PUBLICS is a curatorial agency with a dedicated library and event space in Vallila, Helsinki. PUBLICS develops out of Checkpoint Helsinki, a contemporary art initiative established in 2013. PUBLICS is committed to critical social thinking, contemporary art and publicness. In 2018 the organization employs 2 people, an artistic director and a program manager, full time. The selected board develops the mission and vision 2 years in time, not leaving the decision making process to one established group. The annual budget of PUBLICS at the moment is approximately 200 000 euros.
The core value of PUBLICS is investing in the art of the future. The program including talks, events, workshops and other educational activities encourage artists, publics and participants to reconsider how our activities can support different representations and diversity. Our library serves as a material resource and a critical agency where artists, students and other communities can engage with social issues. In order to function as a multidimensional and purposed space, artists/curators emerging from various different social backgrounds, and minorities including ethnicities, gender and LGBTQI communities work within and reactivate both the space and the material. PUBLICS only engages with artists/curators whose practice is based on different social dynamics and politics supporting intersectional dialogue. All events are free and open for everyone.
PUBLICS is dedicated to promote new roles, networks and ways of working for small-scale artist run institutions to explore and further discuss the competitive nature of the arts sector and highlight the emergence of cooperation as a strategy to overcome the competitiveness, as well as support independent artists’ initiative to demand better working conditions, contracts and solidarity on the art field.
PUBLICS pays an equal standard fee for every artist/curator in 4 different categories: a talk, a workshop, an event/a performance, a newly commissioned work. All other expenses such as travel, accommodation, material and production costs are always covered. PUBLICS has no ‘dream budget’ as the programming is always realized according to the existing funding. Each project is co-commissioned or in collaboration with other institutions, organizations, freelance cultural workers or other local associates in order to create sustainable and intercultural synergies, as well as provide sufficient resources. PUBLICS engages with long-term projects allowing artists/curators to invest in research, to develop ideas and produce the work, as well as additional outcomes. The model creates economical sustainability and prerequisites to engage with local communities/neighborhoods/groups/publics.
The operative principles of PUBLICS are:
– PUBLICS is discursive and instigates dialogue between local, regional and international art.
– PUBLICS commissions, produces and curates durational, longer-term contemporary public art.
– PUBLICS recognizes the need to identify, activate and actualize diverse publics for contemporary art.
– PUBLICS is an educational, civic and public resource.
– PUBLICS is dedicated to debating, curating, imagining and making contemporary art in, with, and in relation to its multiple publics.