Author Archives: Philippe La Grassa

About Philippe La Grassa

Philippe La Grassa Research Assistant Media Lab, Department of Media Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

New Media Doctoral Seminar (DOM-L0007) – 18.3.2021

Welcome to the third New Media Doctoral Seminar of 2021! The seminar will be held virtually on Zoom on Thursday 18th March from 16:30 to 19:30 (GMT + 02.00, Helsinki, EEST).

Mediated by Professor Lily Díaz-Kommonen, there will be two extremely interesting presentations with a Q&A discussion taking place afterwards.

Presentations are open for everyone, welcome!

PRESENTATIONS

Weaponized memes in China: Multimodal discourse analysis of the visual rhetorical appeals of Chinese political memes

by Ningfeng Zhang

Picture of Ningfeng Zhang

Ningfeng Zhang

Abstract:
This study aims to apply multimodal discourse analysis as a theoretical point of entry to define the taxonomy of different rhetorical appeals of political memes in China’s most popular mobile application Wechat. The study views “internet memes” as a form of visual rhetoric, planning to analyze them respectively from representational, compositional, and interpersonal perspectives. The material consists of 357 internet memes posted on Wechat and collected by 10 active Chinese Wechat users in China during July 2019 – January 2021, their referential contents covered a series of social and political events occurring in China, including the Hongkong protest, the outbreak of Covid-19, the Sino-West relationship during the pandemic period and so on.  Multimodal discourse analysis was applied to understand the visual contents, compositional forms, and visual arguments formed communicated via those memes, and ultimately concludes the different visual rhetorical appeals reflected in them. It is both a methodological and theoretical attempt to expand the understanding of the visual rhetorical study and how political memes function in the participatory media culture within a specific social, cultural, and political context.

Ningfeng Zhang is a doctoral candidate currently working as a new media researcher with Prof. Dr. Lily Díaz -Kommonen. His research interest focuses on the social, cultural, and political relevance and the generation mechanism of internet memes in the context of Chinese media environment, exploring the mechanism of how internet memes, as a form of visual rhetoric, a propaganda entity, as well as a facet of citizen journalism, generate, mutate and proliferate in a highly homogeneous media environment.

Intergroup Contact via Telerobtic Puppetry

by Avner Peled

Picture of Avner Peled

Avner Peled

Abstract:
Following the premise of Intergroup Contact, established by Gordon Allport in the 1954 publication The Nature of Prejudice, I am investigating forms of communication that can reduce prejudice between groups in conflict and improve intergroup relations. Technological mediation supports contact in violent conflict scenarios where organizing face-to-face contact is challenging, even more so in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online contact forms suffer from a lack of agency, a limited set of nonverbal cues, and an impaired turn-taking flow. Virtual Reality supports user engagement but enforces a mind-body split and a dissociation from terrestrial grounds. I, therefore, propose remote-controlled robots (telerobots) as a way to add corporeal depth to mediated contact, situating a midpoint between online communication and a face-to-face meeting. For this research, the chosen form of implementation for intergroup contact is Telerobtic Puppetry. Puppetry (as well as virtual presence) evokes a hybrid state between object and subject, puppet and puppeteer. A hybrid object absorbs prejudice and problematizes it. Deindividuation of the puppet-avatar turns into a performance of group identities and categorization; a lack of signification opens up a path for self-expression. Design-based research and user surveying are now underway toward a telerobotic, textile-based puppet theater workshop and public performance event that occurs in two locations simultaneously.

Avner Peled is a creative technologist and media artist with a background in computer science, neurobiology, and philosophy. Currently, as Doctoral Researcher at Aalto Media Lab, Avner is exploring the use of telepresence robots as mediators for intergroup contact and conflict resolution in Israel and Palestine. He is also developing 3D web visualizations of big data for the New York Times.

The research is supported by the Kone Foundation.

New Media Doctoral Seminar (DOM-L0007) – 25.2.2021

Rtualising Exhibitions: In Search of Novel Engagement Approaches In Experimental Museology

VRtualising Exhibitions: In Search of Novel Engagement Approaches In Experimental Museology. © Cvijeta Miljak

Welcome to the second New Media Doctoral Seminar (DOM-L0007) of 2021! The seminar will be held virtually on Zoom on Thursday 25th of February.

SCHEDULE: 16:30 to 19:30 (GMT + 02.00, Helsinki, EEST)

Presentations are open for everyone! 

Mediated by Professor Lily Díaz-Kommonen we will have two very fascinating presentations. A Q&A discussion will take place after the presentations.

PRESENTATIONS

VRtualising EXHIBITIONS:
IN SEARCH OF NOVEL ENGAGEMENT APPROACHES IN EXPERIMENTAL MUSEOLOGY
by Cvijeta Miljak

Cvijeta Miljak

The research is carried out in the framework of a pan-European 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 encompassing fields of cultural heritage, digital art conservation, digitalising heritage, new media art and experimental museology.In broadest terms, this artistic 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 and social inclusion. The research will take a particular interest in documenting and studying museum audiences’ responses to digital cultural heritage and to virtual exhibitions. The research will support further development and implementation of Performance-oriented Design Methods for Audience Studies and Exhibition Evaluation (PORE), a methodology coined by Lily Díaz-Kommonen.

Miljak’s interest focuses on exploring emerging narratives, visual language and implications of digital tools in relation to immersive media, through developing methods for nonintrusive participatory evaluation practices to re-examine and expand forms of storytelling in digital media.

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).

For a more detailed bio, please check:

GAMIFICATION IN MIXED-REALITY FOR DIGITAL CULTURAL HERITAGE by Gautam Vishwanath

Gautam Vishwanath

This study is focused on the mechanisms through which gamification can be implemented within mixed reality in order to support museum-based activities in the realm of digital cultural heritage. A large part of the work carried out in this study takes place within the context of an EU-H2020 funded project dedicated to citizen curation of cultural heritage called SPICE. Through the use of workshops and tools for design, end-user communities and other stakeholders from the SPICE Case Studies are involved using participatory methods for design and development in order to discern new ideas as well as create prototypes. The research involves a component of practice and draws upon a mixed-method approach employing a variety of qualitative as well as quantitative methodologies such as case sampling, visual thinking strategies, user-experience evaluation, and ethnographic interviews. The projected results of the entire research process are anticipated to provide novel insights regarding mechanisms for gamification in mixed-reality as well as a series of methods that need to be taken into consideration in order to support museum-related activities for digital cultural heritage. In order to ensure maximal ethical integrity and conduct the research in a respectful manner, this study follows the guidelines of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK as well as other relevant ethical guidelines.

Gautam Vishwanath is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Media having begun his tenure in June 2020. As a member of the Research group ‘Systems of Representation’, he is advised and supervised by Prof Lily Díaz-Kommonen. His research is focused on integratingserious games and new forms of media such as mixed reality into digital cultural heritage.

For more info on Gautam, please visit: Gautam Vishwanath at Systems of Representation research group in the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Media Lab

Event at Aalto.fi

Defence of dissertation in the field of New Media, Msc Massimo Menichinelli

 

Title of the doctoral thesis:

Open and collaborative design processes – Meta-Design, ontologies and platforms within the Maker Movement

Opponent: Professor Elisa Giaccardi, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlandsa

Custos: Professor Lily Díaz-Kommonen, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media

Abstract

“The emergence of the Maker Movement has taken place in the context of a design practice and research that is now open, peer-to-peer, diffuse, distributed, decentralized; activity-based; meta-designed; ontologically-defined and defining; locally-bounded but globally-networked and community-centered. For many years the author participated and worked in the Maker Movement, with a special focus on its usage of digital platforms and digital fabrication tools for collaboratively designing and manufacturing digital and physical artifacts as Open Design projects. The author’s main focus in practice and research as a meta-designer was in understanding how can participants in distributed systems collaboratively work together through tools and platforms for the designing and managing of collaborative processes. The main research question of this dissertation is: How can we support and integrate the research and practice of meta-designers in analyzing, designing and sharing open and collaborative design and making processes within open, peer-to-peer and distributed systems?

The focus evolved and changed with three main phases: from facilitating collaborative design processes with 1) guidelines for a generic design approach, process and tools, to the use of 2) design tools and workshops that encode the methodology to developing 3) a digital ontology and the related digital platform. In the latter, the ontology for describing, documenting, sharing and designing collaborative design processes was developed as part of a broader conceptual framework, OpenMetaDesign, that builds the ontology on top of concepts describing design processes, and encodes it in a digital platform. The role of the ontology is to support the practice and research with a Research through Design approach that works not just on understanding the practice but also informing it, navigating it and continuously redesigning it. This dissertation is an exploration of the possible role, practice and profile of meta-designers that work in facilitating distributed, open and collaborative design and making processes in the Maker Movement. As a result, it provides insights on the practice and artifacts of the author and also a strategy and tools for applying the same exploration to other meta-designers. Following a Research through Design framework for bridging practice and research, the dissertation redefines Meta-Design in the Maker Movement as the design of digital ontologies of design processes as design material. Ultimately, the practice of designing a Metadata Ontology for Ontological Design through the design of bits (digital environments) and atoms (physical artifacts) with and for Open, Peer-to-Peer, Diffuse, Distributed and Decentralized Systems. Finally, it redefines meta-designers as designers, facilitators, participants, developers and researchers embedded in social networks that define their activities, profiles and boundaries for the ontologies they design.”

Public display of the doctoral thesis is arranged as online display:

http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-64-0091-4

Slides available here

Post-doctoral Party

Contact information of the doctoral candidate: Massimo Menichinelli