Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects

Curatorial Urbanism(s)
Forecast Forum, Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Berlin, March 2017

Curatorial Urbanism(s) is a discursive project proposal presented at the Forecast Forum 2017 held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Following and meetings within the shortlisted entries by curator Hou Hanru, the proposal seeks to develop an interdisciplinary discourse over a book project on the curatorial strategies used to put rapidly growing cities in South China on display as novelties or even as paradigms for urbanization from the mid-1990s to 2000s.

(Read more about the project on Forecast Journal)

Nader Koochaki - Exhibition as Editing Exercise
MOP Contemporary Art Prize 2015 Exhibition
London, Nov-Dec 2016

Tehran is a city both forged and forgotten by modernity. The ever-present hum of traffic, the continuous movement of people, the breathing of heavy, combusted air. Not only the mobile vehicles, but solidified infrastructures, pavements, highway exits, footbridges and construction sites – as well as the human adaptations and appropriations of space around them – seem to find varied, intermixed, negotiated ways of co-existence. In the mixture, the Chaloos Road, an engineering triumph, a motorway carved through the mountains escaping out of Tehran to the Caspian Sea, turns into an umbilical extension of urban life. Extracted from the earth itself, bitumen is rolled everywhere as the surface for modernity, offered as crude cure for the city’s mobility.

Exhibition as Editing Excercise by Nader Koochaki, is a special project created for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize (MOP CAP) 2015 winner’s exhibition.

In this context, Exhibition as Editing Exercise studies and further speculates with an editorial process as a platform for artistic research and dissemination, where travels, events, discourses and observations presented as displays of photography, gathered objects and artifacts are shown in the process of entering and leaving the pages of a book, hovering between the representational space of the display and the peripheral space beyond the crop marks.

Sophia Contemporary Gallery
10-17 November, 2016

Publication Launch + Talk
Delfina Foundation
5 December, 2016 

Exhibition as Editing Exercise by Nader Koochaki
Curated by Mika Savela

The project has been made possible with the support of:
MOP Foundation
MHA London
Sophia Contemporary Gallery
Etxepare Basque Institute
Delfina Foundation

Now Is Always
The Brinkhall Manor
Turku, 11 June - 13 August 2016 

"It appears ironic that on one hand understanding the passage of time in our human lives comes quite naturally on the other hand, it remains extremely theoretical and hard to grasp. Nevertheless, mornings, nights, summer, winter, patina, cracking paint, growth rings, childhood, old age and other sensory processes continuously turn the invisible progression of time in the universe into something visible. Time, as the fourth dimension, is merely a distance between perceived events occurring in the three dimensional space.

Time is also a form of convention. Historical environments and stories of times gone by often hold special appeal. Historical and cultural habits and popular understandings easily affect the ways in which we observe spaces, the objects they contain and the memories or sensations they invoke. Things perceived as ‘Old’ or ‘New’ are not just objectively measurable intervals of observed events in space. We also attach values, knowledge, feelings and aesthetics into our findings.

But what happens when our conventions change? How does the ovservational space change if our understanding of the passage of time comes to include a thought; That each passing moment, event, idea or action transforming the surroundings is always present?

In this exhibition, the Bakery House appears as a changing, temporally continuous and abstract space. Its rooms, the series of spaces, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors are present in the current time, and yet we can speculate their origins or the events and reasons in the past that have impacted their current physical form. Instead of recounting the known historical narrative of the space, works in the exhibition focus on examining the varied (and at times temporary) atmospheres of the spaces, both inside and outside of temporal conventions. Installations and site-specific spatial interventions frame our observations in the contemporary moment.

Thus, objects, actions and images presented in the exhibition ultimately relate to questions of our own consciousness as historical actors in our cultural and material environments. What to keep, to buy, to remove or discard? What guides our ambitions to choose, to observe or record glimpses of time?

Does every moment count?"

An exhibition by architects Henrik Drufva, Mika Savela (Selim Projects) with Susanna Raunio. (more information here)

Experimental Archive and Exhibition
1-29 Sep 2015, Helsinki

Exhibition curating: Mika Savela, Henrik Drufva, Rebekka Gröhn
Exhibition Design: Henrik Drufva

METAFIN project aims to approach the construct of “Finnishness” from a blurred angle as a cultural territory of the visual and forms of dispersed information. It investigates the thematic through experimental graphic design, exhibition practices, digital and analog archives, reproduction and critical writing.

To the public METAFIN seeks to function as a visually inclined starting point for conversations in the expanding and marginal definitions of Finnishness. For actors in art, design, culture, research and criticism the project works to develop a theoretical platform for observing, representing and working with the Finnish national identity, as well as an opportunity to participate in the discourse it generates.

METAFIN exhibition opened in September 2015 during the Helsinki Design Week, consisting of an archival installation and artifacts and material both received as submissions and accumulated by the project's visual research. The project also launched a specially designed publication in addition to hosting a talk event at the National Archives, to further open up a free and critical discussion on a more contemporary “Finnishness”.

The project has been generously supported by the Kone Foundation.
METAFIN talk event has been supported by the National Archives of Finland. 
Venue and publishing partner Selim.

THE CURRENT EXPRESS  وقایع اتفاقیه
CURATE ARCHIVE residency project for MOP Foundation
May-August 2015

"The Current Express is an online residency project curated by Mika Savela for the MOP Foundation's CURATE ARCHIVE initiative. As an experimantal mode for exhibition it studies and mirrors the format, methodology and production of 'news' for a temporary digital platform focusing on the exploration of MOP CAP’s archive of contemporary Iranian art practices. Following the new type of cultural immediacy in the digital age, it aims setting the perspective for working with an archive solely into the moment of now. The exhibition will come out in eight bi-weekly issues during May and August 2015, featuring archival material processed by the ideals of editorial content and op-eds, navigating between today’s click-bait headlines and the politically charged tensions. To achieve new immediacy as an exhibition The Express will consider a wide perspective of cultural production and the idea of the post-medium, combining content from social media and crowd-sourced outlets that deal with the contemporary cultural output of Iranian artists."

Issues 1-8 of The Current Express at MOP CAP CURATE ARCHIVE website.

Exhibition / Microshop
27 July -11 August 2014, Helsinki

Curators and design: Henrik Drufva and Mika Savela / Selim

“The so-called everyday life in Hong Kong often consists of randomness and conflicting multiplicity. There’s no standard, style, or limitation. Somehow there’s the old Hong Kong, that material sphere that was ‘Made in Hong Kong’, but today manufacturing has long since moved to Mainland China (and beyond) and the old layers of things keep being continuously overwritten by layers and layers of other things like old posters. It’s rare to stumble into an everyday moment or space where one would discover sudden beauty in an object, something that for instance contemporary design takes for granted. In this‘ unselection’ of things, contrary to how it might appear, it’s actually hard to be nostalgic, make time stand still and look at each object without its current context. Yet, it appears their aesthetics would easily stand on their own if they had a context. Seen as they are here,‘itemized’and sold, these items become increasingly strange when brought to a totally another kind of culture of everyday objects. Clunky, obsolete, pragmatic, obscure and anonymous these items have never matured into the designed perfection and practicality. Yet, they seem to be effortlessly hovering between becoming cult classics and objects that you might find in the kitchen of an abandoned building, just left in their places without further information. However, in this exhibit, these items have become selected, picked from their original shelves as if there was a selector or a collection for such things. What is ultimately here, becomes defined by its own itemization. And maybe within such studies of fascination and folly, we can reinterpret whatever surrounds us, what we have, and its ultimate casual necessity.”

Hong Kong 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (UABB*HK)

Exhibition curators: Mika Savela and Hendrik Tieben
Exhibition design: Mika Savela

The exhibition takes on the topic of future Hong Kong new towns with a contemporary look at Hung Shui Kiu, an area located in the northwest corner of New Territories – a future site for a major urban development in Hong Kong. Today a dormant mixture of container yards, small industries and old villages, Hung Shui Kiu neighbors the towering suburb of Tin Shui Wai and looks toward the mainland across the Shenzhen Bay. Surprisingly, far more than the skyscrapers in the business districts, this plain “realness” and rural-like existence is the scene for many critical questions in Hong Kong urbanism today. The future planning of Hung Shui Kiu should challenge the previous attempts for a ready-made ideal communities and urban typologies and re-think the ideal city not as a utopian end-result, but a process allowing for multitude of voices, and even unplanned and unexpected results.

Built around projects, research, student work and workshops organized by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s M.Sc. in Urban Design program (MSCUDxCUHK), the exhibition Re-Do New Town: HUNG SHUI KIU creates an outpost for discussion. It brings together questions and elements about the mundane yet strategic development of Hung Shui Kiu. Combining ideas and reflections from both our local and international partners, the exhibition links to the future of new towns and the everyday life of Hong Kong villages in transition. Accompanied with fresh publications, and public events, the exhibition will continue to evolve throughout the biennale, and hopefully beyond.


"Negotiating and Designing Public Space – Experiences with a new M.Sc. in Urban Design Program in Hong Kong" Biennial of Public Space / Biennale dello Spazio Pubblico Rome, May 2013

Design and editing of CUHK exhibit, presenting the work of the 2012 urban design studio on Sai Ying Pun in the Biennial of Public Space 2013.


CUHK Urban Design and Urban Studies programs' exhibit at the
opening exhibition "A Better City" of the HKSAR City Gallery
24 Sep – 22 Oct 2012


The Finnish-African Cultural Centre Villa Karo 10th Anniversary Exhibition. 
19 Jun - 11 Aug 2010, Kunsthalle Helsinki