22 Apr 2009, Posted by Ayodamola Okunseinde in Guests from Washington D.C., 0 Comments

Journal of Ayodamola Okunseinde on April 22

Spent the day at the Arabianranta, entertaining meetings and interviews at University of Arts and Design Helsinki ( Like the Cable Factory this complex is expansive. The building house design studios, ceramics / metal / wood workshops, an advance media lab, photography studios, painting studios and film / video studios. Taik allows for maximum interdisciplinary integration of these art forms.

I was shown the complex by a student of ceramics Lasse Granroth and was granted a compelling interview by Teemu Leinonen, professor of new media design at the MediaLaboratory . Unfortunately I was unable to meet with Inka Finell a representative of the department of environmental art  in charge of  Creating Spaces, an exchange program with China and Chinese artists.

On roaming the halls of Taik, I met and interviewed Petra Ahde, a researcher and doctoral candidate at the Design Connections Doctoral School. Her research dealt with the capture and exchange of emotion and sentiments via jewelry. Adhe created electronic bracelets that allows individuals to exchange compositing elements thus allowing for a unique variation and exchange of jewls within ones social network. This exchange of elements signifies the exchange of emotions and sentiments within ones social network. Think of it as the physical manifestation of Facebook.

The Arabianranta also houses the factory and showroom of the famed Finnish design group Iittala (

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About the writer

Ask filmmaker Ayo Okunseinde to position himself in the current art/culture trajectory and he will tell you he feels the most resonance with the post-post modernist camp. On a recent trip to Paris, he shot 21 short type films on 15 millimeter, presented them as individual films then mixed them to create an abstract piece that was presented in a gallery show in Washington, DC. "I'm very into the idea of appropriation and recontextualization of images and sound and the possibilities of 2.0 technology," says Okunseinde, a partner in Dissident Display, an award-winning design studio and gallery focused on progressive contemporary art and media. "I also like the concept of mixing cultures and theories. So I can take, let's say, dance theory, and apply that theory to music, or apply musical theory to visual art and then apply that to culture and cultural understanding. I find that, in mixing those ideas, you arrive at a new understanding of the world." Collaborating with choreographer Maida Withers on a new work for which they were awarded a grant from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities to perform in Mexico, Okunseinde created the base video compilation of the concept for projection as Withers danced and the accompanying musician performed. "We reorganize the images, the sound, the dance, so as time goes on, and as it's performed each time, it evolves in the moment." In Helsinki, Okunseinde plans on interviewing artists in the contemporary arts scene. He'll be working on a multimedia scape of Helsinki, an immersive environment with sound, video, and images that will give people a sense of his experience. "I'm bringing everything back to DC and presenting my discoveries in SCENE, our video magazine and in my future lectures and performances."


Pekka Timonen Cultural director, City of Helsinki Pekka Timonen

The Cultural Office is an administrative body of the City of Helsinki established to foster an encouraging atmosphere and a climate suitable for producing and experiencing art and culture in Helsinki. The Office aims to strengthen the status of culture in decision-making and is actively involved in international networks.

Operational focus areas:

  • Assistance for the field of art
  • Art education and support for children's cultural activities
  • Leasing of premises for artists' performances and work
  • Guest theatre activities (including international guest productions)
  • Organisation of in-house programme activities
  • Regional cultural activity
  • Support for the cultural activities of immigrants and ethnic minorities

The programme for the visit will concentrate on presenting Helsinki's arts and culture, our cultural policies and current topics of debate. Helsinki is an active and versatile city which regards the provision of activities and events as important. The visitor will become acquainted with a wide range of actors and events from various fields (visual arts, music, dance, theatre). The festival scene will also receive focus, as it is one of Helsinki's cultural priorities. The host in Helsinki will be Pekka Timonen, Cultural Director of the City of Helsinki.

City of Helsinki Cultural Office