Kaikuja pimeästä-hämärästä metsästä. Affekti nykytaiteen oppimisen äärellä ja subjektiviteetin ekologia(ssa): Affekti nykytaiteen oppimisen äärellä ja subjektiviteetin ekologia(ssa)

Mikko Snellman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


In my dissertation, I first ask the question of what kind of space becomes available for affective learning in the encountering of contemporary art? This question refers to the journey made to a workshop of contemporary art, the time spent in the workshop and the post-workshop time period. In other words, I have studied the space in the affective-material conditions thus referring to the embodied and materialmovement in the learning processes of the workshop. What does really happen in between the ’official learning’, in the fringes of it? In which way would one manage a workshop of contemporary art? What kind of affective-material space would there become? And how would one enable the ecology of subjectivity in a workshop? In which way can the subject be approached from the viewpoint of ecology? With these questions I refer, in particular, to posthuman, new materialist discourse. The reasoning for these research questions is divided at least into three categories. The first one is about teaching and encountering contemporary art and thus producing visual imagery. How does contemporary art form and then reform learning processes in the basic art education (as well as in the comprehensiveschool and high school)? What can contemporary art still offer to this field of education? The second category essential to my dissertation is found in the affect theory and affective encounterings from shared experiences. The school massacre of 2008 in Kauhajoki, Finland, directed myresearch questions specifically depending on time and place towards aggression, fear and anxiety as well as their connection to art education. This particular connection may be defined as that of an affective kind. The third essential category of my research regards the so-called societies of control and its more intensive need for control which appears as inner observation, assessments and calculations. Also, the line between private and public has become more intensified. My research methods can be described as both arts-based and nomadic. First, I started from the context of experiential learning and the ’didactic model’, then went astray in my workshop experiment and ended up in a desert where I started to listen to the whole movement of my workshop in an astonishing manner (with my entire body). Then bewilderment, disturbance and restlessness changed the course of the movement. I wish to preserve the experiential learning as a specific territory, map and a suggestion for the route. I also wish to challenge it with sketching by affective pedagogy. The theoretical framework concentrates onpragmatism, poststructuralism and affect theory as well as a wider posthuman and global discourse. In the workshop which took place from winter to spring in 2012 at Kauhajoki Art School for Children and Young People, I took the students to a dark winter forest first just to observe it silently. After thisparticular visit they were asked to compose paintings which were then taken back to the dark forest to form an exhibition by hanging those on the trees. The students also took photographs, created installation art and experimented with performance art in the classrooms and corridors at school, on the streets and in the garden of a library as well as in a local nightclub. Shifting focus from the painted canvasesof art objects towards the seizure of space, social events, performative art and dialogue is most clearly seen in the history of contemporary art. The space andthe objets d’art have become one with their audience by temporary engagements (those of rhizomatic kind), such as performance art. Art has started to transform its audience towards the unknown. In my dissertation, I emphasise participation in practice in the material production of one’s own subjectivity, which is not the same as common identity formation. Quite the opposite, contemporary artengages in the production of new subjectivity, which identifies with the minority whereas e.g. mass media produces the subjectivity of majority. Subjectivity may also be approached from the perspective of ecology which precisely refers to the surrounding material-discursive reality of the temporary engagements. When intensive encounters are based on instincts, one’s consciousness does not necessarilyhave time to engage in controlling the events. In these cases, subjectivity is shaped by affective encounters for which I have searched from my research material. Starting from the experiential learningand its tools, I have tried to update the pedagogy towards more affective direction by pedagogy of intra-action. As the conclusion of my dissertation, I have described the preconditions, experiences and encounters of activities of the ‘affective pedagogy’ both inside classrooms and outside. In addition, I have also pondered the direction of the future workshop. Teaching performance art and the ability to throw oneself towards the unknown by both the teacher and the students. One has to start rethinking also the person’s subjectivity by which the activities alter, too. Often too much talking and controlling used by the teacher make the real encounters and listening to one’s experiences disappear under the heavy noises. For example, encountering of something new and even odd disappears. In such a case silence is the most effective means in challenging the common teaching methods. Also, experimentalism and experientialism offer deeper and rejuvenating affective forces to which one is affirmed by the contemporary art as an open space and ethico-aesthetic methods. What else may one still become? In my 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 constant change is also an opposite forceto the society’s need for control and to the global threats.
Translated title of the contributionKaikuja pimeästä-hämärästä metsästä. Affekti nykytaiteen oppimisen äärellä ja subjektiviteetin ekologia(ssa)
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Sederholm, Helena, Supervising Professor
  • Sederholm, Helena, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8190-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8191-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • affekti
  • nykytaide
  • pedagogiikka
  • taiteen perusopetus
  • performanssi
  • ympäristötaide
  • kokemuksellinen oppiminen
  • yhteismuotoutumisen pedagogiikka
  • affect
  • contemporary art
  • pedagogy
  • basic education in art
  • performance
  • environmental art
  • experiential learning
  • intra-active pedagogy


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