project image
Anniina Holappa

first performed on August 21, 2020
Streets of Turku
performed 21 times in 2020


Helsinki, Finland


“Ihmisruukku” (the human plant pot) is a wearable allotment garden with self-grown plants. It plays on the idea of plants as a garment, vegetation in relation with the body.

What if we really need living clothes instead of smart clothes? Accompanying verdure could purify air, provide shade, feed us or maybe even serve pollinating insects. Or perhaps it could function as a Noah’s Ark, a device for preserving and transferring plants from one place to another.

To me “Ihmisruukku” is a form of soft environmental activism: a humorous, playful and aesthetic form of self-sustainability. It underlines interconnection and interdependence of humans and nature–not only are we an indivisible part of nature, but also the ones accountable for its wellbeing. In the performance, the act of wearing vegetation means literally planting yourself in the same soil with the plants it carries.

In the first four performances the human plant pot walked among people in the streets near the river Aurajoki. I carried a spray bottle with me and tended to other plants during my walks. I watered each potted plant I came across and occasionally stopped also to water myself. Each of the walks was roughly 45 minutes in duration. The walking performances were a part of Olohuone 306,4 km²- festival in Turku.

The human plant pot is also used for growing food. The second series of performances with “Ihmisruukku” were arranged as private encounters around the food it can provide. These one-on-one moments were organized as absurd dinners where the participant basically sat opposite to a salad bush. I, as the plant pot, took on the roles of a date, a waiter as well as the main course. The participant first chose from a menu what they wanted, and I picked the salad from my head, served it on a plate with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and watched them eat. I would argue that it is next to impossible to get food that’s more local or fresh. The intimate dinners were arranged as a part of Kehä-festival in Oulu.