UWAS

Spring 2022 UWAS Courses

University-Wide Art Studies (UWAS) offers all Aalto students an opportunity to explore art-based practices and processes beyond disciplinary boundaries. Its course portfolio, offered in the Spring 2022 for the last time, consists of thematically focused and carefully curated courses where art and design facilitate transdisciplinary encounters between students from various backgrounds. Rather than distributing new knowledge and skills for those who seem to lack it or abolishing disciplinary traditions, UWAS encourages Aalto students to approach the world from multiple angles and learn from each other.
A green audio board of circuits with black knobs and the sentence "Why do we do the things we do?" written in white font in capitals.
Audio console of the Conversation Room, sound sculpture by Ariel Bustamante, UWAS Currents podcast course, Otaniemi, 2022. Photo: María Villa

 

In academic year 2021-22, UWAS courses are organized under seven thematic categories that link the course contents to larger, transdisciplinary questions:

Anthropocene courses address issues such as global warming, sustainability, resources, and
energy.

Actions courses deal with different aspects of making and creating in arts, design, and architecture,
and explore their connections to practices in other fields.

Reflections courses offer theoretical and critical approaches to futures and utopias, identity and
identities, and global and local ecosystems.

Manifestations courses deal with communication, visualization, presentation, and representation of
information, how is it applied, and how to understand its impacts.

Collaborations courses explore participatory and cooperative practices in arts, design, and
architecture, and their links to other fields.

Tensions courses explore traditions, paradigms, and histories between disciplines, and how they are
expressed and reflected upon today.
 

UWAS also participates in organizing MathArts minor together with the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis.

UWAS Project and Current courses are project-based courses on topical, changing issues, and Design Inside courses are courses with strong focus on design practices.

UWAS-C0004: Miten idea materialisoituu?

5 ECTS
Period III
Inka Nieminen
Materiaalit

Kurssilla perehdytään oppilaan omien ideoiden prosessoimiseen ja esittämiseen kuvanveiston menetelmillä. Kurssi tarjoaa opiskelijalle mahdollisuuden kehittää omaa luovaa ajattelua ja oppia toteuttamaan ideansa konkreettisena teoksena. Päätavoitteena on taiteen monialaisuuden löytäminen ja ympäristön havainnoinnin kehittäminen.
 

UWAS-C0054: Simulating the Post-Disaster

3 ECTS
Period III
Gloria Lauterbach
Reflections

The course looks at pivotal historical climate events as well as the current climate crisis, investigating the dynamic possible role of design in a simulated human and non-human future. Using approaches from Critical Design, the course results in the creation of one potential post-disaster scenario.
 

UWAS-C0055: Design for the Posthuman Era

3 ECTS
Period III
Jana Pejoska
Reflections

Different ideas of the role of humanity in environmental and socio-technical spheres provide the basis from which this course will reflect on current and future approaches to technological design. The course will investigate posthumanism, transhumanism, system and design thinking methods as theoretical tools to approach these questions, and practical tools and methods will also be introduced for hands-on activities in designing posthuman technological systems.
 

UWAS-C0062: Storytelling in the Time of Global Warming

3 ECTS
Period III
Kevin McCarthy
Anthropocene

If you want to engage people in a lasting way, especially on an emotional level, you need to tell them an unforgettable story. This course will explore nature as a source of conflict, a source of epiphany and a source of suspense. By dissecting great stories about nature, and great stories that use nature in a story-significant way, students will learn how to become better storytellers themselves.
 

UWAS-C0063: Observing Silence

3 ECTS
Period III
Annika Sohlman
Manifestations

What if one should observe silence like one observes the weather? The aim of the course is to understand the diversity of silence through contemporary discussions and transdisciplinary observations. During the course, the students will keep a logbook similar to a weather book in order to document their observations connected to silence. For the final project, the logbooks of the students are assembled together into a shared publication.
 

UWAS-C0024: Freedom - An Artistic and Experimental Approach

5 ECTS
Periods III-IV
Johan Eichhorn
Reflections

The course introduces a broad range of approaches to the concept of freedom by offering students ways to critically examine what kind of narratives, structures, concepts, power relations, and individual constructions influence them. The students also learn how to explore these questions by the means of art —to criticize them, to play with them, to create own artistic concepts.

 

UWAS-C0036: Game Design and Production

6 ECTS
Periods III-IV
Arash Sammander
Actions

Students gain a basic understanding of the principles and processes of game design and production. The course consists of lectures and project work. The lectures focus more on principles of game design, while a small game project guides the students through the development process of a game.

 

UWAS L0001: Doctoral Workshop. Participatory Practices and Social Change

3 ECTS
Period IV
Nitin Sawhney, Crisis Collective
Tensions

This workshop offers doctoral students across Aalto an opportunity to engage with artistic and arts-based research perspectives, including methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and current themes. Students will learn how different participatory experiences in arts and design have engaged with scientific and technical disciplines in search of social change. They will also learn how these practices have enriched site-specific debates in their particular environments, springing critical discussions on tensions between local and global politics, economics and culture. MA students may register to the workshop as well.
 

UWAS-C0050: 3D Prototyping in Context of Creative Practice

3 ECTS
Period IV
Jason Selvarajan
Design Inside

Students will look at art and design practice and how adopting digital fabrication technologies and working with materials in new ways can create new business opportunities and potentials. As case studies, students will examine the practices of artist such as Tomas Saraceno, Olafur Elisson and Anish Kapoor and how their adoption of new materials and technologies have helped them realise their visions.
 

UWAS-C0059: Film, Work and the Anthropocene

5 ECTS
Period IV
Ines Peixoto, Eeva Houtbeckers
Anthropocene

The course uses films to investigate the relations between work and the Anthropocene, and explores how films portray and construct social reality. The course also looks at the social developments related to work and the Anthropocene.
 

UWAS-C0066: Exploring Consumerism in Contemporary Society

3 ECTS
Period IV
Hedon Blakaj
Reflections

This course explores the idea of the consumer society and the role of consumption in contemporary culture, engaging and deconstructing power structures connected to consumerism. Students will learn to reflect on their own engagement in consumption and how this can be critically approached on both an individual and professional level.
 

UWAS-C001103: UWAS Project: Why Do We Do The Things We Do?

3-5 ECTS
Periods IV-V
María Villa, Camilo Sánchez
Collaborations

A course inviting multidisciplinary collaboration to learn the essentials of podcast production. Students will find stories behind interesting, radical local projects or initiatives in Aalto and its surrounding communities and interview the people involved. The podcast episodes will be recorded in a special setting, the Conversation Room sound sculpture, and edited in the A-pod and Aalto Studios. Participants will work as journalists and editors for the stories they wish to tell, and develop unique audio projects as part of the Aalto series Oravan Pesä.
 

UWAS-C0045: AV Club: Thinking and Doing Moving Images

5 ECTS
Periods IV-V
Lauri Linna
Actions

Students will learn how moving image is used in the contemporary world in different contexts, including YouTube videos, Snapchat, Skype-calls, commercials, TV, films, video art, installations, and scientific visualizations. They will also gain basic knowledge about how working with moving images can develop their prior skills further.

UWAS-C0026: Innovative Approach to Circular Economy

5 ECTS
Period V
Jenni Väänänen
Anthropocene

The course will look at the impact that contemporary art has in the context of the circular economy. The student understands the possibilities of innovative and artistic methods in creating cultural change, and can evaluate their social impact in the context of the circular economy.
 

UWAS-C0032: Under Pressure

5 ECTS
Period V
Denise Ziegler
Manifestations

Students will learn to understand and study their environment through artistic and experimental approaches, and to put these approaches into the perspective of their own fields of studies and practices. The emphasis of the course will be on the mechanism of pressure systems in our urban environment, and on the concrete as well as the circumstantial influence they have on our actions.
 

UWAS-C0029: Design and Culture

5 ECTS
Period V
Paola Cabrera
Tensions

Design & Culture offers students diverse insights into the interrelationships, and the tensions, between design practices, design artifacts, design policies, sustainability, consumption, culture and cultural action. Students are encouraged to critically assess design work as part of wider cultural, social and political entities, reflect on their own (potential) roles and agency as cultural actors, and recognize options for designerly undertakings. The experience entails exploring real-life cases and includes in-house and guest lectures by researchers and practitioners, local outings, and literature reviews and writing and active discussion.

UWAS-C0052: Integrated Design Thinking

3 ECTS
Period V
Oscar Person
Design Inside

The course provides students with an introduction to design, and the rise of design thinking in innovation. The goal is to help students find their own ways of adopting more designerly work practices. Through group work, in-class discussions and interviews with professionals, students are tasked to uncover the scope of design and designers’ work in their own discipline; in visualizing their findings, students are introduced to the fundamentals of graphic design and visual communication.
 

UWAS C001105  Embodied Knowledge Workshop – Spring Series

Period V – UWAS Project
Schedule:  Wednesdays, 14:00-17:00 
Credits: 1-3(one per module completed - enrolment limit: 15 people each)
Teachers: Carolina Paulino, Kira O’Reilly, Janina Rajakangas 
Teaching mode: in person

This workshop focuses on the role of the body and embodied practices cutting across varied forms of research, creative work, and everyday life. It has been designed to open an opportunity to discuss perspectives on the body, movement and affect by engaging students directly in sensorial explorations, embodied expression and performative practices. The spring iteration of the workshop invites three practitioners working across a wide range of practices the body and somatic explorations to lead 3 independent modules: a dancer, a visual artist/performer, and a choreographer. The intent of the series is to further investigate the impact of corporeal and sensorial experience in research and everyday life, and to expand the tools and practices students may use to ground and explore their own embodied existence for different aims.

 

UWAS-C0060: Gender and Technology

3 ECTS
Period V
Louna Hakkarainen & Kaisa Karvinen
Reflections

The course is a space for collaborative learning and a facilitated reading group, which helps students to develop critical skills for analysing science, technologies and the process of design through a gendered lens as well as their own practice. The course explores topics such as technology as culture, gendered technology, cyberfemism and technofeminism.
 

UWAS-C0010 03: Currents Thinking With/From Global South’s Women Filmmakers

3 ECTS
Period V
Elham Rahmati
Reflections

"Thinking With/From the Global South's Women Filmmakers": This course is for anyone interested in learning from women's films produced in South Asia, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. Together we will watch and analyse films' aesthetics, the institutional context of production, global circulation, and situate them within a larger theoretical framework to help us find an answer to this question: why haven't we heard of these filmmakers already? This class critically examines the role of films in shaping our sense of global, national, and local cultures and identities. The film examples explored range from cult masterpieces to more popular mainstream works. During the course, we will watch films together, talk about them in class, and, as a primary assignment, students will write their reviews in relation to the films discussed and screened. 

 

UWAS-C0061: Handmade and Reflected

5 ECTS
Period V
Krista Kosonen, Milla Vaahtera
Actions

The focus of the course is to make and experiments by hand, explore creativity and get to know the origins of materials via excursions to studios and nature. Attending the course doesn’t require any previous experience on design or knowledge of the materials. Having a curiosity towards materials and hands-on making is enough. The course includes studio visits and experimenting with techniques such as fresh wood whittling and glassblowing. The course focuses on pressure-free creativity in the present moment and encourages a more intuitive way of working, giving space for mistakes.
 

UWAS-C0071: Horses and Built Environment

3 ECTS
Period V
Pietari Kylmälä, Eero Yli-Vakkuri
Actions

Participants will learn basic skills needed to continue working with horses and gain an insight to contemporary equestrian culture. While learning practical skills, participants will develop an understanding of the complex field of posthumanism and learn to recognize how humancentric modes of design affect non-humans. The course will provide tools for reading build environments using observational techniques which evoke sentiments of attachment and solidarity. This can aid in the development of designs and technologies which are depended on collaborations with non-human life.
 

UWAS-C001106: Worlding the Metaworlds: Photogrammetry and 3D Digital World-Making


3 ECTS

Period V
Petri Juntunen, Sheung Yiu


The rise of metaverses and virtual world-building requires a new set of skills about volumetric 3D media, which increasingly demand radical collaborations and cross-disciplinary thinking. This course would expand the scopes from previous courses such as 3D prototyping which focuses on 3D manufacturing, and gather students with diverse backgrounds to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and develop project ideas.

The course aims to introduce to a workflow for digital world-building, from conceptual creation to finalized work(s) and worlds by introducing students to volumetric capturing, including photogrammetry, LiDAR among other techniques. Rather than seeing 3D technology as a mere tool to simulate our world, our approach focuses is exploring how students can incorporate 3D into their respective fields while developing a critical and informed view of the new media.

Fall 2021 UWAS Courses
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