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The Sámi competence of improvisation

So what I found and what I sort of been talking quite a lot about is what I like to call the indigenuity or the Sámi competence of improvisation. Which is a distinct sort of attitude in which Sámi people are very immediate do-it-yourself, I-can-fix-it type of way of creating and designing, solving problems on the land when problems or challenges occur.

As part of this issue, Joar Nango started together with another Sámi artist Silje Figenschou Thoresen, The Indigenuity Project. Indigenuity, being a wordplay on indigeneity and ingenuity and the sort of indigenous ingenuity that you find on the land. Beginning in August 2010, the artists began a journey through northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway to examine the concept of indigenuity, the local and indigenous ingenuity in everyday design. The aim of the project is to discuss and investigate the local and vernacular design tradition, in connection with the need for more sustainable and sensible use of resources.

“I really love it when you see the sort of very Western commercial type of products that are re-program or repurpose, re-appropriate, you could even say, into culturally specific use. Like for example, we have traditional Sámi big knives which we sometimes can de-rust using Coca Cola because Coca Cola actually etches steel because of the acidity of it. in a cultural way there’s this element of cultural resistance within this immediate indigenuity and way of acting self-sufficiently on the land,” says Joar Nango.