Pilvi Takala – The Stroker

Posted by Fabio 25 July 2019

The Stroker is a two-channel video installation based on Takala’s two week-long intervention at Second Home, a trendy East London coworking space for young entrepreneurs and startups. During the intervention Takala posed as a wellness consultant named Nina Nieminen, the founder of cutting-edge company Personnel Touch who were allegedly employed by Second Home to provide touching services in the workplace. Nina strolled around Second Home being friendly to everyone, greeting and lightly touching people as she passed them by. It gets the office talking, workers gossip amongst themselves, visibly bonding over a common confusion – she was nicknamed ‘The Stroker’.

The responses of the ‘touches’ varied widely, most were polite, but there were those whose body language registered a visible discomfort. Perhaps simply due to the cultural context of this invasion of personal space, or perhaps as a result of the inner conflict that arises when one does not feel able to truthfully or openly react. When unable to assert oneself, this kind of embodied negotiation may take the place of words.

The nuances of movement demonstrate how people negotiate the dilemma of being mediated bodies under social pressure, and how such responses are controlled by the tacit conventions governing what is deemed to be ‘acceptable behaviour’. In the clear-walled, open-thinking space of The Stroker, we witness a physical negotiation of boundaries where there seemingly are none.

Pilvi Takala was born in 1981 in Helsinki, and now works between Helsinki and Berlin. Her exhibition in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is the first solo presentation of her work in Ireland.

Pilvi Takala
The Stroker
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dunlin
19 July – 07 September 2019