To The Square 2

To The Square 2

TO THE SQUARE 2 will connect artistic and political movements across several continents, taking over the central Lasipalatsi Square from 22–31 August as part of Helsinki Festival. mbar will host a line of events during To The Square 2.

“From Tunis to Cairo, from Occupy to Wikileaks and Blockupy Frankfurt, from Tiananmen Square to Moscow, what does it take to fill a square?”, the curators ask.

Their answer is to commission artists deeply involved in forms of resistance and movements “to the square”. With projects by prominent figures such as Khaled Jarrar (Ramallah), whose new project is currently seeking 50 volunteers to match the 50 army-uniforms he has ordered; or Nikolay Oleynikov (Moscow), whose mobile broadcast station “Radio Pravda” will roam the streets and airwaves; Egypt’s most famous street-artist Ammar Abo Bakr (Luxor/Cairo); the sincerely hilarious ZIP Group (Krasnodar); Vladan Jeremic, satirical artist extraordinaire and editor of Art Leaks; and the urban transformers Raumlabor joining the project, the goal is to mobilize people with art.

After the protest movements which broke out in capitals across the world from 2011 onward, we live in a period of regressive politics and at times violent repression. The question today is, what would it take for people to go TO THE SQUARE 2, that is, again? Perhaps it requires new extremes of economic inequality, massive ecological catastrophes, raw racism or an infinitely bigger “big brother”. For where did it all come from, and where does it go — that revolutionary energy?

”Artists and activists’ freedom of speech has been severely threatened, and some, such as Ammar Abo Bakr have to fear for their lives”, the curators Stodolsky and Muukkonen explain.

Yet here we have them, on a central square in Helsinki. Lasipalatsi Square may be a political tabula rasa, but this may soon change. In the framework of TO THE SQUARE 2 a public discussion about the future of the square involving all stakeholders – including Helsinki residents, the Lasipalatsi Media Center, mbar and Amos Anderson Museum – is scheduled for the 22 August.

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