TUE 30 AUGUST 2022

On 30 August 2022, Lönnström Art Museum and Studio Kalleinen will present and launch the English version of Conversation Park; a book exploring an in depth overview of a unique artistic experiment in transforming an abandoned plot of land into a public park in Rauma, Finland. The book, which is for sale at the event, is written by artist duo Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, and co-edited by artists, curators and researchers Miina Hujala and Arttu Merimaa.

At the book launch in PUBLICS, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen will introduce Conversation Park project followed by response from prominent Finnish researchers on participation – Kaija Kaitavuori and Robin Lybeck  – providing additional commentary and insights with respect to their expertise on participatory art and participatory urban planning.

In 2019 thirty residents between 6 to 89 years old became players in a two-year-long “Public Space Game”. The mission was to turn thirty individual ideas for a park into a collective urban reality in 6 game moves. The cooperative park was opened in 2020. Conversation Park is a Lönnström Project and made possible by the Lönnström Art Museum in Rauma.

In the book Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen describe their original intentions when designing the game and share their insights gained whilst working on the Conversation Park for four years. The book touches on core questions with regards to engaging citizens in designing urban public spaces. It is an attempt to open-source the Conversation Park project so it can be analysed, modified, and replicated. It is an invitation to learn about the many factors which have to be considered when designing a participatory project – whether it takes place in art, urban planning or politics.

Helsinki-based Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen are an artist duo whose practice merges the languages and approaches of multiple disciplines, such as film, performance, game design, experimental education, facilitation, social architecture and alternative economies.

Robin Lybeck is a researcher at the sociology department of Åbo Akademi  University. He has studied typologies of engagement in urban planning. His PhD looks at how technology is applied in the context of participatory planning and urban development.

Kaija Kaitavuori is an educator and art historian. Her research focuses on audience participation in contemporary art. Her dissertation “Art of Engagement” discusses participatory processes in terms of democracy and the extent to which participation in art can be understood as ‘democratic’.