Smart Kalasatama

60 Minutes in Smart Kalasatama:  six experimental performances within an experiment

The use•ful•less•ness of the experiment. Anthropology and the assembly of the unexpected

Second #Colleex Workshop
4–6 July 2019, Cieszyn, Poland

In recent years, urban Finland has become a prime destination for investment funds through property development. These investments into housing complexes, office blocks and public infrastructure are relatively long-term and slow-moving. Against this is a rhetoric of efficiency that is played out through temporal and environmental understandings as points of experimentation.

Currently under development is an area of Helsinki called Kalasatama. It is planned to function as a ‘smart city’ neighbourhood that, publicity boasts, will be so efficient that its 20,000 new residents will’gain an hour a day’. A large part of its promotion has focused on the enrolment of its first 3,000 residents into participatory experiments to develop its digital devices and infrastructural services.

Within a performance, I present the results of six, 60 minute performances in Kalasatama in which I explore temporal understandings against distinct notions of value. These include:  a 60 metre walk undertaken in 60 minutes; an hour-long derive in Kalasatama’s shopping centre; a ‘sprint’ research of the district’s investors and labelling of buildings; a calculation of an hour’s financial investment in Kalasatama according to different wage levels; 60 minutes fishing.

Each performance explores the possibilities and limits in engaging the researcher into different temporalities of Kalasatama’s cultural political economy and the financialization processes. How do the symbolic meanings that are generated through place marketing, planning, urban design and architecture play out with an extra (useless?) hour in a day? What use-value does an hour have, in any case?