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ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival
ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival

KUOPIO, FINLAND.- ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival, an international festival presenting site-specific works made for public space, will take place August 31-September 30, 2007. Over the final weekend of September a small city in eastern Finland plays host to the world’s only contemporary art festival presenting solely site-specific works commissioned for public space. This unique event has attracted over 30,000 visitors since its inception in 2002, gaining a truly international reputation as a meeting place for artists and audiences fascinated by how contemporary art might respond to the spaces and places of everyday life. Surrounded by lakes and forests Kuopio is a stunning festival location offering a unique setting for a programme of works by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists.

With an emphasis on performance ANTI has established itself as Finland’s foremost presenter of Live Art while also showcasing new developments in sonic and visual arts. In 2006 the festival achieved national recognition as the Minister of Culture awarded the Artistic Directors of ANTI with the State Prize for the Art in recognition of their contribution to the Finnish arts scene and in 2007 the internationally acclaimed artist and writer Gregg Whelan joined Johanna Tuukkanen as Co-Artistic Director.

All works presented at ANTI are commissioned for public space; each year a selection of locations are presented to artists who are asked to respond to one or more of the sites.

For the 2007 edition of the festival a community college, a skateboarding park, the pages of a city newspaper, a late-night grill, a children’s playground and an entire island will be negotiated by an international program of artists. Additional works will roam the city, to be encountered by chance. Such a piece will be UK artist Claire Blundell-Jones’ Introducing Tumbleweeds To the Finnish Landscape where in a playful evocation of the mythological spaces of the American West the artist, equipped with a hand-held industrial leaf-blower, will blow tumbleweeds through Kuopio’s streets and avenues, a sight similar to that of a person leading their pet through the familiar terrain of their own neighbourhood.

Another project will see Australian artist Rosie Dennis negotiate both Kuopio’s Cooperative Bank and the complexities of the Finnish language in the internationally acclaimed performance piece Access All Areas. Here Dennis, dealing with themes of work and the toll it may take on one’s personal constitution falls in and out of looping bi-lingual texts and movement fragments, creating a space equally charged and comic – the artist somehow trapped in a world of work where ‘everything resonates on a Monday’.

The internationally renowned artist Aaron Williamson (UK) will literally give voice to Vasikkasaari Island. Williamson will covertly call from the island to the mainland, tempting some kind of exchange. Hidden on the island Williamson, a little like a ventriloquist, will create the impression that the island has developed the ability to speak. As an idea it is resonant with Williamson’s profound deafness and with wider ideas of language, communication and geographic exchange.

Other works include Davida Hewlett (UK) writing and performing a song about Kuopio and its citizens in collaboration with legendary Finnish band Cosmo Jones Beat Machine; Satu Palokangas (FI) will offer audiences their chance to pick a dance piece from the altered menu of a Kuopio’s favourite grill; and spectacularly Rebekah Rousi (AU/FI) will try to enter the Guinness Book of Records with the longest PowerPoint presentation the world has ever seen.

Visiting each project during the festival is easily done on foot and each piece is entirely free to experience, ANTI is an un-ticketed festival in keeping with its commitment to presenting innovative art works to a wide public audience.

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August 26, 2007

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