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:
Kiira Keski-Hakuni


Project Title:
So cute, so toxic


Project description text:

When I was two years old, my parents gave me a small chair that resembled the Amanita Muscaria mushroom. I recently discovered this chair again when my mom was covid-isolation cleaning her place and gave it back to me. I realized that this chair has been observing most of my life for the last 30 years.


The idea for this project came while I was experimenting with the software Blender for the first time. I wanted to create a character that would give me the warmth and the strength I needed to confront the many issues I would face while learning a new skill. I began searching for a meaningful object in my immediate surroundings that I could model. Eventually the object was that Amanita Muscaria chair.


The contrast between how Amanita Muscaria mushrooms are presented in comics and in nature inspires me – how can something so cute also be so toxic? For the past year, I have been isolated at home where it has become more obvious that I have developed some new (possibly toxic) thoughts. Am I learning enough? Am I doing enough? Am I succeeding with my studies? Am I enough?


In the animation, the Amanita Muscaria mushroom is depicted as detached emotions and unconscious thoughts, which makes it easier to observe these thoughts from a critical distance. With this decision, I am questioning if I created these thoughts by myself or if they are symptomatic of me being part of a wider culture of values – a culture that communicates the “successful” life I’m told I should live.