Helsinki, Finland – 5/10/2021  – Free for publishing

Finnish artists paid people to do the job people had self suggested

Searching for a Job? -exhibition opens space for future working life at the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas in Tampere, Finland.

Artists Lauri Antti Mattila (on the left) and Juhani Haukka. Photo: Visa Knuuttila

Searching for a Job? –exhibition has opened at the at the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere, Finland. At the same time, a biblically thick book in Finnish, carrying the same name, has been published by distinguished poetry publisher Poesia. Both are part of Searching for a Job? -project by performance artist Lauri Antti Mattila and documentary filmmaker Juhani Haukka. The project turned employing into work of art and invites people to rethink future working life.

In the project, the logic of job search was reversed and instead of looking for ready-defined jobs, people were allowed to determine what job they would most like to do. The application was open in the spring of 2020 and 2574 applications were received. Eight of the applicants were selected by lottery to work for 1-2 month grant periods. Work was done between autumn 2020 and summer 2021. Works were documented by filming and writing.

Of the eight jobs, at one job, an elderly lady worked as a narrator for nature films, another as a mother’s hospice and the third as an independent astrobiologist. One job was to write letters on an island, another played music with the trees in Saarijärvi. One employee dealt with difficult father-child relationships through interviews. The youngest of the participants wrote the book and published it. The farthest job was in Brazil, where the applicant organized a dance workshop for young people.

From the extensive application material, artists Haukka and Mattila edited a documentary book that opens up a view on people’s work proposals and thus their thoughts on enjoyment, desires, dreams and working life. According to Mattila and Haukka, hundreds of applications testify the problems of current working life. In times of environmental crises, ideas of work and its meaning need to be completely rethought:

– The project revealed that beneath the surface is an incredibly diverse activity and a huge amount of energy, when only given permission and opportunity. Based on the application material, the needs for change in working life are widely identified and people are ready for change. People would only need structures that enable a change in working life – such as a fair basic income, say Lauri Antti Mattila and Juhani Haukka.

The exhibition, which seeks to activate the visitor, is consists on a documentary video installation, texts and sound works. As a part of the exhibition works an Experimental Employment Office. An alternative institution, which takes the form of a series of workshops, provides a space for different thinking in working life and society. The second workshop in the series, on the legacy of work, will be held on Saturday 30.10. 12-17. The workshop will feature visual artist Minna Henriksson, psychohistorist Ilkka Levä and cultural researcher Mona Mannevuo.

The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with the Live Art Society (Esitystaiteen seura) and the project has been funded by the Kone Foundation, the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Circus Maximus.

Press photos:

Additional information:

performance artist Lauri Antti Mattila,, +358 40 742 7787


The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas

Väinö Linna Square 8, Tampere, FINLAND

tel. +358 10 420 9220

The museum is open Tue-Sun 11-18

Helsinki, Finland – 14/04/2020  – Free for publishing

In the midst of the crisis Finnish art project hires people to design their own jobs

While more and more companies are laying off people because of corona, Finnish art project is searching for employees and encourages us for rethinking of working life.

Juhani Haukka (on the left) and Lauri Antti Mattila. photo: Visa Knuuttila

Through corona crisis rebuilding the society is closer than anyone could have guessed. Searching for a Job? turn the process of employment into art, by inviting people to dream up a job that would be impossible to do otherwise – and then making it a reality. The Finns employs seven people for two months – to do any job they’ve come up with. It’s a unique, Finland-wide live art project by Helsinki-based artists Lauri Antti Mattila and Juhani Haukka

Seven employees will be selected based on applications left on the project website. Applicants can either write out a free-from job proposal or complete a questionnaire and have a job proposed for them. The online application process runs until the 7th of May. During the first month, over a thousand applications were sent in, featuring job ideas ranging from training reindeer to documenting the silence of Finland.

The world of work is undergoing a rapid, multi-faceted transition, with the rise of AI and automation rendering more and more jobs obsolete. Meanwhile a number of surveys show that an increasing percentage of employees find their work meaningless. In Searching for a Job?, art participates in rethinking of society through a radical questioning of the concept of work. It is an exploration of possibilities of work and art in the post-fossil era.

Lauri Antti Mattila, one of the artists, says: “We should free ourselved of the coercive aspects of work life. Change requires structures. This piece presents a basic income utopia that creates space for reconsidering our ways of being”

“The project isn’t just a commentary on work life or a fantasy about a different relationship to work – it literally creates an alternative kind of work life and reality, by realizing jobs and paying for them”, summarizes Juhani Haukka.

Searching for a job? is a joint production by Live Art Society, Circus Maximus art collectives and the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas. It is funded by the Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation.

Project website:

More information & interview requests:

Lauri Antti Mattila
+358 40 742 7787

Juhani Haukka
+358 40 509 1208

Searching for a Job? – is a participatory art piece that’s searching for employees to do the work they would like to do.

Finnish art project Searching for a Job? turns employment into art

Etsitkö töitä?

Searching for a job? combines experimental architecture, social sculpture and documentary filmmaking into a hybrid live art project. It project spreads into urban and media spaces, turning employment into art and contemplating the possibilities of art and work in the era of post-fossil reconstruction. It is art participating in rethinking of society.

Photos: Visa Knuuttila

Searching for a job? is a study on work, time and community by Helsinki-based artists Juhani Haukka and Lauri Antti Mattila. By offering two-month grant periods, we’re looking for people to do exactly the job they want. The project radically questions the concept of work, by severing it from the prevailing result based logic of market economy and exploring the idea of work as a practice of relational positioning.

The application process opens online in February 2020. By completing the questionnaire, the applicant participates in a raffle that allows seven people to work for two months, doing the job proposed by them or planned in collaboration.

Searching for a Job? creates a space for extraordinary deeds: the ones that are quiet, were abandoned, lost in a hurry, dreamed of, did not get done. Ones that need to be done. Or that do not exist yet. That could be dreamed and realized into this world. A good deed. Work that perhaps has not been possible to carry out, or that has seemed too crazy, too wild, too ordinary, non-profitable or vague. That might in the end turn out to be of utmost importance, or that could open a possibility for the most important, in surprising ways.

The project is Finland-wide. Age range is from 4 to 120 years.

Searching for a job? is a partial production by the Live Art Society, Circus Maximus and the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas.

The project is funded by the Kone Foundation, the Alfred Kordelin Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

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