Ptarmigan is a project that has operated in Helsinki since 2009 and in Tallinn since 2011. We began as a project and performance space in Helsinki to offer a non-commercial alternative to cultural production, with an emphasis on challenging artistic scenarios and participatory events. In late 2010 the decision was made to close our space in Helsinki and open a physical location in Tallinn, to explore the creative world of Estonia and build connections between arts and culture alternatives in both cities. In Helsinki, Ptarmigan exists now as a nomadic project, curating events in other venues.
Ptarmigan — named after a bird (lumepüü in Estonian and riekko in Finnish), for no particular reason except we like strange words — has brought international artists and producers to Finland and Estonia for many musical performances, short and long term residencies, workshops, lectures, and other projects. It has functioned financially through volunteer efforts — the rental of the premises has been paid for by the organisers (who also use the space as their own studios), and events are financed through small ticket charges and donations for food and drink. Some residencies are funded through the KK Nord residency fund, though most are self-financed. The high cost of real estate in Finland led to the decision to relocate to Tallinn, though we dream of one day operating a space again in Helsinki.