If Walls Could Speak 2007–2008

If Walls Could Speak 
/ Om väggar kunde tala
 / Jos seinät osaisivat puhua

Botkyrka konsthall, Sweden  workshop 1.9-14.9 2007, show 15.9-30.9 2007

Kerava Art Museum, Finland  workshop 1.1-16.11 2007, show 17.11 2007-6.1 2008

If Walls Could Speak, an interdisciplinary workshop approaching site specificity through fiction

Our agenda was to look at narratives linked to a location. We started with an assignment inspired by Georges Perec´s, Tentative d´épuisement d´un lieu Parisien. Perec aims to describe or literate the Saint-Sulpice Square in Paris through a collection of observations. He avoids story telling and narration. An inventory is the outcome, a listing of visual contacts taken under a few weeks in 1974. His approach is an introduction for trivial contents and Perec charts details that usually pass unnoticed.

The participants made an inventory of places in Botkyrka and Savio. The following step was to make a more specific collection of items from the list and through that collection outline a story. The initial inventory produced a non-evaluating approach towards the surroundings – a gum paper was as important as a sun. The stories were the basis to the next assignment: to create a dramatic structure on the basis of the initial lists. The narrative structures were written including possibilities for changes, maybe through a conflict or crisis.

The first assignments were the primary sketches to individual pieces; all created on location.

The locations

Botkyrka konsthall is situated in the town of Tumba. Botkyrka has one of the highest percentages of first and second-generation immigrants in Sweden. Nearly half the population has at least one parent born in another country. In some areas 64.5% belong to this group, many of them with Finnish roots. The public library and gallery spaces are adjacent to the shopping mall in Botkyrka. One being at the side of the other brings attention to the option of consuming art and experiencing high street fashion. But it is not merely the displays that mix, also the individual backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities blend and merge.

The Klondyke building in Savio is approximately 30 000 square meters large and about 1000 square meters are used by the Kerava Art Museum. The building and its surroundings reflect the social and structural development in the 20th century. Originally built to host a rubber factory, accommodating workers with both housing and leisure grounds, the building was sold decades later to host the TV-series Gladiator and an indoor funfair called Planet Funfun. The now abandoned housing and traces of the funfair tells silent tales of structural changes.   Leftovers and debris is intertwined with culture, leisure, health care and entrepreneurship in the contemporary Klondyke building.

Kerava Art Museum and Botkyrka konsthall are both situated half an hour from the capital. This common point was the initiative for the two parallel workshops and shows.


Institute of Fine Arts, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Roope Ahola, Lasse Honkonen, Saija Kivikangas, Tuomo Nevalainen,
Heidi Savilakso, Ona Taskinen, Juan Kasari

Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki
Alma Heikkilä, Suvi Nurmi, Pilvari Pirtola, Anssi Pulkkinen

University College of Arts Crafts and Design, Stockholm
Lise Haurum Christensen, Ulrika Gomm, Johan Wilén, Grant Watkins, Paula Urbano

Royal University College of Fine Arts, Stockholm

Marika Troili

Emma  Strindmar Nordstöm

Mervi Louna


Artists Carina Gunnars, Anna Kindgren and Lisa Torell
Actor, playwriteR Juha Hurme


Artist Lena Séraphin


John Håkansson

Thank You

Botkyrka konsthall
Director Joanna Sandell
Curator Miriam Andersson-Blecher
Assistant Caroline Malmstöm
Keravan taidemuseo
Director Pirkko Siitari

Works by

Lise Haurum Christensen

Alma Heikkilä, Syreenien kukinnan aikaan hän astui junaan, joka oli vievä hänen muistot ja unelmat kaukaiseen paikaan. Ilmassa leijui hento tuoksu.

Lasse Honkonen, If Walls Could Speak
Tuomo Nevalainen, The Cynical Melting Pot – the most important thing is hygiene

Anssi Pulkkinen

Heidi Savilakso

Marika Troili, Milk on sale in Botkyrka konsthall, Saturday 15/9  at 12-4 pm

Oona Taskinen and Saija Kivikangas

Carina Gunnars and Anna Kindgren

Article: Jos seinät osaisivat puhua TAIDE_508 [finnish]

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