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A new year’s pledge
January 17, 2011, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Art, Design, Projects for inspiration

Dear readers,

It has already been two weeks that the new year is on (happy new year!) and I have to admit: it has been quiet on this blog. Nevertheless, some things have been moving in the background- currently, I am trying to pull together the theory of this project, which has to be delivered by Mid-March (another reason for the unforgivable neglect of this blog). In May, the project will participate in MoA11, the Aalto University’s School of Design & Art Master of Arts-exhibition (what an expression!). At the moment, I am also looking for nice internships, projects and jobs for the time after March (in case you know something, don’t hesitate to let me know! :) )

I would like to seize the opportunity and thank everyone again who helped and supported me in some way during this project. New ones will come up soon, for example a proposal for the Helsinki World Design Capital year 2012!? The programme and theme look very promising, particularly in regard to new ideas about design…  :) I will post new information after a first meeting this week with lots of possibilities for participation!

Anyway, only because the project is sort of over, I don’t want this blog to dwindle away. A new year’s pledge to you and myself: I will continue posting news and any related topics or inspiring projects. Like Bruno Munari for example (see above), Seeking comfort in an uncomfortable armchair (that’s how I feel at the moment!) Stay tuned!

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ÄOM
November 6, 2010, 11:49 am
Filed under: 4/5, Art, Design, Projects for inspiration | Tags: , , , ,

ÄOM? What? Ah, Älä Osta Mitään, that’s what it stands for! Yes, Finland also has it, the infamous ‘Buy-Nothing-Day’. Introduced in 1992 by artist Ted Dave and promoted by the consume-critical Adbuster magazine, BND has been celebrated in by now 65 nations worldwide, typically on the Friday following North American Thanksgiving, and the following day internationally. This year, it will take place November 26th. Here a link to the Finnish website about the event, set up by Luonto-liitto ry. Public opinion about the event is divided, but I think it is a very fine occasion to reconsider shopping behaviours, not only for that one day, but in general and in a sustained way.

Which reminds me of a protest action done a few years ago in the busiest shopping street of Vienna, right before Christmas. :)



gentle actions & small worlds
October 26, 2010, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Art, Food, Network, Projects for inspiration | Tags: , , , ,

Interspecies collaborations/ David Rothenberg

A few weeks ago, I have been contacted by a Swedish artist named Jana Fröberg, who studied at the Art Academy of Oslo, where my good friend Tabea is studying now. Somehow, she had stumbled upon my blog, and told me about an art and ecology happening in Oslo she is participating in, Gentle Actions. Shortly after, I got to know Jan van Boeckl, who is a researcher and lecturer in Environmental Art Education, when he attended the 2/5:GROW-dinner at Taik, who tells me about participating in the Gentle Actions event. What a small world! A few days ago, I talked to Tabea on Skype, and she attended the event and got to know, without knowing about me knowing, Jana and Jan. The world is not only small, it is shrinking!

“Gentle Actions is an art & ecology happening with an experimental visual framework that will take place at the gallery Kunstnerenes Hus in Oslo/Norway from the 23rd of October till the 14th of November 2010. It will be an interactive meeting place which combines the transformatory power of art with interdisciplinary ecology. Gentle Actions will function as a social sculpture and gather people engaged in social transformation within the arts, culture, humanities, social and nature based academia together with cultural activists and an actively engaged public.  It will be an interactive and collaborative platform that includes dialogues and lectures, various presentations, workshops, discussions, and an extensive film program.

Quoting Jaques Rancière: “Art no longer wants to respond to the excess of commodities and signs, but to a lack of connections. The loss of the “social bond”, and the duty incumbent on artist to work to repair it, are the words on the agenda… It’s not only the forms of civility that we have lost, but the very sense of co-presence of beings and things that constitutes a world.”

As part of the program, Jana and the artists Sandor Ellix Katz and Rebecka Beinart will do something very inspiring and related to my topic:

“Porridge, cutting edge yoghurt, and sourdough bread” This space will provide food for thought in the form of workshops, space for conversation and the rituals of sharing meals, in addition to a variety of sensory experiences. There will be a rich array of tastes and smells from living cultured foods and sourdough bread, to traditional porridge and wild teas. The duration of the event will be marked through the slow fermentation and growth of living foods occupying the space.

Wish I could be there!



No garden, no balcony, no terrace? Start windowfarming!

Just came back from the Hub which is hosting a three-day-workshop about windowfarming, a vertical growing-system for growing greens in your own urban dwelling. The project was started by artists Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray in February, 2009 through an artist’s residency in New York. The idea came out of the simple will to grow own vegetables in Britta’s Brooklyn flat, which does not, like most urban housing, have access to dirt. Since then, it has found an incredible fast-growing worldwide acclaim. The internet and social media has allowed the project to be developped further by all sorts of people with different backgrounds around the globe, building the system themselves and sharing their experiences on the open source community blog of the project, http://our.windowfarms.org/. And here the link to the “official” website of the project.

Detail of a bottle with some beautiful greens

Windowfarms installation in New York

The system has also been installed in Finland in a bigger scale (81 bottles) during the Pixelache festival 2010 by Mikko Laajola, Andrew Paterson and Niko Punin with the help of many volunteers in Helsinki’s contemporary art museum Kiasma. One third of the materials went to the Hub Helsinki, so that the windowfarming could be continued in a semi-public location in the city.

Here is a link to the Facebook-event, taking place tomorrow and the day after (24./24.08.2010, starting from 6 pm-8 pm). It is not too late to participate yet! Tomorrow, the planning and material retrievement will be discussed and adjusted to Finnish conditions, and on Wednesday, we will build a windowfarm to the Hub! This project is a beautiful example of how open source, collaboration, participatory design, social media, and a simple and great idea can make the world a better place.

I am really thrilled about this, since I am famous for my rather black thumb, but still always wanted to grow something at home. Never really had the possibility because of the lack of a garden or a balcony. In Finnish conditions, this system even gives the possibility to grow food all year through, and, by adding a light system like the Kiasma-crew did, even throughout the dark Finnish winter. Anxious to learn more by trying it out!



Kalasatama temporary
June 14, 2010, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Design, Good to know, Helsinki, Projects for inspiration | Tags: , ,

On saturday, the “rantareitti” (beach route) around Kalasatama, the old harbour area of Helsinki, was opened. In 2025, there will be a whole new city district. At the moment, it is rather a huge construction site, which allows beautiful temporary cultural projects to take place (!). The office Part Oy is in charge of art projects in the area. Against the strong wind on Saturday, the programme still took place, including among others participants such as The Public School, Dodo Kaupunkiviljelijat (City gardeners), Kuvataideakateemia (Academy of Fine Arts), Kierrätyskeskus (Recycling Centre), and the Kolmio Theatre Group. Here are some useful links:

www.part.fi

http://kalasatama.blogspot.com/

http://www.uuttahelsinkia.fi/kalasatama

http://dodo.org/

http://helsinki.thepublicschool.org/



Guide to free farming

Many people live in cities. We all have to eat. Most of the time, we do not meet the animals and plants that we consume, they come all neatly packed from the supermarket. If we only knew what was edible, we could easily find many foodstuffs from the urban environment or on fieldtrips in the many forests in and around the city.

French design studio 5.5 designers proposed a quite funny project, ‘the guide to free farming’. The research project shows radical solutions to produce food, energy and resources. It was presented in the form of a book that aimed to restore a close relation between consumers and the natural environment, creating
a shorter link to guide people who live in cities to take on the role of farmers in their urban environment. It is about farming in the city and encourages readers to discover the unsuspecting resources hidden in our towns. The book includes recipes like street flower salad and grilled rat, along with instruction guides to, for instance, plucking a pigeon or a starling just as we once plucked chickens, tips for collecting dandelion greens, snails and honey, as well as guides to mushroom picking and uses for expired food is also included. (Source: http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/8369/55-designers-guide-to-free-farming-project.html)

In Helsinki, the Herbologies/Foraging Networks explore “the cultural traditions and knowledge of herbs, edible & medicinal plants, within the contemporary context of online networks, open information-sharing”. There will be a midsummer expedition to rural Kurzeme, Western Latvia. The SERDE Interdisciplinary Art Group will lead fieldwork to learn about the cultural heritage of Balts using wild plants, and create documents for the younger ‘digital native’ generation. Check out more here.