a trail of creative input, and from each new seed, a new trail is possible to come. This could help to give in to creativity without making compromises from own creative choices and ideas, and learn to trust that everything finds its place in creative production when it develops and comes together.


  • consent-based decisions of what is shown and to whom. We made contracts stating which material is for example fine to show publicly, or to close friends. Each person who took part in the making of the material had the same amount of agency in deciding what was shown. This is great when the films or other materials are done in a safe-enough environment. It can also become a tool to control others and their artistic freedom.
  • Clarity and contracts before doing something for example a play with a photoshoot. This gives fair understanding for everyone about what is possible and about the motivations, intentions and responsibilities of people when making decisions to touch or share pictures on social media for example.


  • Playplay is a word created as a reaction to the terms from the sex-positive scene that are made by connecting a word to the word “play” e.g. fire play, bondage play, pet play. Playplay is based on free association, following intuition, improvisation, joy and changing the directions of one’s own choice patterns to find creativity.

Freestyle media

  • Anyone can use any media or props that is available to them, no need to know much about it. Connected to role swap in the changing roles game.

Filming sessions with negotiations and changing roles 

  • Negotiating boundaries and roles, then filming playplay sessions or improvised movement sessions usually with changing roles from performing to camera during the session. This also always includes moments for check-in and check-out.

The changing roles game

  • A game in which in the first meeting, everyone pulls a role from the hat, for example, director, actor, editor, producer, sound designer, light designer, care person etc. and they try this role even though they would not have any prior experience on it. This game helps to create empathy and understanding of other roles.

Fast paced working – not much pressure on the product

  • Inspired by the Kino Cabarét style of making movies in a few days from idea to finished and edited movie.

Pleasure, excitement, and process-based working

  •  Following the excitement, pleasure and comfort of the whole crew, and not thinking about the product too much. 

Figures to represent others when doing distant work

  • We all had different clay animal versions, class pearls, or stones to represent the others in the project and to carry with us.

Transparent Workboards, Mood Boards and a Shared Diary

  • There is a common board online where to share the weekly/monthly process, ideas, progress, difficulties, visuals and sources of information. 
  • Everybody has the same material on their hard drives
  • We used Miro for mood and work boards.
  • Everyone also has their own artistic research diary

Six Types of Boundaries

  • Physical boundaries
  • Emotional boundaries
  • Time-related boundaries
  • Sexual boundaries
  • Intellectual boundaries
  • Spiritual boundaries
  • Material boundaries

Visualisation of metafors to build trust

  • Tree, nest, eggs, 
  • Floor, table, legs
  • Birch sap – When there is enough harm, the sap goes back to its roots and doesn’t make leaves. When the situation changes, the sap can come back and give life to the leaves and livelihood of the tree. You can’t force the sap to come up in the winter / after a traumatic event.

Other tools

  • Emotion Wheel (Junto institute)
  • Nonviolent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg)
  • Lists of basic needs
  • 7 Elements of Trust: Boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault, integrity, nonjudgment, generosity (Brené Brown)
  • Tarot, runes
  • Schedules
  • Personal therapy