Exhibition image: Vadelma

Spaces – the autumn’s loudest exhibition experience takes the audience to DIY music venues of the 2000s

The Spaces – DIY Music Venues in Helsinki exhibition opens at Helsinki City Museum on 13 November 2020. The exhibition allows visitors to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of music venues for different subcultures in Helsinki in the 2000s. In these places, people have come to rock and rave, drink and party, create art, meet each other around music and grow into adults. The exhibition presents venues such as Konttiaukio, Oranssi, Vadelma, Vuoritalo, Siperia, Studio Là-bas, Kääntöpöytä and Omenapuutalo.

Permanent or genuinely dedicated facilities for independent music performance venues and related subcultures have been rare in Helsinki in the 2000s. However, dedicated and enthusiastic activists have occasionally been able to create places that determine their own activities and enable music to thrive on its own terms. The activities have been significant to the organisers and participants themselves, as well as the diversity of urban culture at large.
The Spaces exhibition is based on an open material and memory collection project carried out in 2019. The materials and memories presented in the exhibition were collected from a large group of activists involved in the operations of the venues. The exhibition showcases a variety of non-commercial facilities that were highlighted in the project survey.

“It’s been great to build an exhibition of modern times together with enthusiastic people. I’m especially glad that people were willing to get involved, from the brainstorming phase to the building of the exhibition sections. The exhibition is a joint project of activists and memory organisations, in which the diversity of urban culture is given the spotlight,” comments Exhibition Producer Eero Salmio.

“We wanted to highlight music, music culture and a way of doing things that enrich Helsinki’s entire cultural life but are not given the visibility and appreciation they deserve. My hope is that the exhibition can offer even just a glimpse of the self-sacrificing and dedicated work that is done to enable the scene to stay alive and well,” continues Curator Juho Hänninen.

The Spaces exhibition will open on 13 November on the fourth floor of the museum, which is dedicated to temporary exhibitions. The concept of the space on the fourth floor involves an experimental approach and the expansion of the idea of a museum with evocative content, which can consist of exhibitions, events or experiences.

The exhibition is dedicated to everyone keeping the facilities alive.

Helsinki City Museum is producing a five-episode podcast series related to the exhibition. The first two episodes of the Spaces podcast have already been released, and the remaining three will be released over the course of November. The podcast series gives dedicated activists an opportunity to talk about how independent music has been doing in Helsinki in the 2000s. The episodes can be listened to on the City Museum’s website, on Spotify and via the Apple Podcasts service.

Spaces – DIY Music Venues in Helsinki
13 November 2020–28 March 2021
Helsinki City Museum, 4th floor
Aleksanterinkatu 16
Open Mon–Fri 11:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 11:00–17:00
Free entry

Spaces – DIY Music Venues in Helsinki

Exhibition image: Vadelma. Image: Yehia Eweis / Helsinki City Museum