Original drawing is pen on paper, 70 x 100 cm.
Download: bigger size map
Helsinki Map is the last in the series of five drawings that I have made of connections and dynamics in contemporary art scenes.
After having made maps in four cities in South-East Europe it was clear to me that I had to make one more map, of the art scene of Helsinki. This was a necessary task in order to demonstrate that gossip and corruption are not only a problem in the East-European art scenes.
The Helsinki map was more difficult to realize than the others, in which I had made a note of everything, which I could remember, and in any way relevant. In the case of Helsinki this was not possible, because I was part of that scene myself and I knew too much. I decided to focus on the actual issues, which I detected in the art scene: accumulation of parallel power positions, conservative ‘turn’, division of the institutional scene into rightist and leftist cultural policy and tight collaboration within the shared ideology.
It is obvious that these maps do not give an accurate image of the art scene, which they claim they are representing. That is already because they are only describing that brief time which I have been working in these maps, and tell about the issues spoken in them at that moment. Another reason is that I was not using scientific methods or relying on any textual source, but my sole material was what people, whom I got into conversation with, chose to tell me, this of course was then filtered through my perception and memory. These maps are made with a clear awareness that they are not even trying to be accurate and factual, and because of that it is possible there to exist many cases of two or more contradictory pieces of information within the same diagram. Through reproducing all the complaints, interpretations, gossips and suspicions, they are describing a phenomenon of the existence of such a gossips-driven discourse in these contemporary art scenes, which has a major impact on the professional productions coming to the public view from these scenes.
The Helsinki Map has been reproduced in Internet magazine Mustekala in 2009. Finnish language version of the drawing (Helsinki Kartta) was also made as large scale wall drawing in the Oulu Art Museum in 2009, and in Helsinki Kunsthalle, 2010, and reproduced in art magazine Taide and newspaper Voima.