URB 17: Playing with Reality

URB is an annual urban art and culture festival that presents the influence of ever-changing urban and youth culture on different forms of contemporary art.

  • 2.8.–10.8.2017
URB17 festival logo.

URB festival

The title of this edition of URB festival, Playing with Reality, refers to the critical and playful way art posits itself in relation to the world we are living in. It is constantly questioning the way it is organized and proposing new ways to perceive and sense it. In this context it has to do with the critical inspection and constructive upsetting of its commonly and often unconsciously held narratives and ideas of identity.

URB makes space for incompleteness, enables experiment and connects communities, artists and actors. The festival events spread out from the museum and the black box to various urban spaces, asking to whom and on what terms urban art can exist.


URB LAB: Sébastien Ramirez, Niskanen & Salo

22.6. Open doors at 13-16, Kiasma Theatre.

Sébastien Ramirez (movement), Mark Niskanen (sound and video) and Jani-Matti Salo (light and video) gather for a four-day URB LAB residency in Kiasma Theatre from June 19th to 22nd. On the last day of the residency, the public is welcome to observe the artist trio experiment with interactive technology and street dance-based movement.


URB LAB is a platform for artists-in-residence to experiment, research and play with new ideas and concepts. URB LAB offers space that encourages new ways of thinking and doing while eliminating the constraints of production pressure. It also creates a unique opportunity for the public to observe the development of new works and to see artistic processes behind the scenes.

Niskanen & Salo: Palmudisko

Kiasma Seminar Room 2.–10.8. Installation accessible during museum opening hours.

Jamppa and Mark are playing with projectors. Bert and Lindsey come over.

The piece was an accident.

Palmudisko is an installation that consists of video projection, audio, and plants.

Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo have been working with interactive installations since 2015, mostly in the United States. The project has been supported by Mana Contemporary (USA) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Another center: Pasila

2.8. at 17, 3.8. at 17, 4.8. at 17 + 21
Kääntöpöytä, Pasila
Tickets 15/12 €

Another center is a series of site-specific performances about city dweller’s relation to nature.

Another center: Pasila takes participants to a playful nature expedition in hidden Pasila on an August afternoon. Performance asks in what kind of city are we living in and in what kind of city we would like to live in. Another center makes art that smells, moves, makes sound, and tastes. Another center: Pasila tries to find ways to be self-sufficient in an urban environment and broaden the circle of empathy to salads and beyond.

Working group: Hanna-Kaisa Tiainen, Micha Goldberg, Kääntöpöydän kasvit ja eläimet, Viljami Lehtonen, Veera-Maija Murtola

W A U H A U S: The Church of Internet

2.8. at 19, 3.8. at 19, 4.8. at 19, 5.8. at 15, Kiasma Theatre.
Tickets 15/12 €

There will soon be a point in time when the dead social media users will surpass the living.

A recent extension to our cultural relationship with death is the increasing number of the deceased who have created a large amount of digital content, such as social media profiles, that will remain online after their death. Issues on how this information is sensitively dealt with are complicated, [and there are no] clear policies on what happens to the [data] of deceased users.

Wikipedia 9.5.2017

The Church of Internet is a game that the audience plays together. The game forms into a mourning gathering where we search for new ways of grieving, remembering and celebrating in the internet era. It is a possibility to face questions about empathy in digital interaction and all that we leave behind.

The internet never forgets.

The Church of Internet is part of Kiasma Theatre’s ARS17 program.

Working group: Samuli Laine, Jussi Matikainen, Aku Meriläinen & Jarkko Partanen

Ima Iduozee: Garden of Eden

3.8. at 19, 4.8. at 19, 7.8. at 19, Stoa.
Tickets 15/12 €

Garden of Eden is fluid, filled with aliases and census-defying classifications. It has no address or phone number, no single discipline or calling.

Garden of Eden is intersexed, ambiguous, profound and ever changing.

Garden of Eden rejects the quiet servitude that characterizes existing roles and social categories. Only through the mixing, melding, and cross-conversion of these supposed classifications can there be hope for liberation.

Garden of Eden is a work dedicated to two bodies, wandering in the choreographic landscape of a lost paradise.

Working group: Ima Iduozee, Esete Sutinen, Erno Aaltonen, YSI, Laura Väinölä

Pakui Hardware: Creatures of Habit

5.8.–3.9. SIC
Opening 4.8. at 18–21

Immersed in leisure while automated bodies scurry around carrying out our daily routines and work, we devote ourselves to spiritual and cultural augmentation, cultivation of our creativity and fitness. Everyone is familiar with such kind of phantasy of automation. It is, of course, accessible to only part of the future post-working class. But are we even ready to renounce work, when it has been the driving force and the key indicator of ‘success’ for centuries? There is a joke that there are three things one can watch forever: fire, water, and other people working. Are we prepared to be observers of the hypnotizing choreography of robotic bodies, of the velocity of algorithmic decisions?

In collaboration: URB festival & SIC

Lado Darakhvelidze: Cooking The New Planet

5.8.–1.10. Opening 5.8. at 17, Alkovi.

Radical dramatic curtain installed in Alkovi. The work juxtaposes historical political figures and iconic images and characters of today’s visual culture and media. Being extremely ideologically and politically charged, the images are combined with allegories of the mass and social media, the main tools of ‘cooking’ our worldview and opinions today. The heavy velvet curtain that serves as a background for images makes the audience wonder what it covers – the same way we question what is hidden by manipulative media strategies and political agendas and multiple realities they create.

Lado Darakhvelidze, (b. 1977, Kutaisi, Georgia) lives and works in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Darakhvelidze’s artistic practice focuses primarily on the phenomena of information, media and its sociopolitical impacts. In his work, he deals with social and political changes and represents these in personal narratives.  

The work is a part of the project States of Control curated by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits (Creative Association of Curators TOK) that deals with the current and historical context of media reality, propaganda, and post-truth. States of Control takes place in Alkovi as well as Augusta Gallery in Suomenlinna, where the exhibition is open 17.8.–1.10.2017.

Quiet dances

5.8. at 18–6.8. at 18, Sorbus.

Quiet dances is a durational dance performance that emerged from the need to investigate and distinguish personal and performative dance. The dancers choose an hour of music, put on headphones, close their eyes, and surrender to music and dance.

The work explores how we understand our own dance and how we seek to perform through dance. Quiet dances is a polyphonic and varied project, with performers representing the broadest possible societal and artistic spectrum of dance. Each performer’s understanding and expression of dance, relationship to the choice of music and presentation makes the individual performance unique.

Quiet dances will feature 24 dancers appearing at Sorbus gallery over a 24-hour period between 5 and 6 August. The work will commence on Saturday evening at 6 pm, ending at the same time on Sunday evening. With its durationality, the performance settles into the pulse of the surrounding city.

Working group: Wilhelm Blomberg, Maja Hannisdal, Ilmari Karhu, Sindri Runudde sekä 24 esiintyjää eri taustoista

The Meal

8.–10.8., Kiasma.

The Meal is hosted by MA students of Aalto University’s ViCCA (Visual Culture and Contemporary Art) program in collaboration with URB festival. A three day event of food and art comprises of gatherings, conversations, interventions, participatory actions, performances, and of course, food.

Mihail Kaluzhski: Like it, Fake it

8.8. at 19, Galleria Augusta.

Scripted by Russian playwright and and journalist Mikhail Kaluzhsky, Like it, Fake it is a perforamce that deals with arts and media in the post-truth era: what happens when an artist enters hostile cultural and political context?

Biniyam: “BABY WE CHANGING CULTURE” / Listening Party

9.8. at 20, 10.8. at 20, Kiasma Theatre.
Tickets 15/12 €

Introduction to Biniyam – World premiere of Biniyam’s upcoming project release performed with special visuals.

“This is not your regular show, come see how a black boy fly”


The hood of a Ferrari, dance, virtual realities, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Addis Ababa, the future, “I feel like Prince”.


Composition workshop – Puhos ♡ People

5.8. at 21, Puhos.

Organized as part of Puhos ♡ People event, URB festival supports a community-based composition workshop led by composer and pianist Pekka Toivonen. The participants of the workshop are young people from Eastern Helsinki with interest or some experience in music. During the workshop sessions the participants realize a musical composition and arrangement that premieres in an open space, in the center of Puhos shopping mall.

The workshop participants come via the main partner of Puhos ♡ People event, association Badbaado. It is a youth organization in Eastern Helsinki that works with socially marginalized or at risk of socially marginalized youth whose home language is not Finnish.

The workshop explores the musical roots and traditions of people from different backgrounds that form a basis for a sound installation that recreates Finnish music again and again. Sounds of surprise performers and instruments from non-Western musical tradition can be heard in the summer evening.

Puhos ♡ People is a cultural event created together by communities functioning in Puhos. It aims to support the cultural activation and visibility of Puhos shopping mall, located in Itäkeskus area of Helsinki.

Jakob Ampe & Pol Heyvaert: Wild Life FM

8.–9.8., daily at 10–16, Annantalo.

Musician Jakob Ampe and director Pol Heyvaert will lead a workshop for young people (age 15 to 20) who write their own music, sing their own songs or produce music in general. During the two-day workshop, the participants will make a podcast / radio show.

Supported by

Helsingin kulttuurikeskus, Ministy of Education and Culture

In collaboration with

Alkovi, Annantalo, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, Lasten ja nuorten kulttuurikeskus Villa Arttu, Puhos ♡ People, Sorbus, Stoa, SIC