Visual Culture and Contemporary Art 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.
Visual Culture and Contemporary Art 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. The program has two majors: Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) and Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA). The ViCCA major works through four focus areas: Sites, Senses and Situations; Words and Spaces; Beings and Things, and CuMMA, of which CuMMA is also a separate major. The CuMMA major focuses on the professional skills needed for curating and mediating art. In both majors some of the courses are also available for the students of the other major.
Goal of education (Learning outcomes)
ViCCA (Visual Culture and Contemporary Art) is a two-year major, which 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 major 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, experientiality, and experimentality 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 learning outcomes:
Students learn to rethink and reshape their relation to the world and lived environment through artistic means
Students have a wide understanding of contemporary and emerging artistic practices
Students comprehend visual culture beyond the visible and theory beyond the academic
Students have a creative understanding of the possibilities of art as a tool in social contexts and environments
Students learn to enrich their competence in their own practice, media or field
Students learn to reflect on their own practice in relation to those of other fields
Students acquire an experimental attitude and tools for utilizing it
Students have concrete experience of projects where theoretical thinking and artistic practice merge
Students have comprehensive research skills, which prepare them also for doctoral studies
Studying in ViCCA consists of theory workshops, experimental laboratories, concrete projects and a thesis.
In the Major here are 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 package of studies quite freely, choosing from different modules, or just focusing on one.
Advanced Special Studies
Sites, Senses and Situations offers a framework for exploring and discussing our lived environment, focusing on sensory perception and issues related to space, site and social context. Spaces and environments are studied through artistic practices from both contextual and experiential points of view. We observe our environment on multiple levels and seek to actively engage with it. Interventions in public spaces and institutions, participatory projects and spatial experiments are among the methods used. Through our multidisciplinary approach we encourage students to explore new forms of artistic practice and collaboration.
Words and Spaces views theory beyond the academic and as something embedded within artworks. How can philosophy, adventures in artistic research, and working hands on with words and images be newly relevant in the changing world we live in? We experiment with the materiality, transparency and metaphorics of language and explore especially its role and potentials in contemporary art and artistic research. Criticism, fiction, experimental writing and textual performance are among the methods we use in exploring the margins, boundaries and contexts of artistic work.
Beings and Things provides a platform for discussion and investigations into how we might rethink and reshape our connections to the living world – as part of that world. We probe, for example, the intersections of objects, microbes, resonances, human and non-human life forms. We focus on inter-relational and sensorial levels of life and on phenomena that are not necessarily consciously observed or sensed. We might talk about “aesthetics of atmosphere” and “sense-sphere”. Beings and Things trains the students to become facilitators of new modes of creative/artistic practice ranging from building to breathing, from fermentation to fragmentation.
Curating, Managing and Mediating Art, CuMMA, provides a structure for reflection and acting, learning and organizing in art institutions and the public sphere. We aim to explore possibilities to understand and shift the paradigms of contemporary art and the world around us. Thus we understand curating, educating and organizing as ways of being active, of creating relations and of being open for unexpected encounters, thoughts and knowledges.
The Major offers its student a broad variety of minor studies, which are available in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and other schools of Aalto University. This combination of design, media, economics and technology as a part of the visual culture and contemporary art The Major opens up new professional career paths.
Students that graduate from the program can work in a variety of already existing professions in the field of arts and culture. Besides this, the program encourages students to build their own creative positions and professional agencies in the multi-faceted, constantly changing and multi-disciplinary world. The students who have a background outside of visual culture and contemporary art enrich their own fields of expertise with a new point of view – and a broad array of new methods of working with it.
Students graduating from the ViCCA programme may work as artists, producers, researchers, scholars, third sector activists and in think tanks – and in a range of new professions yet to be imagined.
The Major is international and the main language of teaching is English. The Major is well connected to international networks, which are constantly built up and developed. Through these networks students have a possibility to do a training abroad or to study a part of their diploma in other countries with the help of exchange agreements.
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.