At the ‘Media Intervention in the City’ course of the Department of Art, Centre for General Studies, students were given the opportunity to produce installations and performances of short duration at the Kamppi Center shopping center. The course examined the changing role of art in public space. "Nowadays public art can be something other than a sculpture on a square. Artists around the world use many different types of media and often process social and political topics in social media, working closely with local people", says Andy Best-Dunkley, the course’s Teacher in charge.
The course has been organised on six consecutive years, and this is the second year that it took place at Kamppi Center. "Kamppi is an interesting location; as a hub of public transport, thousands of commuters pass through it every day. It is a modern agora, where a multicultural mixture of people can be found: office workers, politicians, students, families, unemployed people, and beggars", Best-Dunkley comments.
The students began their work on the spot at Kamppi Center, making observations on the life of the shopping center, processing the works on that basis. For instance, 'Human Garden' by Jaakko Jänis was a performance, in which he lay in a box, motionless and speechless, for three hours while passers-by were allowed to plant flowers on top of him or next to him in the box.
"In my work I pondered the significance of stopping as well as movement. Having people stop to look at or to take part in the performance was in my mind, as was my own motionlessness. I noticed after the performance that I pondered death, as well as the motionlessness of plants as living organisms", Jänis says.
The performance of Jaakko Jänis invited passers-by to plant flowers. Photo: Andy Best-Dunkley.
Hanna Korkiakoski and Pauline Taupin, for their part, used tape to build a long-necked dinosaur sculpture on the fourth floor of the Kamppi Center. The name of the work is Lost world. "It is a play on words: Dinosaurs belong to a lost world, and at the same time our work is hidden, in a way. The whole can be seen only if it is observed from the correct angle. We wanted to supply the viewer with the joy of discovery", Korkiakoski says.
Heli Vainio, Shopping Center Manager of the Kamppi Center, sees collaboration with Aalto University to be part of the changing role of shopping centers: "A shopping center is no longer the solitary role in offering its customers products and services. Their purpose is to be places that are inviting, and where people can also buy things. A shopping center needs to live in the present day, which nowadays means, among other things, providing space for the use of city dwellers of different types for the implementation of their own projects. ”
The works raised a diversity of reactions among those who visit Kamppi. Vainio explains: "The works were surprising and interesting, and one person felt that one of them was actually frightening. For us no emotion is better than another. What is most important is to surprise the customer with something when they arrive at Kamppi. Each stunt produces an impression of Kamppi as a place shared by all city dwellers."
Lecturer Andy Best-Dunkley, [email protected], +358505714013