Conversation Park – A Public Space Game culminates in the opening of a collectively designed park.
If you could decide, what kind of a park would you like to have in your home town?
This question was put to thirty Rauma residents between the ages 6–89 who had volunteered to participate in the Conversation Park (Keskustelupuisto) contemporary art project by the artist duo Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen. In the project, a new park was designed and built using a participatory scheme developed by the artists.
In April 2018, the project’s game board, a 1,900 square metre plot of undeveloped land in the centre of Rauma, was divided into 30 sections, which were distributed among the players by lot. Each player became the sovereign ruler of their own section. In five meetings held in the space of two years, each player received 200 euros to be used before the next meeting to further their vision of the park before the next meeting. In the sixth and last meeting, the players were collectively given 14,000 euros for the finalisation of the park. During the game, the players could choose to tend only their own section or to pool resources – the money, the land, the ideas. Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen served as overseers without actually steering the direction of the game.
The process has involved countless discussions and negotiations among the players. As a result, the City of Rauma has now a unique and personal park which reflects both the needs of individuals and their common voice.
Conversation Park is part of the continuum of works created by the artist duo in their 18 years of collaboration. The works explore participation and the interplay and tensions between individuality and collectivity. This is the first artwork by the duo that is sited in the public space. The City of Rauma will maintain the park up to at least 2022.
The artists have documented the players’ experiences during the project. The documentation will be available in a mobile app published in conjunction with the opening of the park. An exhibition based on the materials will also be produced in the future.
Join us for the opening of the Keskustelupuisto / Conversation park on 12 September 2020 at 14.00–18.00, Kalliokatu 28–30, Rauma.