Transparency of the evaluation process of Arts Promotion Center Finland (TAIKE) and comments on a survey of Center for Cultural Policy Research (CUPORE). Part IV. (Romeo Kodra)

THE PART D) of the Survey regarded Covid19 pandemic. This was the shortest part, which denotes the importance given by the designer of the Survey. As in all open calls for proposals I have seen in art and culture during the last year and a half even in this Survey the approach was paternalistic, where the pious Christian Spirit that has impregnated the Western neoliberal institutions welcome in meditation the confession of the sufferance of the poor artists during the pandemic.

“Has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way in which you work or led to new ways of working (e.g. remote work)?” asked the pious spirit of the institution. “Yes” was my answer. “If yes, describe how in brief:” said the voice of the institution. Then, I described my tragedy “I was cleaning during the night the public transportation buses for 1600-1700 euro monthly. COVID19 helped me a lot, because, beyond the scarcity of protection dispositives which was ‘normal’ for the context (all migrants depending on the fixed-term contracts for the working permits of MIGRI) and not able to raise the voice for better conditions, the people traveled less and there were fewer vomits and garbage on buses to clean. So, COVID19 helped me a lot.” As if didn’t like the answer, the spirit of the institution asked something less pertinent “Have you experienced problems regarding social security, unemployment or pension security during the coronavirus pandemic?” I said, “No!” The spirit insisted with another not very pertinent question “Have you switched professions or considered leaving the arts sector due to the coronavirus pandemic?” to which I also insisted with my firm “No!” because I was not less professional artist during the night shift as a bus cleaner as well as I have never thought the art as a sector, a section or a vivisection from which one leaves or comes. Tired, the spirit of the institution asked “How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your outlook regarding your professional future as an artist?” to which I replied, as he already seemed to expect, “very positively”. Surrendered, the spirit of the institution left me a space for “comments and additional information” which, unfortunately, was, once more, limited.

Therefore, here is the right place to say something more articulated that can make sense not only as a comment regarding the last section regarding the pandemic but also regarding the whole Survey and the major problem of transparency of the public institutions such as TAIKE and conclude this series of writing on the same argument.

To me sounds offensive even to ask artists how the pandemic changed their work (e.g. remote work)? What the fuck does this mean? Is this the “change”? The “remote work”? Is this the problem of the pandemic? I am sure that who designed the Survey knows very well that this is not the real question as everyone in the world knows and has the honesty to confess it. The problem of the pandemic is the space, its exploitation, and exploitation as such, the pressure on billions of underrepresented working slaves around the world, as well as the pressure on the animal life (the famous bats from Wuhan from which happened the spillover). As I see it, the real question even in Finland should be posted on these terms, in terms of space. But it is difficult to make it openly, in a transparent manner, because there are certain interests in investing in the space through the densification of concrete and asphalt in Finland such as in the case of Boulevardisation of Helsinki. And if the question is posted in this terms, openly and in a transparent manner, then the corporate groups that are making money with the Boulevardisation, the state that these groups hold hostage through political parties financed by them, will not have instruments to alienate the people thinking about the real solution – STOP INVESTING IN CONCRETE AND ASPHALT FOR PROFITS – , will not have even the instruments to predicate DEMOCRACY to China, to Russia or any other AUTOCRACY or OLIGARCHY around the world but concentrate on the Finnish ones.

It is a long run this writing, at times it may seem pretentious, started from the request to have transparent feedback from TAIKE regarding my application for an artistic and cultural project and concluded with a part of a Survey of CUPORE making questions regarding the global pandemic and my actual project on Boulevardisation. Yet, if someone reads it without the alibis we prepare for ourselves and our daily compromises I am sure it can make more sense and can clarify the context we live in, Finland in this case.

P.S. The Survey had a last PART E) regarding “Background Information” of the participant which is interesting only for the poor vivisectionists of CUPORE and TAIKE and not for the reader of this blog.