Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) is a two-year Master’s Degree Program at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Finland. The programme focuses on tutoring students to develop and contextualize their own artistic, curatorial or theoretical work. It is open to artists and practitioners with different backgrounds. The program explores new forms of artistic production and professional agency within the broader field of contemporary art and visual culture. Theory and practice are tightly interwoven, and emphasis is put on developing each student’s artistic, curatorial and theoretical thinking. ViCCA works through four focus areas: Sites, Senses and Situations; Words and Spaces; Beings and Things, and Curating Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA). Language of instruction is English.
ViCCA connects the worlds of art and non-art. Central for the program are new and emergent professional practices, which are born and developed in this new space of cultural production. In the major, art is made and new professional agencies are explored within the broader field of visual culture. Aalto University offers a very good multi-scholarly context for this.

The art of our times works increasingly in interaction with research, planning, activism and public debate. The goal of the ViCCA is to explore and develop systematically these new territories and modes of artistic work.

Art in supermarkets, art claiming parks and experiments of artistic research are, for example, central for many artists of today. This motivates having teachers in the program not just from the arts but also from e.g. philosophy, social sciences and urban research. Sensing, experientially, and experimentally have a key role in the studies as methods of gaining knowledge and creating art.
The strong theoretical base together with a multi-artistic framing of creative work gives concrete tools for working in many new professions in contemporary society in addition to those in the fields of art, production and culture. Students also learn literacy and skills in other arts than the one they originally were experts in. The program offers holistic views and skills on how to extract knowledge out of professional experience.

The Major is tailored for artists and professionals of arts and scholarship who want to develop their own professional agency and broaden their way of looking at the world and its phenomena by using artistic tools. It offers a study path for students to reflect on their professional role in new ways through arts and visual culture.

The Major offers great opportunities to develop research abilities and a sense and taste for artistic and critical thinking. For artists, the program offers an opportunity to broaden their professional identity and to create new ways of working, and new forms of professionalism.

ViCCA major includes compulsory joint studies (60 ECTS including MA thesis), advanced special studies (30 ECTS) and elective studies (30 ECTS). ViCCA offers four different modules for advanced special studies: Sites, Senses and Situations, Words and Spaces, Beings and Things, and Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA), of which CuMMA is also a separate major. The student can build her/his own curriculum freely, choosing from one or all of the four modules. ViCCA studies are organized as courses, theory workshops, experimental laboratories, concrete projects and a thesis.

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

The admissions to Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) are organized once a year. The next application period for studies starting in 2017 will be held in 15 December 2016 – 25 January 2017.

Applicants for the Master’s Programme in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art; Visual Culture 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.

 

Apply Now!

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Max Ryynänen
Programme Director
Though many of my academic interests and working methods date back to 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 serve also as docent).

As a scholar my main interest is ‘popular culture’ and I am the chief editor of the academic journal Popular Inquiry (first issue: Spring 2017). Other academic interests include philosophy of the body, aesthetics and politics, sport and urban aesthetics. I am the chair of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics and I am a member of the board of the International Association of Aesthetics. My methodological approach is a fusion of European and pragmatist philosophy, world philosophy 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. In the Nordic Summer University (NSU) I am the coordinator of the study circle Appearances of the Political and 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.

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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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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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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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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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
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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
Teaching Assistants
Teaching Assistants

Noura Salem



Danai Anagnostou

Visual Culture 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 and CUMMA 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 CUMMA 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 and CUMMA 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.

Journal
On Reposaari: Prototype and Destiny
Courses
Access to Utopia: Research Pavilion in Venice
Courses
Partizaning Maunula / Poikkeustila
Events
Exhibition: Hem Newe Media
Courses
System & Error Workshop
Courses
Exhibition: Under the Ground of Our Times