Kateřina Šedá’s IHME Project: the Tram Buskers’ Tour in Helsinki

Tram Buskers’ Tour will feature Francesca Frigeri’s and Raphaël Giraud’s duo, both members of the band SAffrAn. Photo: Vincent Bernat


Kateřina Šedá’s Tram Buskers’ Tour takes you on a tram ride accompanied by street musicians.

Since 2008, the IHME Contemporary Art Festival has been bringing contemporary art to public places and spaces, with the aim of engaging with diverse audiences. The main stage for this year’s IHME Project, the Tram Buskers’ Tour, commissioned from the Czech artist Kateřina Šedá, is a Helsinki icon: the tram. For four days, street musicians from the four corners of Europe will perform on all Helsinki tram routes.

Šedá’s artwork delves into cooperation with people, communality and concern for those for whom contemporary art may not be so familiar. In the IHME Project of 2016 Tram Buskers’ Tour, the artist identifies with the busker who amid the daily grind seeks the attention of passers-by – just like Šedá, who almost without exception produces works for public spaces.

The line-up, breaking down the barriers between musical genres, gives everyone a chance to hear a wide range of repertoires, from The Space Lady‘s psychedelic covers to the intimate tunes played by Bence Boka on his Renaissance lute.

Puzzled by allegedly “Finnish” behaviour models, Finns’ strong urge to play by the rules, and their self-control in public space, Šedá wants to create an opportunity for a shared experience and for a variety of interactions between tram passengers.

IHME Days: adding new dimensions to the Project
The IHME Days at Helsinki’s Old Student House are dedicated to opening up the IHME Project to a variety of interpretations, discussions, and debates. This three-day event, on the weekend of 1-3 April, brings new dimensions to the themes of Šedá’s work, including art in public space, artistic collaboration with communities, and the question of what artists do when they make art.

The Art and Communities discussion, with artists Kateřina Šedá and Kaisa Salmi, as well as Executive Director Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation, and Director Adam Sutherland, Grizedale Arts, on Friday 1 April will explore the relationship between art and communities. Why do artists want to work with communities? How do communities themselves experience the artworks? What is the difference between short-term and long-lasting participation?

On Saturday  2 April, Kateřina Šedá and Hamza Walker, Associate Curator at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, will discuss the Tram Buskers’ Tour, unpacking its initial stages, as well as revealing its links with Šedá’s previous works. How did this artwork come about, and what was the response?

Jan Verwoert, Berlin-based critic and writer on contemporary art and cultural theory, will deliver the keynote address on artistic agency, on Sunday 3 April.

In addition to the talks and discussions, the IHME Days also offer a varied supplementary programme spanning video art, workshops and a club night and an art exhibition, showing a series of naïvist pop screen prints by the Swedish artist Marie-Louise Ekman, produced by Tensta Konsthall.

All the events are free.

Kateřina Šedá
IHME Project: Tram Buskers’ Tour
16–19 March, on all Helsinki tram routes

IHME Days offer a varied programme that adds new dimensions to the Project.
1–3 April, Old Student House, Helsinki, Finland

For the full festival program and further information, please follow this link.