Author Archives: Karl Ketamo

New Media Design Considerations in Technology-enhanced Learning / First Doctoral Seminar of the semester

Welcome everyone to the first doctoral seminar of the autumn semester!!

On the 26.09.19, at 16.30-19.30, led by Professor Lily Díaz in Learning Centre, JUHO the doctoral student Jana Pejoska will present her on-going research titled:

New Media Design Considerations in Technology-enhanced Learning

Enhancing Communication and Collaboration Through Embodied Experiences

Designers of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) typically investigate how to design technology as an effective vehicle for learning. One of their challenges is to approach design which draws both from knowledge about human cognition as well as from studies that inform about the role of technology in the processes of learning. TEL has been studied for facilitating digital and multimedia literacy; for assessing the learners; for accessing and studying the learning material; as media for learning through inquiry; as media for learning through construction; or as media for learning through communication and collaboration.

In this study, I approached the design investigations in TEL for enhancing communication and collaboration practices for informal learning at work. In this field, I contribute with a design proposal using post-phenomenological theory, embodied experiences and enaction as theoretical approaches to learning, in addition to context-dependent learning paradigms.

I present our two design cases for TEL in physical work contexts, made with a design thinking approach and a research-based design method. With a research-based design method I formulate a hypothesis in the form of prototype, a result of an iterative process arising from contextual inquiries and participatory design workshops. The design outcome, the prototype for an augmented reality application for smartphones, is discussed in the light of improving knowledge sharing through remote communication and collaboration.

In addition to these cases, I discuss other outcomes of these studies, which changed the course of my investigation of design of TEL, towards critical design considerations for technology. Finally, I present Culture Coding, a new design framework for unconventional thinking towards the codes of behavior that guide human-technology relations.

Bio

Jana Pejoska is a doctoral candidate at the Media Department in the School of Art, Design and Archi at Aalto University. Currently, she is in her 4th year of study and research connected to the Learning Enviroments Research Group, where she has been designing, developing and investigating new media prototypes such as video-conferencing interfaces, wearable device based on body memory, augmented reality for enhancing remote collaboration and informal learning, as well as a virtual reality application design for personal growth. She has a master’s degree in Digital Culture from the University of Jyvaskyla in the topic of educational virtual worlds for children, and a professional background of 15 years in digital media production such as 3D animation,  and design and development of serious games.

Guest speaker 

Georgia Panagiotidou

Using Data Visualisation for Interdisciplinary Sensemaking

Interdisciplinary collaboration describes a situation in which two or more scientific disciplines working on related problems try to interoperate to come to common understandings. In light of past shortcomings to address complex societal issues, interdisciplinary collaboration is currently employed to promote innovation and to discover holistic solutions. At the same time, ten years into the fourth wave of science, computational methods and data visualisation analysis have been established in the practise of most research paradigms from natural sciences to the humanities. Still, data collaboration comes coupled with epistemological tensions related to misalignment of interests or scientific paradigms; but also very practical tensions related to infrastructure, methodologies, ownership and even representation. My work investigates how such data issues manifest within an archaeological research project and subsequently how we can design or adapt visualisation infrastructure to address them. By organising a series of 10 interventions divided between disciplinary/interdisciplinary and data/theory-driven I was able to approach the first sub question and see how data is being negotiated in practical settings. Moreover, in an attempt to externalise the collaboration to third parties, I attempted to capture the thematic variation of the interventions as evolving node-link diagrams. Overall, my findings so far, indicate that many of the divides in data-driven interdisciplinarity are parallel to metadata and contextualisation discussions taking place in digital humanities and critical data studies. In this presentation I will discuss my methodological choices in light of the findings as well as outline how I intend to continue on the second half of my research endeavour.

Bio

Georgia Panagiotidou is a Ph.D researcher in KU Leuven where she is a member of the Research[x]Design group and the Sagalassos Archaeological Research project. Her work focuses on the design and appropriation of data visualisation for cross-disciplinary collaboration and specifically in the digital humanities. She holds a BSc. in Informatics and Telecommunications from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2011) and a MA in New Media from Aalto University (2015). After graduation and before starting in KU Leuven, she worked in the field of civic technology as a data specialist for organizations including Open Knowledge Finland and the Finish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat.

 

 

 

Department of Media / Doctor of Arts School 2019

Technical infrastructures, regimes of observation
Department of Media / Doctor of Arts School 2019
 
During recent years there has been an intensive debate regarding the impact of digital media in the lives of citizens. Nevertheless, the discussion regarding the qualitative distinctions between the different infrastructures supporting computation devices and media formats remain mostly the purview of engineers and computer scientists. Very little is said about the impact of new cultural and social ‘image environments’ for example where digitization and computing play a big role. The objective of this doctoral school is, from the perspective of arts and design, to discuss and reflect on about the notion of ubicomp – or ‘ubiquitous’ computing that is present everywhere and all the time.
 
In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing is the term used since the late 1990s and early years of the millennium to describe the new forms of applications and interaction emerging as a result of 1) the increase in capacity of memory handling and computation power of micro-processors together with 2) the miniaturization of computing devices which allows for their embedding into the fabric of everyday life. Some of the questions to be discussed are:
 
1. What is the ubicomp paradigm? What are some of its key aspects? How does it affect our everyday life?
 
2. How has the shift towards ubicomp paradigm affected creative production in media, art and design practices
 
3. Drawing from a selected sample of ubicomp applications. What can we say about its negative as well as positive contributions?
 
Keywords: Big data, citizens journalism, interactive visualizations, distributed interfaces, pervasive computing, surveillance culture, social media.
DOWNLOADS
READING LIST 
Recommended readings by Tomi Kauppinen

HELDIG Forum // Big Data and Identity Construction

Welcome to HELDIG Forum on Monday 23.9.2019 at 14:15 with a talk by
Prof. A. Aneesh from Sociology and Global Studies, University of
Wisconsin, Milwaukee (https://uwm.edu/sociology/people/aneesh-a/). The session takes place in in Metsätalo Hall 2 (spiral staircase up from the lounge, on the right). The topic of Aneesh’s presentation is:

“Big Data and Identity Construction”

Abstract:

“While social identity is an identity continually renegotiated through linguistic interactions and social performances, bureaucratic identity – glimpsed in passports, driver’s licenses, and other identity cards – is a construction of fixed personhood for the purposes of modern organizational needs, ensuring that the member has remained essentially the same despite changes in personality, body, and behavior. With the spread of digital technologies, however, there has emerged a new variation of identity—system identity, which represents persons as dynamically forming clouds of data. While system identities can serve the bureaucratic need for identifying members, their role far surpasses the organizational necessities of inclusion and exclusion. The notion of system identities posits a space of identity construction that does not have a substrate or foundation on which identity is based. It describes an operation in which various systems – financial, legal, medical, governmental or any number of others – incorporate their own foundations by adapting themselves to their own results. This presentation highlights the importance of this differentiation and charts its latest development.”

HELDIG Forum sessions are open and free for everybody to join. These meetings are educational and dissemination activities targeted especially for researchers and teachers willing employ digital methods more in their work. Welcome!

Coffee is served at 14:00-15:00 at Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40. See the programme details and the registration form below – please register so that we can order the right amount of coffee:

http://heldig.fi/forum

ELLIPSIS- Media Lab Exhibition

Participants in the Systems of Representation: Culture Laboratory (DOM-E5003) at the Department of Media, Media Lab have created an exhibition named Ellipsis that is on display at the Harald Herlin Learning Centre, Otaniementie 9, 02150 Espoo, from 15 May – 6 June 2019. The exhibition, that is a collaboration with the Aalto University Archives, depicts speculative design interventions related to three case studies presented in the course: Time and its Representation in Narrative, Exhibiting the Body, and Space in Digital Media.

Five works are exhibited. These include: Marko Alastalo, A Dress as an Interactive Artwork; Teemu Korpilahti, The Things that Make Us Remember; Ning Feng Zhang, Fleeting Moments that Never Exist; Jennifer Greb, Dekorativ Vorbilder and Aino-Nina Saarikoski, Herääminen-Awakening.

How is the representation of time constructed differently in genres and narratives across different cultures and epochs? What are some of the parameters involved when exhibiting the body? How can we use media to augment our notion of space in an exhibition? Aside from historical documentation what other roles do archives fulfill in art and design productions? These are some of the topics pondered in the works presented.

Opening hours are: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 21:00 PM; Saturdays 10:00-15:00; Closed on Sundays.

Media Lab Doctoral Seminar / Khalil Klouche & Darius Pacauskas

Welcome everyone to the last doctoral seminar of the semester!

On the 09.05.19, at 16.30-19:30, led by Professor Lily Díaz in Learning Centre, JUHO the doctoral student Khalil Klouche will present his on-going research titled:

Making the Information Space Explorable Through Entity-based Affordances

This talk overviews my doctoral dissertation, which explores an alternative design space of interactions to support everyday information practices.

Starting with a critique of search engines as primary access points to the web, I advocate for greater user awareness and control as well as increased responsibility over what information is encountered. I summarize that goal as making information explorable, and investigate the related design space through the development and  evaluation of various interaction and visualization techniques.

Bio

Khalil Klouche has a Master of Arts degree in Interaction Design and works since 2014 as a researcher at the Computer Science department of University of Helsinki, within Pr. Giulio Jacucci’s Ubiquitous Interaction group. Klouche designs, implements and evaluates novel interfaces for search engine that aim to support information exploration. Also a doctoral candidate at the Aalto Media department, he is the co-author of 13 published articles and the recipient of the 2017 Nokia scholarship.

Guest speaker Darius Pacauskas

 is a recent Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Art of Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture. He is a former Marie-Curie fellow with a computer science and social science background. His interest lies in applying ICT in various areas of research, and publications concentrated on creativity supporting technologies as well as their role in fostering collaboration and societal impact.

 Aesthetics in Two Digital Worlds

(A project by Ossi Naukkarinen and Darius Pacauskas)

Aesthetics is typically seen as a theoretical, especially philosophical academic discipline focusing on questions about art, beauty, the nature of aesthetic experiences, and many other issues related to these. However, there is another, non-academic side of aesthetics where similar issues are addressed, and which is not usually considered in academic context. To investigate how these two areas of aesthetics relate to each other we applied computational text-mining techniques on Wikipedia, Google trends, YouTube, Open Library books and Web of Science datasets. We used topic modelling as a method for analysis, and used Gensim library to implemt it. Firstly, we collected data from the aforementioned sources, either by downloading from a provider, or using API’s, or scraping it with created web robot. Later we created a list of topics covering all the data we gathered, and created a topic map based on English Wikipedia articles. Later on, we imputed each dataset into the generated topic map to identify what are the most discussed topics and to what extent. Imputed datasets were related to aesthetics, e.g. Web of Science dataset included only abstracts and titles from articles that either include a keyword “aesthetics” or are from recognized venues in aesthetics discipline. Such mapping allowed us to avoid some well-known topic modeling problems. For instance, if we had applied topic modelling on separate datasets straight away, we had not been able to compare them due to differently designed topics among datasets, and topics had not been relevant due to the relatively small amount of documents imputed, as topic modelling requires a high amount of documents for informative results. To visualize results we used slightly changed version of Python library called “LDAvis”. Results allowed us to compare both areas of aesthetics and describe wideness of the gap between the two, as well as showcase a digital tool application in the field of aesthetics. This data analysis process was finished on 2017 June and an articles based on it was submitted to an international journal of aesthetics in August 2017.

https://designing-knowledge.siggraph.org/wp/2018/02/21/aesthetics-in-two-digital-worlds/

Media Lab Doctoral Seminar; Environmental Media: a study on the mediation of technology in ecological artistic practices.

On the 25.04.19, at 16.30-19:30, led by Professor Lily Díaz in Learning Centre, JUHO the doctoral student Juan Duarte will present his on-going research titled:

Environmental Media: a study on the mediation of technology in ecological artistic practices

Abstract:

The research aims to work around technologies on location, that are used on open environmental data sensing for intermedia art context. The production of devices aims follow a usability process of Interaction Design focusing on principles of sustainability and maker culture. As an outcome of the research, I expect to collect field experiences active communities Accompanying study cases, the research wants to question the role of media technologies in the field of environmental arts to support the development of both art and science collaborations.

The existing scientific proof of planetary issues such as global warming still seems trivial to an important sector of the population. Thus a data platform for environmentalist art could support scientific research by bringing attention to environmental degradation. Artistic research could help reconcile society with a planetary vision through citizen initiatives that empower us with tools that help with making decisions, such as monitoring pollution levels or mapping relations between technological footprints, and planetary cycles.

Bio:

Mexican-born media artist Juan Duarte Regino works on interaction as a tool for generative art experiments. He is part of Pixelache – art and activist group based in Helsinki. Currently a doctoral student in New Media in Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, he reflects on the information society paradigm from the point of view of his background in media art, with a special focus on open source technologies developed in DIY communities and grassroots initiatives. Duarte’s work has been presented in IAMAS, Spiral Gallery, Ljudmila, Radio, and TV Museum of Lahti, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Mänttä Art, Generate! Festival, CTM Festival, Lofoten Sound Art Symposium.

His background is in Audiovisual Communication (Bachelor of Arts), and New Media Arts (Master of Arts). His research is around technologies on location, to be used for open environmental data sensing in an intermedia context. The sensing devices developed follow an Interaction Design process focusing on principles of sustainability and maker culture. The outcome of the research (consisting of workshops, lectures exhibitions, and live media performances) expects to collect field experiences from a community of creators, specialized on potentialities of locative media, in order to serve environmental queries through artistic and scientific procedures.

Guest speaker: Martin Howse

Abstract:

Symbiotic ur-networks of silent fungal and root chatter and earth vibration, named chemical gradients tasted by rooty and human tongues fruit forest-wide in fairy rings, rising up in form and outgrowing Jodrell bank and Arecibo, outclassing them unknown in bringing down the stars to Earth.Martin Howse, 2017

Noting simple parallels between the scaled formations of radio telescope arrays, and the arrayed forms of certain mushroom bodies such as those of Amanita Muscaria, Martin Howse aims to further explore this spored coincidence of cosmos and micro-cosmos, initiating the first forest Radio Mycelium Array.

Conventional radio telescope arrays make use of a technique called interferometry to combine signals received on multiple smaller antennas, creating a larger, more precise view of the electromagnetic Universe. In the case of the RMA, the arrayed Amanita mushrooms act as receiving antennas for deep space signals, to be combined in underground mycelial electrochemical signals. Star dust and mushroom spore combine imaginatively, with both technologies provoking potentially meaningful earth and cosmic signals.

Radio Mycelium Array (RMA) is exhibited both as a speculative prototype (mushroom bodies connected to a digital interferometer device and display), and as documentation of “working” forest studies with similar equipment. Audio recordings of received signals are also available (inscribed on vinyl in sleeves printed with copper spore patterns from the Amanita mushrooms, the antennae).

Bio

Martin Howse’s work spans the fields of computing programming, writing, education and performance. A true explorer of urban scapes, his ideas consider our intimate and embodied relationship with our environment. His work has been received several awards (including first prize at Art & Artificial Life competition VIDA 8.0, 2005) and he has curated and participated in several seminars and performances (ICA, London, Transmediale, Berlin, Tuned City, Berlin & Brussels). In 2006 Martin co-founded xxxxx, organising one large-scale conference and concert series in London (xxxxx) and publishing the acclaimed xxxxx [reader]. From 2007 to 2009 he has hosted a regular workshop, micro-residency and salon series in Berlin, most recently under the banner of _____-micro-research. More recently micro-research has been established as a mobile platform for psychogeophysical research with ongoing projects in London, Peenemuende, Lyme Regis and Berlin. For the last ten years he has collaborated on numerous open-laboratory style projects and performed, published, lectured and exhibited worldwide.

http://1010.co.uk/org

Thermocultures of Memory by D.A Samir Bhowmik 

W E L C O M E  E V E R Y O N E
T O  T H E  L E C T U R E   

Thermocultures of Memory by D.A Samir Bhowmik 

12.04.2019 16.00-17.30 at Aalto Learning Center // Seminar room JUHO (1st floor room 126) 

Memory institutions depend on heating-cooling infrastructures for the long-term preservation and mediation of cultural heritage. The energy-intensive thermal regulation of object and data storage environments is guided by the need to ward off decay and to safeguard computer hardware and operations. Despite the tremendous dependence of memory institutions on thermal regulation, temperature has been regarded as merely metaphorical in media studies (Sterne & Mulvin, 2014; Starosielski, 2014). Digital studies in cultural heritage (Cameron and Kenderdine, 2007) have also bypassed the topic of temperature and humidity as it affects the representation of cultural memory. In fact, there hardly exists any literature on the evolution of thermal cultures of memory institutions even though they might be considered as thermally-dependent media institutions.

This talk explores how thermal infrastructures are entangled with the preservation of cultural heritage in order to show how the latter is linked to the expanding use of energy and the embodied energy of natural resources. Understanding the energetic and material impacts of thermal infrastructures and practices in museums and archives demands us to ask ourselves: What are the origins of temperature control and humidity in memory institutions? How did the superimposition of the thermal cultures of the factory affect the practices of the museum? In addressing these questions, my goal is not only to direct attention to the materialities of thermal practices but also to provoke an ecological approach for the future of the memory institution. Could a re-evaluation of thermal infrastructures and practices shape an ecological institution?

Bio

Samir Bhowmik’s multi-disciplinary art practice deals with contemporary issues in Media, Memory and the Environment. His research at Aalto Media Lab and the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin examines the architectural, infrastructural and energetic entanglements of Cultural Memory. Samir graduated as a Doctor of Arts in New Media from Aalto University, Finland, and holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Maryland, United States. Samir’s current artistic research project “IMAGINARY NATURES: Extractive Media & the Cultural Memory of Environmental Change” is funded by the Kone Foundation (2019-22). His latest infrastructural performance art project ‘Memory Machines’ opened at the Helsinki Central Library in January 2019, as part of the Library’s Other Intelligences project organized by the Finnish Cultural Institute of New York.

 

 

ELO-L0008, (L01) Dialogues with X: Art, Film and Theory Workshop

Course for the doctoral students. Open for also for MA students.

ELO-L0008, (L01) Dialogues with X: Art, Film and Theory Workshop (2 cr).
Responsible teachers: Susanna Helke & Harri Laakso

What happens when a philosopher encounters an artwork? During the course Dialogues with X: Art, Film and Theory Workshop (2 cr) we will explore, through in-depth readings of selected texts, what happens at the intersection of a philosophical text and a contemporary artwork. The emphasis is in cinema and media art. How can the materiality of an artwork be translated into the language of philosophy? What happens in that encounter? What is encountered? The course consists of reading selected texts, viewing films and artworks discussed in the reading materials, and lectures offered by visiting experts. How does artistic research – at the intersection of art and theory – relate to the encounters that occur between philosophy and art?

Wed 27.3

9AM-4PM: Markku Koivusalo: Philosophers’ Encounters with Art.

Wed 3.4

9AM-12PM: Kari Yli-Annala: Gilles Deleuze and Time Image- Capturing the Modern and Contemporary Cinema

1PM-4PM: Film screening.

Fri 5.4.

9AM-10:15 AM: Susanna Helke: Jacques Rancière and Cinematic Ruptures.

10:30AM-4PM: Ivana Momčilović: Jacques Rancière and Modern Times in Cinema.

Wed 10.4

9AM-12PM Harri Laakso: Jean Louis Schefer and the Body That Is Missing.

1PM-4PM Katja Lautamatti: Giorgio Agamben – For Ethics of Cinema.

Wed 17.4

9AM-4PM: The students prepare a presentation with a chosen method reflecting the questions of encountering an art work, formulating their own philosophy of art. They can discuss their own artistic work, artistic processes or a chosen art work by someone else, using dialogically philosophical texts.

(Sign up in weboodi!)

OpenGLAM @Aalto

OpenGLAM @Aalto
Thursday 28.3 at 15:00-17:00 at Aalto Learning Centre, K. floor

Welcome to a meetup about creative reuse of open heritage materials. Get to know the people behind the OpenGLAM community and Open Knowledge Finland and learn about current projects concerning creative use of archives.

The aim of this meetup is to gather Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAMs) and connect them with heritage lovers, students, professionals and creative people, both in and outside Aalto University and the GLAM community.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/301780357178637/

Preliminary program:

15:00 Presentation of Open Knowledge Finland and OpenGLAM.
Teemu Ropponen, Executive Director, Open Knowledge Finland and Tuomas Nolvi, Planner, Yle Archives

15:20 The making of a massive open online course about Open Digital Cultural Heritage.
Maija Paavolainen, Information Specialist, Helsinki University

15:40 On Returning. The making of a workshop for Post-Digital Archives.
Ksenia Kaverina, Curator for Global Outreach, Aalto University

16:00 Visual Resources Centre as a guide on how to find and how to use visual material.
Marika Sarvilahti, Information Specialist, VRC + Aalto Archives

16:15 News from the field (Open stage)
– Aalto Archives and mass digitization, 5 million pages and 150 000 images in one year.
Tove Ørsted, Photo Archivist, Aalto Archives
– OpenGLAM, next steps. Discussions and networking.

Robert’s Coffee on the first floor serves coffee and refreshments during the event.

The event is open for all! No registration needed.

Welcome everyone to the second Media Lab Doctoral Seminar of the year!

On the 28.03.19, at 16.30-19.30, led by Professor Lily Díaz in Learning Centre, JUHO the doctoral student Andrea Mancianti will present his on-going research titled:

The Living Threshold / Altered States. Designing experiences for sustainable audio-visual immersive ecosystems. 

Augmenting our physical world with digital, immaterial, virtual layers, introduces thresholds between the two dimensions, separating, like portholes an inside and an outside, a “here” and an “elsewhere”. Although never fully crossable or completely permeable, these thresholds still allow for exchanges with the other side, like porous, semi-transparent membranes between real and virtual worlds, gateways between two realities. These thresholds reveal and hide at the same time. Their materiality, their appearance, their affordances shape the kind of experience we undergo when  our body interfaces with and extends through such layered realities. Unfortunately, the materiality of these thresholds is often concealed or mystified.

The current technologies for interfacing real and virtual environments (often addressed as Mixed or Extended Realities) are driven by commercial preoccupations, being more and more employed in consumer electronic commodities. The mainstream approach to XR today is characterised by proprietary technologies exposed to extremely rapid obsolescence, black box tools and by a general ideology of novelty that, on the one hand reinforces waste accumulation and consumeristic drives and on the other makes it harder for artists and practitioners to design experiences outside of those paradigms.

In this mainstream scenario technology is designed to disappear, to conceal itself, and the experiences it channels are conceived like visual illusions, where simulation and plausibility are the key ideas, in a well established traditions of cinema and video games. My research, reflecting on the idea of threshold, its materiality, its behaviour, its autonomy, proposes an alternative direction to investigate the design of audio-visual immersive experiences, facing the technical challenges from a DIY, alternative, low-impact perspective. The initial step of this process has been the immersive installation Blindphones, developed in the frame of the joint program Futurelab Academy between the Department of Media, MediaLab and the festival Ars Electronica, Linz.

The idea behind this installation was to re-appropriate some of the key concepts behind VR, such as re-embodiment and immersion, but, abandoning any commercial device and proprietary technology, attempted to reimagine the head mounted display as a form of an almost alien living prosthetics, radically changing our perception providing a glimpse of an alternative embodiment.

Rather than as a tool to fool our senses by providing (some of) them with a credible simulation of the world, conforming the viewer into a normative embodiment, Blindphones, by heavily impairing sight, forces the body to function using hearing, rather than sight,  to articulate sense in a dreamy world made of shifting lights and sound. Inspired by the altered states induced in the sensory deprivation tank, where the body floats weightlessly in a dark quiet environment and the mind shifts from a meditative state up to an hallucinatory one, the project draws from the psychedelic tradition of early VR art and drone music.

Bio

Andrea Mancianti is a composer, performer, sound and media artist. With his work, that include music compositions, installations and mixed media performances, he seeks to investigate compositional and performative aspects of interconnected audiovisual ecosystems, where real-word phenomena extend in the virtual digital world and complex feedback networks are established between the two realm. His works have been performed in Europe and Usa, for institutions such as Ircam (Paris), Biennale Musica (Venice), Impuls and KUG (Graz), Muziekcentrum De Bijloke (Ghent), Centre Henri Pousseur (Liege), STUK (Leuven), Boston University (Boston), Nuova Consonanza (Roma), Sibelius Academy (Helsinki) and others


Guest speaker:

Synes Elischka (Doctoral Candidate Department of Film, Television and Scenography)

EGO CURE: Exploring the liminal space between immersion and self-awareness

My PhD is made up of two equal parts that inform each other: a monograph and an artistic project.

The aim of my monograph is to give audio-visual artists a theoretical and practical basis for using new media technology to tell their stories, while also giving insight into the current context that these media are embedded in.

My artistic project (“Ego Cure”, a cinematic VR experience with enactive elements) is set in a world where the perception of art as a product has come to its logical technological conclusion: the Ego Cure mask is a technical tool that helps artists who get stuck (for example writers block), to continue with their practice.

This has been used to make art more of a commodity, by forcing an artist who is unable or unwilling to provide a commissioned art piece to use the mask.

The plot of the film follows Emma, a choreographer who decides to redo her entire performance a day before the premiere which meets the resistance of the curator.

At the turning point of the story the protagonist is forced to use the EgoCure mask, and we are thrown with her into a world that both literally and conceptually rips open the fourth wall and teases the possibility space of storytelling in Virtual Reality.

The physical experience of the viewer becomes intermeshed with film itself, when Ego Cure introduces enactive elements that support both the theme and the flow of the plot – by making use of the liminal space between immersion and self-awareness.

During the making of my artistic PhD we developed a workflow for creating VR experiences that are sustainable, while reframing existing aesthetics and cinematic conventions to this new medium.

We used current digital cinema cameras and compositing software, which allowed us to adopt conventional working methods, team structures, tools, workflows and aesthetics.

Context of Research

Synes Elischka (AT), Filmmaker/Researcher for VirtualCinemaLab at ELO Film School, Aalto University

If you compare novels and cinema there are certain experiences you can explore in one medium that are impossible in the other. Over the last 120 years cinema kept evolving visual storytelling for example, as a tool that engages both our perception and our imagination.

Since Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR) is a very young art form it is lacking its own set of storytelling tools. My work provides concepts and a proof of concept (artistic project) which can help artists explore the narrative potential of this new medium and engage their audiences’ imagination.

More information and making-of here: http://virtualcinema.aalto.fi/view/ego-cure-vr-film/