Ronya Hirsma (b.1994) is a curator, writer and photographer based in Helsinki, Finland. Hirsma holds a BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University of Helsinki, with an emphasis on Gender Studies and Media and Communication. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art at Aalto University.
In 2020 Hirsma worked with Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, assisting in curating a commission work by Emma Jääskeläinen. Hirsma has worked with local organisations such as Allegra Lab Helsinki and Gallery Hippolyte in relation to the Association of Photographic Artists, taking part in producing an international contemporary art festival, Art Fair Suomi. In the past Hirsma has participated in producing an ethnographic film festival Cultureels in Kino Engel, Helsinki. Recently Hirsma co-curated a group exhibition The (Un)seen: In the Dazzle of Infrastructure at Gallery Aarni, Espoo.
Hirsma’s work has been featured in independent publications such as Isla Journal, Ante Nouveau and Mämia Publication.
My practice stems from intuitive processes of observing, collecting, documenting, intermediating, and associating through which I intend to pose questions, suggest, and reach out. I search for beginnings, gaps and in-betweens, rather than endings, solutions or fixed outcomes. In my practice I utilize textual, discursive, curatorial and photographic methods.
Currently I am conducting research around old bodies in relation to time and space. I am intrigued by the alternate temporalities and spatialities that may emerge within the process of aging. In my research I am perceiving the heightened significance of home and domestic spaces along with rethinking and deconstructing the concept of agency. Besides, the research looks into the performativity and social construction of aging in relation to the influence of cognitive capitalism.
Time and again, I am drawn to the everydayness, the unconscious and the phenomenological. The implicit veiled behind the repetition of the quotidian. Following the line of thought brought up by George Perec, I am ultimately intrigued by what happens when nothing happens?
I approach curating as a method of collective reconfiguration and elaboration that allows for ambivalence and uncertainty. The curatorial ought to serve as a methodology that facilitates curiosity for reformation and alliance. I seek to generate curatorial practices and spaces that activate collective knowledge production, reciprocity and shared authorship.
I was collecting traces of people I have never met
a proof of life that happened elsewhere, here
I was looking for temporary shelter,
to make myself at home in imagined memories
that did not belong to me, only
perhaps as I began imagining,
the traces of memories became somewhat shared,
mine and someone else’s elsewhere, here
I began collecting paper notes with scribbles, messages, and utterances on them approximately a year ago. It was not an intentional or determined act of decision. On the contrary, I was drifting. I was unconsciously drawn to the unexpectedness, the intuitive and coincidental characteristics of noticing and uncovering. The meaninglessness becoming the meaning itself.
I decided, instead of continuously collecting notes, to leave one behind. The gesture of placing a message to the public space is highly characterised by randomness, fluctuation and dubiety. It is an anonymous yet utterly intimate act of hiding and fading away yet becoming seen simultaneously.
A couple of months ago I found a Post-it note from the platform of Sörnäinen metro station, heading to the eastern Helsinki. I intended to execute the reciprocal act of returning the gesture by placing my message to the exact place from where the Post-it note was originally found. I perceive the gesture as a form of anonymous exchange of care. Consequently, the practice of collecting and leaving something behind forces one to settle in the precarious, of losing control.
The note (to be more exact, the letter) that I left to Sörnäinen metro station, is a caption from a collaborative project The Waiting Room (Practicing Building a Nest), within which I have been in correspondence with Athanasía Aarniosuo. The project was initiated from the endeavour for finding refuge, for learning to nest in the ambivalence and contingency of the prevailing state of being.