The Visual Communication Design programme at Aalto University (VCD) is an international learn- ing community committed to investigating new modes of action within visual communication. This archive was established in 2020 as a means to document and share the activity and work of the programme.

Visual Narrative Studio 2021


Author’s Name:
Kornelia Nowak


Project title:
Guide to self without instructions


Self is a term we use all the time, but in fact it is not entirely clear what it is and how it comes into being. There are many theories on this topic and my goal was not to present the most probable one, but rather to stimulate and expand our imaginations and thinking. By using scientific language and images of biological structures I aimed to blur the border between the actual and the fictional and highlight the narrative aspects of Western science and as well as the stories told about the self.


The zine contains historic photos found on the Internet, with captions that create a fictional, fantastical narratives of what self is. In Guide to self without instructions, selfhood is described as an organ, as palpable as stomach or lungs, but being subject to changes and transformations throughout life – a becoming that is shaped by experiences, memories and thoughts. My aim was to emphasize the variability of our experience of self and expose the illusion of its continuity as well as disrupt the idea of one consistent self structure.