Openness is one of the most popular words when museums nowadays describe their values, missions or strategies.
Together with Openness, there is a lively debate going on about the notions like engagement, sharing, user-generated content, Crowdsourcing, working with communities etc. All these notions tell about the will to find the new ways to communicate with audiences.
For Kiasma, to be “open” means also acts. I will give you three examples of our ongoing projects which represent new kind of usership in the museum context.
- Opening up the collection data and content as well as organizing events that bring people together to build up open cultural commons. Open data allows users not only to enjoy the riches of the world’s memory institutions, but also to contribute, participate and share.
- Rethinking the curatorial practice and programme planning, and promoting new forms of interaction with audiences = thinking the public not only as a passive participant, but also as a producer of the content. In the upcoming KIASMA HITS collection exhibition, openness is one of the underlying concepts. There has been in-house procedures to do with openness: during the curatorial process the museum staff, representing different tasks, was interviewed about their views on the collections. The content planning team was formed so that different professions in the museum were represented. The content planning team of the exhibition included also members from the group of young volunteers of Kiasma. Children working as curators: The exhibition will include a section with works selected from the collections by children from the Vironniemi day-care centre. Preparation for the exhibition included also several open writing events for the audience to update Wikipedia about the artists represented in the collections.
- The third example is an ongoing open process organized by Kiasma in cooperation with The School of Activism. HEIMO (TRIBE in English) is an interactive art project for young people and professional contemporary artists. Young people’s proposals for improving a certain place or situation has been collected online. Later on, the artists, together with the local youngsters, try to solve the problem in a creative way.
In any case, openness should be a natural code of ethics for all public institutions like Kiasma.
Today Kiasma hosts a seminar organized by Checkpoint Helsinki. This seminar itself is one way to be open, to collect on the same platform different representatives of contemporary culture, which is today obviously both local and global. I hope that during these days we all will have new ideas for developing openness in our important work for the contemporary art!
Museum Director, Kiasma