Category Archives: Media Culture

Defence of Doctoral Thesis in the Field of New Media, MA Ilan Manouach

MA Ilan Manouach will defend the thesis ‘Estranging Comics – Towards a novel comics praxeology’ on 22 April at 12:00 in Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media.

The defense is organized as a hybrid event. and will be held live at Väre, lecture hall F101 (Otaniementie 14, Espoo), and in Zoom (please click here for link).

Doctoral Candidate: MA Ilan Manouach
Opponent: Dr. Jan Baetens, KU Leuven, Belgium
Custos: Dr. Bassam El Baroni, Assistant Professor in Curating and Mediating Art at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University.

Information at Aalto University web page: EnglishFinnish

The doctoral thesis is available and publicly displayed 10 days before the event here.

Image of Shapereader by Ilan Manouach, a system for tactile storytelling specifically designed for blind and partially sighted readers/makers of comics .

Shapereader by Ilan Manouach.

ABSTRACT

The industry-wide adoption of digital and network technologies has produced long-lasting and unevenly distributed effects in all the sectors of the comics industry. The globalization of markets and services has profoundly reshaped comics labor. Its effects are economic (the precarization of craftsmanship traditions), social (the rise of entrepreneurial fan culture and the consolidation of increasingly diversified communities with novel forms of amateur and semi-professional activity), technical (the introduction of digital tools for the distribution, the archival and retrieval of media artefacts) and aesthetic (the gradual integration in the production pipeline of AI and synthetic media). As is demonstrated by the recent emergence of radical forms of experimentation documented in the Conceptual Comics media collections of Ubuweb and Monoskop, comic artists are often able to leverage the dependencies of the ever-growing network infrastructure of the comics industry. Nevertheless, these disruptions foreground an epistemic crisis in the understanding of contemporary comics, both in academia and in more traditionally established professional spheres.

This thesis embraces an attitude of productive estrangement towards the medium’s forms, material qualities and operations, and constructs comics as a “contemporary object”. According to philosopher Anne-Françoise Schmid, a contemporary object is an extra-disciplinary entity that is massively distributed in space and time. Understanding such an object depends on the increasingly aggregate nature of knowledge production and dissemination in the computational age. Both in theory, with a series of papers in peer-review journals, and in artistic practice, by way of published comics and commissioned curatorial projects, this thesis examines the mutations of the comics ecology as an expansion of the scope of knowledge. It embraces the cumulative impact of digital transformation and articulates a novel comics praxeology predicated on two conditions. First, the thesis appeals for a systematic exploration of comics outside of narrow media purviews, the implicitly disciplinary conceptions, and the dominant historical perspectives in Comics Studies. It aims to develop a conception that embraces a rigorous application of a non-hegemonic interdisciplinarity in comics research. Second, and most importantly, the thesis argues for the expansion of operational agency on the part of comics professionals. This agency is described as a heightened contextual appreciation of the industry’s infrastructural backend, an awareness of its imbricated institutions and a diversification of the professional toolbox. I argue that a novel comics praxeology is a necessary attribute in order to embrace future, speculative, unclaimed or hitherto impossible forms in comics expression.

THE DOCTORAL CANDIDATE

Profile picture of doctoral candidate, MA Ilan Manouach

MA Ilan Manouach

Ilan Manouach is a researcher, a musician and a multidisciplinary artist with a specific interest in conceptual and post-digital comics. His research examines how this century’s frontier technologies such as AI, financial technologies and globalized logistics reshape the comics industry. He is mostly known for Shapereader, a system for tactile storytelling specifically designed for blind and partially sighted readers/makers of comics. He is the founder of Echo Chamber, a Brussels-based non-profit organization with the mission to produce, fundraise, document and archive radical and speculative artistic practices in contemporary comics. The topics of his research and artistic practice include conceptual comics, post-internet publishing, and synthetic media and AI. On the side, Ilan works as a pirate/librarian for the Conceptual Comics Collections at Ubuweb and Monoskop, is an appointed expert in experimental comics for the Belgian government for its national public funding program (CCAP) and works as a strategy consultant for the Onassis Foundation and its visibility through its newly funded publishing activity.

Contact information: email / +30694169008

PHOTOGRAPHY OFF THE SCALE – Talk by Jussi Parikka – Thursday, 20 May 2021, from 15:00 – 16:00

PHOTOGRAPHY OFF THE SCALE

Talk by Jussi Parikka

Thursday, May 20th on Zoom from 15:00 – 16:00

Image © Abelardo Gil-Fournier. Rotating GIF image with text 'Photo Talks' and 'Jussi Parikka'.

Image © Abelardo Gil-Fournier.

Doctoral Seminar – Open to everyone!

When: Thursday, May 20th, 2021
Time: 15:00 – 16:00
Zoom link: https://aalto.zoom.us/j/66102166387

INFO
“For the inaugural Aalto Photo Talks, we have invited media theorist Jussi Parikka as our guest speaker. Parikka has written extensively on new media and digital culture. His writings unravel the historicity of emerging media, tracing our past, articulating our present and imagining our future relationship with technology. In his recent publication Photography Off the Scale, Parikka turns his attention to operational images and image en masse. From the mass image in vernacular culture to transformations of photography in contexts of big data and artificial intelligence, the essays in the book explore the massification of photography. During the talk, Parikka will present his work and his recently-published co-edited photo theory anthology Photography Off the Scale. The presentation will be followed by a casual Q&A discussion.

The talk is open to public and we welcome Aalto students from the Department of Media and other disciplines to join us. Please also feel free to invite students from outside of Aalto.”

You can download the introductory article using the link, under the tab ‘resource’ here.

SPEAKER BIO
Jussi Parikka is Professor of Technological Culture & Aesthetics at University of Southampton and visiting Professor at FAMU at the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague. He is also Docent/Dosentti in Digital Culture Theory at University of Turku. He is the project director for “Operational Images and Visual Culture” (2019-2023, funded by the Czech Science Foundation). Jussi’s books include Koneoppi (2004), Digital Contagions (2007), Insect Media (2010), A Geology of Media (2015), as well as What is Media Archaeology? (2012) alongside several edited collections, including one on Erkki Kurenniemi (Writing and Unwriting Media Art HIstory, 2015, with Joasia Krysa). Recently, he published the co-edited Photography off the Scale (2021, with Tomas Dvorak) and The Lab Book (co-authored with Darren Wershler and Lori Emerson) is forthcoming later in 2021. Jussi also serves on Ihme Helsinki advisory board.

For more info and Jussi Parikka’s blog: http://jussiparikka.net

ABOUT AALTO PHOTO TALKS
Aalto Photo Talks is a series of conversations with thinkers, theorists and practitioners of photography with the aim to expand the notion of photography and explore interdisciplinary connections. The talk is organized by doctoral candidates from Aalto Photography. Although it may take different forms, most talks are organized as casual conversations with the invited guest for a free-flowing exchange of ideas and questions.

For any questions, please contact: Sheung Yiu // Aalto Photo Talks

NEW MEDIA DOCTORAL SEMINAR – Thursday, 18 March 2021, 16:30 – 19:30

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

New Media DA candidate, 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.

BIO

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

New Media DA candidate, 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.

BIO

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.