Minna’s work


Hi everybody, and my apologizes being so late with my introduction. Too much work to do, always.

My name is Minna and I live at Jyväskylä in central Finland. I’m a visual artist, but in recent years I have been working as an art teacher, more and more. Currently I study art education in the University of Art and Design, Helsinki, in the Virt@ III- program to gain MA qualification as an art educator. I’m also working as an art teacher in couple of schools. Even though, nowadays I do more teaching than art, I still prefer to be an artist.
My major area as an artist is painting, but I do like to get other kinds of technical experiences as well. My topic is in some way a search for archetypal ideas of humanity (whatever it means…).

Regarding the question of power, which is the topic of this course, I’m interested in how the human senses work. In a Normal life a typical human uses mostly his/her sense of sight to get information of environment. Even though other senses work as well, we are more conscious of information given by the visual sense. I will take the power metaphor and use to describe the hierarchy of the senses with the visual sense at the highest step of the ladder, when we are confronted with visual art. My idea is to construe another kind of power situation, or in a way, to make a revolution between the senses functioning in the study of visual art. I’m going to raise the sense of touch and give it more power, “for the people” to see if there could be other ways of how we receive and produce meaning in art, in a different, and hopefully new way.

There are no pictures introducing my ideas of the topic, because I haven’t yet figured out what kind of pictures could describe power of sense of tough. My plan of an art work of the topic is create some “paintings” to touch for visitors of art exhibition. Visitors normally come to art exhibition to see art, now they have to imagine art with sense of touch. Painting is made from different materials, like plastic, wax, hair etc. Materials create the composition. This will be placed into box made of neutral material like cardboard. There are holes on the box for the hands, so the visitor of the exhibition can study this painting in the box with her/his hands. What kind of image of this painting he/she will create in his/her mind?

Greetings, Minna


Hi! I’m Per(1984) from Oslo. I was a graphic/web designer geek, gone musician and then gone back to visual art again. These days I like to do a little bit of everything =)

I’ve done an animation project called ‘Väärin vei’.

You can check out the film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p02-HyGq1Cs&fmt=22

The film is a sequel to this other animation I did for one of my songs last semester called ‘Hopp & Sprett’ ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zicmuah2e3U&fmt=22 ). While ‘Hopp & Sprett’ focuses on surrealism in an ecstatic and trippy psycedelic context, ‘Väärin vei’ is leaning more towards the mystical (also, the music is not done by me in this one).

The film has ended up like sort of a lucid dream (or epiphany if you may) had by the main character in ‘Hopp & Sprett’ when he is flying up towards the sky in the last scene of that movie.

My process when working with these films are very much inspired by how I also think about composing and producing music. I want to maintain some of the playful and naivistic aproach to it all.  Everything I’ve learnt about music production is a result of having grown up in a time where almost every averagely wealthy person has access to extremely powerful technology. I’ve gotten to play around in the most childish ways all through my up-bringing with technical equipment scientists could only dream about 25 years ago. So I’ve played around and had fun for many years and slowly (without me noticing too much) it’s started to develop into something more meaningful and concrete. Still, the fundamental aproach to it all has still maintained: Sit down, play around, cut up some sounds, add some effects, try not to think too much, see what happens.. I think that after many years of this type of trial and error a sort of sophisticated naivism starts to surface that’s quite unique for my generation.

Rather than starting out with an intellectual concept or any direct message I want to get across, I like to rather build a pallette of characters and environments without thinking too much first. Then rather hope that the things I make will at some point start to inspire me and start telling me what story I’ll be able to make with the building blocks I have at hand. My hope is that if I am a person who gets involved with art theory/philosophy outside the time I use for my own production, then this will become part of my subconsciousness and affect the things I create without me having to actively try to propagate anything.

Alrighty, ramble over.

Per =)

In my own artistic work the theme is related to the following questions: Who has power? Who has the ultimate power? Some believe that the power has to be taken and others believe that it is given. In fact, I defend the latter opinion. But, having been given the power, it requires responsibility, a wise and humble attitude to use it.

holyty (God’s reality ) I call my works Postmodern Icons, an attribute which I figured out during my visit to Valamo monastery in summer 2008.

What is the great story of my works? Should I verbalize it, since I have the power to make an allegory of their meanings and interpretations? Or should I leave my works open and let the audience do the interpretation? For me, my allegorical images of power are linked to the Orthodox icon art. People have expressed their belief with the help of icons almost two thousand years and created contacts from our reality to God’s reality. I do not use, however, Orthodox icons more than as a source of inspiration to achieve

Regarding my thinking and ideas, I am interested in the notion of “The power of the other side” or “Different power”. I link to this term, and related to the ideas of the work, as belonging to the Christian faith, its main content. It is the message of Jesus and his role in being a Saviour of mankind. I admit, it sound paradoxical, that I link my thoughts in this case to the notion of “Power of the other side”. In fact, The Catholic, Orthodox, and later the Protestant Churches have spread the Christian doctrine and have shaped the way people think, life, art, and society as a whole more than any other ideology or philosophical movement in the last 2000 years.

The icons are used to be seen as fetishes in the tradition of the Orthodox church. And they operate as windows between us and God. But, are the icons acting as nature or like God does, unpredictably, through some force we cannot see in advance. Can we really grasp nature, God, or the Holy Spirit s power, something that can not be managed in advance? This is for me an interesting topic, this is what I mean by “different power” or the “power of the other side”. Can an artefact pierce through the real world dimension and unite with God’s reality? Or is the whole question of Power absurd, in the world where everything is in God and from God?


Jyrki Toivanen 17.3.2009






My name is Juho Hellsten. I’m a 5th year student of art education in the University of Arts and Design, Helsinki. Naturally, as an art educator, my areas of interest are diverse, and instead of listing all the stuff I find interesting it would be easier to just list the things that don’t make me tick (dog breeding, ice hockey, Hollywood entertainment indystry awards, well that already constitutes roughly half the list). Recently I’ve been occupying myself with somewhat traditional oil painting, struggling with the dis-/non-information released by the instances carrying out a merger between the universities of economics, technology, and arts and design in Helsinki, and analyzing the holistic experiencing of the Nature during my solitary hike in the Finnish Lapland some months ago.

Of Signs of Power: I’ve had a few starting points to the assignment, out of which I ended up choosing the labyrinth as a metaphor of power, as the surroundings of an individual trying to find her/his way through the world kept together by complex power structures. The question of how to visualize my theme still remains. I might end up making paintings. If only paintings weren’t so “voluntary” to experience… Using “virtual reality” (computers) could be an ok compromise between the physical world and the world of images. For now, I’ll just post some miscellaneous thoughts and interpretations. The artwork/sketches follow soon, if I get the pieces to fall in place.

In Finnish there’s no distinction between the concepts of a labyrinth and a maze. There are just more or less complicated labyrinths. Originally “a labyrinth” used to mean a unicursal (non-splitting) although confusing path where possible obstacles (such as the Minotaur, or just one’s own fears) could have been encountered, whereas “a maze” offered up to infinite amount of chances of getting lost by choosing to take the wrong turn in an intersection of the path.

A labyrinth: conquering obstacles, acheiving spiritual growth through travelling. A possible allegory for bureaucratic procedures, or a metaphor of a fatalist/determinist view of life.

A maze: One choice leads to a new crossroad. From the point of the view of the traveller, a series of these choices, stacked up, lead to unpredictable consequences, as in the chaos theory. A maze could be a metaphor of life. A maze offers choices as well as limits and restrictions, some hints and an unknown amount of secrets. A maze (unlike life) has an author, which in my way of thinking makes it a potent metaphor of power.

The Three Types of Labyrinth according to Umberto Eco – The Name of the Rose. (source: http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/m/mz/m.htm)

1. The Greek Labyrinth

“This kind does not allow anyone to get lost: you go in, arrive at the centre, and then from the centre you reach the exit.” eg the labyrinth of Theseus,at the heart is the Minotaur […] Theseus killed the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and emerged using a length of thread for a passionate embrace from Minos’ new wife. A myth of sexual passion and labyrinthine doings. “if he were not there the story would have no zest, it would be a mere stroll. Terror is born, if it is born, from the fact that you do not know where you will arrive or what the Minotaur will do. “Eco. Reflections.

2. The Mannerist Labyrinth

“if you unravel it, you find in your hands a kind of tree, a structure with roots, with many blind alleys. There is only one exit, but you can get it wrong. You need an Ariadne’s thread to keep from getting lost. This labyrinth is the model of the trial and error process.

3. The Net or Rhyzome Labyrinth

“so constructed that every path can be connected with every other one. It has no centre, no periphery, no exit because it is potentially infinite. The space of conjecture is a rhyzome space. The labyrinth of my Library is a rhyzome space.”


I´m Alli, photographer, teacher and student from Helsinki. I´m working in Helsinki City College of Technology where I´m teaching photography in Study Programme in Audiovisual Communication (website in Finnish: http://av-heltech.fi/). In addition of work I also study art education in UIAH.

My main interests in art scene:

– photography and media

– environmental art

– community art

– integration of different art forms (acting, music, fine art, photography, literature etc.)

In this course ”Signs of Power – another kind of power” I have focused the theme of power in our education system and particulary between teacher and student. I´m working as a teacher and I´m the one who uses the power. I have thought a lot of the dialogue between me and students and the structure of power in between. What kind of power is it, what is the idea of man or the ideology it´s based on and where it comes from?

As a visual point of view I have concentrated the question of spaces; how can we see the power in classrooms? How classrooms are arranged and what arrangements tell us about the power? I´m going to work with photographs and I´m planning to take photos of several empty classrooms. So far I have done some testshoots and tests of the image manipulation with Photoshop (below the text). In the near future I´m going to continue my researches by taking more photos and finding the best visual form of the images.


eija´s signs


I am Eija Nevala, textile designer (MA), teacher and a mother of two children. I work as a teacher in the Lybecker Institute of Arts and Design; I teach subjects related to textile design, art history and cultural history. On my other job as a textile designer I work with printed fabrics.


My interests in the field of Signs of Power are focused to the questions and realities of being a woman. Gender-based unwritten norms and accepted ways of behaviour unconsciously guide our life and actions. I think that the question or problem of women status is quite obvious. Women face numerous borders and fences especially in the fields of politics, finance or trade, and in order to gain respect – in order to be taken seriously – women need to do a lot of work, and often also adopt maleish patterns of behaviour and appearance.

But on behalf of concentrating on identifying and showing these signs, the concrete pieces/products that I´m working with, deal with my relation to the power. I´m interested in the ways how I (and I suppose people in general) relate myself to these rules and expectations – to these signs of structural / cultural power. I have read and agree with for example thoughts of Judith Butler, but instead of repeating writings of feminist researchers, I´ll follow my instincts and intuition, stereotypes and more or less obvious messages of media as my guiding lights.

From the very beginning high heel shoes have been my major theme or symbol. High heels are something, which can be associated to femininity, sexuality and to the ideas of “suffering for beauty” – to features which can be seen as exercising power of patriarchal culture. But woman on her high heels is both the object and the subject of exercising power.

Also my relation to gender based hierarchies of power is (at least) two sided, and during this process I´ve tried to find a balance between anger, resignation and irony. I’ve planned to produce badges. By using more or less universal language of colours and forms – symbols used in traffic signs – I´m trying to represent the different roles of women. The media and form support my ironic view to the question, but on the other hand it is also an expression of my opinion.

Aware that the Finnish students are working on their first contributions on the theme shared by FADD students, let me only tell a small anecdote, while we are waiting for the rest of the students to show up on the blog. A few years ago, I went to Gothenburg, the biennale, to attend a seminar created by the now extinct institution NIFCA – the NIFCA ateliers in Helsinki have been empty for several years now – to discuss Why nobody makes any art anymore, only Projects? I got many good examples of what a contemporary art project is – I might tell about some of those, told to us by artist Michael von Hausswolff – which brings me the true anecdote, an experience I hade some six years ago. Walking up near the Railway station in Helsinki i came to the corner of Kiasma and met an old acquaintance, pensioned from his job, among other things, as an art mecenate within a large bank in Finland. I asked him how´s he today, ok, and then I asked him, if he had been in Kiasma lately to look at some exhibition (Kiasma- the contemporary art museum in Helsinki). No, he said, “there is not any art to see there nowadays”. I did not say anything, but understood later, that he, of course meant, that he does not care to see the exhibitions, because there is not so much GOOD art there anymore. My friend had left the predicate good out of the sentence. I was still stricken by what he had just uttered, but did not ask him, “if there´s not any art in Kiasma, WHAT is there then?”. This was my moment to realize that there is a difference between modern art and contemporary art, whatever different kinds of changes we might find, if we care to look in to this very contextually defined problem. To cut it short, one way of saying something about the difference between modern art and contemporary art is to learn that contemporary art strategies ( or tactics, really) is to stress the narrative side of the work, while leaving the formal issues in a more instrumental role. Modern art, as we should know, put a lot of stress on the visual form, as such, trying to evade the referential and narrative side of the work, except of course the artists manifests on what the work of art really is about…. So Modern Art is a peculiar set of stories, while contemporary art at least from a general view could be said to defend the right of a personal or political or other kind of narrative to be played out in whatever media the story seem to need. Here, obviously, some kind of a tendency to adopt major media for the story telling is clearly visible.

And the projects Michael von Hausswolff told us? Yes, if you like to hear a couple… See you later, Jan Kenneth Weckman