Being, Increasingly

Being, Increasingly

3 channel film installation, 2017

Being, increasingly is a Gesamtkunstverk centered around a 3-channel  installation that combines video with dimensional and optical elements. 

The exhibition creates a spatial moving portrait of the ethnologist and anthropologist Hilma Granqvist (1890–1972) during the time she spent in two cultures before the second world war: Finland and Palestine. The film traces back still existing people and places that Hilma Granqvist have encountered and includes interviews with scholars from both countries who have researched her biography and work. The architecture of that spatial portrayal is grounded in a series of original photographs of Granqvist fused with her own texts, letters and notes that all together span a life’s work.

Hilma Granqvist explored customs and traditions in the Palestinian village of Artas in the West Bank between 1925 and 1931. She immersed into local village life making participatory observation an ethnological method. Such an innovative approach in research at the time was met with harsh criticism by her Finnish academic contemporaries. Granqvist found herself in a curious dual situation where on one side she worked alone without encouragement from her native colleagues despite international recognition and on the other side she lived in a foreign generous community with a strong sense of support. This contrast of acceptance and rejection suggests a deep sense of belonging rooted in human capability to embrace essence rather than align with the pack. At the same time the exhibition introduces  an existential and political dilemma of what can and should be considered as identity when it comes to the framework of nationalism. The spectral and transformative characteristics of this Granqvist portrait furthermore highlight the fluid nature of the status of individuality in the postmodern world.


The video installation and exhibition Being Increasingly was created for a solo show at the Pro Artibus’ Gallery Elverket, Tammisaari, November 24th 2017- January14th, 2018. The exhibition proposal won an open call on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence. The exhibition’s independent curator was Aura Seikkula.

During the opening a live performance with actor Kajsa Ek, developed as part of the project, took place as well as the performance of Kaija Saariaho’s piece “The Fall” by harpist Vuokko Ahtila. The exhibition was opened by Palestinian-Finnish writer Umayya Abu-Hanna.


Written, edited and directed by Minna Långström
Camera : Nuutti Koskinen, Minna Långström
Actor: Kajsa Ek
Arabic translation: Aino Vesanen

Persons being interviewed: Sofia Häggman, Osama Alaysa, Fadi Sanad

Consultation, filming access and the lending of artefacts courtesy of: Artas Folklore Center, Fadi Sanad, The Sanad family, Jahia Ismael, Osama Alaysa, Sofia Häggman, Leyla Zuaiter, Dan Koski, Ulrika & Kurt Sandqvist, Nils Gunnar Granqvist, Ruth Illman, Donnerska Institutet, Åbo Akademi archives, Anu Leinonen, The Finnish Institute in the Middle East, FIME, Katja Sågbom, Umayya Abu-Hanna, Peter Lodenius, Pekka Lindqvist.