The project called Swapping the Practices deals with artistic practices and collegial exchange of thoughts, working methods and assessments on contemporary situation of art and artistic activity.

It consists of a workshop and its documentation presented as a project-depicting "walkthrough" video and as archive web page. Our goal is to observe the ways artists function and art exists in contemporary society. In order to do so we have examined how art is made, how we speak about it and to what being an artist is currently based upon. We want to deal with this subject especially focusing on the experiences and viewpoints of artists. Therefore we organized a workshop during one weekend in October last year where artists were able to gain distance from their everyday activities and obtain time to try new approaches at the same time observing, describing and explaining to each other what does their practice entail.

The idea behind this project is about offering space and time for artists to concentrate on different viewpoints around their work as well as voicing out their needs and pursuits. The content of the workshop, as well as methods of working, are formed together with all the participators during the process. We wanted to generate discussion and encourage artists to open up their own artistic working methods in order to think about and access the position of art in society at the moment.

As a beginning we invited 5 artists to participate, of which each in their turn asked one artist to "swap" practices with – trying out for instance the other artist's style, method or technique of working. This can mean anything from trying a new medium or adjusting to alternative philosophical mindset of addressing things. The main point is that both participants negotiate the terms of the interaction together and during that exchange thoughts about what they do, observe what their activity based on and assess what their ideological standpoint consists of and to what kinds of external or internal processes is their practice bound to. These artist pairs form the workshop group of 10 artists in total.

Through collegial interaction our goal is to bring forward artists' own ideas about their profession and practices that they are involved with. We want to bring people together in order to ask what is artistic thinking, artistic work and what kind of possibilities can be found in community and collaboration. Our intention is to activate communal working - not only thru self-organized methods (friendship circles or workspace-communities) - but also as a platform for people to get-together to share their knowledge, skills and professional talents. In the project artists get acquainted with another artist's way of making "the work", whichever way it may manifest itself in each of the artists’ work. Our intent isn't changing participants’ way of working (in to using another tool or medium for example) as it is, mainly the point is to try to perceive how one's own working process is molded and how the way of thinking about art is formed -by explaining it to someone else and at the same time receiving a counter experience from a colleague. All the while during the process observing one's own artistic thinking - as well as how talking about this all is formulated.

The weekend workshop is meant to offer time and space for answering the questions outside of everyday surroundings. There are group discussions and solo interviews during the process. We formed lists of questions to be answered by the participants - subject matter varying from personal data to concepts around artistic identity and society's influence on the practice. The main idea is to detach oneself from one's own artistic practice in order to observe it more freely. It is a sort of a " laboratory " in where one can reflect and observe one's own artistic activity, the meaning of art and its place in contemporary culture.

The discussions as well as the working processes and interviews are captured in video, edited to a documentation as well as to individual clips presenting the thoughts of the participating artists. This video material is shown thru our projects web pages. The documentary is condensed presentation of the project-weekend meant to bring forward the main ideas and instances of the process and form a sort of collective essay based on the thoughts that were brought forward during working and discussing. The project started with the idea of utilizing the 'reality-tv' format as a reflective tool, with its tactic of bringing forth people’s thoughts about the process, during the process. In the end the “reality-tv-wibe” was mostly left as a background thought - the main focus being on the content of thinking about art and artistic practice. Discussions in pairs as well as together as a group were an integral part of the project. In this project video is a tool for presentation.

Our focus is in gathering and presenting valuable information that mirrors the artistic practice as well as artists’ thoughts about one's profession at this moment in time.

The first workshop was held 14. -16.10.2011 in Helsinki, Finland. The participating artists were: Pasi Autio, Diego Bruno, Wilma Hurskainen, Jaakko Karhunen, Essi Kausalainen, Jussi Koitela, Kati Ruohomäki, Iidu Tikkanen and Lauri Wuolio. Organizing the workshop were artists Miina Hujala and Arttu Merimaa who run Alkovi gallery. Hujala participated also in the workshop. Artist Eero Yli-Vakkuri participated in documenting the workshop as well as to the discussions. The project including the pieces made during the workshop weekend were presented in Gallery Alkovi ( during one week after the workshop took place.