“What I like about this project is that it is foisting music upon people. So you are an audience member whether you want to be or not and this is what we call participation!”
– Hamza Walker on Tram Buskers’ Tour, Kateřina Šedá’s IHME Project
Did you happen to be on a tram where buskers were performing this spring? In its four days, the Project reached more than 24,000 Helsinki tram passengers, the majority of whom were positively surprized to have music on their journey. And yet, according to her own words, the artist did not try to make the experience pleasant for everyone. What assumptions and expectations did Kateřina Šedá herself have in relation to the Project?
The idea for Tram Buskers’ Tour came up when Šedá’s attention was caught by the peculiar positioning of the seats on Helsinki’s trams. What interpretations did Šedá make of the interleaved benches? And what was the transport authority’s official explanation for this arrangement?
In the 2016 Festival publication you can read a conversation about Tram Buskers’ Tour between the artist, IHME’s Executive Director Paula Toppila, and curator at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Hamza Walker.
Doing things differently
In addition to an interview with the artist, this publication documenting the 2016 Festival takes us back to the atmospheres on the trams and at The Old Student House last spring. Pictures record the public’s reactions, ranging from rapture to anger, and at the end of the publication is the Festival programme and information about the talks viewable on IHME’s YouTube channel.
Paula Toppila’s introductory essay giving the background to the IHME Project touches on questions of interest to the commissioners and producers of public art, and more general themes such as changes in the concept of art. “Art is a condition that gives permission to do things differently, and doing things differently always involves a possibility for change,” Paula Toppila writes and adds, referring to what happened to many of the passengers: “The very fact of going past their own stop meant doing something differently.”
You can also read about the IHME School collaborative, art-education projects. “I learned to look at contemporary art with new eyes and to collaborate better. I saw that people are happy, happiness in my classmates,” 7th-grader who took part in the IHME School project sums up her experience.
A facsimile of the publication can be read on the Issuu Service. Click here for the online publication and share the link >