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/     Part #0 Helsinki, Finland

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Part #0 Helsinki, Finland

/  Year: 2002
/  Method: Billboard in public space
/  Produced with support by Fonds BKVB and the Netherlands Embassy in Helsinki
/  In co-operation with NIFCA, the Helsinki City Art Museum and Muu.ry. Not carried out.

In short
Part #0 dealt with the construction of the parliament annex in Helsinki but was never carried out; a range of political circumstances in the area lead to a dismissal. We regard this not as a failure, but as a project that reveals vital power structures in public space. The project dealt with the way billboards at building projects usually depict a utopian reality that excludes ‘undesirabilities’. Our aim was to ‘hack’ the visual rhetoric that surrounds this building site, with the purpose to reveal or criticize the economical and political motives that informs it.

What went wrong...
We stumbled upon a range of political sensitivities we didn’t expect. The first one regarded the placement. Our intention was to place our billboard next to Kiasma, the national museum of contemporary art, with the construction site on the other side of the road. Kiasma refused to cooperate because the billboard was on the same square as the statue of Mannerheim, the greatest statesman in the history of Finland. The statue is a great sensitivity for the museum, since Kiasma nearly wasn’t build because many people found it overshadowing the great Mannerheim.

The second sensitivity concerned the outbreak of the war in Iraq, which informed a tightening of safety regulation regarding governmental buildings. We were denied permission to take a photograph of the construction site.

Despite all the denials we feel that our project reveals a lot about the political circumstances in the area, about the way power is signified in public space and how art has a subordinate role in the political spectrum.