All quotes below are taken from ‘We Built This City’ in Issue 002 of boom saloon. The article was written Eleanor Pender and features an interview with ANTI Festival founder and director, Johanna Tuukanen.
“Art can be transformative. Art can be questioning. When you leave an artwork behind and return to your day, the art stays in your mind unbeknownst to you… Art forces us to ask the difficult questions- but when the art is no longer there where do these questions come from? As citizens, when are we asked questions of our home? How much do we participate and engage with our cities, our neighbourhoods, our countries?”
The art of city-making is at the heart of Future DiverCities, exploring artistic creativity to encourage urban engagement and social change. With this exact theme in mind, Johanna Tuukanen, ANTI Festival founder and director gave an interview to arts magazine boom saloon on the power art and creativity hold and artists as agents of social change.
Speaking about the origins and motivations for ANTI, Johanna touched upon art bringing spaces to life with a new energy.
“We wanted to explore the city and use strange forgotten spaces, like a staircase in the middle of a forest, while also using more central spaces like the market square. It was a way to explore and use the cityspaces differently, bringing them to life with all kinds of art – live performance art, installation, media, choreography…”
Talking about Future DiverCities Tuukanen emphasised the importance of working international together with the local in mind, remembering that each cityspace and its own personality and individuality.
“For Future DiverCities, it’s crucial that the partners are all different and that we don’t even try to be the same because our cities and contexts are so different. In a project like this, it’s crucial to embrace the diversity of each city and each partnership.”
Considering ANTI Festival and the unique programming and curatorial style the festival embraces only emphasises the potential in a collaborative project of the scale of Future DiverCities. Tuukanen speaks about the relationship between global, international and local and finding that connection, the thread that connects it all.
“…Tailoring [events] to the people, is very deeply embedded in the city, in the local context, the local networks, the local communities and connections. You have the global art world, but it really is all about the local connection.”
With project partners spread across Europe and Canada with a range of expertise, this balance between local and global will impact throughout the project. It is inevitable that partners will have some small impact on each other over the lifetime of the project. With the second year just underway, Tuukanen is already discovering new experiences to take away.
“For me, the experience that I have from Future DiverCities events- like the event in Marseille- remind me it’s really nice to be able to discover a city, the urban context and different communities, through art. It offers a different kind of map of the city. It’s not the tourist map leading you to the obvious attractions, it’s an alternative map to find out something about the local context with the artist, with these communities and these artworks. I really love that.”
Find the full interview in magazine, boom saloon, available to buy now via boomsaloon.com or in limited stockists.