The Public School Helsinki: last weekend, and the future

posted: 28 April, 2010
Summer is almost here, and summer will (almost certainly) bring us a large empty shipping container, "permanently" landlocked in the Kalasatama harbour.  This is part of an initiative between the city and Part which will be an ongoing 25-year project to revitalise Kalasatama.  We're looking forward to using the container as a classroom for most Public School events this summer, and I'm also curious to see what sort of community we end up with down there, as other organisations (Dodo and Kuvataideakatemia, for starters) will also have their own containers.

Last weekend Ptarmigan hosted back-to-back Public School classes.  Friday brought the second meeting of Drawing, aka Dinosaur Drawing or Drawing Marathon, faciliated by Cathérine Kuebel and Sarah Alden.  This time the class was extended to be 6 PM til 9 PM, though most people petered out before 5 AM.
Turnout was pretty high this time - I myself didn't participate in any drawing, being that I was swamped with other work, but it was a fun vibe.  Lots of food, lots of hanging out, and a general low-key vibe.  The resulting mural, like last time, is a mixture of incredibly beautiful sections layered with crude jokes and bizarre text fragments, but I think it's about the process, not the product.

Saturday afternoon we immediately launched into Sculptural Workshop for Foodies.  This is a great example of what I love about the Public School project.  The 'class' itself was awesome - led by Salla Kuuluvainen, the small group of participants played with various foods for a few hours, constructing visual creations of varying sophistication.  
It's always fun to play with food (see my post on the Adam Zaretsky workshop) and this unleashed a side of me I never knew was there.  I think the lemon zester is my artistic tool of choice now.

At times the creations reminded me of Max Ernst paintings, or Alberto Giacometti sculptures - only edible.

Afterwards, we cooked everything down and ate a very weird, very pink Indonesian-style curry with a side of annatto-infused barley.  

This class was originally proposed by the Public School in Brussels, and copied to the Helsinki site.  We gathered enough enthusiastic people to run it, and it was done without any communication between us and the original proposers in Brussels - where it has not yet happened.  I like that very much -- unspoken, cross-country idea-sharing.
The venerable Helsingin Sanomat published an article on TPS Helsinki yesterday, which I unfortunately cannot link to because it's not freely available online. (Finland must be one of the few places where the traditional economic model of newspapers can still survive).  With the attention from this and the other press outlets, plus a bright summer hopefully spent seaside, the future looks bright for TPS Helsinki.