Publics, a new curatorial agency and events space, will debut in Helsinki this December. The idea for the organization grew out of the contemporary art initiative Checkpoint Helsinki, which was established in 2013 as a nomadic nonprofit that works with local institutions to commission art and produce curatorial projects. Under the artistic direction of curator Paul O’Neill, with program manager and curator Eliisa Suvanto, Publics will explore a collaborative institutional model committed to “critical social thinking, contemporary art, and publicness.”
Publics will open on December 9 with inaugural programming held at three different locations. Its affiliated events space in the neighborhood of Vallila will host a series of artist and curator talks and book launches, including How Institutions Think, a new anthology edited by Paul O’Neill, Lucy Steeds, and Mick Wilson published by MIT Press. James Hoff will also give a talk on his art practice and his experiences as a publisher and DJ. Other events include a lecture on issues of curatorial autonomy versus interdependency by London-based curator Adelaide Bannerman; a spatial intervention and related talk with artist Kathrin Böhm; and “The Food Thing,” an ongoing curatorial research project by artist-educator Mick Wilson, which will be presented during a shared meal in a local African restaurant. The evening will end in club Kaiku, with DJ sets by James Hoff, Paul O’Neill, and @Gaybar. Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings will show unseen footage from the UK Gay Bar Directory, 2016, a moving-image archive of gay bars in the UK.