Marit-Shirin – Humans and Soil (Sweden)

Humans & Soil is an artistic platform committed to decolonizing academic practices and revitalizing our ancient indigenous relationship with the Earth. The project’s vision grew out of northern Sámi and Japanese Ainu perspectives. Conceived by choreographer and researcher Marit Shirin Carolasdotter in 2017, Humans and Earth and has since grown into a platform that dynamically balances performance, research and activism across international partnerships.

A really strong urge to do projects that are meaninful and nourishing are what inspires and activates Marit-Shirin to connect her roles as performer, facilitator and researcher, to provide space to the voices and narratives of her community, or those communities she collaborates with, as well as the narration of her own journey.

This journey unfolds every time Marit approaches a new project, opening room for the embodiment of knowledge, which she interprets as a constant questioning and self doubt, an understanding of her own being and the transferring knowledge to others, from the positioning of a brown, indigenous woman artist, speaking on the subjects of representation and responsibility, seeking constant balance through her practice and the awareness of aboriginal, inherited ancestral practices that are reassembled, reconstructed and returned to her, or reawakened through her practice, as epiphanies of embodied knowledge and the acknowledgment on the when and where they occur.

Marit also speaks of artistic research as various layers or lenses to move through, from authenticity or subjects that derive from indigenous embodiment, the possibility to choose which lense to look at the subjects from. On methodology, she speaks of ethnography, when to turn to other people to source this knowledge and how to incorporate this into her work, keeping in mind the respect and proper approach to the points of view, narratives and stories which are incorporated to the research.

I am comforted by her response regarding sustainability, how it concerns a constant self-tuning so as to be aware of what role we are playing in this field when it concerns our own work, that it should be set in a context of equity rather than just equality, and how artistic research could serve as a platform of protection for certain subjects, a deepening of certain aspects, and to the artist mobility, a capacity to enter territories that shouldn’t be exclusive to academics. As a final point Marit highlights that we should not take sustainability for granted, for some artists and researchers are not provided the same opportunities due to being minorities, and so it becomes our responsibility to open up these doors and insist on these important conversations.