In 2010 we were invited by Pro Artibus to spend two summer months responding and interacting with the small Finnish town of Ekenäs. Initial impressions and observations led us to an investigation into the notion of Finnish privacy, and the effect this condition has on local social structures and communicative patterns.

Intervention #1: An open studio and the privacy questionnaire

Photo: Kaspar Wimberley (Peephole)

An invitation to join an open studio event, taking place in the small gallery adjacent to our residence, was used to conduct some research into the way in which local residents responded to the notion of Finnish privacy. Visitors were asked to fill in a questionnaire about privacy that was left in the gallery, an act that in its self playfully subverted a cultural condition.

‘Do you currently live in Ekenäs?’ ‘How would you describe the word ‘privacy’?’ ‘Is life becoming more or less ‘private’, and how?’ ‘How important is privacy to you, and why?’ ‘What is your favourite place in Ekenäs, and why?’ and, ‘How would you describe a perfect holiday?’

To balance the situation we installed a small peephole into the separating door between the gallery and our living room. Visitors could take a look into our residency, sometimes catching a glimpse of us as we tried to complete our jigsaw puzzle.

Photo: Kaspar Wimberley (The open studio)


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