Lönnström Art Museum

Keskustelupuisto, Conversation Park, 2020.

September 12, 2020
A collectively designed park initiated by the artists Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen
September 12, 2020
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Opening on September 12, 2020, Keskustelupuisto is a collectively designed park initiated by the artists Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen in the city of Rauma, Finland. The new park was realised by 21 residents of Rauma during a Public Space Game, which ran from 2018 to 2020. The name of the park is a wordplay with the Finnish words “central park” (Keskuspuisto) and “conversation” (Keskustelu).

The realisation of this new public art work follows an intensive co-production process developed between the artists and residents. Artist-duo Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen instigated a durational game, initially played by a cohort of thirty residents. Ranging between the ages of 6 to 89, each resident-player took part in transforming an underused outdoor site in the city centre into a uniquely constructed public park. This cooperative game-play eventually resulted in a space where both individual and collective visions for its public use now coexist.

The game began with each player formulating their own proposals for the whole park. Each player was assigned an individual plot of land as well. The game was then divided into a series of six distinct rounds with a modest budget of EUR 200 per player per round. On each of the rounds players had the option to work exclusively on their own plot, or to join land, money and ideas.

During the ensuing months, and with an additional EUR 25,000 budget to allocate for collective activities in the park, participants continued to discuss, strategise and work together. Budget decisions were made during 6 game meetings with the consent method derived from Sociocracy 3.0, while ongoing discussions were held at an online platform and at a weekly coffee drinking gathering. The discursive decision making process allowed for compromises, cooperative determination, and the continuous generation of new plans.

Keskustelupuisto opened a dialogical space of production, where entangled artistic processes met with multiple forms of cooperation, inclusion, and collective learning. It tried to formulate an artistic response to the (re-) questioning of “how to make urban development more participatory and inclusive?” Conversation park suggests that complex layers and levels of participation are essential to any urban planning practice that wants to move beyond symbolic consultation and diluted forms of public space.

Keskustelupuisto was the third public art project commissioned by Lönnström Art Museum, a “Museum without Walls” since 2015. The museum has realised previous public art projects with artists IC-98 and Jani Ruscica. 

Artist-duo Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen are best known as founders of the international Complaints Choir project. For more than 20 years they have been making participatory films, events and installations. The collaboration of the duo has started as co-organisers of the First Summit of Micronations (Amorph! 03, Helsinki, 2003). Their works have been shown across the world including at MoMA P.S.1, Mori Art Museum, S.M.A.K., and KIASMA amongst others. They received the prestigious Ars Fennica Award in 2014.

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September 12, 2020

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