TOK opens The Russian Bar in Helsinki

The new project by the Creative Association of Curators TOK The Russian Bar: Why Relocate? New approaches to neighborliness and interchange will be launched on June 6, 2018 at Publics in Helsinki, where TOK will present the concept and participants of this traveling exhibition and discursive program. The project idea is driven by the curators’ intention to analyze the dynamics of migration processes fueled by the political turbulence of the past and current decades, and find new languages and ways to articulate the changes they bring for local and global professional communities. Focusing on the geographical context they have been working with since TOK was founded in St Petersburg, the curators would like to concentrate on the regional situation and revisit past and current Russian-Finnish dialogue through the lens of the changing internal and external politics of the two countries.

Based on research of past and current Russian-Finnish relations, interviews with specialists on migration processes and policy, archival documents and stories of recent migrants from Russia and other countries that used to be part of the USSR, The Russian Bar will be presented as a series of performances, talks, artistic interventions and small-scale exhibitions in different venues in Helsinki in June and August-September 2018. Through ongoing and specially commissioned works, participating artists, social researchers, curators and art historians, who are currently based in Finland, will reflect upon their own experiences of migration, the state of transition and the reaction of Finnish society to their arrival in the light of historic and complex Russian-Finnish relations. They will also address other current and historical experiences of exile and displacement, roots of nationalism and social acceptance, communication and exchange, disappointment and civil powerlessness, social and cultural clashes and reciprocity.

Searching for non-governmental, non-bureaucratic, non-institutional, non-official and non-formal languages TOK will bring under the umbrella of The Russian Bar artistic projects and results of academic research that reflect upon regional and global particularities by revising history, analyzing educational systems, media processes, migration policies, legislative systems and governmental programs as well as relations between locals and newcomers. With the project, TOK also raises a question about extending borders of curatorial practice: they see The Russian Bar as an instrument for self-reflection and conceptualization of a new political reality.

The first part of the program will open in June with a conversation between artist, historian and write Ilya Budraitskis and artist and researcher Sezgin Boynik, who will discuss the legacy of the Cold War and its affect on the cultural policy in the global and local sociopolitical and cultural contexts. The events program will continue with two performances by Livsmedlet theater about migration experiences, lecture by Dr Katarina Lopatkina about feminist artistic agenda in the 20s century in Russia and Finland and a Speech Karaoke based on texts in Russian, Finnish and English that touch upon political and human relations between Russia and Finland. Other participants include Alina Belishkina and Vera Kavaleuskaya, Kalle Hamm, Minna Henriksson, SashaPasha, Ilya Orlov, Kseniya Yurkova, and more. ​Their projects will be presented to the public in the end of August - beginning of September. 

Click here for the full project description and program.


The project is supported by Kone Foundation