how to skin a polar bear

Nastja Säde Rönkkö

In ‘How to Skin a Polar Bear’, Rönkkö provides instructions for dissecting one of the most endangered species on our planet, one whose pelt and meat can provide the means for human survival in the harshest of environments. Set to images of Arctic glaciers and melting ice floes, a voiceover offers a detailed graphic account of how to carry out the task: ‘oh yes, you heard me, each toe on each paw’ of this animal, the last polar bear on earth, must be skinned. Yet these instructions are not illustrated, and we are left to imagine the process, while gazing at sublime views of snow caps, volcanic rock coated in ice; and rushing seas. The landscape is noticeably devoid of life; it is as though the ‘event’ had already happened. As the bear is skinned, it becomes impossible to avoid identifying with the animal: ‘did you know that her facial expressions are like yours, yes and she cries tears, bear tears.’ As she is transformed from a living creature into a set of commodities, an uncomfortable feeling creeps into the viewer’s consciousness: could it be that we are no longer endangered, because all species are already extinct? - Ellen Mara de Wacther

Production Year
2019
Duration
00:10:45
Type
Tags
Original Title
how to skin a polar bear
English Title

how to skin a polar bear

Production Countries
Finland
Dialogue
No
Sound
Yes
Cast
Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Author), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Cinematographer), Timo Kaukolampi (Composer), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Director), Heli Kota (Editor), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Editor), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Producer), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Script), Timo Kaukolampi (Sound Design), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Actor), Tampereen taidemuseo - Tampere Art Museum (Funder), Suomen Kulttuurirahasto (Funder)
Nastja Säde Rönkkö (b. 1985) is an artist living in London and Helsinki. She works with video, performance, installation, participatory art, internet and text. She has exhibited and performed internationally in places such as Somerset House, London, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, SXSW, Austin, TX, Royal Academy of Arts, London, FACT, Foundation for Art and Technology, Liverpool and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. Recent solo exhibitions include for those yet to be, EMMA Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland (2020), Altered Breaths, Future Feelings at Tampere Art Museum, Finland and for your charred bones and restless soul, Aboa Vetus, Art Nova, Turku, Finland (2019). She is the 35th recipient of the Young Artist of the Year 2019 title and award. Forthcoming projects include Glasgow International ja XXV Mänttä Art Festival 2021.