Right from the start, one of Kiasma´s most important task has been to provide an opportunity for the audience and contemporary art to meet. It was considered important, even at the launching stage, that the museum should become an easily approachable place where you can come, seek and find things as you are, from your own starting point.
A few weeks after the opening, museum visitors were asked to describe the general atmospere of Kiasma. A majority of the responses were positive. The most often expressed comments were "open", "spacious", "full of daylight", "nice", "interesting". Many said they enjoyed being in Kiasma just because of the space. The exhibitions, as one can expect, generated more varied reactions: questions, contemplation, insights, indignation, admiration...
Paula Jaakkola, alias aerobics instructor Anne Nyberg, had an opportunity to watch the first steps of the audience at the museum as part of a work of art by Eija-Liisa Ahtila Aki, Anne and God. In Jaakkola´s diary, one finds lively recollections of the daily life of a work of art as well as her insights into Kiasma as a meeting forum:
"My name is Anne Nyberg. I'm an aerobics instructor. In real life I don't exist since I'm an image of a woman, a fancy girlfriend created by Aki's schizophrenic mind. Here at Kiasma, in Aki's dim room I have became flesh and blood - a living being. I move, sit, loll, read, write, skip with a rope, lift dumbbells, stretch my muscles, and loiter. When I'm tired, I don't hesitate to take a nap on Aki's bed and occasionally I chat with the curious museum audience. For twenty hours a week, I'm a mobile, interactive work of art.
Hundreds of people meet me daily. Some of them snort scornfully, some stare at me with astonishment, some point a discreet finger at me. I meet amused smiles and unhesitating bursts of laughter. Every now and then some daredevils overcome their shyness. They trespass beyond the generally politely kept distance and have the courage to approach me with their questions: Am I supposed to look at you as a human being or as a work of art?, Do you make a lot of money?, Is one allowed to touch you?, May I lie down beside you?, Do you have to read the same page of your book over and over again?, Poor creature, do you have to lift weights night and day?, Do you consider yourself as a sex object?, Are you getting fitter?, Where's your toilet?, Do your sneakers earn you sponsors? Do you believe in God?
One viewer thinks I have too much fat round my stomach to be a real aerobics instructor, another thinks I am pretty, a third thinks that I'm absolutely the most beautiful work of art in the whole museum. I'm invited for a drink, I get given roses and wet kisses on the cheek. People squat down opposite me with their eyes shining with admiration. Sometimes someone sits on me - either unintentionally or out of pure spite. Some confide their troubles to me and tell the story of their life while some others exchange analytical opinions on contemporary art and being a Finn. Someone comes with a map and asks the route to the best flea markets in the Helsinki area, some want to have a quick, sweaty exercise session. When I'm asleep people mistake me for a wax figure but when I skip with my rope people tell I would do very well in the television series Spede's Games, where people compete by performing various exercises."
This hilarious fun won't last for ever. On September, 13, I cease to exist. From this small yet charming world of mine, I shall return to mediocre everyday reality."
When Anne leaves, Bruce enters.
P.S. Paula Jaakkola continues her profession in a work of art in Aki, Anne and God in an exhibition to be held in New York.