Outside the Ekberg café hooded faces on a tram are peering in at me peering out at them, and tourists
are blocking up the footpath taking pictures of themselves outside the Ekberg café. Inside the Ekberg
café a silver pot arrives containing silver needle tea which costs €8.50 and is poured into a fur-lined cup by Meret Oppenheim. 'Nobody will give you freedom', she says, 'You have to take it'. I pick up a pencil, open my notebook and fail to create anything. Which is more important, I wonder? To draw a picture in a notebook or to make a teacup unusable?
The question troubles me in so many different ways that I finally decide it might actually be time to do some work. I climb into the Futuro (image above) and settle myself down for the flight across the city. Imagine that the Futuro was designed when people were innocent enough to believe that the future would involve plastic-silver clothing and meals in pill form! I look down over Uspenski cathedral and Helsinki cathedral. Earlier I sat in Kallio church and listened to a man fill up the rafters with divine whistling. When the Futuro lands I quickly check behind the pine trees for terrorists, then dash inside to safety. What a relief it is to reach the utopian, snow-bound world of EMMA.
Behind its 'Brutalism' inspired walls, are people of such kindness, warmth and good humour that it feels very good to be back. Meret somehow managed to get here before me and is upstairs covering vast spaces with her surreal images and ideas. I attempt to keep busy by doing some archiving in a quiet office, but I’m not very good at it so I go and stand beside Meret as she works.
Downstairs a tall blond man in a glittering jumper is designing beautiful clothes out of paper, and staff are disappearing behind moving walls and secret doors. Meret, I say, sometimes I think art is dead as soon as it’s been made, and art galleries are really mausoleums. Surely there’s more to learn about art outside in the forests or on busy streets?
I hand my notebook over to the table and go downstairs to the space museum. There’s a picture there that shows how tiny the earth is in relation to everything else. The thoughtof covering myself in fur and prowl outside in the snow sounds appealing... Instead I go to the café and eat a shrove bun by the window. An eventful day...
Art & Animation 2017/18
Map of Helsinki