12th NoVA Suggests by Alexandra Stroganova 16 September 2017


I have spent the last semester on exchange at Oslo and Akershus University College Of Applied Sciences (Norway). Oslo city is full of diverse public art pieces and events and also has a very lively contemporary art scene. Almost every week there is an opening of a new exhibition at different venues. By luck, I happened to get my summer internship at the Oslo based public art production company Kulturbyrået Mesén (http://www.mesen.no). Thanks to that, I prolonged my stay in Norway and got the opportunity to get more closely acquainted with the Nordic art market, as well as delve into the details of public art production processes. Thus, my suggestions will be concentrated on the events and happenings in Norway (primarily in Oslo).

The Lost Museum – Department of Humans (Nordic Section) – Oslo, Norway


Exhibition period: September 9th – November 5th

Venue: Munchmuseet on the Move – Kunsthall Oslo

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12.00-17.00

Dronning Eufemias gate 34, Oslo, Norway

The Lost Museum is a pop-up museum, curated by Charles Esche (born 1963, England), who is an internationally recognised curator and the director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The Lost Museum is travelling from one country to another, but the content and form of each edition is different every time according to the particularities of the place, which makes every edition unique. However, the concept of the project remains unchangeable: to challenge the very idea of the museum, the cabinet of curiosity, the white cube, and so on. Through the course of several months the curator along with a team of experts examine the country’s specificities and history in search for art, historical documentation, everyday objects and curiosities to be displayed side by side in order to break established categories and unveil hidden narratives.

The Oslo edition The Lost Museum – Department of Humans (Nordic Section) is focusing on the interrelations of human and non-human, the way in which it was defined and redefined in the Northern European context. A troll painting by Theodor Kittelsen, a carnival mask of a polar bear, depictions of diseases, photographs from the laboratory of racial studies, demonical mural drawings from inside a medieval church, siamese twins’ skeletons and a lot of other objects from various archives and museum collections from all across Norway are gathered together in this exhibition in order to redefine their previous classifications and generate new perspectives.

I really recommend to visit this exhibition


The Last Testament by Jonas Bendiksen – Oslo, Norway


Exhibition period: September 9th – November 5th

Venue: Shoot Galley

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12-17. Monday closed

Address: Trelastgaten 17, Oslo, Norway

Jonas Bendiksen is the Norwegian photographer (born 1977) and a member of Magnum Photos. He has spent the last three years following seven men who all claim to be the biblical Messiah. Throughout this project he collects different types of material for the narrative: observations, interviews, photographs of daily life as well as portraits. This was the basis for his newly published book The Last Testament, the exhibition of the same title at Shoot Gallery in Oslo and a very interesting documentary series for NRK channel (in Norwegian only). I would recommend to visit the exhibition for everyone and watch the series for those who understand Norwegian language. It is very interesting to see all those very different people which claim to be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, their lifestyle and followers. One of the cases happened to be in Russian Siberia, which initially made me very curious about the project.


Thomas Hirschhorn exhibition at Fotogalleriet – Oslo, Norway


Exhibition period: September 1st – October 22d

Venue: Fotogalleriet

Opening hours: Wed.-Fri.-Sat.-Sun. 12.00 – 17.00; Thu. 12.00 – 19.00; Mon.-Tue. closed

Address: Møllergata 34, Oslo, Norway

I have never been a huge fan of Thomas Hirschhorn’s art, but this exhibition made me change my mind. After attending the exhibition opening, I came to realize that the impression derived from reading reviews or viewing reproductions of Hirschhorn’s art can instill a different and possibly misleading understanding compared to a first-hand experience of his work. In the exhibition at Fotogalleriet along with photographic pixel-collages, Thomas Hirschhorn presents his research, which provides the theoretical frame for the artworks and is inseparable from it. By presenting a collection of his essays, articles of different authors and other collected data material about the censorship and pixelation of violent images in media, Hirschhorn invites us on a journey through the rhizomes of the artworks production processes, which brings it to a totally new level. I strongly recommend for all to visit this exhibition and reserve enough time to go through Hirschhorn’s research materials!

Thomas Hirschhorn states:

“I think that ‘pixelation’ or blurring, masking and furthermore censorship or self-censorship, is a growing and insidious problematic, also in regard to the new social media. Obviously I don’t accept what has been pixelated in my place ‘to protect me’. I consequently don’t pixelate what is usually concealed or removed and meant to frustrate, censor or make non-visible. I can, I want and I need to use my own eyes as an act of emancipation – this is the detonator of ‘De-Pixelation’. De-Pixelation is the term I want to use to manifest that pixelating is no longer necessary. The pixels, the blurring and the masking, and in general all kinds of censorships, can no longer prevent us from fake-news, facts, opinions and comments. We have definitely entered the post-truth world, and pixelation is the form of the agreement in this post-truth world.”


Momentum 9 – Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art – Moss, Norway


Exhibition period: June 17th – October 11th

Venue: Momentum 9:Alienation can be seen in Momentum kunsthall, Vannverket and House // of // Foundation in Møllebyen in Moss, in Parkteateret in Moss city center as well as at Gallery F 15 and the Naturhuset at Jeløy (Moss, Norway)

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00. (Note: Parkteateret is only open Sundays from 14:00 until 15:00).

Momentum is the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, which features mainly the works of young Scandinavian artists but also profiles international art scene. Momentum operates from and within a Nordic context. The ways in which “Nordic” as a term or concept is approached has differed since the first edition in 1998. The ninth edition of the Momentum Biennial takes the notion of alienation as its starting point. By alienation the curators refer to a contemporary world where alien processes and entities are becoming an integrated part of our lives through technological, ecological and social transformations. M9 insists on searching for new tools for greater understanding of the human condition through cross-pollination of methods, categories and disciplines. The collection of artworks exhibited in M9 is very diverse and varied in forms: sculptures, sound- and video-installations, mixed-media, paintings, graphics and wall drawings. The Museum of Nonhumanity, for example, presents the history of distinction between humans and other animals, and the way that this boundary has been used to oppress human and nonhuman beings. Missing Time by Olga Bergman and Anna Hallis deal with biology; genetics and ecosystems in which all sorts of classifications, from genetic mappings to historical registrations, are questioned; the artists present a fictional narration in factual manner; addressing speculative futures as well as alternative pasts. These are only few examples of the art works exhibited in this edition of the biennial.


Kistefos-Museet and Ekebergparken – Jevnaker and Oso, Norway

  1. http://kistefos.museum.no/?lang=_eng
  2. https://ekebergparken.com/en

Both places are basically natural parks filled with a lot of interesting artworks. While Ekebergparken is situated in Oslo, Kistefos museum is not easy to reach without a car. The latter is situated in Jevnaker municipality about 70km from Oslo. Both places are equally interesting to visit if you are keen on nature, art and history. Ekebergparken is open for everyone at any time and day of the year and is free of charge. This season, Kistefos-Museet is only open to the public between Tuesday-Sunday 11am til 5pm until the 8th of October. I would recommend a visit to both places, as they are both very exciting and interesting. Kistefos-Museet is situated at the premises of the former wood pulp factory A/S Kistefos Træsliberi. The museum was founded in 1996 by Christen Sveaas, who is the grandson of the factory owner. The Kistefos-Museet is comprised of the Industrial Museum, the Art Hall and the Sculpture Park.The sculpture park is part of the abundant park area belonging to Kistefos Museum, and consists of sculptures by influential Norwegian and international contemporary artists. Several of the sculptures provide an interactive and playful experience. This season, Kistefos-Museet also presents the exhibition Human Nature: Doing, Undoing and Redoing by the internationally renowned artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), who is one of the 20th century’s most notable and influential artists. The exhibition (curated by Luise Faurschou) gives an exceptional insight into her lifelong examination of the human condition. She addresses fundamental experiences like growth, amputation and regrowth inherent in relationships with others as part of human internal processes and emotions.

One work of Louise Bourgeois – The Couple – can also be found in Ekebergparken, as well as works of such artists as Auguste Rodin and Salvador Dali, Damien Hirst, Tony Cragg, Marina Abramović and many of the others, which gives the park a glimpse of the eclectic, but undoubtedly provides an inspiring and exciting experience. Ekebergparken is the public sculpture park created for the people of Oslo in 2013 by the philanthropist and art collector Christian Ringnes.

Alexandra Stroganova (born 1990 in Moscow, Russia) is a second year Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education Master’s student at Aalto University, School of Art Design and Architecture, Department of Art (Finland). She has a background in Fine Arts from Moscow City University (former Moscow City Teachers’ Training University). Alexandra has about 5 years working experience as an Art Teacher in several different schools in Moscow and St-Petersburg, Russia. Her main interest is currently focused on contemporary art and art in public spaces.

NoVA suggests is a regularly published edition of interesting events, publications and sites by someone from NoVA. View other suggestions at http://nova-master.fi/category/nova-suggests/

Why Is The Forest So Beautiful? 14 May 2017

 – The Exchange Experience –

It was roughly two months ago when I attended a trip to a forest half an hour away from the center of Oslo. It was organized by the buddy-group in HiOA (Hogskolen i Oslo og Akershus).

The Buddy-group is mainly for those of us who come to Norway as exchange students. As I understand, it is a program run by local Norwegian students to welcome and host the exchange or international students.

I felt the warmth and the hospitality of the hosts from the day of my arrival in Oslo.  I was met by my buddy at the central railway station which was a huge gesture of welcome. Our buddies all come from different courses, but all relating to art, like drama and design… They built a Facebook group, and organized ice-skating, waffle making workshops, movie night… Quite a lot of activities during this semester.

photo01 by myrtoJourney to the Forest. Photo: Myrto Theocharidou

It is this experience in the forest that I would find unforgettable. So we went into the woods with supplies including sausages, oranges, and who would forget hot chocolate to keep us warm. I was with several of my classmates from AALTO and our buddies.

We didn’t just enjoy the forest, we also learned life skills. Marius, one of our buddies, showed us how to produce fire and protect it from being put out by the strong wind in order for us to enjoy the experience of grilling sausages in open fire.  We were also shown how to use a Viking knife to prepare our unique forks. We shared jokes and laughter, although at times, we really didn’t understand why; it was probably a mixture of the fun and the cold even when the sun was up.

photo02 by Jie.jpgphoto03 by Jie.jpg

Everyone had a beautiful experience. “It is too nice!” Alex said. I think I ate three sausages, oh, maybe four!

17353598_10155193244286388_2949927218997028730_nPhoto: Myrto Theocharidou

At this point, I recall a dialogue with a friend. She shared with me how strange her feeling was, something so familiar and positive, whenever she had to spend 20 minutes through the forest on her way to work, an experience brought about by her company’s decision to move out of the city.

But another man I spoke with from an activity center in Oslo, told me how he hates the forest. It’s because he thinks that the woods are always there, never disappearing, and how they are always involving people. But unlike the forest, when he dies, nobody will know. His thoughts have a sad and beautiful note to it.

photo04 by Jie.jpgPhoto: Jie Zhao

I have been wondering for a long time, why the forest is so beautiful and meaningful to me, and maybe also to you. Then I suddenly realized how a forest is such a vivid background, a stage, a spectacle, reminding us of life and death and the relationships we have.  Somehow its existence reminds us of our being.


Jie Zhao’s thoughts travel between art education and the natural and metaphorical beauty of the forest. She was a graphic designer and a lecturer in Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts. Her current journey in the Nordics is a part of her search for various liberating art education processes.

The Game That Changed 6 May 2017

Video games have been studied for at least 20 years by now, but video games continue to change and turn into something that nobody had anticipated. How can we understand the changing content, values, and contexts of video games?

On March 27th of 2017, game researchers gathered together in Copenhagen to discuss the concurrent and the future of game studies. The topic included game design, history, cognitive science and game pedagogy. There, I had a chance to conduct a 30-min speech about the South Korean game studies and political discourses that surround them.

“The Game That Changed” seminar took place in The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK), coordinated by influential game researcher Jesper Juul.


Jesper Juul (right), introducing Solip Park. Photo by Niké Svensson Edelholm, NoVA@Kostfack

South Korean translation of “game” is “gae-im(게임)”, which is a direct loanword from English. The word, however, does not conflate with the traditional games like in the West but instead disconnected from the legacy of traditional values. This unique positioning of the word game, therefore, affects, not only the (public’s) common sense but also, how we conceptualize them in studies and theories as well. With this in mind, my speech covered the “South Korean (boxed) PC game crash” that happened in the late 1990s, referencing my previous researches and artifact-based exhibitions conducted at Nexon Computer Museum (South Korea). The speech briefly walks through several sociocultural and economical incidents that occurred in South Korea during the late-1990s, including Asian Financial Crisis and rise of competitive gaming culture; the direct causes that formed concurrent South Korean gaming culture and discourses.


South Korean (Boxed) PC Game Crash overview slide by Solip Park



Eric Zimmerman, the author of Rules of Play.                   Photo by Jesper Juul, KADK



Miguel Sicart, presenting the Making Digital Play.          Photo by Jesper Juul, KADK



Solip Park, presenting South Korean PC Game Crash. Photo by Niké Svensson Edelholm, NoVA,Kostfack

My discussion went more in-depth in the follow-up 90-min lecture Shacking the frame: “Game” in East Asia & South Korean game studies, which was conducted with the collaboration with IT University of Copenhagen, Center for Computer Games Research. Center for Computer Games Research. There, I’ve explained the terminological differences between word “game” and how East Asian languages (Chinese, Korean and Japanese) interpret them in their own languages, as East Asia do not have traditional linguistic terms that directly correspond to the western definition of ‘game’. Together with South Korean (boxed) PC game crash, I believe this terminological and ontological frame is one of the fundamental aspects that structures the game related discourses in my home country – South Korea.

As such, how the language constructs our subjectivity towards the concept of “game” and frames the local game studies triggers my curiosity most in recent days. I seek to dig deeper into this topic in my future research.


Shacking the frame: “Game” in East Asia & South Korean game studies slide by Solip Park



Solip Park is a current NoVA student and a former Researcher & IR Coordinator at Nexon Computer Museum (South Korea). Solip is pursuing her research focusing on game for learning, with the concentration on lifelong learning in digital era and game/computer museum exhibition and pedagogy. You can find more about Solip at: www.parksolip.com

I OfficeAlley Have Been To Hong Kong (The Accidental Tourist Guide Experience) 20 March 2017


'Officealley' installation at Connecting Space, Hong Kong

‘Officealley’ installation, Connecting Space, Hong Kong Photo by Myrtò Theocharidou

The journey started from Cyprus… I was in my hometown when students from Aalto had the first meeting for the “Accidental Tourist Guide’’. The reality reconstruction project is a collaboration among three universities (Zurich University of the Arts, AALTO University in Helsinki and Hong Kong Baptist University). Through Skype I ‘travelled’ back to a familiar place in Arabia campus to meet my group members who were in Finland. We didn’t stay long in Helsinki since we were asked to virtually walk into the streets of Hong Kong through Google Street View and find interesting spots and details of the Asian town.

The succeeding online encounters and lectures for the project found me in Oslo, where I am currently spending an exchange semester. To be honest, the whole virtual communication and navigation made me feel distant from the project since I am used to meeting people and exploring places the old school way.

I did not have to wait long for the ‘real’ journey. You see, it wasn’t only the project that I was excited about – my first excursion out of Europe wasn’t a dream anymore! After our arrival in Hong Kong and the physical engagement with all the participants of the project – Hong Kong, Zurich,  and Helsinki Students, I was trying to acquaint myself with my group members without the pixel and voice-cutting barriers. We finally met and I was grouped with Valeria Nekhaeva, Onon Pang, Laila Frauenfelder, Bobby Yu and Ozan Polat. We re-discussed our findings of Google Street View and decided to focus on Hong Kong’s Back Alleys.

'Officealley' 1st day, North Point, Hong Kong

‘Officealley’ 1st day, North Point, Hong Kong Photo by Myrtò Theocharidou

The local members of our group showed us different areas in Hong Kong where back alleys are used as private spaces and we had a taste of the spontaneity of this action. Considering the difficulties to work in a large group -moving all together and discussing at the same time- we decided to spend a day individually and collected data regarding the back alleys. This decision was effective since we visited different alleys around Hong Kong and each one of us looked from an alternative gaze. Through our walks and by documenting the different types of back alley we noticed the frequent presence of the office chair in the area. Hence, this element -office chair- worked as an influence for our project development.

Myrtò Theocharidou

‘Officealley’ 2nd day, North Point, Hong Kong Photo by Myrtò Theocharidou

After several experimentation and observation of the general function of Back Alleys we created an Office, an extensive working place of the Connecting Space which was the meeting point for the entire Accidental Tourist Guide Project. We tried to imitate the character of the back alleys business by using materials which could be found in the streets of Hong Kong, such as plastic boxes, wood blocks, office chairs and plastic stools. We were sitting daily at this back alley as if it is a normal office. We started documenting people’s reactions, and we were trying to discuss with the pedestrians which seemed more interested or curious of our project. We ended up with an ‘Office party’ which attracted the locals (and the police).

Although, the relations with our temporary neighbors were good, during our placement I was struggling with ethical questions regarding our random ”invasion” to their daily routine. I believe, a project like this demands time, modesty and discretion. Our final exhibit at connecting space was an installation composed from the materials we had used for our office, collected all on a trolley along with the tablet and laptop used for photo and video documentation respectively.

If I had been asked to speak about my plans for this year I couldn’t even imagine saying I will be walking the streets of Hong Kong! It is indeed an Accidental Travel Masters Degree!

The outcomes of the intercultural artistic project will be shown through a Virtual Tunnel exhibition entitled “Accidental Tourist Guide – Exploring Hong Kong” opening on Wednesday 22.3. at 12.30 -13.30 Helsinki time at Node Space Gallery.

NoVA students Aina and Myrtò in the opening of Double Yellow Lines exhibition at the gallery of Hong Kong Baptist University.

NoVA students Aina and Myrto in HK       Photo by Heikki Heinonan

Myrtò Theocharidou is a Visual Artist and a lifetime ‘cultural explorer.’ Myrtò was born in Cyprus and she holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Performing Arts in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice, Italy. Myrtò is currently a master student of Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education, at Aalto University. She is interested in art and museum education as well as in experimenting on new techniques in the fields of art and crafts.

MAKE A POINT – Interpretations of Checkpoint Helsinki 9 December 2016

One group dressed up as a construction crew and installed a discussion platform in Kiasma and at the railway station to engage passers-by to give their views about the subject. Photo: Alexandra Stroganova

A project by students of Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education MA programme at Aalto University with the help and collaboration of Checkpoint Helsinki.

The course Contemporary Art and its Social Context studied the ways in which contemporary art engages with its spatial environment, creates temporal events, and encourages participation. Checkpoint Helsinki provided a case study and material for a practical project. MAKE A POINT continues the discussions about some important questions started by Checkpoint Helsinki.

MAKE A POINT was divided into three groups:

One group focused on the idea of art in public space. They dressed up as a construction crew and installed a discussion platform in Kiasma and at the railway station to engage passers-by to give their views about the subject. They aimed at expanding the idea of openness of Checkpoint Helsinki by constructing an active dialogue with all citizens about public art. The ideas gathered during the events are presented in the form of a poster and projections.

The second group took the Checkpoint Helsinki archive (physical & online) as their starting point. They studied the remains of the processes of creating the Checkpoint Helsinki network and the art projects. The group was curious about the gaps in the “official” archive and decided also to collect participants’ personal memories to question and to complement the archive. The material is gathered in a newspaper-poster.

The third group asked how such a free and spontaneous project can function in the long term and what are the minimum criteria for an institution. They felt that Checkpoint Helsinki with its temporary projects lacked visibility and permanence in public space and, as a response, decided to open CHIOSK – a pop-up kiosk that offers information and art related activities, including a tool kit that encourages alternative encounters with contemporary art – on December 11th 2016 (a pilot).

Participants: Aina Bexell, Allen Damzel Centina, Minjin Chung, Diane Hymans, Matilda Löytty, Agathe MorettiEija Mäkivuoti, Annika Sohlman, Alexandra Stroganova, Aliisa Talja, Yu Ziyu and Kaija Kaitavuori (teacher).