Does the public space of your city reflect your values?
Both as an architect and as artist, I have always been interested in public space and how throughout the history of cities, it has been a mirror of our values. During different eras, it has shown us what we should value, as I guess is the case today with the omnipresence 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. I also believe, that art in public space can at its best make different people find their common values, and help different groups interact in meaningful ways. 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.
How to get there?
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 relevant 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
Research in public art
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 the end of 2018, I spent three months in New York City with the same goal: to learn and develop new collaborative methods between the fields of urban planning and contemporary art. You can read about my work in NYC in this essay - in Finnish.
Public Art in NYC
From dozens of festivals to artists working in urban planning, and more
Research in Finland
Below are some of my more comprehensive studies on the subjects - all freely downloadable. Most will have an English summary, but the texts are in Finnish.