Author Archives: Lily Diaz-Kommonen

Media archeology contributions sought

Media Archaeologies ForumJournal of Contemporary Archaeology 

The recent emergence of ‘media archaeologies’ is an exciting theoretical and methodological shift within media studies. In 2010, in The Routledge Companion to Film History (ed. William Guynn), Erkki Huhtamo defined ‘media archaeology’ as ‘a particular way of studying media as a historically attuned enterprise’ that involves researchers ‘”excavating” forgotten media-cultural phenomena that have been left outside the canonized narratives about media culture and history’ (203). In the same year, Jussi Parikka added that ‘media archaeology needs to insist both on the material nature of its enterprise – that media are always articulated in material, also in non-narrative frameworks whether technical media such as phonographs, or algorithmic such as databases and software networks – and that the work of assembling temporal mediations takes place in an increasingly varied and distributed network of institutions, practices and technological platforms’( German media theorist and trained archaeologist, Wolfgang Ernst, describes media archaeology’s focus on the ‘nondiscursive infrastructure and (hidden) programs of media’ (2013, Digital Memory and the Archive, p. 59). If media archaeologists such as Thomas Elsaesser, Wolfgang Ernst, Lisa Gitelman, Erkki Huhtamo, Jussi Parikka, Cornelia Vismann and Siegfried Zielinski are interested in scalar change, material-discursive assemblages and deep time relations as they pertain to media technologies and networks, how might archaeologists with interests in the media actively contribute to the shaping of this field?

Alongside archaeology’s discursive travels across the humanities, most notoriously via Michel Foucault, archaeologists have long engaged with media. From Silicon Valley to Atari dumps, from the mobile phone to the media technologies of post-war astronomy and from telegraphy to the material-discursive actions of media as sensory prostheses, the global archaeological community has produced a large number of important studies of media techno-assemblages that both map specifically archaeological approaches and push at the limits of archaeology as a discipline. What are the archaeological specificities that mark out a distinct disciplinary approach to understanding media? How might the practices of media archaeologists such as Huhtamo, Parikka, et al challenge assumptions that archaeologists located within the discipline might have about their methodological and conceptual specificities? In short, where are the boundaries between media archaeologies and archaeologies of media? How are those boundaries drawn, performed and maintained? And how might we work together to ask new questions of media technologies and their relations?

This forum invites contributors to submit responses to the provocations contained in the first paragraph. The forum invites contributors to draw out key archaeological theories and practices to contribute to the rich field of media ecologies, archaeologies and ‘variatologies’ in order to explore the implications of distinct yet diverse archaeological approaches to media assemblages. Commentaries are welcomed in the form of short texts (1,000 – 3,000 words) or in any other genre suitable for print, including drawings and images. We welcome especially original thoughts and specific examples from around the world.


Commentaries will be selected in terms of originality, diversity and depth and will be published in a forthcoming Forum in Journal of Contemporary Archaeology ( Deadline for submissions is 3 February 2015.


For submissions and questions, please contact Angela Piccini,

Doctoral candidates receive grants from KONE Foundation

Two doctoral candidates from the Department of Media have received grants from the KONE Foundation for doctoral studies:

Samir Bhowmik, Doctoral Candidate, 12 kk, 27 600 euroa:
Powering the Shareable Museum: A participatory and sustainable framework for museums and their user communities.

Heidi Tikka, taiteen lisensiaatti, 12 kk, 27 600 euroa:
Mediataiteen tuotantoverkostot – kokeellisuus, performatiivisuus ja toimijuus mediataiteen tuotannossa ja esittämisessä; taiteen tohtorin tutkintoon liittyvä opinnäyte.


Episodes of economic agencies in financial crisis news discourse

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at Miestentie 3, room 429, from 17:00-19:00.

By Yrjö Tuunanen

The recent emergencies of the financial markets have created major challenges for national economies as well as for individuals as economic citizens for practicing ones full economic, social and cultural rights. The journalistic media traditionally plays an important role by reporting news, providing information and insights on financial phenomena, ideally facilitating critical consciousness, mediating practices, and offering preconditions for economic citizenship.

Yet, in the pressure of continuous financial turmoil, with complex systemic risks and failures discussed in the media using constantly evolving crisis jargon, it is difficult for citizens to influence the conditions of their own lives, obtain clear perceptions of macro scale events, and thus, to have well-grounded opinions with a voice that counts in financial crises discourses.

As a response, scholars have highlighted the need for civic culture, which ideally is, according to Dahlgren (2000), collective meaning making, that, “entails a capacity to see beyond the immediate interests of one’s own group.” Despite the distinctive nature of social network sites as discursive spaces online currently, the journalistic media still serves as a main common-carrier in attempts of providing constructive policy input of both individual as well as collective forms of economic citizenship, such as Occupy, Indignados and Aganaktismenoi Movements, and thus, creating the conditions of possibility for moral and political awareness and agency (Chouliaraki, 2008).

Nevertheless, as global market forces are challenging the socio-economic policies and demanding structural reforms, and with international economic and political organizations imposing conditions on nation states as obligatory choices, based on ‘neutral financial pragmatics’, proposing a “de-politicized naturalization of the crisis” (Zizek, 2010) the mainstream news media has a tendency of repeating and confirming these prevailing stories of the crises and their indispensable solutions.

The ‘other stories’ have often been represented in the news media merely as antagonistic points of view against the inevitable, such as the citizen protest movements opposing the austerity measures in the Eurozone “as yet another attempt by international financial capital to dismantle the last remainders of the welfare state” (Zizek, 2010). These kinds of simplified dichotomies between us and them, right and wrong, oppositions deriving their logic from the dualistic Manichaean worldview, are echoing the doctrines of the political neoconservatism (Taylor, 2004) and attached with the normative constructivist project of neoliberal rationality (Couldry, 2010; Brown, 2005).

In the landscapes of such master narratives of the economy represented in news stories, this doctoral dissertation studies audiovisual financial news texts in the web-based media and the ways in which such multimodal news stories reflect upon insights on the dynamics of local (micro) actions and global (macro) events in finance and the economy.

The research focuses on representations of agents and agencies in finance, participating and being referred to within financial crises discourses, the ways their versions of the stories of financial turmoil have been told, focusing especially on representations of members of the public in midst of the crises and participating in financial crises discourses realized in forms of multimodal news texts, such as crisis guides, economy trackers, timelines and chronicles; including selections of facts, analyses of events and processes, official statements, interviews as well as depictions of everyday crisis reality.

The research aims to discover and improve methods for identifying the ways in which various agents and agencies are present, and their interrelated positions are represented in visual news stories in web-based financial crises discourses. The research seeks to find applicable conceptual tools for advancing perceptions of individual and institutional actors, and expanding ways for identifying features of their interrelated socio-economic, cultural and political connections, objectives and practices in finance and in multimodal representations online.

The ways for comprehending who is who, and who does what, how and why in finance is challenging not only because of the language barrier between ordinary citizens, financial professionals, decision makers and the news media, but also because of several, often invisible institutional actors, such as systemically important financial institutions, credit rating agencies, regulators, investors or market forces, involved in financial mechanisms and phenomena, and referred to frequently in the news media.

For media audience, identifying and positioning oneself, as member of the public participating in financial systems and discourses, in multifaceted local and global financial networks is an essential cornerstone for more comprehesive perception on other agents and agencies in the complex chain of events in the economy. Furthermore, the research builds on a hypothesis that a sense for being a part of the financial systems and locating oneself there, even as a minor player, accelerates motivation for learning the basic ontology of financial mechanisms and the language it tends to be discussed and defined.

Therefore, the research has a special focus on ways the members of the public are represented, positioned and framed as citizens in the audiovisual narratives in the web-based news media. Moreover, the research aims to identify the ways members of the public have been facilitated, or neglected to have an opportunity to participate in discussions on finance in the news media; as referents as well as mediators (e.g. as citizen journalists) in the web-based news discourses.

As a practical outcome, the study aims to discover valid and viable tools for financial news literacy, for both identifying agents and agencies participating in financial phenomena, as well as familiarizing with the ways they are represented in audiovisual, multimodal news texts in web-based media, and how these representations tend to guide interpretations of different agents and agencies. In respect for the study and practice of financial literacy, recently regarded as one of the essential elements of economic and financial stability and development, both in developed and emerging countries (INFE/OECD, 2009), the research seeks to contribute by offering insights and developing a basis for a toolset for analytical and critical reading of audiovisual news stories in the web-based media.

Web-based news media, financial crisis discourse, economic agents and agencies, audiovisual news stories, economic citizenship, financial news literacy

Brown, Wendy 2005. Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, Princeton University Press.

Chouliaraki, Lilie 2008. The media as moral education: Mediation and action. Media, Culture & Society, 30(6), 831-852.

Couldry, Nick 2010. Why Voice Matters, Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism. SAGE.

Dahlgren, Peter 2000. The Internet and the Democratization of Civic Culture. Political Communication, 17:4, 335-340.
INFE/OECD. Financial education and the crisis. Policy Paper and Guidance. OECD, 2009.

Taylor, Mark C. 2004. Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World without Redemption. University Of Chicago Press.

Žižek, Zlavoj 2010. A Permanent Economic Emergency. New Left Review 64.

Doctoral thesis defense: AND – PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE END

Doctoral thesis defense: AND – PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE END

Thursday 23.10.2014, 12:00, Sampo-sali, Aalto Arts, Hämeentie 135, Helsinki

Franco Berardi’s public defense of his thesis And – Phenomenology of the end. Cognition and sensibility in the transition from conjunctive to connective mode of social communication for a doctorate degree at Aalto University.

Opponent: Professor Geert Lovink, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam
Further information:

We will return after the defense to Miestentie for our Doctor of Arts Seminar with Eva Durall. 


Eva Durall: The role of Design Games in Participatory Design…

The role of Design Games in Participatory Design: Analysis of  Feeler Prototype Participatory Workshops

by Eva Durall

Presentation abstract

The presentation explores the potential of design games as a method for developing empathetic understandings between designers and end users, as well as for reaching focused and meaningful discussions. We present different cases of use (in a focus group and in a co-design workshop) of the design game Feeler Reflection Game, a custom-made game developed as part of Feeler prototype design research. Feeler Reflection Game is a board game designed to serve the contextual inquiry and early participatory design sessions of a design research looking for solutions to help people reflect on their well-being and learning. The presentation will include a description of the game, as well as some of the conclusions achieved after analyzing some of the design workshop in which Feeler Reflection Game was used.

Keywords: Design Games, Participatory Design, Empathic Design, Design Methods, User-centered Design

The seminar meets at Miestentie 3, room 429, Otaniemi, from 17:00 – 19:00.

For further information about Feeler Reflection Game:

+358 50 577 1363
Learning Environments research group
Aalto University
School of Arts, Design and Architecture

The Women that Tech Forgot

‘The Innovators’ by Walter Isaacson: How Women Shaped Technology


While spending the summer of 2007 in Aspen, Colo., Walter Isaacson and his wife, Cathy, spent much of their waking moments hounding their daughter to finish — or even start, for all they knew — her compulsory college essay. Finally, after hearing enough from her nagging parents, Betsy Isaacson locked herself in her bedroom until she emerged with a completed two-page essay. “Congratulations, Betsy,” Mr. Isaacson recalls saying as they stood in the living room. “What did you write it about?” “Ada Lovelace,” she replied. This was followed by a long, awkward silence. Mr. Isaacson, who was just beginning work on a biography of Steve Jobs, could not recall who Ms. Lovelace was. “She’s one of the women who has been written out of the history of computing,” his daughter replied…

Read the full version of article in The New York Times, Fashion and Style section.


‘Undead and Everywhere’? The Post-Digital as a response to Ubiquity.

A lecture by Caroline Bassett

Just as the media become more about the ‘life’ than about the screen – something we experience everyday everywhere, something that saturates our worlds, a new movement in aesthetics says the new media is over. The new is old, the digital is no longer to be usefully distinguished from the analogue, and we should do something else, look at some other objects, perhaps, engage with nostalgia, the retro, the secondhand, the vintage.

This is the post-digital – and it makes a claim to account for contemporary, even to name it.  This talk looks at why the claims for the post digital are made, and made now. It asks why they resonate, gaining traction in debate and in everyday life and in cultural productions, and in the art world.  It explores possible connections between the post digital, which apparently turns away from technology and Object Orientated Ontologies which demand that we attend to the thing?

Finally I want to suggest that there are other ways to think about the present, or to seek to define the contemporary moment – and that these might have a different orientation towards the future.

Caroline Bassett is  Helsingin Sanomat Foundation Fellow at the University of Helsinki, and Professor of Media and Communications in the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex, UK.  Her research explores media technologies and cultural forms and practices and has published widely on feminism and technology, technological imaginaries, and contemporary computational culture. At the moment she is finishing a book on Anti-Computing.

Thursday, October 9, from 17:00-19:00, Media Lab, Miestentie 3, Otaniemi, Room 429


Organiser: Design Department

Teacher: Professor Maarit Mäkelä

Registration to the course: Camilla Groth (

Study credits: 4

Time: 25-27.11.2014 + pre reading & essee

Directed: Doctoral students in Aalto ARTS (max. 8) and MA students in Department of Design (max. 8)

Content: The aim of the course is to provide basic understanding about Practice-led research approach i.e. the discourse where art and design practices meets the notion of research in academic context. The study package includes three different parts including (1) pre-assignment, (2) workshop & conference and (3) reflective essee.

(1) To understand the context of the conference, the students read two books before the conference:

Maarit Mäkelä & Sara Routarinne (eds.) The Art of Research. Research Practice in Art and Design (2006). Helsinki: University of Art and Design.

Maarit Mäkelä & Tim O’Riley (eds.) The Art of Research II. Process; Results and Contribution (2012). Helsinki: University of Art and Design.

(2) Participation to the pre-workshop of the conference 25.11. and conference 26-27.11.2014

Information related to the conference:

Information related to the workshop:

(3) After the conference the students write an essey where they combine the pre-assignment with their experiments from the conference. This assignment can be combined to other ongoing studies that are related to their doctoral dissertation, MA thesis work, or Personal project.


Maarit Mäkelä
Associate Professor
Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Department of Design
Hämeentie 135 C, 00560 Helsinki, FINLAND
+358 50 3722 168


Fak’ugesi Festival , Johannesburg, South Africa

The Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Conference is calling for papers. The conference will be held from 4 -7 December in extension of Fak’ugesi Festival and proposes to reflect on the activities of the festival as well as present local and international research on the cross over of art, culture and technology in Africa and the world.

For more information visit,