Helsinki, Finland. Responsible partner: Publics

Publics is a curatorial agency with a dedicated library, event space and reading room in Vallila Helsinki, an area in the city known for its industrial working class histories and, more recently, for its influx of divergent artistic and academic communities. Through its program, Publics will map, invite and nurture new audiences for its activities through two key visual arts laboratories, one based on a four year Public Art projects called (A) NOT YET LAB, and the second on a four year outreach program called (B) ‘Parahosting’–a community-based institutional building.

(A) NOT YET Laboratory

This laboratory will research, develop and continue one of the longer-term, and location specific public art projects. This is an on-going series project that finds ways to engage in forms of collective learning through processes of knowledge exchange within the context of a certain place. A Public Learning Gathering will draws out anticipated conversations, findings and strategies to rethink, redefine and re-enter public space through collective cultural action. In Helsinki, invited artists including collaborator Jeanne van Heeswijk will evolve this project, instigate and co-create a curriculum of “community learnings” with othere artists and communities, through research, collaboration and public gatherings, culminating in texts, practice-based workshops and producing performative objects and scenarios. The artist(s) will continue this project over the next year (Year 3) into a public program she has called the training for the Not Yet. The first residency period will deepen her theoretic framework, develop performative workshops, and create “learning objects” and situations to develop and enable a series of participatory test sites and public scenarios to enact. The artist(s) will engage with past projects collaborators as well as building new partnerships and public constituencies in Helsinki to form collaborations to bring together embodied methodologies and enacting them with and throughout communities in forms of co-writing, images and videos, as well as through physical testing, exploring and enacting together. These practices will build the groundwork for a training program designed to equip people with skill sets to respond to change (to build a collective understanding of a territory when territories are fractured), to care for one another (to create safe(r) space for people to take risks in relation to others especially important in situations composed of non-homogeneous groups), to imagine how we collectively live together (to approach the notion of collectives not as a pre-existing social structure but as actively becoming in context) and to learn deep listening and willingness to engage in uncomfortable conversations (how to engage in just cultural exchanges among different communities?).

(B) Parahosting Laboratory:

‘Parahosting’ is a program of residencies, performances, talks, events, and productions, where Publics will look after other projects, organisations and collectives; opening its doors for free and sharing its resources, its space and offering its full capacities for other’ activities. In this sense, ‘Parahosting’ is a useful term to realign and contest these binaries and to describe transitional temporal processes of engagement with people taking precedence over exhibitions or productions as the primary end product. In the face of such a reductive scenario, ‘Parahosting’ proposes an evolving field of operations that persists in resisting the established order of things as part of the destabilising curatorial constellation.