Tram Buskers’ Tour is Production of the Year

Tram Buskers' Tour's musicians and audience workersMore than 100 people were involved in the making of the 2016 IHME Project and the Festival, including Tram Buskers' Tour's musicians and audience workers (in the picture). Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

The 2016 IHME Project, the artist Kateřina Šedá’s Tram Buskers’ Tour, has today, Monday, November 14, been awarded the TAKU Production Prize at the TAKU ry (Art and Cultural Professionals’ Trade Union) Producers’ Day. The Prize was given to the work for its success in removing barriers to spontaneous interaction.

Candidates for production of the year were submitted via TAKU’s website, and this year’s winner was chosen by theatre director Mika Myllyaho.

“Working in shared space requires great professional skill from the artist. The Tour sought to remove the boundaries between people, and to make communication easier. Thus, art can concretely create a link between people. The Tram Buskers’ Tour is a much-needed gesture,” is how Myllyaho explains his choice.

The €1500 prize was awarded to the artist.

Tram Buskers’ Tour – a joint project

The Tram Buskers’ Tour was commissioned for the IHME Contemporary Art Festival, and was staged in March 2016 in collaboration with Helsinki City Transport HKL, and Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL. Over four days, buskers from different parts of the world, invited by the artist, made music on all ten of Helsinki’s tram routes and the work was experienced by a total of nearly 24,000 tram travellers. This genre-boundary-crossing tour involved more than 300 hours of music, ranging from the covers by a figure with a cult reputation, The Space Lady, to the Baroque compositions of Bence Boka, who plays in the streets of Venice.

Kateřina Šedá – currently in Paris preparing her next project in public space for Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers – is delighted with the recognition. “I am very happy to hear the news and also happy for the visibility for IHME. The Festival is an amazing organization and is doing an extremely good job. I often think about our dream collaboration,” says the artist.

Curator of the IHME Project, IHME Executive Director Paula Toppila agrees: “Tram Buskers’ Tour was carried out in collaboration with the artist, the Prague music critic Pavel Klusák, 39 Finnish and foreign musicians, 19 audience workers, and our Festival team of five. The artwork would not have been possible without our partners, HKL, HSL and the Kone Foundation. We are very grateful to them all for their support and collaboration.

The project continues

The artist also has some news to share, and she promises to keep us updated. “I am actually now working on a buskers tour for the trams in the Czech city of Brno in May of next year,” says Šedá, who herself lives in a village close to Brno.

The annual IHME Contemporary Art Festival is built around an artwork commissioned from an artist or artist group with an international reputation. Direct experiences of the work are further expanded by a multi-faceted Festival programme, which opens up the work to discussion and interpretation. Besides the programme of talks, the Festival offers its audience video art, film, music and more.

Next year’s IHME Festival will be at the start of April. An artwork titled The Black Charismatic, commissioned from Chicago artist Theaster Gates, will be carried out in various parts of the city, while the physical focal point of the Festival will be the Gloria Cultural Arena. On 7–8 April 2017, there will be discussions of Gates’s work and the themes it raises, artists’ talks, presentations of art-education projects, and a chance to enjoy a broad overview of contemporary art.

The IHME Festival is open and free to everyone.