Meet the Low2No -campers!
Arto Sivonen is a creative designer / marketer and running his own agency Måndag. He has a long history inside marketing field and has been working in big advertising agencies over 15 years as an Art Director. He is using that experince and looking for new business ideas with the ethical perspective, mostly within green business and social issues. It´s important to bring money and societal thinking together.
The need to be honest and transparent is changing marketing ethics.
“I´m proud of many projects and startups. World Design Capital / Cycling Projects: building new cycling culture to Helsinki, Red Nose Day Finland: Collecting money for the kids and having fun at the same time, The Key Flag / finnish know-how: looking for new kind of entrepreneurship, Helping different kids of volunteer organizations (European Year of Volunteering 2011 etc), City of Helsinki / Organic market.”
Kalle Kuisma works as a chief of production on an Open Urban Television M2HZ, employed by m-cult, a media culture association in Helsinki. His focus as a producer is mainly on urban/alternative culture, media art, experimental collective creativity, public space and open source. The focus of M2HZ is pretty much the same, including multicultural media for immigrants.
He is a founder member and chairman of the board for Visual Arts and Live Music association VADELMA, which e.g. tries to provide workspaces for artists and musicians, organizes audio-visual concerts, art events and small festivals, and runs a web-tv. Vadelma is a bit hippyish organisation with ethical green values and lots of social activity and art projects.
He is also a VJ in Random Doctors VJ-collective, and a guitarist/singer-songwriter in a progressive powerfolk-rock band Klava, which is currently working on their debut LP release.
“With Vadelma Association we turned this 474m2 cellar basement in Lönnrotinkatu (in the center of Helsinki) into an underground art and music station with three rehearsal rooms for bands, several workspaces for artists, social spaces including a movie theatre lounge, kitchen, and a large hall for concerts and festivals – sometimes also open for public.
We stayed in there for two and a half years (2005-2007) until the building was renovated and we were out. It was a true alternative for all the commercial spaces that are taking over our city – and a perfect ground for all kind of spontaneous alternative artistic and musical synergy.”
Otso Lapila is a 31-year-old construction worker/workshop organiser/cultural activist. He is a long time participator in Oranssi NGO’s projects and been doing both volunteer and paid work for the organisation i.e. producing concerts and festivals, renovating apartments for community living and coordinating Oranssi’s activity center for young people.
At the moment he is working on Valvomo, an old industrial building in Suvilahti area that is being transformed into Oranssi’s new, permanent activity and cultural center for young people. He is working as a foreman on the construction site and also organising workshop for young people to participate in renovations and planing of the future activities in Valvomo.
“Oranssi in large is a very succesful, long running project with all its sidetrack and I’m very happy to be part of it.I think that offering young people an affordable, communal way of living through the Oranssi housing work, a space to carry out their projects through Oranssi’s activity centers has made Helsinki a better, more interesting place to live.“
Anton is a producer and a journalist of Basso Media. Basso is an independent media that consists of an FM and internet radio channel, a quarterly magazine, a popular music site Basso.fi with text, photo, sounds and audiovisual content. The site also works as an active discussion forum.
The followers of Basso are young adults around thirty years of age, first-moving, early adapting opinion leaders. The media was initially built from the alternative needs of users and followers. Now, thanks to the wide network of creative people (musicians, DJs, journalists, reporters, bloggers, illustrators etc.) and broad unadulterated music selection as well as several media platforms, Basso is a strong communal bond between readers, listeners and viewers.
“I develop and produce content to Basso magazine and the site, Basso.fi. Cross media is what it’s all about: video, text, photos, music… a hub for ideas that become stories. What means the most are the needs of writers, photographers, illustrators and artists. Basso offers work and new projects, shares a vision and creates content together with the contributor.”
Iina-Karoliina Välilä is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Interior Architecture at Aalto University School of Art and Design, and has already obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in the field of Interior Architecture and Furniture Design from the same school (2008).
Architecture in the context of interior design and public spaces has always interested her and influenced her study choices so far. She tries to adopt varied approaches when designing in differing contexts, but respect how the variety of design disciplines support each other.
Over the past year she has spent a considerable amount of time developing her design skills and principles, whilst working at Aalto Design Factory.
Aalto Design Factory is the symbiosis of the state-of-the-art conceptual thinking and cross-disciplinary hands-on doing. As a passion-based co-creation platform it supports the students of Aalto University and their respective vocations.
“In 2010 I undertook a design collaboration with English designer Toby Humphrey entitled TIMANTTI. The goal of the project was to create a modern interpretation of traditional arabic patterning and translate the result into innovative applications. The TIMANTTI pattern is a rationalisation of typical geometric patterning.
The pattern was translated into a simple, but elegant, plywood pendant light, created using modern fabrication technology. The greatest success of the project was our ability to inject function into a culturally foreign and somewhat forgotten mechanism, allowing for it to be suitable and applicable in current society. In such a way, an almost lost, and often clichéd tradition can be easily sustained through design.”
Inari Virkkala is a student of architecture at the Aalto University in Finland, due to graduate in the fall 2011. Social and ecological sustainability are main driving forces for everything she does. Her current doings include promoting urban cycling within Cycleinhel-webblog bunch, finding funding for a youth center to be built in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with their working group Komitu and for the master’s thesis in architecture she has designed a better centre of residence for the asylum seekers in Helsinki. She is employed in a small architecture office focusing on low-energy buildings and does also have her own little company.
“Within the co-operation of Aalto University and a local NGO STT in Phnom Penh Cambodia, we have taken part in a campaign to save Boeung Kak -lake in the centre of Phnom Penh and the poor communities living around the lake. We designed postcards and a t-shirt for the NGO and got the local architecture students to collects residents’ wishes to the municipality, which were then sent to the City Hall. During an action day in December we collected garbage from the community and created a piece of shading with the recycled plastic bags. Fostering urban life and promoting sustainable transportation modes in the developed west is highly important as a positive goal for the developing cities in the East and everywhere to take a more sustainable path towards the future.”
Pinja Sipari is a geography student at the University of Helsinki but she often feels more like a full-time volunteer in Dodo, which is an urban environmental organization. In Dodo she is coordinating their urban farming projects with two other people. Being an active agent in civil society is quite a new thing for her, but nowadays it has become an important part of her identity. She wishes everyone would have a desire and courage to modify their every day environment.
“Urban farming is direct action in and for the environment and we think it makes cities better places to live. During the past two and a half years Dodo has been involvolved in a dozen of bigger and smaller urban farming projects. Our first farming site is a guerilla community garden in Pasila and that is propably the most meaningful of our projects to me. But the project that I am the most proud of is called Laaritalkoot. In Laaritalkoot we provide housing corporations with help in purchasing equipment and building cultivation boxes. Participants have been excited about managing to cultive their own vegetables and they´ve also reported on new kind of interaction with their neighbours.”
ERAT Architects is an architectural office continuing Bruno Erat’s legacy as a pioneer in ecological architecture in Finland. They are currently developing new models for housing. Their goal is to generate new, more interesting and ecologically sustainable housing types by empowering the future dwellers already at the beginning of the design process. They want to change the way the multi-apartment-houses are designed and built in our country. At the moment they are involved in five such projects.
Tomi believes that we could be happier by taking a more responsible path and settling for less (in quantity but not in quality). He is inspired of growing food in the cities, cycling, meditative lifestyle and silence of the carless streets. Life should be more about poetry rather than consuming our time and nature’s resources to create profit for soulless companies.
“Many projects we take part could be seen pretty common or as an everyday task. The coolness comes from the attitude. We should take every case seriously and use the opportunity wisely. There is a lot of energy behind every project; our task is to make sure this energy will lead to the best possible outcome.”
Tiina Koivusalo is a multidisciplinary designer and a cycling enthusiast from Helsinki, who loves spontaneity, interesting collaborations, organic veggies and inspiration journeys.
She has compared various cycle paths around the World in recent years, and the latest trip was to Tokyo just before the terrific catastrophes there. She made photo observation about cycling visuality on streets in Tokyo, and the richness of the street materials and imaginative street furniture really blowed her mind. She thinks there should be a well-designed overall identity for cycling in Helsinki city, a new cycling brand which would be seen everywhere from communication to the design of the streets.
“Cycleinhel is our recently launched cycling webpage, which I have been participating mainly in photographing and writing. The start looks super promising, and I’m really curious to see how it grows in the future to a event organizer and a influential factor on cycling in Finland.”
Timo Santala is a free-lance journalist and photographer specialized in travel, food and wine articles, an event producer, a festival director, a club promoter and a DJ as well as a creative director of an event and marketing consultant business and besides that doing also some music, graphic design and different kinds of projects.
One of the main things he runs is a project called We Love Helsinki.
We Love Helsinki is all about activating people to take the power back and to realize the full potential of themselves. They believe the city belongs to us, the citizens, and it is something we have to transform and move in the direction we desire. They rethink, redesign and recreate the feeling and purpose of urban places through positive actions like urban interventions, flash mobs, different happenings and parties.
They believe if people are given a chance they’ll see in every stranger a potential friend and we want to encourage that feeling by making special and meaningful encounters and interaction between groups of people possible. They believe the real difference and change are made only if joining forces and creating a communal feeling by bringing people together to have fun with each other.
“We Love Helsinki organizes a city festival where the action of the people taking part in the festival forms the main attraction. The festival brings people together to do fun stuff together by incorporating different communal activities, flash mobs and happenings in different urban spaces. Past years have seen programs like big water gun fight flash mobs, bicycle tours in favour of the city bicycle infrastructure improvement, a public love declaration for Helsinki drawn on asphalt of a central square, a playful world record attempt of a finnish line dance called letkajenkka, a tag game flash mob in shopping malls, picnics full of music and sparkling wine, a costume party for children and adults, a poetry slamming session, an art battle where contemporary and graffiti artists paint live in front of the audience (the works were auctioned later on for the benefit of Amnesty International) and workshops of parkour, capoeira, circus, bollywood dancing, bicycle repairs and so many others (all free of charge and open for all). The festival won the Helsinki City prize for the best cultural act of 2010.
The 10-day festival in summer 2011 will include for example a street art tour where a mass of people armed with colorful tape and scissors will transform public surfaces into creatures and being by implementing eyes, mouths, arms, legs etc on them (Afterwords the works will act as a street gallery and a map will be produced for the audience to find it), and a bicycle repairs and decoration day followed by a communal bike ride and a bike-in movie session, and so much more.”
Emmi Vainio is a journalist and producer and dhe is working as community media producer with M2HZ which is an open community television in Helsinki. She has great interest in creating open media practices, light production models and open participation among local communities. The background organization for M2HZ is m-cult ry, a non-profit association of media culture. They have worked with many communities, artists and NGOs. Lately they have put great effort in workshops, like citizenship journalism, open media and collaborative footage gathering and editing. They use Open Source software as much as possible. They value community members´own experiences and agenda and try to help them create and distribute their media content. M2HZ and m-cult are also members of Stadi.TV which is new public access and community based local television in Helsinki area.
“Last autumn (2010) I worked in Kontula, Kontupiste, with a group of local residents and children. I run two work shops, citizenship journalism and animation. We used only Open Source software and we produced 4 short TV programs for M2HZ and 24 animations for Christmas Calendar of Kontula. I think our project had great impact especially in participants of citizenship journalism workshop because they had almost no experience in media production and the possibility to be able to communicate their needs and issues by video was great experience to them. They are very enthusiastic about filming more programs and I try to find ways to continue with them some how. It was great to see how they really got in to making local TV and some new ideas and seeds were grounded. For them the workshop gave new ways to take part and I got many friends.”
Jaakko Lehtonen is a 30 year old geography student from Helsinki. He has been interested in a wide range of issues on urban development, planning and culture for a quite a few years now. He has been an active member of the environmental NGO Dodo now for three years and been involved and also kick starting projects considering participation in planning, urban space and especially urban farming. His focus lies in combining a macro scale perspective to cities (and especially their ecological footprint) and the potentials of grass root and DIY activities. Thus you could say that he’s enthusiastic about finding real solutions to real problems and challenges and that’s what’s Dodo is about too!
“We have been sparking up the new urban gardening phenomenon in Helsinki. It began as a promotion campaign for the Dodo’s 2009 theme ‘Food and cities’ but quickly developed into a large scale guerilla gardening, media favorite and real action around the city. We have been witnessing and are still looking forward to see it continue to happen and spread on roofs, courtyards and wastelands by various kinds of people and groups and in collaboration with officials, NGOs and entrepreuners (e.g. restaurants, artisans, architects etc).
In Pasila railway yards where the first and original guerilla farm was established we are developing it into a viable project that would combine residential participation (in creating urban places), more elaborate studying of what economically viable urban agriculture could be and an much needed input of a presence of cultural and social life into the to be built high rise city node of central Pasila. ”
In 2004 Eero Yli-Vakkuri started to study carpentry with the hope to build something honest which people would really need using methods which would make the products sustainable – for the next 500 years. He wanted to harvest the trees needed for his work and to build the tools needed himself. Together with a blacksmith friend Eero dreamed of a word where items made by hand would be the standard and industrially produced good would only be used in special occasions. After two years of studies he was disillusioned and turned to Fine Art. Currently he is specialized in site-specific performances and conceptual artworks which do not require massive production facilities nor any other then digital mediums.
“Since 2007 we have worked with my friend, blacksmith Jesse Sipola under the frameworks of Ore.e Refineries. Ore.e is a unregistered company which serves designers, artist and other crafts persons when they need locally produced raw materials or craft services. We hope to develop our business into a socially responsible company. In 2007 we travelled to Benin and produced a copperplate suitable for print making. Since this the products we make have been show in gallery contexts and we have organized smithing workshops in public spaces. Our hope is to develop “craft continuousness” – To teach urban dwellers how to fix things, how to appreciate craft items and materials.”
Hanna Linkola is a concept designer and art director who has been working with e.g. Finnish National Opera, Museum of Modern Art Kiasma, department store Stockmann and the former waste material specialist SECCO. Her main interest at the moment is how to live a sustainable and inspiring life in a city and how to share information about that easily. Keywords for Hanna would be sustainable consumption, recycling, urban food production, industrial ecosystem, open data and visualization of information. At the moment she is on a maternity leave until September.
“We at Kierrätystehdas (Recycling Factory) association believe that dealing with our waste material can be fun and inspiring as well as beneficial to the nature. In this year’s event (7.–8.5.2011, 9000 visitors) we expanded our field of action from recycling and upcycling goods to organic food and other ecological lifestyle solutions. I was responsible for the graphic design of the event and participated in arranging the seminar and coordinating the workshops.”
Minna Ritoluoma is an urban farmer, permaculturist and all-around-activist & enthusiast in small scale & grass root entrepreneurship and urban culture projects.
Most of her activist pack members lurk in ranks of Dodo ry, a very hands-on environmental organisation that believes that the environmental problems are solved in cities, not by experts but ordinary people.
With Dodos, her interest lies especially in promoting small scale food production in cities: during past two years they have kick-started several projects, such as guerrilla gardening, community gardens, window farming, roof top veggie patches, edible parks, educated lots of fellow citizens and build up networks with city officials, media, respectful ladies organisations and such.
She really wants to make our activism as main stream as possible – projects need to be fun and accessible also from the point of view of ordinary middle-class Finns, not only activist hippies – especially if they are a little bit on a area of civil disobedience.
“Last year we kick-started a Laaritalkoot-project where we provided help & materials to 10 housing corporations to build up cultivation boxes. It really took on, and this year the number of interested housis has multiplied, plus we got a 10 000 € grant to develop the activity.
Other cool projects were urban bee keeping project we started last year, and edible park activities – were planting fruit trees in parks – in co-opertaion with city officials.”
Peter Kuria Githinji
Peter Kuria Githinji is a resource ecologist and analyst. He enjoys working with ecosystem processes and challenges. He loves seeking for solutions that are simple and basic and work independently. He founded SHALIN Finland in 2003. SHALIN is working at the inter-face of innovations that promote natural resources management and specifically linked to renewable energy technologies. They also host the first ever Helsinki African Film Festival (www.haff.fi). SHALIN works with Aalto (TKK) and HSE to develop sustainable business models! They believe everyone has a role to play in making sustainable futures!
“My coolest project is still in infancy: The gasifier stove. It can be used in any part of the world. It burns biomass to energy and produces char The technology is simple. The perfect model is able to cover 7 of the millenium D goals!”
Heta Kuchka is a Finnish American visual artist based in Helsinki. Her medium are large scale photography, video installation and drawing. Her latest work has dealt with loneliness and death in Finland.
“I wanted to make Finnish people talk to strangers more so I, with the help of friends old and new, organized a block party on my Street called Punajuuri. Punajuuri brought together 2000 people and all the Finnish news stations. Next morning we were front page news in the main news paper next to a veryvery small text about Bono’s gig the same night.“
Inari Penttilä is a member of Dodo (ry) which is an urban environmental organization from Helsinki, Finland. Dodo is active voluntary organization working for better cities. They think that better cities are climate and environmentally sustainable but also happy, funny, caring and lovable places for its people. By promoting citizen activism and actions with different kinds of urban cultural happenings from guerrilla gardening to neighborhood parties and committees they can make people to appreciate and take care of their living environment. Inari is enthusiastic about this challenge and her contribution is to promote citizens based actions and involvement in the urban areas.
“Showing the possibilities for young people to modify, take part and challenge their neighborhoods, cities, schools – was the key idea in a workshop called “”Urban rhythms”". The workshop was held in an “”action week”" for the new students of the boarding school of Otavan opisto, Mikkeli, Finland.
10th grade teenager students form different backgrounds (some just arrived from Somali, Afganistan, Myanmar…) were about to weld together to study and live together in a coming year.
The action week was based on to idea of role play in a city. The role played a methodological part in order to free students to take action and understand their role as a part of the city. The most successful ending for the week was, when the youth decided to squat an old unused warehouse building for a free space for youth gatherings. One could hear and see how the youth had got a feeling of influence and enjoyment in their “”boring little city”".
Net-magazine from the week by the students can be found here: http://syke.otavanopisto.fi/”
Antti Kirjalainen is a producer at World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 and an entrepreneur and designer at Jalostamo and Sylvian. His professional interests lie in open data, data visualization, sustainable technology and architecture. He would also like to write a comic called Meme and Teme but never seems to have time.
“Open Works is project for a visual interface, platform for open data and a sandbox for other creative projects. It was designed for designers and for everyone to become one.
This should lead to fun stuff like sharing, crowd sourcing and possibly crowd surfing.”
As a member to non-profit association Koti kaupungissa – Hem i stan (“”Home in the City”"), Kaisa Nirkkonen heavily involved in a project in which they will have a multigeneration co-house built in down-town Helsinki. Inhabitants are expected to move in during 2013.
In the Home in the City concept, the members are part of the planning already in the conceptual stage of design process. This is a significant change to current way of contructing multi-store flats in Helsinki. Different families have different needs and lifestyles shown in their individual flats, but the common spaces offer a wide range of amenities such as dining, social and cultural events, as well as exercise, gardening and child and senior care.
“Aim of the association Home in the City is to promote urban living as a social and ecological life-style, and offer alternatives for finding a sustainable quality of life to singles, families and senior citizens living under the same roof.
There is a lot of discussion and some activity going on around group building in Helsinki now, which was our original target. Our first pilot is “”in the pipeline”", and we’ll target to have more projects starting later as well.
Home in the City is also a member to experimentcity.net (www.experimentcity.net), an European platform for co-housing. The network partner in Berlin is id22. ”
Olli Sirén is an urban enthusiast with a big passion for food culture.
“My coolest project is Ravintolapäivä (Restaurant day).”
Restaurant day is a project where people are opening illegal pop-up food stalls, restausrants, kiosk etc. around the city for one day to bring attention – in a fun way – to Finland’s ridiculously strick food regulations.
Eeva Astala is one of the two Bermuda Helsinki collective members. Bermuda Helsinki is a non-profit, self-motivated collective that provides a marine container (and its immediate surroundings) for various cultural projects in Kalasatama Container Square in Helsinki. Eeva likes to spend her little free time reading, doing and seeing art and socializing. She is still shocked about the Finnish parliament elections and exited about the national going-wild over the ice hockey gold medal. She’s also a master’s degree student of Art Education in Aalto University’s School of Art and Design (TaiK). Before starting in TaiK she studied architecture for three years. She specializes in architectural and environmental education, and is involved in various projects concerning the topic (Annantalo Arts Center with Architecture workshop for kids, Ecological Architecture –project in Steiner high school etc). In her work, she wants to encourage people; both children and adults to take notice and to take part in rewriting their own (city)environment – she wants to help make the voice of the inhabitants to be heard and seen in their own surroundings. If the people feel that they have a say in their own environment, they will engage to it. Her goal is to reach as many and as different people as possible to start discussing and reacting to issues in our environment (in the small and in the big scale). Ecological way of life shouldn’t be only a choice made by urban, academic, green people – it should be for every Finn regardless of age or social status. Her final thesis will be about ecological thinking in urban themes and participatory projects on the field of art education.
“Bermuda brings together a variety of people that wish to organize non-commercial events, but don’t have the space to do so. This summer’s events include bicycle fixing brunches, Oranssi ry’s mini-concerts, theatrical performances, karaoke bike appearances, flea markets etc. Bermuda events have no age limit; they are non-commercial and free from all forms of discrimination. I feel that the temporary use of Kalasatama area (ex-harbour, soon to be a housing estate) is great chance to organize non-institutional cultural events. By providing a space for anyone to do almost anything, we provide a chance to be active and to make the sort of culture one feels that this city is missing. This is the first summer we’re doing this, but so far things are going good. The calendar is quite booked!”
Kirmo Kivelä is a graphic designer, vj, urban farmer and a passionate about cycling in a city. With Demos Helsinki he has been working in different projects. He has also been participant in NGO called Dodo, where his areas have been mostly related with an annual event and urban festival called Megapolis, but also urban farming in Pasila. In Berlin one of his tasks will be to make some video-documentary about the camp.
“At the moment we have a plan to make a garden of urban farming in Central Pasila (becoming new city area in a very geocraphical centre point of Helsinki.) The place is a formerly used locomotive turn table in old industrial area and when reused it would work as a laboratory for different social and farming sectors activities. The project would be part of Helsinki World Design Capitol year 2012.”
Participants from Demos Helsinki
Tommi Laitio is a Researcher at Demos Helsinki, Finland´s only independent think tank. Currently he does research on sustainable housing, social entrepeneurship and co-creation. Tommi is excited about a society putting emphasis on the delivery and experience – not only the promise – of democracy.
Next to Demos he writes and advises on open design and cultural policy and works as strategic designer. He is keen to meet people excited about housing, design, arts and schools.
“I believe student housing can and should be a glimpse of tomorrow´s urban life. For the next two years we at Demos are working with the Helsinki Student Housing Foundation HOAS (17 000 residents) to create incentives and places for more communal and sustainable living. It has been amazing how the experimental and practical approach has really gotten students along to let us into their homes, create a blog, start urban farming in their yard or take part in design workshops.”
Roope Mokka is a researcher in Demos Helsinki.
At the moment Louna Hakkarainen is an intern in Demos Helsinki. She is also a social sciences graduate. Among other things, she is enthusiastic about the role of users in innovation process.
“My coolest project so far has been my thesis. It was a study of a living lab-style product development project of a gerotechnological system, where I focused the learning processes between the users and the developers. I am planning to broaden my thesis to a PhD, which will probably be even cooler than the thesis.”
Sini Hirvonen is an ethnologist who loves qualitative research methods, believes in people and does tanhu, Finnish folk dancing, in her free time. In addition to dancing, she likes doing voluntary work in small NGO’s and belongs to several dancing clubs. She grew up in the countryside of eastern Finland and studied ethnology, human business, social policy and communication studies in Jyväskylä in central Finland. The last week of her internship in Demos Helsinki she will spend working at Low2no Camp in her favourite city in Europe, Berlin. And then she will graduate!
“The coolest project that I’ve done is related to dancing. Together with two friends of mine we started a folk dance group for children in a small village in central Finland. In a few years the club has grown, there are three active dancing groups, the pioneer group has won prizes in national competitions and the whole village is proud of their dancers. Seeing the enthusiasm of the children and the results of our work has been really rewarding.
Anohter project that I am proud of is my thesis. Museums have the power to show what is considered to be important in our past, the one that decides what is done and displayed in a museum, has the power to decide about our cultural history. In Finland the everyday work of small museums is often done by voluntary workers who are typically very committed to museum work. In most of the cases, there is a difference in opinions or even a conflict between the volunteers and the organization that funds the museum. In my thesis I studied this theme and found out that the feeling of ownership plays a big role in the meaningfulness of museum work. If the volunteers feel they lack power in the museum, they rise up against the funding organization. Voluntary work is something I’d like to study more.”