Visual conversations with Cosmic Silence

“The First NoVA Art Exhibition”
Poster Design: Eija Mäkivuoti

Visual Conversations with Cosmic Silence is an ongoing exhibition by MA NoVA students at NODE Gallery. The show runs till the 27th of October, 2017. All the works presented in the exhibition have varied media and techniques. What they have in common is an investigative approach to visual conversations. Some are breaking away from traditions of visual representations and others try to visualize the invisible. Having contributors from different professional, educational and cultural backgrounds; Interculturalism is a recurring theme.

“The Opening”
A toast from the Head of the Department of Arts – Prof. Kevin Tavin (photo: Minjin Chung)
The exhibition is now officially open. (photo: Allen Damzel Centina)
“Echoes in Cosmic Silence” – A participatory performance by MA NoVA students and the audience (photo: Allen Damzel Centina)
Luis Bellido explores “Yonic Conversations”
Exhibiting Artists Matilda Löytty (right), Aina Bexell (center) with Prof. Kaija Kaitavuori (left)
Yu Ziyu (left) and Allen Damzel Centina (right) with their work. (photo: Minjin Chung)
“The Works”  Photos by Myrto Theocharidou
A Land versus The Land, 2017

A Land versus The Land artwork consists of two analogue photographs taken in Bergen, Norway in Spring 2017. This artwork explores the concepts of land and identity in terms of visual culture. How is the concept of land perceived by the spectator with or without signifiers that alter our inherent reading of the landscape? Signifiers of national identity such as the flag carries certain markers of both cultural content as well as identity or ownership. The flag as an element introduced into unharnessed nature reshapes the raw matter of rocks and vegetation into a new relationship where culturally constructed concepts of representation like customs and traditions, shared history and the imagined community of the nation state are embedded into the otherwise culturally indifferent nature.

Alexandra Stroganova (born 1990 in Moscow, Russia) is a second year Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education Master student at Aalto University. Her main interest is currently focused on such phenomena as place and space along with contemporary art, street art, creative placemaking phenomenon and art in public spaces. Photography has been her main hobby since 2007. She is a self-taught photographer, who is using different analogue cameras and films in her artistic practice.

A(rt)lingual, 2016
Too north to be/from home, 2016-17, 9 digital photographs from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden (the four NoVA countries)

Myrto Theocharidou has a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual and Performing Art, with directions on painting, however, painting is not her main practice she works on other expressive tools as photography, engraving, and paper-cutting installations.

Yonic Conversations, embroidery on fabric, 2017
Yonic Conversations, embroidery on fabric, 2017

Yonic conversations is an attempt at presenting female genitals in a positive perspective according to the artist’s own path of self-discovery. Each vulva is able to have a conversation with the spectator and reflect back upon her what she feels towards her own body.

Aina Bexell is a Luso-Swede human currently exploring herself through embroidery while considering the implications of how non-human objects’ agencies affect her (self).

Let’s talk about Grandmothers!
Facing my own visual, cultural and age group specific stereotypes
Pencil, marker, aquarelle paints, 2017

The portraits have been created based on discussions around participant’s personal memories and stories about their Grandmothers. No visual material was presented for the artist before the pictures were finished. Included are  favourite recipes from the Matriarchs, another way of breaking away from the more traditional, photographic representation of humans.

Matilda Löytty is a visual artist from Finland. Löytty started her career as an experimental mixed media painter, but she has since been involved with illustrations, environmental art and installations. Lately, in addition to her more traditional art practices, she has been involved with participatory public art and urban interventions. She is interested in cross-cultural discourses and the intersection of art and society Löytty has been exhibiting and working on artistic projects across borders in Finland, other Nordic countries and Namibia. Currently she lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.

Forest Dialogue, Published in 2016

This illustration book is a dialogue about Nature / Forest between kids from Shanghai Shixi Primary School in China, and Tehtaankadun ala-aste in Finland. Forest is a very important resource both to Finland and China, which is also a pedagogy for health and sustainable education and cooperation. Maybe you will find some interesting answers from kids’ questions and discussions, like “who is the king in the forest”, and “who is taking care of the forest”. The book was publish in 2016 August.

Zhao Jie is an MA student in Aalto University, Nordic Visual Study and Art Education program, (NOVA). Before she came to Finland, Jie worked as a lecturer in Shanghai Institution of Visual Art in graphic department. Engaging classroom to society practice is her goal as a teacher. After 2012, she worked in SHTYPE design studio ( Cooperations between the Nordic and China opened her way to Finland.

Transforming between texts and images, becoming in the exile, Jie’s current research is about how to embed her culture heritage, Chinese characters into art education practice in cross cultural context.

Art, Together – Origami ver. Paper, Digitized Art

“Art, Together”, uses digitized art from the museum with the context of democracy and art. It is taken with the format of a participatory art project in Design-Based Research approach, in collaboration with The National Gallery of Denmark (SMK). Our initial design of “Art, Together – Origami ver.” alters the museum’s digitized art provided by SMK Open, with a paper handcraft activity. The design has gained positive responses from the participants throughout the focus group and playtest process, experiencing the enhancement of ownership towards art. This proved that the participatory art can enhance the belonging and togetherness that produces new cultural and social activism.

Solip Park / Solip is a former Researcher and International Relations Coordinator of Nexon Computer Museum (South Korea). She is currently furthering her studies with the concentration on game, education and lifelong learning in the digital era.

Sara Emilie Nygaard – has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Design with a specialization in art dissemination. She paints and works with analogue photography as well as dabble in projects related to participatory art and performance art.

A Thousand Gásadalurs (With and Without the Hipster Tourists), 2017, Digital print on photographic paper

This series comments a phenomena within travel photography and mass tourism. The travellers all come to the same spot, take almost the same photo. In this case the focal point is the waterfall in Gásadalur, which is the most photographed place in the Faroe Islands. There has been a change within the past few years in how Faroe Islands are branded and marketed through visual imagery. The aim is to attract the adventure explorer traveller, the heroic travel photographer and the hipster, to “discover the undiscovered lands”, and the travellers do exactly that – portray the remote wilderness and the cute little villages with roof tops. The travellers portray majestic and sublime landscape sceneries that can be further used in marketing the lands to an ever growing mass of contemporary explorers arriving to these lands to claim the same sceneries. The heroic explorer traveller places one person in the picturesque landscape. It is the archetype of this contemporary explorer (the tourist, the brief visitor), who had this specific destination on their bucket list. The evidence can be published on Instagram so it can be used for further marketing. The aesthetics for this kind of (commercial) landscape and travel photography derive from the romantic era landscape painting, in the spirit of David Kaspar Friedrich and his painting “The Wanderer above the Fog” (1818). The gaze of the tourist, as far his eyes can see, claims these unmarked territories (or so they are let to believe).

Eija Mäkivuoti is a Helsinki-based photographic artist and work with non-commercial long-term photo documentary projects. She also photographs performing arts such as music and performance art. She is a poet as a documentarian. She holds a BA level degree in photography from the Lahti Design Institute (Lahti University of Applied Sciences) and are previously also trained as a visual artist. She is a member of the Photographic Artists’ Association in Finland and part of the artArctica network. She is the chair of Tjaldur – the friendship association Finland-Faroe Islands. At the moment she is studying in the Master’s degree programme Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) at Aalto University in Helsinki.

Telefonplan Through Different Perspectives, Video Installation, Variable, 2017

This Video Art/Documentation is a result of a micro ethnography exercise conducted at Telefonplan, an area in Stockholm. The task was to see Telefonplan from the perspective of a child and that of an adult. We were exposed to the challenges, improvisations, realizations and new insights through bodily experiences, unconventional interviews and other interactions both with individuals and technology. By attempting to  view Telefonplan from a child’s perspective, the researcher used her body as a medium.

Using a/r/tography as our methodology, this camera eye has enabled us to shift our positions in the process of perceiving.

In this exhibition, a parallel view of the different perspectives about observing the same process is a communicative visual event.  With this medium, our material has taken a new form and a variety of translations through the viewer’s lenses. We are disrupting the idea of conservative ways of research that define rigid objective and subjective oppositions.

Marie Blachmann is a second year MA Communication student with a specialization in NoVA at Aalborg University, Copenhagen. Her interest lies within the sensory field and exploring how to communicate aesthetic experiences.

Allen Damzel Centina is a NoVA student at AALTO University. A graduate of Fine Arts from  the University of the Philippines, she is currently exploring concepts of Critical and Democratic Pedagogy within informal learning situations. Her interest stems from years of experience in the field of art education both in the Philippines and Singapore.

Yu Ziyu is a current MA NoVA student. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History in Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing, China). She is now in the process of becoming and ongoing as a NoVA student and future a/r/tographer, with her developing interests in moving images and cultural ethnography.


Text by NoVA Master students

Visual conversations with Cosmic Silence

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