17 Dec 2018


HIAP Talks: Public Acts

Street Politics in Helsinki and London

As part of the Helsinki Design Week, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme and the British Council will organise a discussion on civic engagement and contemporary strategies of communication in public spaces in Helsinki and London. The event is realised in collaboration with the research project Youth Street Politics in the Media Age and hosted by Design Museum.

London-based graphic designer Tzortzis Rallis, who is in residence at HIAP during September invited by the British Council, will talk about how he uses visual communication to engage in social and political initiatives. He supports grassroots political collectives in Greece and is the co-founder of the Occupy Design UK collective. Rallis is also co-designer of The Occupied Times of London, an independent, not-for-profit newspaper born out of the Occupy movement – dedicated to socio-political, economic and environmental justice. With his work, workshops and lectures, he exercises criticism of his own discipline and questions the contribution of design to the contemporary political and social context.

Leena Suurpää (The Finnish Youth Research Society) and Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki) will discuss their research within the interdisciplinary project Youth Street Politics in the Media Age. The project examines how public narratives over youth in Helsinki and London are constructed in the media and how the youth themselves use urban space – the ‘street’ – to confirm and/or subvert these media representations. The concept of the ‘street’ is redefined to include also the virtual surroundings of social media. The research group explores how the street is used to give voice to the experiences of social and spatial inequality in a broader sense, and how ‘youth street politics’ – more or less organised youth action – is used to challenge these experiences.

A comparative analysis of ‘youth street politics’ in Helsinki and London enables the researchers to argue how both the ‘street’ and ‘politics’ are redefined within European urban youth experience.

The event will be moderated by Marita Muukkonen, Curator, and Co-founder of Perpetuum Mobile. PM’s recent projects include RE-ALIGNED Art, Perpetuum Labs, The Arts Assembly. Muukkonen has previously been Curator at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme; Curator at FRAME – The Finnish Fund for Art Exchange; Editor of FRAMEWORK – The Finnish Art Review; 2001–2005 at NIFCA The Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art.