Defence in the field of art education: MA Mikko Snellman

In the dissertation, the possibilities of learning contemporary art was studied through affective and material perspectives. The important track in the research was subjectivity as ecology.

MA Mikko Snellman will defend the dissertation Echoes from the Dark Forest: Affect in learning of contemporary art and (in) ecology of subjectivity on Friday 23 November 2018.

Opponent: Prof. Eeva Anttila, University of Arts

Custos: Prof. Helena Sederholm

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Echoes from the Dark Forest asks how it is possible the learn contemporary art and also how to teach it, and what kind of affective-material territory will then be opened. This nomadic and arts-based research is mainly constructed from the experiences of the students, teacher and scholar in the workshop which was held in southern Ostrobothnia in an Art School for Children and Young People.

To learn, and also to teach, performance art or environmental art or other fields of contemporary art acquires the ability to throw oneself towards the unknown. One has to start rethinking also the person’s subjectivity by which the activities alter, too. What else may one still become? To encounter otherness in oneself and also in others around can lead you to the unfamiliar territories but it can also open new possibilities. Silence can be one of the ‘methods’ to challenge the normalizing space of teaching and learning. Other ‘methods’ could be exhibition in the dark forest or a performance on the streets.

Affect works singular way surprising and twisting the known from its tracks. It is material and embodied intensity which operates also in art. Contemporary art as an open space and as an ethico-aesthetic activity affirms us towards experimentalism and experientialism which can transform us in a deep and affective-material way.

In this dissertation the most essential concept of ’becoming other’ challenges traditional learning by offering new and odd sensations and experiences in oneself, others and the environment. The state of transformation is also an opposite force to the society’s need for control and to the global threats.


The dissertation notice and the published dissertation are placed for public display at Väre (Otanimementie 14), at least 10 days before the defence date.

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