[Abinadi Meza / Mumina / photo: Pekka Mäkinen]
The 2010 ANTI Festival of Contemporary Art recently took place from Sept. 28 - Oct. 3 in Kuopio, Finland, and featured projects by an international selection of artists (including myself). The emphasis of this 9th annual edition of the festival was writing, language and site, and also included conferences and seminars around related topics.
[Sarah van Lamsweerde / Instant Fiction / photo: Pekka Mäkinen]
The works presented in the festival focused on live and performative projects, and were staged in various public or non traditional spaces including the local train station, municipal swimming pool, blood donor center, city parks, a former bomb shelter, and a harbour on the pristine Lake Kallavesi.
Kuopio is literally an archipelago city, as several parts of it are built on islands and the whole is totally surrounded by Lake Kallavesi. The city also has a unique feature in its street networks - nearly every second street is a “Rännikatu” (“rain gutter street”) for pedestrian and bicycle traffic only.
At the festival I presented a new work Mumina (eng. "Murmur"), a spatially-situated and distributed novella organized around five characters in five acts. Launched via QR codes and smartphones [screen captures embedded above], readers collected fragments of the ongoing text as they walked around the city. The texts evolved and progressed dynamically at thresholds of readership (once a chapter had been read by 100 people the corresponding QR code shifted to a new chapter), leading to impromptu games of finding, collecting and sharing texts among festival visitors. I regarded the piece as a participatory experiment in architectural/urban meta-tagging and sensory data streams.
[John Court / Eight Hours Writing / photo: Pekka Mäkinen]
Other featured projects variously emphasized elements of endurance (John Court, Kira O’Reilly), humour (Los Torreznos, Iva Supic Jankovic), surveillance (Sarah van Lamsweerde), athleticism (Regin Igloria) and translation (Holly Rumble, Johanna MacDonald). Much more information can be found on the festival website; preparations are already underway for next year’s 10th annual programme.