Maskerad is turned into art by the party crowd

This post is also available in: Finnish Swedish

In 2018, the Student Union is celebrating the Year of Art. Throughout the year, we invite various creative individuals or groups within the Aalto community to talk about their art. In October, TOKYO talks about the artistic past and present of the annual Maskerad party.

Maskerad party crowd at 2016’s party themed Knights of Hearts

Maskerad is the annual ball of TOKYO, i.e. the students of Arts and Design at Aalto University.

Unlike the more traditional annual balls, Maskerad is not an academic sit-down event but a masquerade to which all Aalto people are warmly welcome. This year, Maskerad will be organised on Saturday 27 Oct in Kellohalli at Teurastamo with the theme FairytaleForestFire.

The Maskerad tradition has its roots in the early 1900s. Back then, the masquerade was known as the Ateneum Maskerad after the place where our learning institute was then located. According to rumours, the tradition came to an end in the 1950s as the party crowd of Maskerad had along the years managed to get barred from every restaurant in Helsinki.

In the early 2000s, TOKYO decided to resurrect Maskerad. Based on our school’s new address, the Ateneum Maskerad became the Arabia Maskerad, and each year’s party was given a different theme.

This year, the Arabia prefix has been left out of Maskerad’s name as if to symbolise the fact that we have finally left the Arabia campus behind us. Who knows, maybe Maskerad will be given a new prefix next year.

In 2011, the party had a Retro Sci-fi theme

It is attempted to always keep the themes of Maskerad current, either in relation to our student organisation or the surrounding world. TOKYO’s last year as an independent student union, for example, was celebrated with a Maskerad with the theme ‘Vive L’Art!’ (Long Live Art!).

This year’s theme, FairytaleForestFire, can be interpreted by each and everyone as they see fit. For us, the theme was inspired by climate change. This year, everyone has been talking a lot about the very dry and forest-fire-prone summer. Is global warming true – or only a fairy tale?

As part of the Otaniemi Night of Arts campus festival on Saturday 6 Oct, TOKYO is organising the Maskerad history exhibition, that is, an overview of the history of Maskerad.

There will be posters, photographs, videos and costumes on show from years gone by. At the exhibition’s opening at Otaniemi Night of Arts, this year’s official Maskerad poster will also be revealed and the ticket sales started for the actual event.

The theme in 2015 was The Grand Illusion

Maskerad is art, because its attendees make it art.

Each year, the party crowd spend countless hours planning and constructing their costumes based on their personal interpretations of the theme. The best works of art are rewarded at the evening’s highlight, the costume competition in which all party guests get to see everyone else’s interpretation of the theme. The variety and creativity of the costumes is an incredible experience that continues to amaze year after year.

Heidi Kivistö
TOKYO Board member

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