Press Release, updated 12.8.2014:
On the heels of the positive public resonance generated by BACK TO (THE) SQUARE 1 around Helsinki in March 2014, Checkpoint Helsinki presents a second iteration of the Re-Aligned Project curated by Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen of Perpetuum Mobilε.
TO THE SQUARE 2 will connect artistic and political movements across several continents, taking over the central Lasipalatsi Square from 18–31 August as part of Helsinki Festival. The grand opening in the presence of the artists will take place on 29 August, followed by a concert on the square with Ramy Essam, the celebrated musician of the Egyptian Revolution.
“From Tunis to Cairo, from Occupy to Wikileaks and Blockupy Frankfurt, from Tiananmen Square to Moscow, what does it take to fill a square?”, the curators ask.
Commissioning artists deeply involved in forms of resistance and movements “to the square”, TSQ2’s curators have invited Egypt’s famed and much-loved street-artist Ammar Abo Bakr (Luxor/Cairo); Núria Güell (Barcelona), joining the project in absentia (as usual) from Cuba, with interventions in our contemporary economic dis-logic; the renowned Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar (Ramallah), whose new public intervention seeks 50 volunteers to match the 50 army-uniforms he will include in an installation; Vladan Jeremić & Rena Rädle (Belgrade), political and satirical artists extraordinaire, with Jeremić doubling as founding co-editor of the Art Leaks Gazette; Nikolay Oleynikov (Nizhny Novgorod/Moscow), whose mobile broadcast station “Radio Pravda” will roam the streets, squares and airwaves; the Berlin-based urban transformers Raumlabor; and the sincerely hilarious ZIP Group (Krasnodar) and its “wild constructivsm” in the centre of Lasipalatsi Square.
THE SQUARE, a new newspaper accompanying the project, is designed by Tzortzis Rallis (Occupied Times) and includes art by Ganzeer, Federico Geller, Vladan Jeremić & Rena Rädle and articles by Michel Bauwens, Feminist Pencil, Grey Violet, Núria Güell, G.U.L.F., Occupy Museums, Teivo Teivainen, Telekommunisten and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Zona Prava/Pussy Riot.
After the protest movements which broke out in capitals across the world from 2011 onward, we live in a period of regressive politics and at times violent repression. The question today is, what would it take for people to go TO THE SQUARE 2 – that is, to go to the streets again? Perhaps it requires new extremes of economic inequality? Or massive ecological catastrophes or raw racism? Or an infinitely bigger “big brother”? For where did it all come from, and where does it go — that revolutionary energy?
“Artists and activists’ freedom of speech has been severely threatened, and some, such as Ammar Abo Bakr have to fear for their lives”, the curators Stodolsky and Muukkonen explain. Yet here we have them, on a central square in Helsinki. Lasipalatsi Square may be a political tabula rasa, but this may soon change.
Checkpoint Helsinki is a new art organization that commissions and produces artworks by emerging international artists. It invites artists and curators to realize ideas for projects in Helsinki, and thus functions as a platform for artistic work. The aim of Checkpoint Helsinki is to make art show in the cityscape, and to open up different forms of contemporary art to the public.
Perpetuum Mobilε, co-founded by Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen in 2007, is a curatorial vehicle which brings together art, practice and enquiry. It acts as a conduit and engine to re-imagine certain basic historical, theoretical as well as practical paradigms in fields which often exist in disparate institutional frames and territories. PM has worked extensively in the Nordic, European and international field.
Special thanks to HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme
Contacts for further information:
Curators: Ivor Stodolsky, +358 40 7254 050; Marita Muukkonen +358 44 0965 103 E-mail: PerpetualMobile -at- gmail -dot- com
Finnish Press: Krista Kinnunen, +358 50 385 4555 E-mail: krista.kinnunen -at- checkpointhelsinki -dot- org
International Press: Kathrin Luz +49 (0)171 3102 472 E-mail: kl -at- neumann-luz -dot- de
Helsinki Festival: helsinginjuhlaviikot.fi/en