collaboration between art and urban planning needs new thinking
After working for years both as an architect in the field of urban planning, and as an artist in the field of contemporary art, I feel very strongly, that the key to producing more high quality public art in our urban spaces lies in making the inclusion of professional contemporary artists into the teams that design our public areas, easy and desirable for both parties included. With flexible collaboration, art can grow to become a part of practically any public space, without it becoming a cost issue. I've written a short description about this approach here in a blog post.
In 2016, I founded Public Art Agency Finland, a private agency that facilitates collaboration between contemporary art professionals and the field of urban planning and design. We exist to make using the knowhow of contemporary artists easy and affordable for municipalities and companies designing our public spaces. We have worked with large international companies such as WSP and Ramboll, and several Finnish municipalities. You'll find us at www.paaf.fi/hello, or in Finnish at www.paaf.fi
Singapore / 2016
In 2016 I spent a month in Singapore, meeting professionals working in the fields of public art and urban planning. I think we in Europe could learn a lot from their approaches. You can read more about the project here.
A city state of Art
How is public art in Singapore?
New York City / 2018
In 2018, I will be spending three months in New York City with the same goal: to learn and develop collaborative methods between the fields of urban planning and contemporary art. A dedicated page for the NYC project will be opened at a later date.
How public art gets made in NYC
stuff i've written
Below are some of my more comprehensive studies on the subjects - one interview I've given, one case study I've conducted in 2015, and my masters thesis on architecture from 2014, all freely downloadable. I've done most of my work on this topic in Finland, so all these texts are in Finnish.
If you're interested in making or facilitating public art in Finland, do follow the website of Prosenttiperiaate.fi, (Percentage for Art in Finland) as well as the site by Ympäristötaiteen Säätiö (Foundation for Public Art in Finland). Both provide lots of relevant material and info, such as the Handbook of Persentage for art in Finland - this one: Prosenttiperiaatteen käsikirja taiteilijalle / Prosenttiperiaatteen käsikirja tilaajalle
WHY "CITIES ARE OURS"
When I built this website, the url was www.citiesareours.com. This refers to the idea of citizens as owners of their cities. In most cities, you can sit on a park bench the whole night. Its yours, its ours. A beautifully designed mall is not. As public and commercial spaces overlap and mix, it can be easy to forget that there is a difference, and an important one. I think it's interesting to really approach public space as our common property, something we share with each other, and want to take care of. Like our homes, it can also reflect our values and make us feel more or less at ease. Does the public space of your city reflect your values?
ON REFLECTING VALUES
Our public space has always been a mirror of our values. Many times in history it has also told us what we should value, as I guess is the case today with the presence of advertisement. At best, cities have also reflected what we aspire to be. Our ideals, our goals and shared values. I believe, that as we pack into the cities in ever bigger, ever more diverse groups of people, the meanings communicated to us by our public space becomes more important than ever. Art in public space can at its best make different people find their common values, and help different groups interact in a meaningful way. I believe that both artists and the citizens have a lot to offer to the traditional design field on how to build cities, that feel like home to us all.