Publications of Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture



Place Or Space
Markku Hakuri Ed., 2014

At its best, environmental art can produce surprising combinations that enable visible reality and the experiencer's state of mind together to open up new pathways towards consciousness and understanding.
The book tells the story of places, spaces and situations that the writers encountered when reflecting on the potential of art as a provider of social commentary, and as a shaper or a challenger of the visual appearance of our environment. It has led them to discuss, for example, the prevalence and visibility of new technology in our environment, the abolition of boundaries between the work of art and the audience, and the shifting of the viewer's position from being an observer to being a participant in the artistic process. The book also deals with the diversity of methods in teaching the environmental art - learning by doing, experiential knowledge - set against the background of the student's individual world view, and the interaction with other arts and sciences.

Publisher Aalto

Otherwise than Knowing
Ten meditations on a theme inspired by Harri Laakso
Juha Varto, 2013

Varto's colleague Harri Laakso suggested in one of his presentations that we should stop talking about the different types of knowing and admit, or even emphatically argue, that in art we are dealing with something that is “otherwise-than-knowing”. To varto, Laakso’s remark suddenly shed light on an issue that was partly clouded and partly lit: why is it important to so many that art remain art, and why are so many interested in doing research that is based on artistic activity and that takes seriously art’s own way of operating, its manifestations and methods of conveying something to others, either through whispers, screams or discussions?
These meditations stem from the frenzied thinking and discussion going on in art universities around the world. Art is seen as the ability to change the world, not by money or force, but by orientation: by radically transforming the “sensible”, or sensory, reality of the eye, ear, taste, touch and smell, which unavoidably results in a change in ideas, understanding and insight. It may be about distancing, it may be about getting closer; sometimes it is irony or camp, sometimes it is a serious attempt to find illuminating concepts and their verbalisations, and sometimes it is the need to create new myths or just tell stories.

 A Dance with the World
Towards an Ontology of Singularity
Juha Varto, 2013

In the 20th century, individuals were random beings that only blocked the debate on progress. Progress became a main part of the agenda, growing from the evil seeds of the Enlightenment. Progress requires wider perspectives: philosophers declared what is universal.
Great men knew how to exploit progress: others should give away their lives and their happiness for something greater, nobler and more general. To forget that you are a singular individual became a virtue.
Dostoyevsky remarked that “the progress is not worth a single tear of a child”. So many tears were shed that it is a wonder that the world was not washed away in them. But the tears of singular human beings never form a tidal wave.
The author dives into the unspoken sources of human singularity: the experience, body and flesh. A dance with the world becomes more important than progress, or “common good”. We simply don’t know enough to deny the value of the wisdom that appears in unique situations of life.


Meaning-making in Visual Culture
The Case of Integrating Ganda Indigenous Knowledge with Contemporary Art Practice in Uganda
Kabiito Richard, 2010

The main purpose of this research is to show how indigenous knowledge about form, patterns and colours can improve visual reading in certain communities. In other words storytelling is used as a communicative tool . The author is integrating ugandan art forms into contemporary art practise. He uses the case Buganda in this study, but this system can be adapted in any community.
Richard Kabiito has studied art education at Aalto University’s School of Art and Design. At the moment Kabiito Richard works as Lecturer at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.


Basics of Artistic Research
Ontological, Epistemological and Historical Justifications
Juha Varto, 2009

Artistic research is the research of singular events, identified as an individual's creative moments. Such moments are open to others' interpretations but are still unique.
The unique is naturally related to time. Temporality is essential to all events, but it is not possible to study temporality as such in science, for it is indeed the standardisation or objectification of temporality that makes research science.
Each point of departure in research originates from an event, which can be described with a verb: painting, writing, designing, negotiating or the like. Thus, action is selected to describe temporal nature, The result of this action is usually a document, such as a painting, a poem, the minutes of a meeting or a description.
Naturally, the document is not what we are interested in here, for it is a mere object: we are interested in the event which yields the document.
Juha Varto critically opens up our common preknowledge of the basics of artistic research.


Designing for an Open Museum
Mariana Salgado, 2009

This book investigates how interaction design can support people’s
participation in museums and exhibition venues. It does so by presenting and analysing three case studies that took place in Ateneum Art Museum, Kunsthalle (Taidehalli) and the Design Museum from 2005 to 2008.
Salgado proposed the concept of ecology of participation to better understand and make use of content creation and sharing in the museums. Participation needs to be grounded on existing resources, people and practices at the museum. The interactive pieces deployed in the museums provide an arena for exploration of different multimedia resources and creative means to connect with the material in the exhibition.
This analysis is positioned in the context of Interaction Design; however, it combines Museum Studies and Museum Informatics to provide an understanding of the problematic from the museum point of view. The work includes recommendations for museums such as collaborating with other stakeholders, promoting community-created content and trusting the community.


Art of the Environment
Ossi Naukkarinen, 2007

In comparison with traditional textbooks on art, this book links art with environmental issues, something which is often considered beyond the scope of and irrelevant to art discourse. How should artists pay attention to ecological considerations such as material waste and pollution? What has environmental responsibility to do with the reception of art? This book shows that art is not an island with no connections to environmental discourse, but an active and responsible partner.
Examples of the themes the book deals with are openness, three-dimensionality and spatiality, beauty and ugliness, change and movement, multisensoriality and participation, publicity, as well as direct and indirect environmental effects of art.


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