(Un)seen: In the Dazzle of Infrastructure

9.4.2021 - 25.4.2021

ViCCA Aalto University and Galleria Aarni

Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) -Master’s Degree Students’ Exhibition in collaboration with Galleria Aarni.

Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA) is a two-year Master’s Programme at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture situated in the Greater Helsinki area of Finland.

ViCCA’s goal is to optimise the working across disciplines, fields of research, and various occupations that is becoming a hallmark of our times. The programme considers visual culture, curating and contemporary art an agora in which conversations, negotiations, and articulations between theory, science, technology, ecology, urbanism, popular culture, economies and thinking around societal impact can be emboldened.

(Un)seen:In the Dazzle of Infrastructure starts from an analysis of infrastructure with a focus beyond its more tangible manifestations. Infrastructure shapes not only our physical landscape, but our habits, culture, and temporality. It is at its most effective when it blends seamlessly into our surroundings and evades our consciousness. The exhibition’s approach to infrastructure is built around the solar, each project drawing different connections to infrastructural byproducts and our connection to the sun.

(Un)seen: In the Dazzle of Infrastructure is a collective curatorial project and exhibition realized by students of Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art at Aalto University. It features works both by course participants and artists selected through an open call.

Solar fiction is an invitation to consider the imaginative and experiential aspects of solar-fueled societies.  It is a departure from the usual environmental, technical, and economic discussions surrounding solar power, focusing instead on asking what cultural, social, as well as psychological manifestations could arise from an infrastructural shift to solar energy. Works exploring different perspectives of solar fiction were collected through an open call. The project showcases works from Petra Aaltola, Sara Blosseville, Outimaija Hakala, Jonna Halli, Heidi Holmström, Eeva, Ala Leresteux, Liisa-Irmelen Liwata, Rasmus Mäkelä, Aarin Purple, Emma Sarpaniemi, Maija Annikki Savolainen and Ferdinand Waas. Solar Fiction is curated by Onerva Heikka, Ronya Hirsma, Miklas Hoggard, Amanda Ripatti and Maikki Siuko.

The darkside of sunsets or, the ambiguity of a sunset seen from a shelter in the dust, rain, fire, flood, etc. is an installation by Lea Maria Wittich and Jaakko Heikinheimo which addresses the fact that often what appears as beautiful in contemporary natural landscapes is caused by phenomena that are the result of human-made pollution. This contradiction between aesthetic perception and contaminating processes takes on the form of an illuminated landscape. The work is composed of relicts conveying the interactions and entanglements with materials and substances that pose an often unseen threat. 

The research project Promise of The Solar: Reality and Fiction is a map of cultural, philosophical, infrastructural, and political contexts related to human-sun relations. A symbol of abundance, solar power promises to save humankind facing an environmental disaster, bringing prosperity, equality and energy decolonization. But being dazzled by the promise of the solar we tend to turn away from the down-to-earth infrastructures through which the actual transition to renewables has to be done. This map, developed by Onerva Heikka, Anna Kozonina and Kirsi-Maria Raunio, is a visualization of cultural contexts relevant for the solar promise in the form of an incomplete archive of classic and recent texts and other reproductions. The online presence of In the Dazzle of Infrastructure is an integral part of its curatorial approach. Designed by Ya-Yu Tseng, it engages the user with the infrastructural dimensions of websites, highlighting the current status of visitors’ digital devices and displaying the source code of media content. The interactive image on the front page plays with the materiality of digital information and its dependence on layout. Echoing the general thematic, the website also allows visitors to switch between light mode and dark mode.

Read more about this exhibition

Master’s Students

Kirsi-Maria Raunio
Onerva Heikka
Miklas Hoggard
Ronya Hirsma
Amanda Ripatti
Anna Kozonina
Ya-Yu Tseng
Lea Wittich
Jaakko Heikinheimo
Maikki Siuko

Department of Art
School of Art, Design & Architecture
Aalto University

Dr. Bassam El Baroni
Asst. Professor in Curating

Dr. Patrizia Constantin
Lecturer in Curating

Third page of a three-part movable planetarium, anonymous, 1695-1726, engraving (printing process), 485mm × 480mm. Image: