Research Seminar: Toni Ross, Wellness Business–healing or stalking? Pilvi Takala’s The Stroker, 2018
Date: Thursday 5 October 2023, Time: 3-4.30pm AEST. Venue: On campus, Schaeffer Library Seminar Room 210, Mills Building A26, Camperdown Campus and online via Zoom.
Pilvi Takala, The Stroker, 2018, 2-channel video installation, installation view.
This paper discusses how a work by Finnish performance artist Pilvi Takala engages with the current cultural and corporate obsession with wellness. Titled The Stroker, of 2018, this 15 minute, 2-channel video installation derived from a 10-day undercover intervention Takala conducted at Second Home: a trendy co-working space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and business creatives located in Spitalfields, East London. With the support of Second Home management, but initially without the knowledge of those who rented the space, Takala posed as Nina Nieminen, founder of a ‘cutting-edge’ wellness company called Personnel Touch. She spent her days roaming the high concept design spaces of Second Home lightly touching people on the shoulder with the words ‘you alright?’; ‘all good?’; ‘you ok?’. Featuring Pikala and hired actors, The Stroker re-enacts the ambivalent responses of Second Home inhabitants to touch as wellness therapy in a business environment.
Dr. Toni Ross is Honorary Senior Lecturer (Art Theory) in Art, Design & Architecture, UNSW, Sydney and Sydney reviewer for Artforum magazine. In 2021 she co-edited a special issue of Art Monthly Australasia (Issue 327 Autumn 2021) on Art and Wellness Culture, to which she contributed the essay ‘Be well, or else!’.
Contact: Professor Mary Roberts, firstname.lastname@example.org