Author Archives: Monika Hauck

New Media Doctoral Seminar – Designing a Culture – Qifeng Yan

Please see below for the information regarding upcoming Doctoral Seminar Presentations:

Presenter: Qifeng Yan

Opponent: Wang Wei, School of Design, Hunan University

Date: 01.03.2022

Time: 15:00-17:00

Zoom Link:

Title: Designing a Culture


After identifying technology preferences and value orientations in different cultures from a series of user studies, this research tries to form a theoretical base for understanding cultural shift and design for existing and emerging cultures. This dissertation also explores what kinds of new mindsets, design methodologies and strategies would be needed for designers in technology boom era.

To better understand design related cultural differences, the author visited 93 countries across the world during his doctoral study to run cross-cultural design and research projects and observe the ways how local people interact with technologies and how to create objects and services and what are the cultural hints behind them. Articles about 5 research projects are introduced in this dissertation as follow:

Remote mobile testing and interview based on Smartphone360 tool. This research tool can be regarded as a software tracking all mobile phone usage data in real life with good privacy control.

Practices and user studies in a Chinese style keypad design and a hybrid text input method design.

Mobile internet content consumption data mining. Based on the content consumption statistics for the English and the Chinese websites of a mobile widget content service with 20 million registered users

Practices and user studies in designing an edutainment robot combining Chinese traditional culture and AI technologies.

Practices and user studies in designing a Tibetan Buddism religion service system with devices and services integrated.

User studies of acceptance of a series of design concepts of nano technology based wearable devices by users in Beijing, Helsinki and Palo-alto.

Most of the above research projects are based on mass production products and commercial internet services. And some of them have been implemented into mass market products and services. This research tries to suggest an efficient and sustainable strategy for developing user experiences for different cultures in technology boom context. It is found that cultural templates and special versioning tools might be a cost-effective and feasible way. A culture-sensitive user interface may be also an answer. Above research provides practical guidelines and propose more cultural dimensions for quickly understanding local users and designing cross-cultural mobile services. The author is running a service robot innovation company and implements several robot R&D projects for different cultures. As a summary, this dissertation suggest a new model to understand cultures in the future and a new design paradigm shift might happen in the AI technology boom era.

Different from iceberg, river and onion metaphor of culture, To better understand international cultural differences in AI technology boom context, in which all kinds of new creatures by AI technologies are defined as AI-being, a new cultural metaphor or water network is proposed in this dissertation. In the water network metaphor, the cultures of human beings are original water networks where rivers are flowing and mixing. And the cultures of AI beings are like new canals which connect revers across the whole water networks. This provides a possibility to design a culture around a product of service instead of adapting to the existing culture.

Through a series of research, this dissertation proposes that in the mixed society of humans, robots, cyborgs and other AI beings in the coming future. This research proposes that another design paradigm shift from human-centered design to culture-centered design is coming. The design process would evolve from analysis of the relationship with people and products to the relationship among people, and then to the relationship between people and AI in the future. Since humans are building relationships with AI beings, which are now sentient beings if powered with AI algorithms.

Possible contribution of this work to design is to develop new cultural knowledge and tries to form a culture design methodology that enables designers to build that knowledge into their designs. Culture would be designed and formed by all the sentient beings including humans and AI beings, and culture itself might hereby become the core in the design process.


Qifeng Yan, Entrepreneur of an smart health and robot start-up, Visiting Professor of in Southern University of Science and Technology. Qifeng has trans-cultural experiences in design. After working as principle designer in Nokia Design Helsinki for 7 years, he was expatriated to Shenzhen, China to set up a design-driven Nokia Research Center on 2010. In 2013, he initiated Media Lab (Shenzhen), Hunan University and act as Director. He is a winner of Red dot Best of the Best, IDEA and other design awards. was awarded as“2008 China’s Top 10 Young Designer Award” . Qifeng’s research interests are Smart sports and health, UX design for cultural differences. And He got B.Sc. and MA with honor in Industrial Design from Hunan Univ. He has more than 20 international invention Patents granted and he is the winner of 1st Award of “China’s Standardization Contribution Awards” for his contribution in IEEE11072 international standards in personal smart health.

Wang Wei:

New Media Doctoral Seminar January 25, 2023 15:00-18:00

Please see below for the information regarding upcoming Doctoral Seminar Presentations:

VRturalising exhibitions: In search of novel engagement approaches in experimental museology.

Presenter: Cvijeta Miljak
Date: January 25 2023
Time: 15:00-18:00
Zoom Link:

The research is carried out in the framework of an international interdisciplinary project that brings together Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture and ZKM – Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Germany), the Centre Pompidou, Paris (France), the Ludwig Muzeum, Budapest (Hungary), Tallin Art Hall (Estonia) and Tirana Art Lab (Albania). The institutions encompass the fields of cultural heritage, digital art conservation, digitalising heritage, new media art and experimental museology.

In broadest terms, this practice-based research in the emerging field of virtual museology is concerned with developing novel engagement approaches with the aim to encourage co-creative participatory practices for community involvement. The research takes a particular interest in facilitating the audience engagement with museums and digital heritage as well as studying audiences’ responses to digital cultural heritage and to virtual exhibitions. The research supports further development and implementation of Performance-oriented Research Methods for Audience Studies and Exhibition Evaluation (PORe), a methodology coined by Lily Díaz-Kommonen.

Cvijeta Miljak is a doctoral candidate working as a researcher with Prof. Lily Díaz -Kommonen on the Creative Europe co-funded project Beyond Matter – Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality (2019-2023). Miljak’s interest focuses on exploring emerging narratives, intermedial poetics andi implications of digital tools, through developing experimental methods for nonintrusive participatory evaluation practices to investigate and re-examine the forms of storytelling in the post-digital media.

For a more detailed bio, please check:

New Media Doctoral Seminar December 14, 2022 15:00-17:00

Information regarding upcoming Doctoral Seminar Presentations:

Date: December 14 2022
Time: 15:00-17:00
Zoom Link:
Presenters: Heini Haapaniemi & Edward Morrell
Commenters: Pamela Burnard, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Teemu Leinonen, Learning Environments Research Group, Aalto University

Towards a pedagogical model for characterization: Applying Commedia dell’Arte and art workshops in higher education design studies
Presenter: Heini Haapaniemi

Pedagogical models for the cross-fertilization of the disciplines that rely on characterization are missing. These domains are digital game design, digital and tangible costume design, theater, and actors’ art. Learning character design in a multidisciplinary way with focus on characters themselves without the limitations of each other’s specific domain, is beneficial and has much potential. Character design is a centuries old art form in theater. When moving to design processes that strongly rely on digital technology, we can easily forget the existence of the old traditions. This study stems from the need of a pedagogical model for higher education design studies in a university of applied sciences (UAS) context. The focus is on drama pedagogical methods and collaborative inquiry on characters for a multiplayer digital game wall in a 3D space. Farce comedy characters and the entire art form is based on Commedia dell’Arte and its aesthetic presentations. Commedia dell’Arte was an improvised popular street comedy which originated in Italy in the 16th to 18th centuries.


Heini has used drama pedagogy and performative inquiry in pedagogical settings, upper secondary schools and projects prior to appying it to higher education design studies.

Research wise Heini is interested in digital narratives, pedagogy and modelling co-design in the intersection of art, design and technology. Haapaniemi works at the Creative Industries Research Unit (CIRU), South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.

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She has earned her MA (2005) specializing in theatre studies, management and English language and her pedagogy degree (2017) at the University of Helsinki. She has studied dramaturgy for one year at the University of Arts, Theatre Academy, Helsinki and worked in versatile positions from production manager, producer to dramatist, coordinator and facilitator of public events tn Theatres, theatre festivals, cultural houses and foundations prior to her career in Xamk innovations, development and research unit for creative business, CIRU.

Videogames Potentiality: Exploring the Speculative Properties of Digital Assets

Presenter: Edward Morrell

The potential of videogames as a creative medium can be understood through their capacity to contain and combine many more traditional forms such as art, literature and music. The additional spatial, temporal and ludic affordances provided by videogames allow for further augmentation of any media that can be contained within a digital file. Starting from this initial deconstruction of videogames as a collection of assets, or assemblage of different forms, this work considers the relationship between videogames and their constituent parts from an artistic research perspective. Through the notion of videogames partiality, we can further explore their potentiality, as the ‘ideal art form’, all the time delineating the limitations of such medium exceptionalism.

This study utilises digital assets as a means to examine the space between what is actualised in contemporary videogame design and the speculative possibilities of the medium. Any digital asset has the potential to be transformed into a videogame asset and can often be imported as such in modern videogame engines such as ‘Unity’ or ‘Unreal’. Similarly, videogame assets can be exported from commercial game products to be remixed, reframed or repurposed further – this is the foundation of game art (Sharp, 2015), itself deriving from post-production art (Bourriaud, 2002). Videogames can thus be read as being both all-encompassing, totalizing design objects and as a material or texture for artistic expression. To forward understanding of this medium, specifically within an arts context, it has become essential to separate the medium further from the content made with it. Consequently, this research concerns the analysis and development of experimental prototypes, digital art assets and ‘fictional videogames’ – speculative, conceptual or superfiction works presenting videogames that don’t exist. Through the creation of fictional videogames and speculative assets an opportunity has developed to better divorce medium and content, to anatomise potential and observe where the limiting lines lie.

Edward Morrell is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Art and Media. His research concerns speculative approaches to videogames, utilising design fiction and conceptual art to investigate and interrogate the relationship between art, design and games. He holds an MSc in Internet and Game Studies from Tampere University and has worked in both fictional and non-fictional roles as a game designer, developer and artist.

New Media Doctoral Seminar November 23, 2022 15:00-18:00

Please see below for the information regarding the next Doctoral Seminar Presentations:

Presenters: Andrea Mancianti & Sebastian J. Schlecht
Date: November 23 2022
Time: 15:00 -18:00
Zoom Link:

Living thresholds and performing others. An ecological approach to queering immersive sonic experiences.

By Andrea Mancianti
Doctoral Candidate

The context of the present artistic research, carried out in Aalto University’s Department of Art and Media, is centred around the researcher’s own practice as a composer and performer in the field of immersive sonic experiences. This field could be thought as a shifting intersection between electronic and mixed music (the sub-genre of contemporary classical music involving a mixture of acoustic and often traditional instruments and electronics), site-specific installation art or other spatially informed practices such as acoustics, and finally electroacoustic lutherie.
The research is especially concerned with investigating the agencies put in action within the creative processes, especially within collaborative activities where different physical materials and technologies are employed. It enquires how these influence the work of composer and performer, as well as their relationship allowing for a collective, shared creativity to emerge, rather than conceptualising it as an individual effort.
The pieces produced during the course of this research develop across both temporal and spatial artistic domains, appropriating and transforming technologies and practices that are linked to what could be called immersive art (from multichannel installations to Augmented and even Virtual Reality). The project is also an alternative, low-tech and DIY reaction to much of the hype associated with those highly commercial, spectacular entertainments.
The present artistic research, extending across a number of artistic fields and disciplines, is thus strongly motivated by looking for a definition of sonic immersion that can be alternative to those proposed by the mainstream discourses and alternative in its practices.

I am a composer, performer and sound artist mostly devoted to experimental sonic arts. I studied composition with Rosario Mirigliano in the Conservatory of Florence. I hold an MA in composition and music technology from the same conservatory (2012) and a Bachelor in Philosophy from La Sapienza, Rome (2006). I also completed the IRCAM Cursus in Paris (2013-2014). Currently I am a PhD candidate in the department of Media, of Aalto University, Helsinki, researching case-specific sonic experiences. My artistic work, in the intersection between music, sound art and electronic lutherie, includes compositions, installations and mixed media performances, involving interconnected audiovisual ecosystems, where material phenomena extend in the virtual digital world and complex feedback networks are established between the two realms. With media artist Roberto Fusco I founded the audiovisual project quietSpeaker.I am in the board of the association Äänen Lumo (Charm of Sound), to promote experimental music and sound art in Helsinki. I am a strong supporter of open and DIY culture, and my work is all available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. My works have been performed or exhibited in Europe and Usa, for institutions such as Ircam (FR), Biennale Musica (IT), Ars Electronica (AU), Currents New Media (USA), Musica (FR), Impuls and KUG (AU), Muziekcentrum De Bijloke (BE), Centre Henri Pousseur (BE), STUK (BE), Boston University (USA), Nuova Consonanza (IT), Sibelius Academy (FI) and others. Since my biographer is busy, I wrote this my-self in first person.

Sound in 6 degrees-of-freedom VR/AR

By Sebastian J. Schlecht
Guest Speaker

Recent advances in tracking technology brought wide-spread accessibility to room-scale virtual experiences providing the user with movement in 6-Degrees-of-Freedom. But how to create compelling soundscapes that the spectator can freely explore? The possibility to travel through space leads to many technical, perceptual, and design challenges as complex acoustics scenes need to be adapted in real time. Purely physical acoustics rendering continues to be too demanding, particularly for mobile platforms. The most promising results rely on a mixture of efficient algorithms, perceptual subspaces, and sound design. This talk presents recent advances for sound in XR, including virtual room acoustics and insights into auditory perception and sound production in room-scale experiences.

Sebastian J. Schlecht is a Professor of Practice for Sound in Virtual Reality – a joint appointment at the Acoustics Labs, Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics and Media Labs, Department of Art and Media, of Aalto University, Finland. He received the Diploma in Applied Mathematics from the University of Trier, Germany in 2010 and an M.Sc. degree in Digital Music Processing from Queen Mary University of London, U.K., in 2011. In 2017, he received a Doctoral degree at the International Audio Laboratories Erlangen, Germany, on the topic of artificial spatial reverberation and reverberation enhancement systems. From 2012 to 2019, Dr. Schlecht was also external research and development consultant and lead developer of the 3D Reverb algorithm at the Fraunhofer IIS, Erlangen, Germany. Between 2010 and 2019, he spent half his working time as a touring and recording musician playing internationally with bands such as Mighty Oaks, David Lemaitre, and Get Well Soon.

His research interests are acoustic modeling and auditory perception of acoustics, analysis and synthesis of feedback systems, music information retrieval, and virtual and augmented reality and their artistic applications.

He is the recipient of multiple journal and conference best paper awards, including JAES (2020), WASPAA (2019), DAFx (2018, 2021, 2022), and AES AVAR (2018).