Väre Invited Art Competition


Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture sought exceptional and feasible proposals for artworks to be situated in two cluster areas inside the School’s new building “Väre” (designed by Verstas Architects) to be open in September 2018. I and the following artists and artist duo, Kirsi Kaulanen, Petteri Nisunen & Tommi Grönlund, Deepa Panchamia and Vesa-Pekka Rannikko, were invited to submit proposals under the concept of “Global equality”.


Based on the overarching concept and my experience as a former international student and staff at Aalto Arts, my proposal consists of two artworks “Rung-by-Rung” and “Step-by-step” for both cluster areas.

Education is a ladder or a stairway; rung-by-rung, step-by-step, education helps people reach places they would not otherwise be able to. A reason for an individual to enter university is their desire to learn, to know more, to reach a goal in life through education. Each rung or each step is to hold one’s foot long enough to enable them to go higher, to learn more. Aalto Arts, as an internationally recognized school, provides students from all over the world with a ladder or stairs of equal opportunity regardless of their races, genders and ages. Each step, each rung, is challenging yet achievable and rewarding. The Finnish value of equality paves ways for students of diverse origins and aspirations to move higher, further into the directions they wish to pursue.


The Möbius form of "Rung-by-Rung" represents infinity and continuity, and it is a metaphor for non-duality, meaning that inside and outside are indistinguishable. Rung-by-Rung particularly symbolizes boundless learning and how people at Aalto Arts are connected; internal and external people are engaged in the same mechanisms of value creation, co-creating the whole. Inside and outside are one and the same.


The form of "Step-by-Step" represents continuous, steady support in learning, just as Aalto Arts does equally for their students, in spite of the students’ countries of origin. Finnish and international students alike can progress gradually and carefully from one step to the next, once they manage to stand firm on the first step.

Paper string, industrially produced in Finland, is selected as the key material for both artworks, in order to emphasize that a ladder or a stairway of equal opportunity is provided by Finnish higher education at Aalto Arts. Moreover, the artworks made of paper string are evidence of equal partnership between and a local material and an international artist like myself. Phosphorescent material is to be used partially in both artworks to convey the idea that even on the darkest day, climbing a ladder or going up stairs is still possible.