Postcards from Suomenlinna 20 April 2017

As an exchange NoVA from Konstfack I decided to take the course Contemporary Art and its Social Context. The course gives an introduction to and explores understandings of contemporary art and its different roles and relations in society. A big part of the course consists of a project in collaboration with an institution, this semester with IHME Festival of Contemporary Art.

IHME Festival is an annual event where one artist or artist collective is invited to create an artwork inspired by Helsinki. The festival board encourages participatory or social artworks. This has been done either by an artist collaborating with a small group of people, doing interventions in the city or making an artwork that is formed and recreated by the visitors.

As a class we were asked to respond to this archive of previous projects. This could be done in various ways, we could delve deep into the archive looking for what we think is missing and in that case form our project around the lack of something, such as promotion, audience reactions etcetera. Or we could choose to make an artwork ourselves, which poses questions and open up for new questions and interests, which is what our group decided to do.

We collectively identified four themes that we saw in the archive: audience, public space/place, artist and national/international/local/global. My group formed under the last theme. We had many disparate ideas about the subject, but as time was running out we decided to work with ourselves, and our nationalities. We were a Swede, Finn and a Russian. Not only does it sound like the arrangement for a funny story, we were also representatives for decades of war, oppression and conflict. Starting in this we found a common denominator: Suomenlinna, a small island outside Helsinki where a fortress was built by the Swedes in 18th century, later invaded by the Russian army and now being one of Finland’s cultural heritage sites. We therefore had some sort of relation to Suomenlinna by simply happening to be born in a particular country. This relation activated questions regarding ourselves and ourselves as ’Swede,’ ’Russian,’ ’Finn’. What does it really mean? Does it matter?

We decided to visit the island using a ’global tool’ : Google Streetview. We set out to find ’our’ Suomenlinna and make postcards of it. Could we find our sense of home in this site of national heritage?

What then followed was a translation, an exchange of meaning, not really finding our own personal sense of home but rather interpreting that to the general image of our home countries, an interpellation of ourselves with ourselves as Russian, Swede, Finn.

The project resulted in three postcards titled Suomenlinna, Sweden, Suomenlinna, Russia and Suomenlinna, Finland. We also made a short video for the presentation at IHME festival where we shared our personal stories about national identity and the process of finding ourselves as Suomenlinna.


Anton Krohn (SE)

I visited Suomenlinna through my macbook, dropped the little yellow guy to the blue lines of google street view. I was searching for a personal postcard of Suomenlinna, ‘my’ Suomenlinna as a swede. My hometown (Karlskrona) is a world heritage, the entire city is constructed and built around the same time as Suomenlinna. ‘Walking’ around the island there were moments when I began to feel homesick, I guess it’s the vibe of cultural heritage, a preservation of 18th century that I recognise and grew up in. These images are not swedish for me, more like home, history, ‘european’ (if there is such a thing).

I found the little red cabin with white corners and decided that that would be the best representation when relating to myself-as-swedish, although I don’t have a strong relation to a red cabin. It is as distant and close to my sense of self as is ‘swedishness’.


Lari Rantalainen (FI)

Although I have lived in Helsinki region for the larger part of my life, my first visit to suomenlinna was only a couple years ago. I went with a friend from New Zealand, who was new in Finland and keen on exploring. We were both tourists. I felt detached from the long history of the place, as well as the small onnistu that inhabits this weird little island. In more than one ways I`m a stereotypical Finnish guy: prone to depression and quiet most of the time (until I had a few Karhu of course). On the other hand, I live in a metropolis, amongst people from all nationalities. I think and speak in English half the time. I live online and I google. So I don`t really care about my national identity and I don`t care who wins hockey (although the celebrations can get pretty epic!) I don`t even mind when I get mistaken for a Swede when I`m travelling abroad.


Valeria Nekhaeva (RU)

This postcard is my alternative souvenir from Suomenlinna, an attempt to better understand my national identity. Traveling to the island with Google Street View gave me the distance that I thought was necessary. If I had gone to the island, I could have been inspired by the scenery, by the atmosphere. I was looking for an image that would portray my home country best and, unfortunately, it is a cannon. The new cold war that started a few years ago makes it uneasy to be Russian abroad.

The project was a bit chaotic, and the time restraints demanding. But in the end we were satisfied with the outcome, talking about how we could not have imagined this happening two weeks before.


Photo: Mira Kallio-Tavin

Anton Krohn has a hard time defining himself and prefers ’multidisciplinary’ as some kind of floating identity. Some of what he engages in and make is art, both visual and haptic, philosophy, especially new materialism and rhizomatic thought. He was born in Sweden and holds a Bachelor of Visual Production and Media Technology from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden. He is currently studying Nordic Visual studies and Art Education at Konstfack.

6th NoVA Suggests by Anette Göthlund 30 January 2016

IMG_5146Me and my daughter Agnes took a selfie in the colorful exhibition from Olafur Eliasson at Moderna Museet in November 2015. Me to the left (-:

1. Monday afternoon in the Konstfack research week, Feb 1st

The research week presents ongoing research at Konstfack, this year with a focus on the doctoral students. Presentations and lectures will be mixed with workshops. On Monday I will present the research area Visual Culture and Learning together with doctoral student Annika Hellman. Annika went on from magisterstudies at IBIS (Dep. of Sloyd and Visual Arts Education at Konstfack) to doctoral studies at Gothenburg university, Department of Education, Communication and Learning. She also teaches at IBIS. We will also be part of the Q&A-panel for: Everything you wanted to know about research – but were afraid to ask, a session especially for the 1 year master students. Konstfack Research Week is from Feb 1st to 5th. NoVA teacher Ulla Lind is the moderator of the program on Monday and Friday.

2. Journal of aesthetics and culture vol. 7 2015 Issue Visual Frictions
In this themed issue of the Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, the authors explore issues on visuality and power, with a rich array of texts and visual materials, analyzing phenomena ranging from Instagram photographs of the empty pink chairs that adorn LA’s Grand Park, to different productions of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, to the filmed experience of a young man who describes himself not as visually impaired, but as “seeing differently,” to mash-ups of Astrid Lindgren’s stories and characters, to educational settings where different modes of learning and knowledge come into conflict.

3. Cinemafrica Filmfestival, Stockholm, February 25 -28 

CinemAfrica is a non-profit organisation that works towards spreading high-quality African and diaspora cinema in Sweden. They act as a forum for African film in Sweden and work towards increasing the amount of African film shown in cinemas, during festivals and on television, and to broaden DVD distribution networks. CinemAfrica is now the largest festival for African cinema in the Nordic countries. If you cannot come to Stockholm, visit their web page and check out the films that will be shown – then you can look out for the titles locally!

Anette Göthlund is professor at the Department of Sloyd and Visual Arts Education at Konstfack, Stockholm. She is teaching and tutoring within the NoVA mastersprogramme as well as the department’s masterstudents in the programme Visual Culture and Learning with orientation art education. When doing research she prefers to work with visual ethnography, investigating different sites for learning and cultural production.

NoVA Suggests is a regularly published edition of interesting events, publications and sites by someone from NoVA. View other suggestions at

Konstfack Research Week 29 January 2016

1 februari 2016 kl 09:00 – 5 februari 2016 kl 15:00
Svarta havet, Konstfack, LM Ericssons väg 14, Stockholm

Konstfack Research Week is an annual event highlighting and discussing research practices at Konstfack and research perspectives related to Art, Craft, Design, Interior Architecture, Visual Communication and Visual Studies and Art Education, in Sweden and internationally.

The programme includes presentations of on-going research at Konstfack, such as projects within the new doctoral programme, other PhD and externally funded research projects, as well as related perspectives from invited Swedish and international guests. It combines presentations, lectures discussions and workshops and targets Master and PhD students, researchers and faculty members at Konstfack, as well as a wider public interested in these issues.

Contributors include Maria Hellström Reimer, Mara Lee, Irina Sandomirskaja, Esther Peeren, Cameline Bolbroe, Catharina Gabrielsson, Magnus Bärtås, Maria Lantz, Petra Bauer, Magnus Mörck, Ulrika Karlsson, Nina Hällgren, Katji Lindberg, Bo Westerlund, Frida Hållander, Cheryl Akner-Koler, Maja Gunn, Elisabeth Hjort, Palle Thorsson, Adam Bergholm, Behzad Khosravi Noori, Maja Frögård, Luis Berríos-Negrón, Anette Göthlund, Christina Zetterlund, Håkan Nilsson, Johanna Rosenqvist and Ulla Lind.

Konstfack Research Week is open to public Monday – Wednesday. Advance registration is not needed. Welcome!

Here is a detailed programme for Konstfack Research week 2016.

Konstfack Research week is organized through Konstfack Board of Education and Research (KU) and coordinated by Magnus Ericson.

The 1st NoVA Suggests by Ulla Lind 16 November 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 16.46.41
From the book release of the anthology EDGE: 20 Essays on Contemporary Art Education 8th of October in Aalto Universtiy. Ulla Lind on the left with a Finnish colleague and co-author Jaana Erkkilä, they both have two articles in the anthology, one as a pair and  individual.

1. Sweater Mountain: Finally @ Konstfack 12.12.2015
Sweater Mountain is a traveling exhibition by Jacob Gaumer and Cecilia Pfaff. The Mountains have been shown in the U.S. and around Sweden and now, finally at Konstfack.The exhibit is for one night and one night only. All are welcome!

2. Deleuze and Guattari group on Facebook
A facebook group that informs, discusses and provides links for beginners and senior researchers in the field of Deleuze Studies.  The Group was started by Ian Buchanan, involved in many arrangement and “countless” publications. among them Deleuze and Feminist Theory, Deleuze and Queer Theory but also the Dictionary of Critical Theory, (e-book, 2010).

3. PhEMaterialism group on Facebook
PhEmaterialism informs, discusses and provides links for beginners and senior researchers in the field of Feminist Posthumanism and New Materialism, Research Methodologies in Education. I think not just for education but also for visual and cultural studies as well as activist approaches.

4. SAAVA – Swedish Animation and Visual Arts on Facebook
SAAVA aims to streng the swedish animation, motion graphics, VFX etc. All new posts  some way related to that field are very welcome! Also, check out the daily updated animationblog:

5. Konstfacks Julmarknad 28.-29.11.2015
Visit the annual Christmas Market at Konstfack – it is crazy and fun!!

Ulla Lind is a Senior Lecturer at the Deparment of Visual Arts Education in Konstfack,  Stockholm, Sweden. She has trained as a visual art teacher and earned a PhD in Educational Studies at Stockholm University, with research on visual based aesthetic learning processes as forms of culture and knowledge.

NoVA Suggests is a regularly published edition of interesting events, publications and sites by someone from NoVA. View other suggestions at