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Welcome to the opening event of the research project on Wednesday the 1st of December 2021 at 14:00–17:00,
followed by free discussion w refreshments
on-site after 17>

Venue: Hietsu Pavillion / Hietsun Paviljonki,
Ateljée (address: Hiekkarannantie 9, Helsinki)
NB. The event is accessible/streamed via Zoom online
during 14:00–17:00

Blue Whirlpool
Archieves Folder


research components : norms

In ‘norms component’, the rules, practices, institutions, and facts that define, create, and renew the city are mapped. The key question in this component is: how does normality in urban space come true? The basic idea is that norms flow in the city not only as meanings on a symbolic level but also as material on a real level and as imaginations on an imaginary level. This consists of the following elements: a) urban legislation and verbal and cartographic regulations, b) the impact, practices and guidelines of investors, institutions and actors in the city, c) the urban landscape to be seen, experienced, touched and lived, and d) perceptions of urban conditions. In addition to legal provisions, practices, experiences, space, sound and material are examined. The assumption is that the city in its material state is not just a “be” fact but a normative “hold” claim. The sidewalk defines practices as well as sleep-suppression spikes placed in front of buildings. We analyze city law, which consists of these practices and rules. Keywords: legal, legitimacy

research components : neighbourhood

The 'neighbourhood component' examines the impact of urban space on residents' abilities and capabilities to participate. More specifically, it examines how the urban space created by modernist urban planning affects the neighborhood’s ability to form communities capable of collective political action. The work package also asks what more permanent traces political events and momentary states of emancipation may leave. Keywords: public, democracy, emancipatory practices

research components : dreaming

The ‘dreaming component’ elevates visionary, auditory, fictional, and magical thinking as a means to challenge the preconditions dictated by rational-technical thinking. Through a multidisciplinary artistic approach, prevailing social, cultural and urban practices and ways of thinking are re-evaluated. At the same time, the connections between art, empirical urban research and law are worked on. This workshop promotes (the most) anarchist and experimental approach. A top-down and pre-built urban space with a defined function and purpose may provoke opposition. An anarchist urban space is an alternative and a backlash to a conventional, smoothed and unwanted public space. Keywords: meaning, senses, belonging, stargazing

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City as Space of Rules and Dreaming promotes emancipation and democratisation in urban space by cross-examination through artistic research, empirical urban research, political theory and legal theory. The study strengthens polyphony of urban space and thereby develops a more just city.

It asks: How is urban space formed and shared, and who has access to it? What normative and de facto instruments regulate, control and inhabit this space? What kinds of processes, structures and spaces of inclusion and marginalisation, as well as disagreement and controversy are there in the city? What kind of fractures, escape lines and dreams are hidden in the normativity of urban space? What kinds of spaces of shadow, noise, potentialities and dreams are there and how do they actualise?

The study reaches beyond established art-science boundaries by bringing new and more inclusive means of “soft law” to urban decision-making and inviting different neighborhoods to dream of their own dwelling-regions through imaginary urban archaeology and fictionalising democracy combining different artistic mediums. The project is coordinated by the Academy of Fine Arts (Doctoral programme) at the University of the Arts Helsinki. Other partners are Helsinki University Faculty of Law, the Theatre Academy in Uniarts Helsinki (Performing Arts Research Center Tutke) and Aalto University Department of Built Environment.

In Memoriam Ari Hirvonen (1960–2021)

After summer 2021 the responsible leader of the project is Maiju Loukola at the Academy of Fine Arts at Uniarts Helsinki took the role. The other research group members and co-initiators are Aino Hirvola (Aalto University), Tanja Tiekso (Performing Arts Research Center Tutke Uniarts) and Paul Tiensuu (Helsinki University Faculty of Law).

Other collaborators include Alex Arteaga, Niran Baibulat, Chris Butler, Simon Critchley, Henna-Riikka Halonen, Tanja Kiiveri, Josue Moreno, Antti Nyyssölä, Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Jan Schacher, Gabi Schillig, Kristina Sedlerova Villanen, Stefan Winter, Denise Ziegler (+tbc).

We dedicate this project to Ari, and to Stargazing.


Aino Hirvola, M.Sc. (arch.), doctoral candidate in urban planning

Aino’s doctoral thesis examines professional lobbying in urban planning and politicization as a source of democratic legitimacy of planning. Her main research interest is planning theory, within which she studies politicization, populism, emancipation, and transparency in planning. Currently she is also working in the research project ‘Transforming Anatomies of Democratic Planning: Combining Planning-Theoretical and Legal Perspectives on Flexible Regulation in Finnish Land-Use Law’ (TRANAPLAN) funded by the Academy of Finland. She is also a university teacher in the department of built environment, Aalto University. In CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING, Aino works in the ‘neighbourhood component’, where she focuses on the connection between emancipation and urban space and planning.

Maiju Loukola, Doctor of Arts, university lecturer at the Doctoral programme of Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, Helsinki

Maiju’s artistic practice involves spatial and site-related urban space interventions. Her research focuses on the politics of space and speculative spatial, temporal and narrative materialities in urban space, examined in relation to democratization of space, peripherality and in-/exclusive practices. Maiju was one of the initiators of ”The Floating Peripheries – mediating the sense of place” (Academy of Finland 2017–2021) project and finalised her dissertation dealing with mediality and touch as a researcher on the “Figures of Touch” project (AoF 2008–2012). She is a member of the editorial committee of the RUUKKU Studies in Artistic Research journal. In CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING Maiju studies spaces of belonging, co-existence and affective urbanism in the polemical crossings of normative and imaginary site-formation.

Tanja Tiekso, PhD, researcher at the University of the Arts, Helsinki

Tanja Tiekso specialises in experimental art and musical composition. Her previous research projects include studies in aesthetics of experimental music, Italian Futurism and new music during the Cold war. In her current research project, she explores experimental composition from the viewpoint of posthuman feminism (also funded by KONE Foundation). In CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING Tanja studies sound as a non-normative component in the city space as well as artistic phantasms, i.e. visionary images, as tools of dreaming. In addition to her research, Tanja also works as an experimental musician and writer.

Paul Tiensuu, MSSc, doctoral candidate in law at the University of Helsinki

Tiensuu’s main areas of research in CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING project are in the norms component, where he develops the theory of norms and their materialisation and effect in the urban space, and in the neighbourhood component where he studies how the urban space affects the potential of collective political action in neighbourhoods. He specialises on 20th century French philosophy, particularly structural theory, and in this vein contributes to the general theoretic background of the project. In his thesis Tiensuu elaborates upon network and systems theoretic research to study the structural effect of the regulatory systems to the change of laws, including how the regulation can be influenced from outside. This issue he has tackled also in his recent research on lobbying.