After our latest #FDCFocus on Twitter over August, what can you remember about our Finnish partner, ANTI Festival? With the 15th edition of the festival and our second lab in Kuopio introducing our new theme for our second year, Future DiverSocieties, here are 5 things you might not know about ANTI Festival.
Founded by its curator Johanna Tuukkanen, ANTI Festival emerged in 2002 in the city of Kuopio, Finland. Its team is a small group of ambitious people with a genuine passion for the arts. Recognized as an international pioneer in site-specific contemporary art, the organisation produces an annual international arts festival and projects throughout the year.
ANTI produces an annual international arts festival and projects throughout the year. Held in Kuopio, Finland, the city hosts the festival, and projects by artists from around the world take place in public spaces – homes, shops, city squares, business, forests, lakes – and directly engage communities and audiences in the making and showing of their work. ANTI aims to promote contemporary art and internationalization of artists and arts events. The team works with innovative artists on projects that explore and explode urban space with the strong belief that public art and urban art participate in change making in the city.
The upcoming edition
This year, the festival will take place on 19th – 24th September in Kuopio. The ANTI team has built a programme of events and projects around the theme of water as, this year, it has partnered with Our Water-Conscious Land, a project proposing that Finland, in its centenary year, should work as a global advocate for clean water and its preservation and conservation.
How did this idea came up, you may ask? Well, water is the most abundant substance in the human body and covers the majority of the Earth’s surface. Take this idea further, water is another form of border, affecting and impacting nationality, immigration, migration and displacement. At the same time, Kuopio welcomes a whole series of artistic projects about water in a wonderful city surrounded by water. Johanna Tuukkanen and Gregg Whelan explain in their curatorial statement:
“It’s difficult to walk for ten minutes in Finland, in any direction, and not encounter a lake. Of course that’s an exaggeration and it’s entirely possible to avoid a shoreline, but the country’s romanticized topography as a land of lakes and islands isn’t entirely fictional either; a flight into any Finnish airport reveals just that, as water gives way to land, in a series of such complex and detailed archipelagos it’s hard to distinguish between the two. Natural water is dynamic in Finland, a dramatic temperature range sees to that, and it shifts in equally dramatic fashion – liquid to (very) solid to liquid – in the course of a year, creating, in winter, a temporary increased surface area to the country strong enough to park cars and light fires upon.”
Our advice? Come in Kuopio and see the lakes, the forests and the finest selection of projects for yourself, lovingly curated by ANTI Festival.
Have a look at the full programme here.
Future DiverCities and ANTI Festival
ANTI Festival has been working in and taking over public city spaces for 15 years. When integrating art into the urban context, the ANTI team focus strongly on the local impact and the role the individual plays in it all. Such a strong background in urban engagement is a strong foundation for exploration in future cities. Somewhere along the way, local meets international, and there are many lessons to be taken from the experience of Future DiverCities. Johanna Tuukkanen, ANTI director and founder, says:
“It is crucial in a project like Future DiverCities to embrace the diversity of partnership context. We are all different and we don’t try to be the same because our context are so different… It is nice to be able to discover cities, urban contexts and different communities through artworks thanks to the partners labs experiences”.
The very first lab of Future DiverCities was hosted and produced by ANTI Festival in Kuopio in October 2016 in partnership with creative facilitators The Map Consortium (UK) and artists local to Kuopio. Four artists from the field of urban, street, digital and music/sound art worked in the framework of dialogical aesthetics with multidisciplinary approaches, were experienced in participatory, collaborative processes and working with diverse communities. The Lab took place in Kuopio and ran parallel to the events surrounding the ANTI Prize Weekend on 27th to 29th October 2016. It provided an opportunity for artists to experiment, collaborate and engage with the citizens and urban context of Kuopio.
Future DiverSocieties lab heads for the suburbs of Kuopio
ANTI Festival 2017
From 14th – 20th September, ANTI Festival its hosting its second Lab under the new theme, ‘Future DiverSocieties’ in the days running up to and during ANTI Festival 2017. This year, the ANTI Lab will take place in Petonen, a district on the outskirts of Kuopio. Four international artists (Joseph O’Farrel, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Davor Sanvincenti, Anne Roquigny) will collaborate with four local artists (Anniina Aunola, Emma Fält, Eerika Jalasaho and Ilkka Kivelä) over six days with the help of Chris Higgins, director of the Map Consortium (group of artist-facilitators).
The participating artists will be asked to consider what it takes to engage communities and create common points of interest. How, through artistic experimentation, is it possible to instigate common purpose across diverse communities and societies? The space for their experimentation will be the cultural centre of Petonen, 10 kilometres from Kuopio city centre. It is here that the ANTI festival community engagement challenge starts.
Culture, Borders and the Exchange of Ideas
How do you share culture? Where do borders begin? Where are the inhabitants of Kupio who are less or even unaware of the work of ANTI Festival? How can we encourage further discovery of their work and programme? The answer is here, in the poor area of Petonen, with a high population of immigrants with very few other options available to them. If Petonen appears to suffer from a phenomenon of ghettoisation, ANTI festival is the first to start breaking down the barriers between young adults and teenagers of this district, artists and culture enthusiasts. As ANTI works to expand its reach and its audience, there’s a good question to consider, What impact does Kuopio’s international site-specific art festival have on its communities and, in turn, what impact do those communities and their contexts have on the festival?