DIMYMYDI tutors on snowy campus: the 4th Staff Training event of the DIMYMYDI project in Espoo, Finland

May 13, 2024

The 4th Staff Training event of the DIMYMYDI project, hosted by the School of Arts, Design and Architecture of the Aalto University, was held in Espoo, Finland, during 30 Nov - 1 Dec 2023 on Aalto University campus in Otaniemi.

In addition to the project´s general LTTA events goal, “to give teachers a good understanding of the use of digital tools and the pedagogical issues related to them”, the Aalto staff training days focused on impact of art and design by introducing a selection of different multi-disciplinary art and research projects and educational activity stress being on digitalisation and culture.

The program of the first day, Thursday 30 November, took place in Väre, the new building of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The building was designed by Verstas Architects as an entry for an open competition. The competition entry ”Väre" received the first prize in 2013 and the construction work of the building was completed in 2018.

The Otaniemi campus was planned originally for Helsinki University of Technology by architect Alvar Aalto and is internationally known for the 20th century functionalist architecture designed by Aalto. The campus was founded in 1949, when the Finnish government bought the land for forming the Helsinki University of Technology and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. The first buildings, including athlete accommodation for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics (which later became student housing), were constructed in 1952.

After the event opening and greeting by the project coordinator and Finland Staff Training event organizer Tarja Nieminen, Harri Laakso, the Head of Art & Media department welcomed the visiting tutors by introducing the Aalto University and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The session was followed by a further presentation of the Aalto Arts by Rasmus Vuori, the Vice Dean, and Professor Arja Karhumaa, who introduced Visual Communication Design BA and MA programs and presented course and project work highlights.

Justus Arvelin and Elina Äärelä, both VCD BA 3rd-year students, presented a communication concept created as a group work in social communication design and design activism course Experiment: Change run by Tarja Nieminen. https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/experiment-change-final-presentations

Miikka Junnila, Lecturer in Game Design, presented the Aalto Arts MA Game Design program. https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-options/game-design-and-development-art-and-media-master-of-arts-art-and-design

The talk was followed by a presentation by Milja Komulainen, a VCD MA student, who presented her group´s work in Creative Europe project UTM Urban Travel Machines / Stage Poetry + Planetarium screenings which the Aalto Arts partners.

The afternoon sessions included a presentation by Cvijeta Miljak, a part-time teacher in the Department of Design, who introduced the Virtual Museum research project Beyond Matter. https://beyond-heritage.aalto.fi and a talk by Tiina Toivola, Communications Manager / Radical Creativity, who presented the Designs for a Cooler Planet, an annual series of exhibitions and events envisioning sustainable futures, which is a part of international Helsinki Design Week. https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/invisible-from-a-mini-sized-supersensor-to-a-forgotten-building-material-the-exhibition-will-make

The next lecture was given by Kirsti Peltonen, a senior lecturer in mathematics, who introduced Kurotuksia - Higher Powers student exhibition at Heureka science center blending math and arts. The exhibition plays with geometries, symmetries and organic shapes and showcases outcome of Aalto University's interdisciplinary course "Crystal Flowers in Halls of Mirrors: Mathematics meets Art and Architecture" the participants of which came from different schools and different stages of their studies. https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/kurotuksia-higher-powers-student-exhibition-blending-math-and-arts-opened-at-heureka

The next person to present was Gautam Vishwanath, a doctoral candidate in New Media who introduced the Pop-up-VR Museum application, which explores how a selection of design objects from the Design Museum collection in Helsinki can be explored as virtual reality experience together with stories and comments collected in workshops organized with senior communities and museum visitors amongst others. The collaboration between the museum and the Aalto University Department of Art and Media took place in the EU Horizon 2020 project SPICE (2020–2023), which sought to increase social cohesion and inclusion through cultural heritage.

The last talk of the day was given by Tanja Bastamow, a lecturer in the Department of Film, Television and Scenography, who presented Virtual Cinema Lab and her courses that move between technology and art, as well as her research projects and work around the same topic. https://virtualcinema.aalto.fi/view/tanja-bastamow/

Finally, in late afternoon, the visiting tutors went to follow the Out of Fashion, Aalto LASER Talks event, a part of a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The event took place at Aalto Learning Center on campus. https://www.aalto.fi/en/events/out-of-fashion-aalto-laser-talks

On the morning of the second Staff Training day, the participants went to follow a keynote lecture by Laura Beloff at the Aalto Art of Research conference “Re-Imaging” held in Lumituuli auditorium in Dipoli, an iconic and experimental student union building of Helsinki University of Technology designed by Raili and Reima Pietilä and completed in 1966. https://artofresearch2023.aalto.fi/keynote-speakers/

The session was followed by a walk on a snowy campus. The group went to meet Antti Ruotoistenmäki, our host at Aalto Studios, who presented the Studios activities and facilities including Igloo Vision, the Visualization Hub unit which allows a 360° viewing experience from a variety of sources. The tour continued to Design Factory, a multidisciplinary design hub, where the participants met Design Factory Director Kalevi Ekman, who gave a tour on Factory premises. https://designfactory.aalto.fi

After the visit the group continued touring the campus. The participants visited e.g. Aalto Library and other Learning Center facilities and the new building Väre. The day ended with two presentations by Visual Communication Design degree program staff members. First, university lecturer Antti Hietaniemi introduced his motion media courses in the program focusing on VJing, realtime visual performances, which create and manipulate imagery in real-time through technological mediation and for an audience, in synchronization to music. The second speaker was senior university lecturer Markus Joutsela, who presented his educational process led design projects and courses, for instance the BA 2nd-year course Experiment: Process.

Finally, after 5 pm, the group went to follow Antti Hietaniemi´s motion media VJing course final presentations at a party given at the Design Factory.