Book Title: Ruins Of The Working Class
Published: May 2021
Circulation: 500 copies
Dimensions: 29,5 x 23,5 x 1,7 cm. /11.6 x 9.3 x 0.7 inch.
Ruins Of The Working Class features a sample of letterbased graffiti painted in Turku, Finland and its neighbouring regions during 1994-2021. It also shares a light on local history and the widespread destruction of industrial architecture and other infrastructure. Focusing on letterstyles painted on walls and trains and local working class history the book conveys a personal journey filled with emotions, experiences and friendship over the last 25 years.
The book is the first work on the graffiti culture in Turku. With the accelerating structural change in the 21st century, the building stock and cityscape of Finnish cities are becoming one-sided and residential areas are middle-class. In Turku, the phenomenon can be seen strongly in the areas of Linnakaupunki and Itäharju, among others. With the change, much of the history of our society will disappear, such as the small industry of the 20th century (car repair shops, machine shops, sawmills and mill buildings, power plants, mines, etc.). The production facilities of traditional crafts and small-scale industries are often overlooked in many contexts, due in part to their modest and pragmatic architecture. The book describes the core of these environments in the last moments, honestly, forgotten, and appreciating previous generations. Although graffiti often evokes understandably strong feelings and contradictions in its viewer, the manifestations of graffiti culture and their documentation are indisputably an important part of the forgotten history of cities and the documentation of the changing cityscape.
The purpose of the book is to strengthen the position of letter-based graffiti in Finland, which began in the 1980s, instead of commercial and detached trends in street art. Ruins Of The Working Class aims to bring new meanings to the documentation of graffiti culture and to expand the discussion about graffiti culture as part of Finnish society. Legality or illegality do not define the effectiveness of graffiti, but stylistic history and dialogue with the built environment and society are essential elements for a meaningful outcome. Ruins Of The Working Class does not take a position on the frequently asked question of whether graffiti is art or not. Almost in its simplest form, two-tone graffiti does not seek to tint its viewer but rather blends into the melancholy built environment and seeks out light. After all, it is about freedom, graffiti must remain diverse, contradictory and vibrant whether it is part of society or beyond.
“Ruins Of The Working Class is a great new book from Turku, Finland 🇫🇮 It features graffiti from the oldest finnish city from 1994 to 2020 and reflects and comments heavily on how the city and the graffiti enviroments have changed over these 26 years. Its a real refreshing angle in the never ending flood of graffiti book releases. Also, how often do you get a quality graffiti book where you havent seen any of the pieces before? I hadn’t, and Finland always bring something unique to the table. Self published by writers, A4 hardcover, 200 pages, text in English, limited to 500 copies, highly recommended!” –Lars Pedersen @larscopenhagen
“Ruins of the Working Class is one of many books about a local graffiti scene. But it does something quite unusual. For me the before unseen and high quality styles of Turku are interesting. The photos are equally beautiful and the texts well written. Together they create a synergy effect and show a bigger picture. A picture of Turku of yesterday and today, which gives the ruins so many graffiti writers prefer, a history and an identity. But also a picture of the western world post-world war two. Ruins of the Working Class is the book equivalent of a great documentary movie. It’s like reading a work by Adam Curtis. Check it out!” –Tobias Lindblad, Dokument Press