Invisible Neighbours / Näkymättömät Naapurit

Invisible Neighbours (Näkymättömät Naapurit) project took place in Autumn 2015, making a connection between the inmates of Helsinki prison Sörkka and the residents of

For the duration of six weeks, the two groups made and signed postcards for each other at the weekly meetings, both inside and outside the prison. We had coffee and cookies and listened to music. We talked about our living environments, shared recipes, composed haikku, drew with fresh blueberry juice and made collective self-portraits.

Проект Невидимые соседи объединяет людей, находящихся в Хельсинкской тюрьме, и их соседей, живущих рядом. Как живется в районе, разделенном высокой стеной? Как выглядит повседневная жизнь с каждой стороны? Мы предлагаем соседям общаться несмотря на разделяющую их стену, используя почтовые карточки как средства коммуникации.  

Life on either side of the prison wall was depicted through varying themes and materials of everyday. Each meeting lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes and we used same art materials and topics at each location. The artists delivered the postcards to and from the correspondents.

We had 7 participants in total on the inside and 6 on the outside, and the core group of 5 each. Our youngest outside participant was only 3 years old. To preserve the anonymity required by the prison, each of the neighbours made their own stamps and used them to identify as the author of the cards.The program allowed for a creative exchange between the inmates and other residents of Sörnäinen neighbourhood – people who do not interact on the daily basis, yet share same space in our city.

A booklet, including information on the project, as well as detachable post cards, with an image and a text from the workshops, have been published in English and Russian languages. Please contact us at prisonspace to receive your free copy. You can then share your thoughts and feelings of life on either side of the prison wall by sending a card to someone you do not normally see.

“Lähden matkalle
pois etelän lämpöön
jo talvea pakoon”

“I will take the trip
away to the warm south
escape the winter”.

Special thanks to Lauri Niskanen for translation from the Finnish