“Could one endure this kind of delight? Could one live like this …all the time?”
Antti Nylén, essayist

“Amazing. […] A lonely strawberry on my plate was a spectacle.”
Janne Saarakkala, director

Reality Research Center’s Art Prison studies ascetic alternatives to an artist residency. The project borrows the model for residency directly from prison. Through this Art Prison experiments with performance spaces that are based on isolation, reduction of stimulus and asceticism, aimed to empower the artists and increase their creativity.

The parameters of the imprisonment are crafted according to the needs of the artist. The are agreed upon in the Art Trial, were the artist is sentenced to prison based on their confession. The artist pleads for a specific length for the imprisonment in addition to several other limitations: diet, dining arrangements, outings, the use of technology etc. These vary depending on the prisoner. What kind of prison do they need? What enables their creativity to flourish and peace of mind to enter?

The cell is stripped of unnecessary things. It is furnished with a bed, table and chair. The prisoner brings the rest: the few objects that they really need. During the imprisonment they will follow the rules created by themselves and enforced by the Art Court.

The first prototype of the Art Prison was realized for invited prisoners in April 2014. Art Court was organized on Black Friday 18th April and eight artist were sentenced to prison. Read the blog entries of the prison staff: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

The first public version of Art Prison took place in June 2015 with 27 prisoners incarcerated. Reflections of prisoners are available online: Antti Nylén’s diary part 1, part 2 and part 3 and Janne Saarakkala’s blog. Radio report by Kultakuume here and an article in Helsingin sanomat here.

From 2016 onwards Art Prison will operate as an alternative artist residency programme.

CONCEPT: Eero-Tapio Vuori

PRISON DEVELOPERS & STAFF: Tuomas Laitinen, Minja Mertanen, Jani-Petteri Olkkonen, Linda Priha and Eero-Tapio Vuori.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Tuomas Laitinen & Janne Pellinen