Installation/performance at the NORDICA exhibition, Helsinki, Finland, November, 1997.
The theme of the exhibition was the relationship between art and the public and the question of the possible contemporary political power of art.
Finland has a fairly strong system for providing grants to the arts and sciences, and every year major funds invite applications from promising people in these fields. Thorsteinsson wanted to find out whether other people besides trained and recognised individuals could have the opportunity to take advantage of their capabilities, people with different ideas and talents. He therefore set up the Dream Office in Helsinki city centre, where people who until then had never regarded themselves as artists were given the chance to present their ideas to professional fund-raisers and producers, and to obtain practical information about the next steps to take.
The office was advertised in Finland’s most widely-read newspaper, a presentation video* and information leaflet greeted shoppers in a large city centre supermarket and approx. 800 postcards with information about the scheme were sent to the Helsinki residents, chosen by a random sample from the telephone directory. The response was overwhelming. From the moment the office/exhibition opened until the final day, there was a steady stream of people and the telephone never stopped. Endless ideas emerged, most of them beyond the traditional definitions of art and almost all feasible in one way or another.
The response to the Dream Office proved to be such an encouragement to an unnamed Helsinki entrepreneur that he is now preparing to found the same kind of information office and run it as a permanent creative centre for the countless people who cannot find a place for themselves within the rigid system of art and science.
*Realized by Ville Ojajärvi and Kati Åberg