Remembering the Finnish Civil War: Embodied Empahty and Fellman Field

Hanna Korsberg, Laura-Elina Aho, Iris Chassany, Sofia Valtanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


On 28 April 2013, ninety-five years after Finland's civil war (27 January-15 May 1918), artist Kaisa Salmi created a performance called Fellman Field: A Living Monument to 22,000 People. It was a site-specific event organized at Fellman Park in Lahti. There, for almost a week in 1918, thousands of civil war prisoners were held to await transport to a prison camp. In 2013, an impressive number of people (close to 10,000) gathered at this site to participate in a commemoration of the civil war, which is still one of the most repressed traumas in the national consciousness of the Finns. This article discusses Fellman Field as an artwork in terms of its utilization of embodied empathy: the sympathetic understanding of the other through physical and emotional experience. The case of Fellman Field demonstrates the challenges and successes of a site-specific participatory performance that aims to promote understanding and constructively handle the complexity of a national tragedy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0307-8833
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)6-22
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6131 Theatre, dance, music, other performing arts

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