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Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) is a two-year transdisciplinary Master’s Degree Programme at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Finland. The program explores emerging knowledges and practices at the intersections of visual cultures, curating and contemporary art. We facilitate students to develop and contextualize their own practices within and in between these contexts. It is open to artists, curators, scholars and practitioners with different backgrounds and experience, who are looking for opportunities to understand, challenge and shift the paradigms of contemporary art and the world around us.

ViCCA explores art in new contexts. Central for the program are the new and emergent professional practices, which are born and developed in the new spaces of cultural production. In the program art making and new professional agencies are explored within the broadened field of visual cultures.

Goal of Education

In ViCCA theory and practice are tightly interwoven and emphasis is put on developing each student’s artistic, curatorial and theoretical thinking. The programme offers great opportunities to develop research abilities and a sense for artistic and critical thinking. Learning from each other’s different professional backgrounds also plays an important role in the programme.  The program offers the chance to broaden one’s professional identity and to create new ways of working, and new forms of professionalism.

ViCCA is based on the combination of the fields of visual culture, curatorial practice and contemporary art. The educational aim of the programme is to intertwine these fields in new ways and to find fresh new possibilities and practices. The program also offers an opportunity to develop, deepen and recontextualise one’s prior skills and knowledge.

Visual cultures is understood in a wide sense, as a versatile range of practices and phenomena. The focus in contemporary arts is in new practises that include artistic understanding on issues related to space, environments and social contexts studied from multiple perspectives. Through our multidisciplinary approach we encourage students to explore new forms of artistic practice and collaboration with other fields. Curating and mediating are explored as a path for reflection and acting, learning and organizing in art institutions and the public sphere.  We aim to explore possibilities to understand, challenge and shift the paradigms of contemporary art and the world around us.

Career Opportunities

The students graduating from the programme can build their own creative positions and professional agencies in the multi-faceted, constantly changing and multi-disciplinary world. Students can deepen their own artistic, curatorial or theoretical practice and the students who have a background outside of visual culture and contemporary art can enrich their own fields of expertise with a new point of view – and a broad array of new methods of working with it. Beside the cultural and art field graduates can be employed also in universities and other sectors in society, working as experts in multidisciplinary groups of professionals.

Students that graduate from the programme can also work in a variety of already existing professions in the field of arts and culture, such as art museums, galleries, artists’ associations, art and culture projects or initiatives, and foundations or trust funds.

Internationalisation

The program is international and the main language of teaching is English. The programme is well connected to international networks, which are constantly built up and developed. Through these networks students have a possibility to do internships abroad or to study a part of their diploma in other countries with the help of exchange agreements. The programme hosts visits by international professionals and organises seminars, field trips and excursions abroad as part of the studies.

ViCCA major includes compulsory studies (50 ECTS including MA thesis), alternative studies (40 ECTS) and elective studies (30 ECTS). The programme consists of theoretical studies, artistic workshops, experimental laboratories, concrete projects, excursions and a thesis. Theoretical and artistic studies are seen as responding critically and engaging with the current practices of arts, curating and mediating in the field of contemporary art.

ViCCA’s pedagogical models are based on shared expertise and exploratory learning and are applied in order to create an open conversational and dialogic space and community for learning and acting.

The programme offers its student a broad variety of possible minor studies, which are available in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and the other schools of Aalto University. Including studies or a minor from other disciplines of Aalto (design, media, business, technology…) as a part of one’s studies in ViCCA is strongly encouraged as it opens up new professional career paths.

For a more detailed look check out our study guide. See also the language requirements of the master’s degrees.

The admissions to Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) are organised once a year. The next application period for studies starting in 2018 will be held in 15 December 2017 – 24 January 2018.

Applicants for the Master’s Programme in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) apply in the Master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. The students are selected through a two-part examination, of which portfolios form part 1, and interviews/presentation part 2. Criteria for selection are skills and background knowledge, suitability for the program and the field of work the program is built for, and suitability for university studies.

Please read carefully the instructions about how to apply to Master degree in Aalto ARTS.

To ask about the admission process and applications, please contact Aalto University Admission Services.

 

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Max Ryynänen
Programme Director
Though many of my academic interests and working methods date back to my studies in the universities of Uppsala, Pisa and Temple (Philadelphia), I graduated and wrote my PhD in aesthetics at the University of Helsinki (where I am a docent in aesthetics).

As a scholar my main interest is popular culture and I am the chief editor of the academic journal Popular Inquiry (www.popularinquiry.com). My other academic interests include philosophy of the body, aesthetics and politics, sport, and urban aesthetics – and there’s nearly always an intersectional twist (class on the top) hiding in my work. I am the chairman of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics and a member of the board of the International Association of Aesthetics. My methodological approach is a fusion of European (hermeneutics, critical theory) and pragmatist philosophy, world philosophy (Arab, Indian), and art theory. My own publication forums have lately included journals like Contemporary Aesthetics, The Journal of Somaesthetics and The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics.

A major part of my publishing activities are found outside of the confines of the academic world. In books, and critiques / essays written for art journals (Art Pulse, Atlantica Internacional, Flash Art, Kunstkritikk) I have tackled film, the visual imagery of terrorism, and institutional problems of art. My main non-academic interest, though, lies in experimental writing, which I have done in both solo performances and in dance productions.

In ViCCA I teach aesthetics, academic skills, art theory, political philosophy, writing and critique. I often visit festivals and art events giving talks and workshops. I have been a founding member in two 'artist run' exhibition spaces (ROR Gallery, Kallio Kunsthalle). In Finnish language I am an essayist, having published books on the aesthetics of ice hockey and film.

Website: http://maxryynanen.net
Max Ryynänen
Programme Director
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Pia Euro
Lecturer in Charge of Major
I am visual artist graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. My main interest as an artist is to study the very thin line that divides art from something we can think of not being art….

I am very curious to find new ways to present art, and cross disciplinary practice is my thing. I work with various methods and mediums – from video installations to material and spatial installations, and performances, etc.
Pia Euro
Lecturer in Charge of Major
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Pia Lindman
Professor of Enviromental Art
Currently Professor of Environmental Art at Aalto University (Finland) the Finnish-born Pia Lindman, as a Fulbright Scholar in 1999, received her second Master degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A. Lindman’s performance-based work suggests new ways of combining research and art. As Fellow and artist-in-residence at M.I.T. (2004 – 2006) she studied humanoid robots and facial expressions (both robotic and human). After ten years of residing in New York, and a professorship at Yale University School of Art and a research fellowship at M.I.T., she now divides her time between Berlin, Germany, and building a collective eco-village in Fagervik, Finland.

Lindman’s performance-based work has recently focused on environmental toxins and human experience – topics she investigated with her commissioned works for the Ural International Industrial Biennial in Ekaterinburg, Russia (2010) and “Poison and Play”, an exhibition and symposium for Labor Berlin 6 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2011). In 2013, Lindman participated in the residence and group project “Working Voices” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bogota, Colombia and in “Field_Notes”, an art/science residency in the Biological Reserach Station in Kilpisjärvi, hosted by Finnish Bioart Society. Most recently, Lindman performed “Playing Bones” at the Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY, USA, and “I phone Aniara” at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland, both in the fall of 2015.
Pia Lindman
Professor of Enviromental Art
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Harri Laakso
Professor of Visual Culture and Art
Director of MA program

I’m a researcher, artist and curator with a background in photography. I have a BFA from Ithaca College, New York, and an MA in photography from University of Art and Design Helsinki. After a period of research at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I completed my doctoral degree at University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2003. My doctoral dissertation Valokuvan tapahtuma (The Event of Photography) explores contemporary photography and “the photographic event” in light of the thinking of Maurice Blanchot.

My primary interests are (photographic) images and theory, film, artistic research and word/image relations. In addition to my own art projects and publications I’ve led several research projects (including "Figures of Touch") and curated many exhibitions (including co-curating "Falling Trees" at the Venice Biennial in 2013).

Starting in 2017 I also lead the University Wide Art Studies (UWAS), which offers courses in art-based thinking and practice for every discipline at Aalto University.
Harri Laakso
Professor of Visual Culture and Art
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Nora Sternfeld
Professor of Curating and Mediating Art


I am an art educator and curator. I work and publish within the fields of contemporary art, exhibition theory, education, politics of history and anti-racism.

As a curator, teacher and researcher I ask what an exhibition could be if it is not about representation. And how can it change what can be seen, done and said? In 1999 I co-founded trafo.K in Vienna – an office for radical art education and critical knowledge production. Beside my Professorship at the Aalto University, I am also co-director of /ecm — educating/curating/managing — a Master Program in exhibition theory and practice at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Moreover I am part of Freethought, a platform for research, education, and production based in London (w/Irit Rogoff, Stefano Harney, Adrian Heathfield, Mao Mollona and Louis Moreno). In this context I am one of the curators of the Bergen Assembly 2016.
Nora Sternfeld
Professor of Curating and Mediating Art
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Taina Rajanti
Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies
My academic background is in social sciences, but I have always engaged in trans-disciplinary projects and extra-academic activity. I’m especially interested in issues of space and place – construction of social space, urban spatial practices, spatial interventions, everyday material existence of human beings. My interests range from philosophy and social theory to children’s books and fantasy fandoms – from theoretical experimentation to winter swimming.

My doctoral thesis “The City is the Place of Man” discussed the significance of urban form of life as fundamental to human beings both theoretically and materially. I have written academic articles and papers on issues of space, and lectured on thinkers who have touched the topic, such as Walter Benjamin, Michel Serres, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Michel De Certeau etc. I have also worked on joint artistic projects that seek to occupy urban space differently, such as Wormholes which experimented with the hybridization of material and sc. virtual urban space, or Welcome to Urban Space that brought academic activities into semi-public urban space to study their mutual effects on each other, or curated together with Annu Wilenius the Contemporary Art program of the World of Tango festival 2014 “At the Edge of the City”.

I’m also involved in managing Pori Urban Platform of Aalto University (PUPA), and engaged in an ongoing project realized through the platform Elävä Pori – Pori Live, a multidisciplinary project aiming to build an innovation platform for urban development by gathering, combining and sharing experimental knowledge.

http://tainarajanti.blogspot.fi
Taina Rajanti
Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies
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Lucy Davis
Professor of Practice

Lucy Davis is a visual artist, art writer, and founder of The Migrant Ecologies Project. Her practice encircles animal and plant studies, natural histories, nature in art and visual culture, materiality and memory—primarily but not exclusively in Southeast Asia. From 2005-2016 she was full time faculty at the School of Art Design & Media Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. When she Singapore left she held the position of Associate Professor. Lucy was artist in residence with the Centre for Contemporary Art CCA, Singapore in April-June 2017.

Lucy’s work has featured in international festivals and museums, including: the Taiwan International Video Art exhibition TIVA 5 (Oct 2016 – Jan 2017); M1 Singapore Fringe (Jan 2016); NUS Museum (June 2014 - Feb 2015); Singapore Art Museum (2014); National Museum of Singapore (2012-14); Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh Art/Science Festival (2013); International Symposium on Electronic Arts ISEA (USA, 2013); The Barbican (UK, 2013) and Prix COAL Awards (Paris, 2011). Lucy’s eight-year research exploration of stories of wood from Southeast Asia produced four independent exhibitions and original bodies of work. Separate incarnations of this work have been acquired by: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum ( 2015) Nanyang Technological University Museum (2016), NUS Museum (2016) and the National Gallery of Singapore (2017).

Lucy’s animated short Jalan Jati (Teak Road)  screened in over 60 international venues including Rotterdam IFF (2013) And Yamagata IDFF (2103). Awards include the Promotion Award at Oberhausen ISFF (2012), two Singapore Short Film Awards for sound and animation (2013), and Jury Mention for Technical Achievement, ISFF, Ahvaz, Iran (2015). Migrant Ecologies’ research was a finalist for the French Prix COAL Art & Ecology awards (2011) and nominated for the APBF Signature Asia Pacific Art Prize, Singapore Art Museum (2011).

Lucy has contributed to numerous, international peer-reviewed publications and anthologies and produced 4 artist’s books. She is Southeast Asia Contributor for ANTENNAE, The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture (UK) and has written for: Why Look at Plants?, Considering Animals, The DOCUMENTA #12 READER , BROADHSEET Art & Culture,, Art AsiaPacific, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies  and NU The Nordic Art Review. Lucy was Founding Editor of the Singapore critical publication series FOCAS Forum on Contemporary Art & Society from 2000-2007.

Lucy Davis
Professor of Practice
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Marko Karo
Lecturer
I'm a visual artist and curator with a background in photography. My interests cover a broad thematic field that ranges from visual inquiries of the boundaries between the human and the non-human to the relationship between art and law – from photographic explorations of city spaces to experimental historiography. What lies underneath all this is an interest in the translational potentiality of images and installations: forms of visual thinking, modes of adaptation, spatio-temporal constellations of still and moving images, objects, and texts.

In recent years my work has been centered on engaging with archives as sites of rethinking and reanimating histories. I have worked with museum collections, found vernacular images, and currently pursue a project related to prison archives and questions of administrative violence.

Against this background, curating has provided a significant collaborative realm for critical inquiry. Most recently, I curated (together with Mika Elo and Harri Laakso) the Finnish ensemble of exhitions entitled Falling Trees at the 55. Venice Biennale in 2013. I was also a co-curator of the Helsinki Photography Biennial in 2012.
Marko Karo
Lecturer
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Denise Ziegler
Lecturer
Lecturer Denise Ziegler is a visual artist born in Luzern, Switzerland who has worked and lived in Helsinki, Finland since 1990. Ziegler has studied in Luzern at Fachklasse für freie Kunst at Schule für Gestaltung (1986–90) and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki (1996–97), where she also completed her doctoral studies in 2010. In her works Ziegler uses objects, sculpture, drawing, installations, painting and video. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions since 1989 in Finland, Scandinavia, Baltic countries, Europe, Asia and the United States. www.denise-ziegler.squarespace.com
Denise Ziegler
Lecturer
Teaching Assistants
Teaching Assistants

Noura Salem



Danai Anagnostou

Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) has a lively student community that organizes variety of activities (for example community dinners, exhibitions and other extracurricular activities). ViMMA is the Student Association for the students of (ViCCA) though which most of these activities are organized.
vimma_logo

The Purpose of the association is to promote, advocate and safeguard the interests of students, but not limited to those studying in the VICCA Program as well as those who are interested in Art of any kind. The Association will facilitate the interaction and communication between the faculty in specific, and Aalto University in general, as well be the representative voice of the students to speak with other departments and entities in and outside the University. The Association aims to provide immediate student representation and Advocacy.


The Association will make visible and promote VICCA and increase awareness and reputation of the programs and its members. The association aims to also support its members’ professional development and networking both during their studies and after, as well as to promote the fields of study within Aalto University as well as the broader society.

To fulfill the Mission Statement, the association may organize for example, introductions and guidance for new students, excursions, discussions, events, communications, exhibitions as well as build connections to other departments/institutions, associations, work communities, educational units, international actors and cooperate with other associations.

The association promotes common good and is a non-profit association. The association may run a Gallery space and or exhibition platforms. This space will promote VICCA in the context of Art and curatorial practices. The association can organize fundraising, lotteries, and accept donations to fund its operation within the boundaries of the law. The association can also own property and assets that supports its cause.

There’s a lot happening in and around Art House—this space is a documentation of what we are doing, reading, researching, thinking, creating, questioning, narrating, rejecting, restructuring, critiquing, loving, exhibiting and learning.

Events
Learning together: apply to ViCCA now ♥︎
Journal
Who makes the present, who inhabits the room?
Events
Let’s Talk About Form! 
Journal
On Reposaari: Prototype and Destiny
Courses
CuMMA in Venice: Access to Utopia
Courses
Partizaning Maunula / Poikkeustila