University of Oulu

Hotakainen T. & Oikarinen E. (2019) Balloons to Talk about: Exploring Conversational Potential of an Art Intervention. plaNext – next generation planning. 9: 45-64. DOI: 10.24306/plnxt/59

Balloons to talk about : exploring conversational potential of an art intervention

Saved in:
Author: Hotakainen, Tiina1,2; Oikarinen, Essi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2Vienna University of Technology, Austria
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Association of European Schools of Planning, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-03-24


Relational approaches to urban development have gained ground in academic literature, highlighting diverse perspectives, such as experience, participation, aesthetics, performativity and affection. However, these practices neglect conversation as a connection between local everyday life and urban development. We argue that as art generally provokes discussion, material art acquires potential to question urban development and thus, act as a conversation mediator in public space. To test the hypothesis, we organised an explorative action research study: a data art installation within the annual ‘Oulu Night of the Arts’ in August 2017. The installation illustrated spatiotemporal analysis of everyday life in Åström Park, Oulu, Northern Finland. The art intervention succeeded in engaging diverse social groups online and on-site, although it proved challenging to evoke focused conversations. The induced discussions bore relevance to everyday realities in the locality. If public discourse on urban environment concentrates solely on municipal urban planning projects and visible new constructions, we risk creating a misconception of them being superior to mundane everyday life. The study suggests that even tentative information without specific objectives, when presented in a public data installation, could prove valuable for urban development discourse.

see all

Series: plaNext. Next generation planning
ISSN: 2468-0648
ISSN-E: 2468-0648
ISSN-L: 2468-0648
Volume: 9
Pages: 45 - 64
DOI: 10.24306/plnxt/59
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 211 Architecture
Funding: This work was supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, North Ostrobothnia Regional Fund under grant for expenses.
Copyright information: © author(s). Protected under CC BY-NC 4.0.