Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


From the lectures presented and the readings required participants:

1. Learn about the discourses and terminology associated to the subject (or topic) of the School.

2. Exposure to literature related to the topic being discussed in the School.

3. Participate in interdisciplinary discussions about the subject of the School.

Credits: 0

Schedule: 03.10.2019 - 04.10.2019

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Lily Diaz-Kommonen

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Lily Diaz-Kommonen

Contact information for the course (valid 03.09.2019-21.12.2112):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Every year we select a topic for discussion as part of the Doctoral School at the Department of Media. In general the School last 2-3 days. This includes direct contact with invited guest speakers and faculty members. There are lectures, seminar discussions and candidates make presentations.

  • 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.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Participation in the School and quality of work presented. 

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Candidates are supposed to engage in readings and prepare their own presentations for the school. 


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course is meant for doctoral students but advanced MA students can attend, if there is space available.


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