Credits: 0

Schedule: 03.10.2019 - 04.10.2019

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

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?

Some keywords: Big data, citizens journalism, interactive visualizations, distributed interfaces, pervasive computing, surveillance culture, social media.

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 



The Elephants in the (Server) Room: Sustainability and Surveillance in the era of Big Data. Simon Penny.


Cutting and Folding the Borgesian Map. Film as Complex Temporal Object in the Industrialization of Memory, Patricia Pisters (PDF. Emailed)


Peekaboo, I See You!  About Observation, Surveillance, and Human Agency in the Age of Ubicomp, Lily Diaz (PDF. Emailed)


(IN)Visibility, (UN)Awareness, and A New Way of Seeing Through Complex Cinema. Maria Poulak (PDF. Emailed)

Grading Scale (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Further Information (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

The course in organised in the form of varying summer/winter schools etc. with a separate notice.

Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 

Participants are asked to submit a statement (300-word max.) regarding their interest in the school. They are given a literature list which they need to read before the seminar. After the seminar they will submit a five-page report (to their supervisor) about how the materials discussed will be used (or not) in their work.

THURSDAY, 3 October

Väre // R107

9:30:10:00   Coffee and Introductions

10:00-11:00  Introduction by Professor Lily Díaz-Kommonen

11:00-11:50.  Presentation by Tomi Kauppinen 

12:00-13:00.  Lunch

Väre // Q203

13:30-14:30   Panel Discussion

Lily Diaz-Kommonen (Professor of New Media. Department of Media. Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture). 

Masood Masoodian  (Professor. Visual Communication Design Department of Media. Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture). 

Harri Laakso (Professor (Associate professor). Photography research Department of Media. Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture). 

Tomi Kauppinen (Project manager, academic coordinator docent, PH.D. Department of Computer). 


14:30-15:00   Coffee Break

15:30- 17:00   Keynote: Hasan Elahi, artist 

17:00-19:00   Druken Gods and a Box of Colours– opening of Prof. Heli Rekula’s exhibition at Helsinki Contemporary.

19:30 onwards.  Dinner w. participants 

FRIDAY, 4 October 

Väre // Q103


Students will work on exercises related to mapping surveillance within their own environments. The objective is to bring to the forefront technological infrastructures that are in the process of being naturalized. Should artists (and designers) be concerned about these? Why is it important? Why not?

Väre // Q203

13:15 – 17:00   Student presentations of work


Registration and further information