Proposal by: Alena Grahn

Erotic Ecology

Project proposal: Our Human Bodies

This project aims to explore the erotic in our local ecology through the senses. As we are expanding our relationship with this idea, the research will be performed as ritual. In our exploration, we will engage, photograph, document, honor, communicate, love, respect, and probably repel, objectify, disturb, dig, and misunderstand. As we are moving our human bodies within our environment, finding connection and seeking meaning, can we recognize the erotic in entities around us? If the erotic is the nurturer of our deepest knowledge, truly collective, do we exchange information when touching a fruiting body or a tree? Are they also touching us? In creating art, are we objectifying our ecology for our human satisfaction?


Alena and Omri embracing eachother naked - Photographer Omri Roden and artist Alena Grahn explore the erotic in our local ecology through the senses. Photo taken by Omri Roden Alena Grahn

Project description

 This project is largely inspired by Audre Lorde’s groundbreaking text from 1978, “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” In her text, Lorde states, “The erotic functions for me in several ways, and the first is in providing the power which comes from sharing deep any pursuit with another person. The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” Looking through a queer lens, we would like to expand the function of the erotic to more than humans, as collective life force transcending the individual. We are always in deep relation to our ecology. Yet often nature is either idealized and purified or depicted as a threatening other. How do we decenter human narratives while recognizing, sensing, feeling the erotic in nature around us? The scent and feel of mossy forest soil just after it rains. What stories can non-human bodies tell, embody, communicate? How do our bodies entangle and move in fluidity with the more-than-human world? As life partners enjoying a deeply erotic connection that inspires us to look beyond ourselves, we (Alena and Omri) will create a series of photographs and a sensory experience for the guests. 

We will need 3 weeks broken out over 2-3 months to complete the research, photograph, print, and prepare the exhibition. The setup of the exhibition will likely take a few days, depending on the interactive components that will be decided upon as the project progresses. The research phase is best done in late spring/early summer or mid summer/early fall. 

Personal introduction

 Alena (alena_grahn) is an artist, chef, and experience designer. She is currently diving into queer ecology and is working on a project at the intersection of social justice, food sovereignty and education. She is a dancer, a magic-seeker, a lover of fungi and a voracious reader.

Omri (omriroden) is an artist and photographer, truth teller, and lover of life. Through his photographs he explores his relationship to this world, and the intimacy of people’s relationships with others and their environments.

Estimated costs

artist fees: 5000 EUR

materials costs: 1000 EUR 

This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2022.