Trojan Horse Summer School 2020 – “Film Making as Spatial Speculation”

Trojan Horse Summer School 2020
○ ☁ ☀ Film Making as Spatial Speculation
with Payal Kapadia and nicole killian ☁ ☀ ○
August 10 – 16, 2020

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In 2020 the theme of the Trojan Horse Summer School was Film Making as Spatial Speculation. The summer school took place both online and physically on Bengtsår island in southern Finland.

We wanted to organize the summer school week as a spatio-temporal medium for developing our research oriented practices and produce an experimental, collaborative short film. Filmmaker and artist Payal Kapadia, movement and performance film/video maker P. Sam Kessie and graphic designer and artist nicole killian offered exercises for collective filmmaking and organised workshops during the summer school week. These workshops dealt with questions related to the island, the space and memory, and our collective practices as artists, architects, and designers.

Due to safety reasons we were able to host ten participants of which five took part to the summer school online via video conferencing platforms and five in physically with us organizers in Bengtsår island.

The collaborative short film will be screened for the first time on October 2, 2020 at Museum of Impossible Forms in Helsinki.

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Meet the mentors:

Payal Kapadia

P. Sam Kessie

nicole killian

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Thank you Finnish Cultural Foundation Uusimaa for supporting Trojan Horse in 2020!

Finnish Cultural Foundation Logo

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Cemil’s Diary

12th August 2018, Sunday

I left Serkan’s house at 04.00 o’clock since I had my flight at 08.00 in the morning. It took so long all the process of checking passport and baggage at the airport. It was the last minute that I got on the plane.

Finally after three and half-hours’ flight we finally landed on Helsinki Vantaa Airport. Before I arrived to Finland, we had set up a WhatsApp group to communicate with each other and at first to arrange the transportation to the house that Maija had arranged for us via Airbnb. Since Jaroslav’s and my time of arrivals were quite close, we decided to meet at the airport and go home together. It took a lot of time to go through the passport check, so I was a little bit late but at the end we met with Jaroslav.

We went to the city center together. It was joyous to talk with him about our lives, ideas and every other thing that let us to know each other. So, I guess, we will have a lot of fun during the program with Jaroslav.

I could not get used to the calm and silence of Helsinki after the chaos of Istanbul. It was a cure, a treatment for me the first encounter with the city. The house was very close to the city center, so one can easily go to many places of the city by foot.

After a little rest we went to Helsinki Design Museum with Jaroslav. But, after a short time we came back home, because our other home-mates Sofia and Laura had arrived. And finally, we all met. It would be quite expensive to eat outside, so we cooked a huge saucepan of pasta.

Many of the other participants arrived at Helsinki that evening. So we wanted to meet all together, but we couldn’t leave home because of our intimate chat. We spent our evening at the house. And then went to beds around 00.00 to be able to get up early in the morning.

13th August 2018, Monday

It was good to wake up in the morning in Helsinki with people who came from different countries.

We had breakfast. During the breakfast we shared great conversations. Because of the different accents and the vocabulary, it was a little bit hard for me to understand them. I mostly listened when they talked.

After breakfast and a great chat, we quickly went to the central train station and met there with the other Trojan Horses. We got to the train, which is Hanko 951, and went to Santala. There we were welcomed Kaisa, Tommi and Maija. It was really amazing to gaze at the extremely green landscape, especially tall pine trees, while travelling. When we arrived at the pier, we jumped into a little boat and left the mainland to Bengtsår Island. Finally, we were on the island that was going to be our home for the next seven days.

All together we walked up to a little hill by the sea. Tommi, Kaisa and Maija – with Ida, Ida’s boyfriend and little baby Oskar – gave us a briefing about the island and showed us the useful/main places in the camp area: toilets, sauna, the main building…

It was interesting to listen to the amazing name stories of the people during the warming exercises. We ate some snacks and then we pitched the tents. There were four extra good tents that Tommi gave us. It was going to be my first time that I would stay in a tent, so I was a little bit anxious about the cold night.

We were really a wonderful group together:, artists, editors, architects and designers who came to the island bringing their own stories and interests. I was very excited to talk with them about their stories personally.

We gathered at the pier to talk about the program of the summer school. This was a summer school that promises to offer an alternative education realm for the people for free. Previous experiences were talked by the organizators. These were the experiences that had asked money from participants as a fee since the workshops had been arranged by mentors. This was a common idea that the hierarchy between mentors and participants stems from the fee that participants pay but mentors do not. So, the hierarchy keeps up while the money request lasted.

That’s why, this organisation takes its roots the idea that no one pays and everybody interacts on the same ground with each other, in a horizontal relationship. But when I think of our interdisciplinary architecture programs in Nesin Art Village* that I coordinated, I realized that workshop leaders are usually volunteer and some of the participants do pay. Namely, our current situation in Nesin Art Village remind me the resemblance of the former form of this workshop. So, I thought, the main point might not be about the hierarchy that money created but the attitudes and the positions that workshop leaders had adopted. If the workshop leaders behave horizontally without taking their roles as the ultimate power of the atelier, the borders would be broken already, automatically.

Now, everyone wrote their expectations what they would like to learn related to the topic “Choreography of Money”. Some of the expectations that were written and discussed among us were:

“What would the system/infrastructure be like without Money?”

“Art education as commodity”

“Learn about the local ways/ strategies of organizing alternative practices/activist groups related to the Money (economy/alternative money value systems). How do we create such spaces across differences?

“Money, Education, Power”

“How the currencies affect the people and the relations between countries?”

“How to define the value of my work?”

After we talked about our expectations of the summer school one by one, each of us talked about the topics of the workshop that was be given to us in the library. Some of the workshops were practice and some of them were discussion topics, presentations and theoretical. It showed that the presentations that were going to come from different point of views but at the end they would reach to the same topics in a holistic way.

We went to the main building to have a dinner. Just like in Turkey we had the custom which wearing off the shoes before entering the room.

After dinner, before we went to the sauna it was reminded that going sauna is a tradition in Finland. In traditions males and females split up, but this time it was asked whether we go all together to the same sauna and everyone will be naked without separating sexes… It was an interesting experience for me that everyone could wear off their clothes without hesitation, I felt quite embarrassed, I think it stems from cultural codes of my country about gender identity. But, finally I get used to be in the sauna with everybody.

After the sauna, we ate evening bites that we cooked on the bonfire. I liked it very much. After everybody went to their beds, I continued to write my diary. To have a break, sometimes I went outside to watch the red clouds in the sky that have this kind of a color because of the sundown light. The time is now 00.03. See you tomorrow!

14th August 2018, Tuesday

It was interesting to live my first tent experience in an island in Finland. Sun raised very early in the morning, so I woke up immediately when I felt the sky illuminating with the first rays of the sun, around 4:00. I couldn’t sleep well because of the excitement on the first day. Now it should be pitch black everywhere in Turkey. I walked out of the tent a little. I went to the library and opened the computer and surfed on the internet. The weather was quite cold. I got a little tired and went back to tent, but this time my feet were very cold and I could not sleep because of the tear of my sleeping bag.

I fell asleep, so I missed the walk at 08.00 in the morning. After breakfast, we met all the Trojan Horse’s in the library. The morning part of the program was planned for participants to prepare their own workshops. So, everyone worked for their own workshop until lunch.

It’s 12:00 now. We’re at lunch. There are great vegan dishes. I think I’ll gain weight because I eat too much.

After lunch, we came to Cafe Jolla.

* Cafe Jolla is located on the first floor of the main building. Tile brick walls are painted with white color. Projection reflective presentations are made here. This is the place that Trojan Horse’s come and work in their free time. It’s true that at some time when I’m cold, I came and sheltered here. Another nice thing is, there is internet connection.

The first workshop of the summer school program will be leading by Aap We are all excited for the first workshop. Aap retailed how Bitcoin system works as an alternative economy system through his own Bitcoin account. Bitcoin was not much different from the current system, because the economy system that bitcoin create, still uses the money in the current system. We started by reading the text that focuses on the concept of “social scability*”. We discussed the concept of “social scability”. Participants expressed their opinions on the concept of “social scability” that has contradiction in the context of the content and the contradictory expression of the context. Even though Bitcoin does not create a new system, it provides an area that breaks the boundaries of banking systems and an independency from the international currency exchange. It was stated that there is no social interaction in the Bitcoin system. I think, the bitcoin system does not need a social supplement. The system, like a map, uses its own distinctive values ​​as parameters, thus creating an alternative economy system.

* Social scalability is a working that of an institution to share an endeavor, in which multiple people will participate repeatedly, and features customs, rules, or other features which constrain or motivates participants’ behaviors – to overcome deficiencies of human minds and in motivating or constraining aspects of said institution that limit how or how many can successfully participate. It is important to note that there is a growing number of participants in the organization. It’s about human limitations, not about technological limitations or physical resource constraints.

We went to dinner after Aap’s presentation. During the time from dinner until the sauna time, we rested a little bit and continued to prepare for the workshops as well as enjoying the island. I keep writing my diary right now.

Another reason for me to come to Finland was to move away from the social and psychological situation that I am in. During this time, I often tended to check my phone frequently to follow the country’s agenda, chat with my friends on WhatsApp, and surf on the Instagram. But it did not last long. When I realized that this situation started to pull me inside, I left it at a corner. I sought to feel that place, to live and enjoy those moments.

While I was dreaming on a side of the pier and writing my diary on the one hand, time passed so I missed the men’s sauna time. I just took a shower today.

Towards the end of our second day on the island, the conversation with the evening snacks that we cooked on fire after the saunas, became deeper than the first day. I am sure there will we long lasting friendships.

15th August 2018, Wednesday

In a way that I cannot understand why, this it was very difficult to wake up in the morning, even though I slept for the time that I normally sleep. Fortunately, the island air brings one to him/herself. This morning was planned differently from the previous two days. We went to another side of the island for Sofia and Nathalia’s workshops and made breakfast there all together. It was very good for us to have breakfast and workshops there. I think the change of place arouses the feelings of a person and motivates one to learn and participate in the workshops in a higher interest and concentration.

Just after breakfast, Sofia’s workshop has begun. It began with the reading of the first passage of Mc Luham’s The Medium is The Massage; which focuses on the semantic and syntactic relationship of the concepts of “message” and “massage” as mediums. The text was focused on the question, “If we think about the value substitutions of today’s media, how does the message” as a psychic “shape in this context?” Each sentence of the text is read by another person. Discussions started through the text. The sentence in Mc Luham’s text states that the alphabet (as a kind of technology) is learned unconsciously by children and this is quite similar to the concept of money that is comprehended in contemporary society. The questions asked in the discussion

were as follows: “The value given to the things is due to our personal needs or is collectively determined in society?”, “What is valuable?”, “When do we encounter with the money?”, “Friendship, “How does the profit affect the value that we give to our relationships with people in

compare and contrast the value that we give to money?”, “How does money affect our relations; “What are the values ​​that are used as commodities other than money?” … Sofia wanted everybody to write a word on the papers that she gave about our thoughts on a utopian society in the future, then she collected all the papers in a bag. In the second stage, everybody choice a paper and tried to draw an image of someone else’s image of the utopian society. Everyone showed their drawings and words that characterized future utopian societies. At the end of the workshop we examined how the utopias are reflected on drawings that stem from the word that someone else dreamt.

Immediately after Sofia’s workshop, Nathalia’s workshop began to question the “values ​​given to things”. Nathalia’s grandmother produced various fabrics using various hand-sewing methods to make money. These handmade fabrics are very interested and sell very well when craft is precious and fabrics are not widespread and cheap. Nathalia aimed to create fabric for the participants by using this loom methods, which is quite relevant in the past. She had brought colored yarns, cardboards and other knitting tools. It will be both fun and interesting to inquire the concepts of producing fabrics, money and value in this atmosphere where monetary value is not a value criterion, where money is not considered as a method of validation at Bengstar. In addition, this form of loom is now shared with us at Bengstar as a memory which is shared by Nathalia’s grandmother, her master’s thesis, and her boyfriend who searched for sewing materials for the workshop.

Nathalia’s workshop reminded me of my childhood memories. Where I was born and grew up, our neighbours and relatives are used to waeve rugs and sell them to make money. In fact, there were many other stories behind weaving rug which were set up to make money. The women came to help their neighbours, while the rugs were being woven, the food and drinks brought by everyone were shared and chatted. Rugs become a means to socialize and produce something collectively, apart from being a goal to make money. The women in a manner expressing their love to their lovers by working on these rugs, while singing songs, writing poems and reading them.

Immediately after lunch, we met at Cafe Jolla for Laura’s presentation. Laura started her workshop with her presentation titled “The Origins of Money”. Immediately after the presentation, all participants were divided into two groups. The groups represented communities with managers and workers within them. Each society included an anthropologist who sums up evolving financial systems and social dynamics, and examines how values ​​and survival needs shape trade, hierarchy and money relations. The communities even had costume designers. The workers grinded wheat grains to make bread, then made dough and cooked. Laura has designed her workshop according to the claim that language can reveal how agriculture, land ownership and the early trade of basic foodstuffs are affected by the development of human civilization. Laura’s workshop was intended to explore the speculative origins of the capital, inspired by etymological links between bread, wheat and money. The workshop was both very entertaining and very instructive. We have experienced how a society in which individuals are mixed up with the work, labor and money establishes a relationship with another society.

We were tired today. Elena’s workshop started right after the dinner. I think, it was overloaded for all of us to participate that much workshop in a day. Elena began her workshop by reading a short story titled “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian, published in The New Yorker in 2017. Sometimes when we were listening the story we drowned in laughter. After the story was over, we discussed the world of money, deception and broadcasting with samples from Finland and abroad. This text shows how a trickster, the social media and the internet can do to an unknown author. We discussed the concept of “art” through Reupenian and young female writers and their productions. During the discussions, a question was asked of what we thought, considering Rupi Kaur, an instagram poet, and older male authors: what we call as “arts” is only the voice of middle-aged white men? After we finished reading, she asked us to write a story about White Horses and to read our stories in the library. It took about twenty minutes. Some people do not want to read. At the end of this workshop, we began to feel more tired.

Right after the workshop we went to the saunas. We burned our veggie snacks in the camp fire immediately after the sauna.

16th August 2018, Thursday

We woke up in a morning of beautiful Bengstar; the sky was clear and the sun shone so beautifully. I woke up a little earlier than the other participants today. Luka and Maija were singing “song of the day” for those who could not wake up every morning. I accompanied Luka today because Maija had a bit of a work in the kitchen.

Immediately after breakfast, we went to the place where Laura’s workshop was yesterday, for Inte’s workshop. Inte built a workshop focusing on the money circulation among societies. The workshop was designed as a game, to experience how this affects societies’ internal dynamics and their relationship with another society. Participants were divided into three groups: the collective society, the individual society, and the authoritarian society. Societies located in three different places of the workshop area, set their own trade, job description, job distribution and values. The society I am in was the collective society. We came together with all the people of our society and started discussing with them questions such as ‘what is collective’, ‘How should the collective society be’, ‘Can we encounter these similar cases in the past or today’; We have decided how the forms of associations that arise from the necessity of living together, the values ​​of the collective society, and what is to be done between the society and the society, the subject and the object of trade, are the individuals living in the collective society. According to the network of social relations we have established, each small community will share the ideas they understand among themselves with other representatives in a place called consensus. The decisions of the society will be given to the consensus. Every individual in the sub-societies will be a representative and the individual will be able to switch to other societies. Interaction within society will be continuous and everyone will be aware of all the developments in society. Everyone will be able to do all kinds of work and will be brought to the spontaneity of individuals together with the structure of business education society. With short-term duties everyone can do all kinds of tasks. The collective society will be in constant circulation of valuable information and constant change among societies. All societies describe the characteristics of their society. Every society explained the objects of the trade they will make with other societies. It was discussed over the value of the circulation that would arise from the trade object. At the end of the game, the participants made a general assessment by focusing on the concepts of society, community system, value, validation, foreign exchange and economy.

Immediately after lunch we gathered in the kitchen at 13.00 for Turkish coffee. I made Turkish coffee that I brought from Istanbul and served them. Many people had drunk Turkish coffee in different places. Everyone followed me with interest and curiosity when I was cooking coffee. I hope they like Turkish coffee with lots of sparkling.

We went to the pier with our mats for Mengchi’s workshop. The workshop is a process whereby a person’s own behavior, desires, feelings, judgments, to recognize the psychological layers that determine their existence. In the irony of societies, we talked about ourselves being easily transformed into commodities. He talked about a psychological investigation that expresses the forms of the relationship that a person has established with him/herself. According to this research, what is called “inner family” consists of three parts. The “inner child”, one of them, contains situations such as shame, fear, anxiety and crime. The so-called “guard” is a person who has a protective, reality-bending feature. “Manager” is the part that thinks and manages the person. Mengchi asked each participant to write down what s/he likes. Immediately after this, she wanted us to write on paper a feature that s/he did not like about her/himself. She left us alone for ten minutes. At the same time, she wanted us to try to feel what was happening around us, for example the sound of water, the wind. Using our own healing properties, she wanted us to think about how we could love or accept the features we do not like. She wanted us to imagine all the features to be improved, a place where we can feel safe or feel safe. When I imagined the place I thought would be safe to improve, I saw the place full of features to be improved. Mengchi’s workshop was an experience that brought us together with ourselves, in the place we are in, and in life, aiming at life and traveling between our own psychological layers.

Immediately after dinner, we found again at the pier. Jaroslav’s workshop began focusing on concepts like fetish, commodity, art, design, market, trade. He began by reading a part of Marx’s Capital. We discussed the relationship between art and commodity through various art works and discussed the reasons for the value given to any object or artistic work. We talked about the relation between the value which is given by a society or individually and the value of commodity. Soon after the workshop we talked about the sauna organization today. Robynne suggested a genderless sauna in addition to separated men and women saunas. Endless support for a non-sexist sauna proposal of Robynne!

Tonight I went to the main building after the sauna to prepare my presentation tomorrow. There was Aap in Cafe Jolla. He was checking something from his bitcoin account. I also sat in a corner and continued to prepare for my presentation. After a certain time Aap left, I had to go back to the campsite alone. It was a little bit frightening to walk down a dark road. On the way, the eyeballs of the tiny animals scared me more. I’ve probably seen one of the two deer living in the island. I still couldn’t understand what the other animal was exanctly. I went to the tent quickly. After a very exhausting night, I fell asleep.

17th August 2018, Friday

Soon after breakfast we went to Cafe Jolla for Danai’s workshop. When I entered Cafe Jolla, there were papers hanging on the walls of the room. Various words on the front face of the papers and words on the back of the papers written differently. Danai, at his workshop, intended to question design discourses empirically through the concepts of language, lingua franca and dictionary meanings. We all picked a word from walls and made a sentence using that word and read them. If I were to speak my own words, I forced the words to be used beyond their dictionary meanings. After this warm-up exercise, Danai spoke about the function of his research topic Movement Hotel in Amsterdam as an example. Movement Hotel, previously a prison complex, is now used by asylum seekers. While Danai’s work focuses on gentrification in general, it explores the role of design and art in transforming the capital system in this context.

Immediately after lunch, Ville Iivarinen, a critic of the economy, shared with us the presentation “What is Money?”. Starting from various definitions of money, he talked about the characteristics of money in the existing capital system, the new meanings and values ​​it adopted. He noted that money exists within hierarchical debt relationships within a virtual accounting system. He talked about debt systems and their relations, the economic crisis and its causes, the banks and the national and international flow of money.

The presentation of Ville Iivarien end up early from the planned, there left plenty of time before dinner. It will be me and Sascha’s workshop right after dinner. In this free time, I also worked a little more for my presentation. I was very excited. We will talk about the place of my presentation with Tommi in a moment. The weather is very nice today. People do not want to spend the rest of their day at Cafe Jolla. We talked about the possibility of making the presentation outside. We agreed to set the big table in the campground.

Since the theme of this summer school program Choreography of Money, I’d planned to speak on the subjects about Nesin Art Village as an example that takes place in Turkey and tries to establish an alternative in every manner. The formation process of architecture programs that I coordinate in the village, its aims, architectural education in universities in Turkey, alternativeness in education, current alternative education programs, the outlook for monetary issues of this kind of formation and economic functioning. After giving some information about Nesin Villages’ location and foundation, I showed the short movie in which Ali Nesin talk about Nesin Villages’ story, organization, organizational structure and educational perpective. Then I explained how I met with Nesin Villagers and what we have done for two years in these programs, from the beginning of formation of the architectural programs I have organized for two years in Nesin Sanat Village, its aims and objectives. I talked about the economic process of Nesin Villages. We’ve all together talked about the political situation of Village and its position in the normative education system in Turkey. The Trojan Horse Summer School and The Native Peasants are very similar to each other in terms of the purpose to be in a democratic educational space that everyone can access.

After me, Sascha started his workshop. Sascha’s workshop focused mainly on understanding the sections of the informal economy, the gift economy, and anarchist anthropology. We have begun by reading an except about, the origins of alternative and informal economy systems, their similarities and differences, primitive gift economy and the values that accompany it, the economic structures and the emerging economic powers. After reading the text, Saschca asked us to write or draw something about the people sitting next to us and give them. This gift could be a wish, a shared memory, or a drawing of a gift which are given in reality. It’s completely personal. Sascha then wanted people to give these gifts to the people they wanted to give among the participants. Those who received the gift wrote his/her thoughts on the paper. Written letters were read out and shared with everyone. I think that Sascha’s workshop create an internal inquiry on the matter of waiting on the people for the given values, the things and situations we value in everyday life.

* Marcell Mauss, The Gift, 1925 and David Graeber, Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology, 2006

Now, it is the sauna time. This evening, respectively men, mixed and women will go to the saunas.

Separation is approaching slowly. Tonight, emotional separation speeches are beginning to take place during the post-sauna snack. We talked a little bit about the organization of our Sunday closing event in Helsinki.

Jaroslav brought a small telescope to observe the stars. We went to the wharf just ahead of our savior to watch the sky and the stars. The weather was a bit cloudy. When we turn the telescope into the Milky Way, Mengchi is still excitedly shouting “wow!” in my ears. We all leaned over the rocks and watched the stars. On the one hand, the reflected light of the setting sun was still in the sky. I do not know if we’re approaching our last days on the island, I feel so deep in this feeling that everyone is looking at the sky at the same time. I was somewhere else in the world. We were looking at the same sky with the people I had never known before, actually the sky that belong all of us.

18th August 2018, Saturday

I woke up a little early because it was the last workshop day this morning.

Right after breakfast, we met up in the big tent for Kaisa’s workshop. Kaisa started with her presentation to her workshop. In her presentation, she showed Le Corbusier’s grid city plan and talked about the emergence of modernist architectural discourses, from Situationalists and their discourses to multi-layered situations and events that shaped the representations of architecture by Lefebvre’s “Production of Place” book. After the presentation, she asked all the participants to map in the island within ten minutes. The references of this map could be a voice, a feeling, a change of movement, a change of smell or feeling. The mapping workshop eventually allowed the island to be understood in a temporally and spatially, after the maps of the island that are made individually or collectively put together, this let us comprehend the island from different point of view. The island itself has become a vehicle that allows us to approach and understand each other on that main line. This was nice to compare and contrast the changed parameters between doing mapping in an architecture class for a city and now for an island.

Hein gathered us at the campground to give brief information about his workshop before lunch, which will continue after lunch. Hein was inspired by Ettore Sottsass’s book “Metaphors” while preparing his workshop. Before the workshop started, he showed us this book and asked us to examine it. In the book, we have seen the daily writings, illustrations and photographs of designer Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass put in a story of his sketches, drawings, writings and photographs in the book. The work of the designer is made up of spatial interventions in nature through various metaphors. All participants have divided three groups. He wanted each group to have a spatial intervention by metaphorizing the balances of money and economy, and at the same time using the physical dynamics of the existing space, and to reinterpret these interventions with photographs that are taken by analogue camera. But since the photographs are taken with an analogue camera, we can only see it after the program. I, Sascha, Jaroslav, Robbyne and Sofia were in the same group. “Afloat” was the concept we used as a metaphor.

After lunch we continued the workshop. Even those who finished lunch earlier had started to work immediately.

After Hein’s workshop, at the library Rikka’s workshop started. Rikka separated the workshop into two parts. In the first part, a part of the book “Seutu joka Ei ole Paikka” quoted us with English. The book was discussing several issues about what it really was and what it meant. She expressed the view that space and its production could be a tool for capitalism in the capitalist order. Rikka first and then some participants contributed to the debate by expressing their thoughts about this topic. In the second part of the workshop Rikka separated all participants into three for the organization of the event to be held in Helsinki tomorrow for the closure of Trojan

Horse Summer School 2018. One group was making more decisions about the planning of the time, the departure from the island, the transportation, and the collection of materials on the island while the other two groups, initially separated but later decided to unite, were discussing the content and spatial arrangement of the exhibition. Keywords for all the workshops for the organization were written on small papers and glued to wall. We came together as all participants to share all the ideas and finally, we made decisions for the event tomorrow.

We went to the sauna a little earlier than usual since the workshops are done early today. There was already an evening party. We were prepared for the party right after the sauna. We found it on the other side of the island. Tommi and a few other people set up the sound system. We burned a fire near the pier. The clouds that settled in pieces in the sky were magnificent. We

watched the sunset. We spent the last night on our beautiful fire, eating the pancakes that we cooked on our last night, chatting and dancing like crazy beneath the stars. It was a charming atmosphere. It was an unforgettable night.

19th August 2018, Sunday

We had already made an appointment to wake up an hour earlier than usual last night, because today is the day we leave the island. On one hand we gathered the tents in the camping area and on the other hand we made breakfast. Everyone was fussy and of course everybody was upset. The chef of the island and our cook who cooked us a meal came to me in the morning and gave Bengtsår as a memory. We got our tickets for the train from Santala at 11.49. We picked up all tents, equipment and supplies. It’s time to say goodbye to the island. We will leave Bengstar with the boat at 10.30. We were gathered at the pier and photographed collective. Some of us left the bags where we left the motorcade. The bags went directly to the activity area in Lapinlahti via the organization team. We were all at the train station in Santala on foot in the presence of chats. We arrived at the station a little bit earlier than the train time. I looked at my legs and arms to make tick control. As a matter of fact, the baby stuck to a tick. I immediately called Luka, our tick professor. Luka skillfully took the tick from my back using tweezers.

We got to Central Station in Helsinki. The group was dispersed here to meet at the evening event area. Some of us decided to walk, and some of us decided to go to the activity area with metro. Those living in Helsinki are also taken to their homes to get some rest and to prepare for the evening.

Nathalia, Sofia, Hein and I were the ones who preferred to go on foot. Choosing to walk was a really good choice. We traveled along the road in Helsinki streets and squares. We went to the market and got something to eat. Pretty expensive everything. Everyone was very attentive about money. When I think of Euro and TL currency, the dips are going to blow up. Right next to the lake we were sitting in, there was a building called Finland Hall, designed by Alvar Aalto. I did not go into the building but the building has a good relationship with the place where it is located. We continued walking.

We decided to go to Temppeliaukio Church, also known as Rock Church, designed by Tuomo Suomalainen and Timo Suomalainen on Hein’s suggestion. We walked from the top to the bottom of the church on foot. The church is entirely designed in rocks. The metal placement on the ceiling of the building is inspired by the dome metaphor. It is a good example that natural light design is included with the transparent openings designed in the ceiling of the building and in certain places. It creates a different atmosphere inside the natural light structure, making it a changing space depending on the time in itself.

There was a big music festival in Helsinki at the same time. As we walked down the road, we bumped into people dressed colorful. The music festival was echoing in some parts of the city.

We were closing to meeting point. We were meeting just next to the Mental Hospital, one of the oldest buildings Helsinki. Part of the building is being used as a mental museum. Another part of the building was occupied by city allies and turned into a public and collective area. This area has various activities such as various workshops and meetings. A place for everyone to use. There were traces of last event.

We finally met up in the event place. More precisely, everyone except our four has already met there and prepared the food and drinks. The activity we planned the day before was turned into something else. Plans were canceled, such as exhibiting work done at the workshop. It turned to a joyous meeting among us. Now it’s the certification ceremony. The organization team organized separate participation certificates for each of us. In the certificate, all attendees had a blank area where they would write down their feelings and thoughts on the certificate. Everyone wrote some else’s certificate. All certificates were distributed to certificate holders one by one. Then we took all the snacks and drinks and went out to the small hill on the edge of the lake. The event was announced on Facebook the day before, so people from outside were included in this meeting.

We all said goodbye. We’ve had quite emotional moments. Some of us left Helsinki today. Some of us will leave tomorrow.

I, Hein, Sofia and Nathalia, we will pitch our tents in the garden of Tommi’s house tonight and sleep there. We were on our way to go to Tommi’s house. With little snacks. We all were really tired.

We finally arrived to Tommi’s house. At first we went to the garden to pitch our tents. We will stay in the same tent with Hein. Because of rippled area we couldn’t pitch Tommi’s tent. We built Hein’s own tent. The tiring day impressed me too much, so, after a while I began not to understand anything spoken. That’s why pitching the tents period was a little nervous. After the tent operation, we went to Tommi’s house to have something to eat. Everyone was tired, and everybody had a sweet tension. During the meal, we all started laughing when I realized the crusty, cracking paint on the ceiling. We could not give any meaning why we were laughing, but we all had fun with it. We all relaxed at last.

I go to the tent and sleep immediately. I was so tired that I suddenly fell asleep. I have to confess that it was the most relaxing and comfortable sleep in Finland.

20th August 2018, Monday

I woke up on my last day in Finland. Because Nathalia’s plane was too early, she had already left.

I caught Kaisa at the door early in the morning for work early and said goodbye. We all went to Tommy’s house to have breakfast together. After breakfast he said goodbye to Tommi and Hein, Sofia and I went to the city center. In the center of Helsinki there is a famous island. Actually, our plan was to meet up with Laura, Inte and Danai in the city center and go there. We did not go because we were a little late. We walked around town. The weather was rainy. We visited the souvenir shops. It was all too expensive. We visited the Helsinki Cathedral in the city center. I met Danai, Inte, Laura and Elena for a pizza at 14.00. Pizzazz. 

We split up after lunch. I walked around the city center one by one. The flight to Istanbul was at 19.00. I left the city center three hours before flight time. After arriving at the airport and taking care of all the work, I spent a whole week with the intense memories of my experience. I have been quite shaken from myself in Istanbul for a week. I felt the deepest way to the Trojan Horse Summer School, a beautiful and nurturing experience in every direction. Finally, I arrived Istanbul. 

The journey was good.

Normal life, I returned to Istanbul; traffic, noise, crowd …

Borrowing Positions: Role-Playing Design & Architecture

Borrowing Positions: Role-Playing Design & Architecture - background image
  • Trojan Horse - Borrowing Postions: Role-Playing Design and Architecture -cover

Borrowing Positions: Role-Playing Design & Architecture is a speculative book which reflects on the design- and architecture-centred LARPs (Live Action Role-Plays) organized by the Trojan Horse collective. The book is an exploration of Live Action Role-Play as a design and architecture research tool. By inviting the reader to try on different characters, switch roles and reconsider their everyday practices, the book explores issues such as identity, performativity, gender, colonialism, care responsibilities and fear in the context of architecture, design and urban planning.

The book consists of three parts: an overview of previous LARPs and their theoretical background; reflections (essays, visual essays and interviews) on LARP-related issues; and a practical (DIY) section – a step-by-step guide on how to organize your own design LARP.

Contributors to the book vary from architecture and design practitioners to performance artists working with role-play and fiction. The book will be of interest to anyone interested in inderdisciplinary practices in design and architecture.

You can buy the book directly from us here. The book is also available at Kosminen in Helsinki, Lugemik bookshop in Tallinn and after the Covid-19 also from Khaos publishing.

Trojan Horse Open Air Residency 2019 – “Cultivating Research Practices”

Trojan Horse Open Air Residency 2019 - Cultivating Research Practices

Trojan Horse Open Air Residency 2019
🌿Cultivating Research Practices
August 12–18, 2019
With Simone Niquille & Leanne Wijnsma.🍀

🌿Open Air Residency was a spatio-temporal medium for developing practices and critical research questions. During a week in an island we concentrated on writing, reading and discussing together with a group of critically oriented architects, artists, designers and scientists.

Simone Niquille and Leanne Wijnsma gave a workshop in which they introduced us to the In a series of activities with the, we explored computation through the practice of fermentation and vice versa: infected data, motherboards vs mother cultures, fermentation as rendering, yeast as data storage. In their workshop we learned to understand that while life depends on the exchange of microbes between organisms, computation has an obsession with hygiene. From cleaning 3D scan data to infected machines, unsolicited transfer of information is to be avoided at all cost. embraced (and embraces) the wilderness of fermentation to prototype new practices of computation.

During the week all the participants had the possibility to share their thoughts, questions and prototypes with the group. We as organizers also facilitated platforms for interactions; improvised stages for performing, tents that turned into screening rooms and a temporary library for readings.

Trojan Horse Summer School 2018 – “The Choreography of Money”

Trojan Horse Summer School 2018
August 13–19, 2018

With Luka Appelberg, Danai Anagnostou, Cemil Çalkıcı, Nathalia Campreguer França, Laura Copsey, Inte Gloerich, Aap Kirsel, Sascha Krischock, Riikka Leinonen, Sofia Luzi, Robynn McPherson, Samuli Saarinen, Mengchi Shi, Elena Sulin, Jaroslav Toussaint and Hein van Duppen.

Bengtsår island, Hanko, Finland
59°53’54.7″N 23°06’30.8″E


In 2018 Trojan Horse Summer School constructed a monastery-like environment on the Island of Bentgsår. The theme of that year was The Choreography of Money.

We wanted to understand and rethink the role of money in the education system. For this reason the summer school that year was free of charge. None of the participants needed money to take part in the summer school. We provided food and all the other necessities and everyone was accommodated in their tents. Each participant also received a grant of 200€ to be used for traveling or other summer school related expenses. In the end we had 16 participants who were recently graduated professionals and master-thesis-workers from various backgrounds, such as design, architecture, economics, social sciences, journalism and art.

We also wanted to be as horizontal as possible. We did not make a separation between mentors (who would normally be paid to give a workshop) and participants (who would normally pay to take part to the workshop). Instead, each participant were exncouraged to share their own interests, research topics and / or organise a short workshop for the others around the topic of money, value and validation.

Cemil’s Diary

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Foreign Affects

Trojan Horse, Foreign Affects - Live Action Role-Play - background image

Foreign Affects was the second Trojan Horse live action role-play. This time we wrote a fictional scenario that dealt with various questions related fear. In the fictional story of the role-play a group of designers went to a foreign planet. The fictional designers, played by us and other participants, looked at fear as an active form constructing situations and subject positions, and also design objects, services and cities.

Inside the fictional story we asked questions like: what is fear? Can fear be seen as an active form? What role does fear play in the design field? What kinds of affects does fear have for a design practise? Can we understand fear? Can fear, or fear related structures, be used as tools by designers and architects?

In order to see things in critical light, we borrowed Bertolt Brecht’s methods that aim to produce distance and estrangement. After the actual play we had theoretical reflections that gave us tools and vocabulary to understand role-playing more clearly as a tool, but also how fear in general can become virtual and have much broader effects on our societies and our ways to work as designers and architects do.

Welcome to the Island of Trojan Horses!

Welcome to the Island of Trojan Horses!

Use the space it’s yours / Look around / There are stacks of paper on the floor / Feel free to read / Draw connections between the text and your work-life / If you find it interesting, take it home with you / Leave notes for others to find / Discuss with fellow exhibition visitors and create alliances / Start a conversation with librarians or search the library databasefor additional readings on new structures of work / Spend time here, contemplate.


An exhibition, or rather a space for asking burning questions, is brought to the Aalto University Learning Centre Lobby by the Trojan Horse collective.

Sometimes we have to get out of the environment we got accustomed to, in order to rethink our everyday work-life. How do we deal with the violence related to our work? How do we housewife our climate? How do the tools we use change our bodies? How can we work out what the infrastructure around us wants? These are questions discussed by design researchers, curators, artists, farmers, architects and writers. These are the questions you are invited to take further.

Trojan Horse Summer School 2017 – “CLIMATE CHANGE OF WORK”

Trojan Horse Summer School 2017
August 15–24,
With Brave New Alps, Nick Axel, Johanna Jõekalda and Aapo Korkeaoja.
Bengtsår island, Hanko, Finland
59°53’54.7″N 23°06’30.8″E

The second season of the Trojan Horse summer school begins with a burst of questions which circulate around the topic of work.

What does work mean? Who has the power to decide what is counted as work?

How can we re-organise our day to day life so that it would create new structures of feeling and meaning as well as new structures of work?

How can we overturn the fetish of the individual creator and express the sensations of collective life?

Can work be therapy? What would that even mean, can that be anyhow meaningful to others? Does that matter?

What do I actually do when I do what I do? Is it work? Is my work meaningful just for a few privileged countries or social groups?

So, what does the Climate Change of Work mean?

We recently went to see the Signals from the Periphery graphic design exhibition at the Tallinn Art Hall. In between objects, images, tools and music, the exhibition also displayed alternative design spaces, -events and -projects from around the world. What these initiatives had in common was that they were initiated out of frustration that there was no place or platform to do the kind of work these designers found meaningful and fulfilling. This is also one of the reasons why we started the Trojan Horse summer school.

How is it possible that so many people feel that there is so much design work that feels more and less unnecessary or unfulfilling, and so little that would take us towards the kinds of worlds we would like to live in?

How is it possible that work occupies more and more of our time, even when we live in increasingly automated societies, where many human necessities could be taken care of with very little actual human labour?

Why do we risk our mental and physical health working on our laptops, staring into screens inside cubicles, when we would have all the technology to use the space and our bodies much more fluidly?

How is it possible that we value efficiency and modesty and rationality so much, when there has never been so much surplus energy (and time) available to us to waste?

How does this affect the kind of knowledge and the kind of work we produce?

What are we actually doing?

And what does this have to do with climate change?

Climate is the history of weather. Where weather is something we can observe and feel here and now, climate is something we cannot sense directly. “Climate is the average state of the atmosphere over periods of years, decades, centuries, and more.” Climate becomes real as graphs and excel sheets. “Everything we know about the world’s climate—past, present, and future—we know through models.” In order to model climate we need global data, and to have global data we need different measurement devices, standardized procedures, satellites orbiting our planet and many other inhuman things, which sense our world very differently from how we humans do, based on our partial and limited local perspectives.

And climate, of course, changes all the time. The biosphere of our planet Earth has experienced many dramatic changes in its four billion years of history. What we call climate change today is something different. Something that will make our own existence threatened. Something which is already causing mass extinction of plants and animals, soil depletion, mass migration and wars over natural resources. That’s why what we now call climate change is something inherently political, it’s something related to the work we have done, and work we think we should be doing. If our collective work (utilising the energy released from burning fossil-fuels) has changed our planet’s climate once, it might make sense to rethink what we call work in order to transform both our world and ourselves.

What does it even mean to work? Is work anything that brings you money? Is it what you do during your days? Or, is work something that in some sense builds a common good? Something that someone forces you to do? Something you just have to do? Something that creates change? Something that creates new knowledge? A quest to find a world worth working towards?

In her book The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt writes about three different activities: labour, work and action, as equally necessary to a complete human life. “Labor is human activity directed at meeting biological (and perhaps other) necessities for self-preservation and the reproduction of the species. Because these needs cannot be satisfied once and for all, labor never really reaches an end. Its fruits do not last long; they are quickly consumed, and more must always be produced.” … “Work, unlike labor, has a clearly defined beginning and end. It leaves behind a durable object, such as a tool, rather than an object for consumption. These durable objects become part of the world we live in. Work involves an element of violation or violence in which the worker interrupts nature in order to obtain and shape raw materials. For example, a tree is cut down to obtain wood, or the earth is mined to obtain metals.” … “Action is the means by which we distinguish ourselves from others as unique and unexchangeable beings. With humans, unlike with other beings, there is not just a generic question of what we are, but of who each is individually. Action and speech are always between humans and directed toward them, and it generates human relationships.” For Arendt knowledge is acquired not simply by thinking, but by making; working, labouring and acting with the products of previous human work.

How do we deal with the violence related to our work? How do we housewife our climate? How do the tools we use change our bodies? How can we work out what the infrastructure around us wants? What should we be doing with our designer skills, designer knowledge and design tools?

Nörttimuotoilusymposium (The Nerdy Design Symposium)

Trojan Horse Live Action Role-Play Nörttimuotolusymposium / Nerdy Design Symposium Background Image

Nörttimuotoiusymposium (The Nerdy Design Symposium) was our first live action Role-Play. It was about the future, about design fiction, and about utopian and dystopian design thinking, argumentation skills and interplanetary friendships.

The Role-Play took place in a ferry boat between Helsinki and Stockholm, or in our case, in a giant space ferry traveling between two distant planets. We organized a fictional design seminar “Nörttimuotoilusymposium” at the conference space of the space ferry. In the seminar each character gave a lecture from their perspective and about things they found meaningful, such as the colour blue, human computation or tribe of triangle hats. The larp also included a guided walk on the alien planet with a local guide.

Trojan Horse Summer School 2016

Trojan Horse Summer School 2016
August 17–27,
With Katharina Moebus, Adrià Garcia Mateu, Markus Miessen and PWR-Studio.
Bengtsår island, Hanko, Finland
59°53’54.7″N 23°06’30.8″E

For the first Trojan Horse summer school we invited mentors who in one way or another were active in redefining what it means to design today. Mentors were more on the early stage of their careers so that they would be able to share the students’ own experience of the world. Adrià who works as service designer, examines the designers possibilities to promote sustainable futures. PWR-Studio, Rasmus Svensson and Hanna Nilsson, are graphic designers with deep technological understanding. Artist and designer Katharina Moebus works on commons and co-design.

We visited different design schools in Finland already during the winter and announced the summer school to as many networks as possible. We trusted that eventually the persons who are interested would take part. We did not want to ask the students for formal application, it would have been too difficult to evaluate students coming from such a diverse backgrounds. In the end we had fifteen students. There were Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students from architecture, fashion design, interior and furniture design, graphic and service design from Aalto University, Lahti Institute of Design, University of Lapland and the Tallinn Academy of Fine Arts.

We went through a broad range of possible places where summer school could take place. We wanted to find a place with a physical and mental distance from the everyday reality creating possibilities for critical examination of our own needs and habits. Basic everyday things like food, electricity, shelter and sleeping become urgent. In the end we found out that Bengtsår island did satisfy many of our needs. The services which were available in the island by the City of Helsinki, especially catering and camping equipment, helped a lot with many everyday practicalities. We also had to pay only for the food there which made our costs minimal.

“Our senses were open in the middle ofthe nature. I had no previous experience of being part of a community like this. The island forced everyone to be vigilant and transparent. The environment, which made us do things like swimming, going to sauna and drifting in nature, encouraged informal discussions and created a common vocabulary,“ one participant told after the summer school.

We followed a daily program around strict eating hours, ruled by the canteen on the island. Otherwise the schedule was redesigned by mentors according to their workshopping needs. On Monday, we had a day off, and on Tuesday we had secretly plotted an opportunity to students to implement “a revolution”.

08:00 Meditation or exercise 09:00 Breakfast
10:00 PROGRAM 1
12:30 Lunch
14:30 PROGRAM 2
17:00 Dinner
18:00 Siesta & reading circle
19:00 PROGRAM 3
21:00 Tea, bonfire, sauna

We wanted to create a social space which would not maintain the existing structures and relations we have in our daily life. We used a random algorithm to design the layout of the tent site. We strived deliberately to evade situations where students would define themselves or others based on the schools they are studying or fields they are working in. All of us lived in the same tent village and took care of practical tasks like preparing breakfast, heating the sauna and taking supplies from place to place.

We maintained a desire that at a certain point students
would self organize a revolution. We hoped that students
would like to form their own routines, venues and decide
the order of their own tents.

“We actually prototyped a small community the size oftwenty persons, and looked at how it could influence personal choices, habits and routines. Between lectures and exercises we had time for various informal discussions and experimentation”, said another participant.

In the last weekend of the summer school we organized a
Trojan Horse Festival, where we invited teachers,
colleagues, friends, and everybody who had been
interested in the summer school before. During the
festival we shared thoughts that evoked during the
previous week of workshopping and daily life in the
island. There was a movie screening, informal lecture,
performances, forest disco, amazing starry sky, and a
discussion in the sauna.

After the fist summer school we dreamed Trojan Horse becoming a semi-permanent framework, with an annual summer school and other events so that the actual shape of the Trojan Horse could transform, remain experimental and in some way a little bit strange. We wanted to organize summer schools in various locations with new mentors and students, and also show that exhibitions, reading groups and parties for example could be done differently.

We wanted to try out following things in the near future after the first summer school:

– link and make visible various reading circles which
already exist in Helsinki and elsewhere in Finland.
– produce a live action role play on a cruise between
Helsinki and Stockholm where fictional designers would –
practice debating and dissertation skills.

– organize something like studio visits in which designers could talk about their projects with people from different backgrounds.

– make exhibitions that are not exhibitions.

– do unexpected brief interventions in the urban space.

We hoped that in the future we could reach a variety of different audiences and groups such as (design) teachers and graduates from different fields and ages. We wanted to collaborate with institutions so that they could inform students about our activities and we could be aware of their needs. We were also interested in organizing independent interventions next to bigger events or happenings.

In addition, we yearned for friends or institutions, which could, if necessary, lend space and/ or resources such as classrooms, copy machines, FabLab, computer classes, PA, projectors, storage space, electricity or tents. And of course we thought it would be wonderful to get some authoritative recommendations for our grant applications.

Trojan Horse -summer school 2016 was kindly supported by Grafia.