• Murheen-kaantopiiri
  • Patrik Rastenberger: Murheen kääntöpiiri
  • Patrik Rastenberger: Murheen kääntöpiiri
  • Patrik Rastenberger: Murheen kääntöpiiri

Patrik Rastenberger

The Latitude of Sorrow

29.2.-24.3.2024

Patrik Rastenberger
The Latitude of Sorrow
29 February–24 March 2024

“. . . the small province of the planet that is Europe gradually gained control over the rest of the world. In parallel, particularly during the eighteenth century, there emerged discourses of truth relating to nature, the specificity and forms of the living, and the qualities, traits, and characteristics of human beings. Entire populations were categorized as species, kinds, or races, classified along vertical lines.”
– Achille Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason, 2017

Patrik Rastenberger started working on his series The Latitude of Sorrow after finding Kaarlo Hildén’s book Maapallon esihistorialliset ja nykyiset ihmisrodut (“Prehistoric and modern human species on earth”) on his family’s bookshelf. It is a so-called racial educational book from the 1930s. The book was in the scientific mainstream of its time, and its author was a professor of geography at the time of its publication.

The structural racism embedded in European countries is the result of centuries of colonial policies and education. Structural racism refers to racism as a social problem, manifested for example as discrimination in education, employment or the housing market. It prevents certain groups of people from enjoying equal opportunities based on their skin color or some other characteristic that makes them different from the majority of the population. Structural racism hides behind seemingly neutral policies designed to maintain dominant power structures. These attitudes and suspicions are the result of a long process of attitude shaping.

The Latitude of Sorrow illustrates how structural racism has been constructed as part of the history of European culture and education, also in Finland. In his series of works, Rastenberger combines his own photographs and his family’s archival material with old ethnographic photographs from Hildén’s book.
It shows how anthropology and ethnographic photography have been used in the 20th century to create a discriminatory world order as a tool of politics and governance.

The title of the series, The Latitude of Sorrow, refers to the book Tristes Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss, published in the 1950s. According to the structuralist view presented in the book, our perception of the world gives us a picture of reality, but it is the culture we adopt that guides our interpretation of it. According to contemporary visual cultural studies, we actively create and shape the culture around us. Visual and linguistic representations shape the world and our perception of it in a constant interaction with each other.

By studying how our perception of reality is created, we can hopefully change our worldview. The aim of The Latitude of Sorrow is to identify attitudes and turn the focus to how our perception of reality is constructed.

Thank you
Olga ja Vilho Linnamon säätiö, Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike), Oskar Öflunds stiftelse

Contact information
www.rastenberger.fi
patrik(a)rastenberger.fi