Sites of Dreaming is a long-term photo-project documenting the lives of various transgender people as they seek out transgender healthcare in Finland. The current Finnish Trans Law has been cited as against human rights by the UN and requires two-year interrogations by doctors, psychologists, nurses, and psychiatrists, in both one on one and group settings. In these meetings, transgender individuals are interrogated about their sex lives, their bodies, and their traumas.
This work acknowledges the absurdity of the current state of health-”care” in Finland, but also aims to directly contrast that violent process by using photography as a tool for creating and documenting moments of care and safety for the subjects. The project aims to highlight the many ways in which my community showed up for one another throughout our transitions. The images show domestic moments of cooking meals, changing bandages, buying groceries, and showering one another after surgery. Showcasing these intimate and powerful moments makes an often invisible experience, visible. I believe this kind of visibility is extremely important in the context of Finland, where transphobic laws weigh heavily on the LGBTQI+ community.
Sites of Dreaming is made by and for the people it documents, it only exists because of their vulnerability, trust, and generosity. The images act as documents for archiving the community, but also as a way of building it. In this way the work is both an artwork and a community resource, hopefully acting as a testament to the moments of peace and hope we carve out through the ordeal of accessing gender-affirming care.
Sites of Dreaming will be exhibited in Hippolyte Gallery (February 2023), Turun Taidehalli ( May 2023), in Marion Art Gallery NY (August 2023) and in The Library Project, Dublin (January 2024).
The project was supported by the Festival of Political Photography mentorship, Suomen Kulttuurirahasto and Patricia Seppälä Foundation in 2021 and Kone Säätio in 2022.