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To whom it may concern,


My name is Zody Burke. I’m an American artist from New York City currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art through the Estonian Academy of Art in Tallinn. It is my pleasure to write to you to apply for an Erasmus exchange placement in Aalto’s distinguished Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art program, for the Fall semester of 2023/24.


I believe that I am an ideal candidate for the ViCCA program. As a multidisciplinary artist, my work engages with the porous boundaries between mediums and the semiotic language inherent to materials & contexts. With a broad foundation in sculpture, illustration and new media as well as an investment in critical thinking, I attempt to traverse and intersect the constraints of these categories and arrive at a juncture where it becomes possible to mine conceptual value. 


The clear emphasis ViCCA places on the importance of merging disciplines in order to deepen and re-contextualise emerging artists’ practices is intrinsically aligned with my own goals. I am invested in expanding my working methodologies into new contexts, critically, theoretically and materially. 


As an artist who completed an undergrad degree at an American arts university, I have come to deeply value critical feedback and emphasis on developing structured research methodologies within my practice. These values are not as incorporated into the Contemporary Art Master’s program at EKA as I would like. In my view, the possibility to participate in a program where these principles are integrated into the framework of the course represents a significant opportunity for growth, and I stand to benefit multitudinously.


Recently I have been developing a body of work that engages with the ephemerality of American identity under late capitalism and the encroachment of climate weirding, which will be premiered at EKA Gallery in Tallinn in early April for an exhibition entitled “Entropy Gauntlet”. I had my first solo show in Riga, Latvia last year. It would be my immense pleasure to build on this recent wave of achievement while studying at Aalto.

I am also aware that ViCCA is only offering a few courses for Erasmus students this fall, and therefore exchange students will also need to do independent work and complement studies with other courses as well. This past summer I took part in a KUNO course led by Matti Niinimäki of the New Media department, and I am quite interested in continuing to explore the techniques he helped me develop during our time working together. 


The opportunity to study at a distinguished Finnish institution with a wide berth of influence and prestige has been a long-term goal of mine since I moved to this part of the world. I am confident that my adventurous modus operandi as well as my unique critical faculties and skillsets would be an asset to the ViCCA program, just as I would certainly stand to benefit from proximity to the invigorating community of artists, curators and thinkers therein.


I hope that my motivations are in line with your expectations. Thank you for your consideration.

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