Magazine article Art Monthly

ANTI Festival 2009

Magazine article Art Monthly

ANTI Festival 2009

Article excerpt

ANTI Festival 2009

various venues Kuopio 23 to 27 September

Walking can encompass everything from protest marches to epic journeys or short trips down a red carpet, so it was a great theme for this year's ANTI Festival. Its breadth meant that curators Johanna Tuukanen and Gregg Whelan had a wealth of artists to choose from. Application is by proposal and the only hard and fast rule of the annual event--now in its seventh year--is that all works must be site-specific and made for the public space. All in all there were about 40 events scattered across the small town in the Finnish lake district that is the ANTI Festival's home. This year's artists came to Kuopio from across Finland, the Americas, France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the UK.

Michel de Certeau's ideas provide a useful framework to think about many of the works at the ANTI Festival. There is a chapter in The Practice of Everyday Life called 'Walking in the City'. In it he explains the difference between what he terms 'strategies', 'tactics' and 'manoeuvres'. In his model, institutional bodies strategically organise the city: they map, grid and manoeuvre the people. Institutions have overview they imagine the city as if looking down from above. Whereas the people, the walkers, exist only within the city; they are not equipped with an overview but have the natural wit to act tactically in resistance to the grid. They stop, start, meander, drift and take short cuts that go against the structure imposed upon them from above.

The rebellion of the little people against the manoeuvring of the state was epitomised in Stephanie Nadeau's Anonymous Collaboration. Nadeau spent her time in Kuopio walking a desire path--one of those short cuts across grass that people take. For five days, from 10am to 6pm, she walked back and forth until the path was established. On the Sunday at 3pm there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Nadeau gave a short speech. She dedicated her path to the small ways that millions of people each and every day resist the impositions of larger and more powerful governing bodies.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Many of the works were deceptively simple but no less effective for it. Festival visitors could pick up a map and timetable and meet any number of artists who were roaming the city and walk and talk with them. They could re-enact historic protest marches alongside Alex Bradley; walk a one-kilometre lap of a department store with Adele Prince (who walked the full marathon distance of 42km through the shopping aisles in one day); walk where the wind took them wearing a helmet designed by Tim Knowles or soften the architecture of the city by wearing one of the archsuits devised by Sarah Ross. These padded suits came into their own when Ross, or whoever was wearing the archsuit, approached an uncomfortable surface. Ross designed the archsuits to overcome measures that had been put in place to discourage loitering. Spiky fences or hard concrete shapes could all be made more comfortable by deploying the suits' custom-made padded extrusions. During one of her walks the artist professed a desire to make Kuopio a 'soft city'. The term Soft City was coined by Jonathan Raban in his 1974 book about living in metropolises. The softness or plasticity in Raban's book was an attempt to explain varieties of perception--how millions of people could share a city and each have a thoroughly individual experience. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.