Course reports

IHME Commission 2022 Report 8 & 9#


Eighth and ninth week – on the nature of learning

The IHME Helsinki 2022 Commission, the online course Learning from Doubt by artist and filmmaker Amar Kanwar, is coming to an end. Towards the end, the focus is not only on course participants’ own assignments, but also on reflecting on what they have learned on a more general level, and on analysing the nature of information. The contents are released a bit at a time, and cumulatively, on the course web page, so that participants slowly build up their own learning experience from the material.

Relevant and new content in this section is the series of news items assembled on the course page that allow events in Odisha to be viewed more widely. At the ninth week’s meeting, Kanwar emphasized that, during these past weeks, participants have been able to navigate both small and large units, both formally and in their content. Once again, the main theme of the sixth week, the rice-seed bank, will be a key focus through which Kanwar encourages participants to view the themes of the course.

This is reflected, for example, in the geographical, but also the temporal scope of criminal land use. We have to stop for a moment, evaluate and reflect, and only then can we continue. The idea is thus to take the past actively into account in the present, and to use it as a basis for looking to the future. This is how the whole course – and The Sovereign Forest, from which the work derives – is constructed, but forming a picture of this is more clear now that the end of the course is approaching.

Like the contents of the Learning from Doubt course page, every seed in the rice-seed bank has been carefully selected, cared for and documented. This point is also emphasized by Prateek Shekhar and Tara Arunima Tenzin, who have played an active role in the production of Learning from Doubt. Shekhar and Tara, who course participants met at the ninth week’s meeting, outlined the future of the rice-seed bank.

To secure the future of the seed bank, a website has been set up, which allows people to adopt a rice seed, i.e. to support the seed bank’s operations financially. Kanwar, Tara and Shekhar say they have considered how to secure the future of the Rice Seed Bank and The Sovereign Forest. This is linked to the many ethical issues underlying the work – and throughout Kanwar’s production. Who can document it? Who can present it? Who can get permission to present it and why?

The course paricipants will meet remotely next week and the course will end on Wednesday, May 4, when Kanwar’s films will be screened at Bio Rex, Helsinki, with the artist present. Although the course is ending, the thought processes born out of it will by their nature continue as part of The Sovereign Forest, and in the thoughts of both Kanwar and its participants.


IHME Helsinki’s intern Eero Karjalainen will report on the progress of Amar Kanwar’s course on IHME Helsinki’s channel throughout the course.