Tallinn Summer School in St. Petersburg August 26–31

Ilkka Kosunen

With the support of the Estonia 100 programme, Tallinn University, Tallinn Summer School, and ITMO University  offered a summer school course “Experimental Interaction Design: Physiological Computing Technologies for Performative Arts.”

The main goal of the one-week extensive hands-on course in interaction design was to empower people to shape their digital environments thus providing a new level of digital literacy. This edition focused on Neurotheatre, a specific type of interactive theatre, where audience and/or actors can communicate via brain and neural computer interfaces using multimodal sensors and actuators.

The course introduced core design and interaction design topics in a provocative stance, inviting participants to reflect upon ongoing shifts, connections, and re-framings in just about every area of interaction design, and inciting a rebellion against passivity. This was complemented with the development of skills in systematic evaluation of usability and user experience of interaction designs. The expectation is to see participants take ownership of the interaction design process.

http://summerschool.tlu.ee/russia/

 

Article “Screendance as enactment…” DATJournal Design Art and Technology

In this article Deren’s film At Land is analyzed as an expression of a human body-brain system situated and enactive within the world, with references to neuroscience, neurocinematic studies, and screendance.

TIKKA, Pia. Screendance as enactment in Maya Deren’s At Land. DATJournal Design Art and Technology, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, p. 9-28, june 2018. ISSN 2526-1789. First published in The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies Edited by Douglas Rosenberg,Aug 2016. Available  online here

Hybrid Arts and Science Collaboration Day dedicated to Leonardo 50

Hybrid Arts and Science Collaboration Day, Celebrating Leonardo’s 50th Anniversary  

The full day event brought together the local and international long term supporters and authors who have contributed to the 50 years of Leonardo, the leading international peer-reviewed journal on the use of contemporary science and technology in the arts and music and, increasingly, the application and influence of the arts and humanities on science and technology.

Upper image: The executive director of Leonardo-journal Roger F. Malina at the map that visualizes the broad international activity of the Leonardo community Below: Vice-dean of Aalto Arts Rasmus Vuori, Leonardo board member artist-curator Nina Czegledy, and Leonardo’s executive director  Roger F. Malina with Leonardo author Pia Tikka.

The journal Leonardo was founded in 1968 in Paris by kinetic artist and astronautical pioneer Frank Malina. Malina saw the need for a journal that would serve as an international channel of communication among artists, with emphasis on the writings of artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. After the death of Frank Malina in 1981 and under the leadership of his son, Roger F. Malina, Leonardo moved to San Francisco, California, as the flagship journal of the newly founded nonprofit organization Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST). Leonardo/ISAST has grown along with its community and today is the leading organization for artists, scientists and others interested in the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts and music.

 

Hybrid Labs The Third Renewable Futures Conference

Hybrid Labs Symposium
The Third Renewable Futures Conference
May 30 – June 1, 2018, Aalto University, Otaniemi Campus

June 31 NeurocinemAtics on narrative experience

Hybrid Labs is the third edition of Renewable Futures conference that aims to challenge the future of knowledge creation through art and science. The HYBRID LABS took place from May 30 to June 1, 2018 at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland, in the context of Aalto Festival. Celebrating 50 years of Leonardo journal and community, the HYBRID LABS conference looked back into the history of art and science collaboration, with an intent to reconsider and envision the future of hybrid laboratories – where scientific research and artistic practice meet and interact.
http://hybridlabs.aalto.fi/hls2018-symposium/

Pia Tikka and Mauri Kaipainen:
Triadic epistemology of narrative experience

We consider the narrative experience as a triangular system of relations between narrative structure , narrative perspective , and physiological manifestations associated with both. The proposal builds on the fundamentally pragmatist idea that no two of these elements are enough to explain each other, but a third is always required to explicate the interpretative angle. Phenomenological accounts altogether reject the idea of objective descriptions of experience. At the same time, a holistic understanding must assume that a narrative is shared on some level, an assumption narratology must make, and that even individual experiences are also embodied, as is evident to neuroscientists observing brain activity evoked by narrative experience. It cannot be that these accounts are incompatible forever. Using these elements, we discuss a triadic epistemology, a mutually complementary knowledge construction system combining phenomenological, narratological and physiological angles in order to generate integrated knowledge about how different people experience particular narratives.

Our approach assumes a holistic, or even deeper, an enactive perspective to experiencing, that is, assuming systemic engagement in the embodied, social, and situational environmental processes. Consequently, we propose understanding narrative content needs to be analyzed not only based on subjective reports of theexperiencer, but they also need to be related to neurophysiological manifestations of the experience. Or, describing the associated neural activity during the viewing of a film is not enough to relate it to subjective reports of the viewers, but the observations also need to be interpreted to conventions of storytelling. A selection of cases are described to clarify the proposed triadic method.

Κeywords: neurophenomenology, narrative experience, narrative perspective, enactive theory of mind, epistemology

eFilm: Hyperfilms for basic and clinical research presented by
my aivoAALTO collaborator professor Mikko Sams showed highlights of neuroscience findings related to viewing films in fMRI and introduced the concept of eFilm, a novel computational platform for producing and easily modifying films to be used in basic and clinical research.

June 1 VR TALKS at Aalto Studios

VR Research Talks organised with Virtual Cinema Lab and FiVR Track dedicated on research in and around VR, with a focus on artistic praxes around sound, alternative narrations and the self.

Daniel Landau: Meeting Yourself in Virtual Reality and Self-Compassion
Self-reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose, and essence. Between the internal process of Self-reflection to the external observation of one’s reflection – runs a thin line marking the relationship between the private-self and the public-self. From Narcissus’s pond, through reflective surfaces and mirrors, to current day selfies, the concepts of self, body-image and self-awareness have been strongly influenced by the human interaction with physical reflections. In fact, one can say that the evolution of technologies reproducing images of ourselves has played a major role in the evolution of the Self as a construct. With the current wave of Virtual-Reality (VR) technology making its early steps as a consumer product, we set out to explore the new ways in which VR technology may impact our concept of self and self-awareness. ‘Self Study’ aims to critically explore VR as a significant and novel component in the history and tradition of the complex relationship between technology and the Self (—).

See more on Daniel’s work here)

 

 

Embodying Creative Expertise in Virtual Reality Zurich ZhDK May 29-31

In collaboration with BeAnotherLab (The Machine to Be Another), Lynda Joy Gerry taught a workshop, “Embodying Creative Expertise in Virtual Reality” to Masters in Interaction Design students at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZhDK), as part of a course, “Ecological perception, embodiment, and behavioral change in immersive design” led by BAL members.

Image: Poster for the students’ final project presentation and exhibition.

Lynda specifically taught students design approaches using a semi-transparent video overlay of another person’s first-person, embodied experience, as in First-Person Squared. The focus of the workshop was on Leap Motion data tracking and measurements, specifically how to calculate compatibility and interpersonal motor coordination through a match score between the two participants, and how to send this data over a network. The system provides motor feedback regarding imitative gestures that are similar in form and position, and also for gestures that occur synchronously (at the same time), ideally trying to support both types of interpersonal motor coordination. Lynda taught students the equations used and data input necessary to calculate this algorithm for the different match scores, and also how to add interaction effects to this data. Lynda showed students how to implement Leap motion hand tracking on top of stereoscopic point-of-view video and how to record user hand movements. On the 31st, students premiered their final projects at an event entitled “Scattered Senses.”

Watch Your Bubble Conference in Berlin May 17-19

On May 17th, Lynda Joy Gerry attended a conference organized by the Berlin School of Mind and Brain entitled “Watch Your Bubble!” The conference title refers to the information bubble conceptualization of social dynamics, wherein which groups of individuals are becoming increasingly nested within a bubble that reinforces only their own worldview. The conference brought in speakers on neuroaesthetics and social neuroscience, specifically Vittorio Gallese, Joerg Fingerhut, Andreas Roepstorpff, Olafur Eliasson, and Vincent Hendricks.

Neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese’s lecture specifically explored the ways in which individuals are reciprocally connected and the inter-dependence of self and other. Embodied simulations when imagining actions activate similar neural pathways as actually performing the same action. This makes film an especially evocative medium, specifically for haptic-vision and what Gallese calls “embodying technesis” wherein common action representations exist between imagination and action and also between self and other. The conference also addressed the formation and plasticity of personal identity, where identity comes from and how it is formed. Joerg Fingerhut specifically addressed the types of changes that individuals believe would make them a new person. For instance, a change in one’s musical tastes and preferences is perceived as a change in one’s identity.

Aalto MA evaluation on Robots & Poetics

Examination of Johanna Lehto’s MA thesis “Robots and Poetics – Using narrative elements in human-robot interaction” for the Department of Media, programme New Media Design and Production on the 16th of May 2018.

As a writer and a designer, Johanna Lehto sets out to reflect upon the phenomenon of human-robot interaction through her own artistic work. To illustrate plot structure and narrative units of the interaction between a robot and human, she reflects upon how Aristotle’s dramatic principles. In her work, she applies Aristotelian drama structure to analyse a human-robot encounter as a dramatic event. Johanna made an interactive video installation in which she created a presentation of an AI character, Vega 2.0 (image). The installation was exhibited in Tokyo in Hakoniwa-exhibition on 22.-24.6.2017 and in Musashino Art University Open Campus -festival 10.-11.6.2017.

Neurotech drama VFC by Charles S. Roy in Cannes Next May 8-13

News from our international network.

Since connected by Storytek Content+Tech Acceleator in fall 2017 Pia Tikka has consulted the VFC project directed by Charles S. Roy on screenplay and audience interaction.

Charles S. Roy, Film Producer & Head of Innovation at the production company La Maison de Prod, develops his debut narrative film+interactive project VFC as producer-director. VFC has been selected at the Storytek Content+Tech Accelerator, the Frontières Coproduction Market, the Cannes NEXT Cinema & Transmedia Pitch, the Sheffield Crossover Market, and Cross Video Days in Paris.  In the vein of classic portrayals of female anxiety such as Roman Polanski’s REPULSION, Todd Haynes’ SAFE and Jonathan Glazer’s BIRTH, VFC is a primal and immersive psychological drama about fear of music (cinando.com). Its main innovation is in bringing brain-computer interface storytelling to the big screen by offering an interactive neurotech experience.

On the premises of the Cannes Film Market, as a grant holder for the Estonian innovation and development incubator Storytek Accelerator, Charles presented his work to the audience of the tech-focused NEXT section (8-13 May).