Aalto Studios 2017

Time to move on.

We have packed up our Arabia facilities on December 16th 2016 and joined Media Centre Lume in building a new, ambitious initiative and facility at the Aalto campus in Otaniemi during the next years. While this was made public some time ago, we didn’t yet have a name to go by. Now we do.

We call ourselves Aalto Studios.

To stay up to date, make a note of studios.aalto.fi, where we’ll build up more information on what we are aiming for, and how we’re starting to plan it together with you.

And be sure to like our New Facebook Page to get the latest behind-the-scenes view on our relocation and reignition for 2017!

Energy Hackathon 2013 – the results

8 great concepts/prototypes were created last week at Energy Hackathon 2013!

The focus of the hackathon was on domestic electricity consumption data. One reason why this data is particularly interesting is that Finland is one of the first countries in Europe where smart meters have been installed in nearly all households. The legal framework that gives people the access to their own data will be valid from the beginning of 2014.

The hackathon had approximately 60 participants and 3 special guests from abroad: Denise Recheis (Thesaurus and Knowledge manager at Reeep), Chris Davis (Postdoc in TU Delft) and Julia Kloiber (Project Lead at Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland).

Helsingin Energia and Elenia provided several data sets and the developers of the Open Energy Data API gave access to their test data.

Image: SmartRegions European Landscape Study 2012


After a full day of hacking, 8 concepts/prototypes were presented. The jury evaluated the proposals based on four criteria (concept, implementation, use of data, presentation) and nominated the following three proposals:

Smart saver – Electricity contract for the bold penny-pincher (winner)

Team: Janne Eskelinen, Jouni Juntunen, Janne Käpylehto, Heikki Raunio

Smart saver is a real-time billing optimizer for consumers that are interested to lower their electricity bill. The concept is based on the current market anomaly where consumers typically choose fixed electricity price contracts instead of market based Nordpool spot pricing.

The concept was backed up by hourly consumption data from year 2012 provided by Helsingin Energia. The data set of 37 electricity meters in Paloheinä were used to calculate differences between fixed and Nordpool spot. The team presented example resuls of two different type of properties: industrial building and private detouched family house with direct electrical heating. In annual level the market pricing benefited 5351 € and 736 € respectively in electricty consumption alone (without distribution or tax which will further increase the difference).

Furthermore load shifting scenario were 20% of consumption was shifted to less expensive hour was tested. This provided additional 6% cost saving in residential example house with 28 MWh annual consumption.

The team concluded with two potential service concepts: load-control features (for water heating and water heating circulation system) and SMS service informing about high-cost hours.

» Presentation slides

Race to Reduce (2nd place)



  • Facebook Application
  • Visualize energy savings via travel distance
  • Compete with friends to see who can save more domestic energy

The Game:

  • Choose a start and end point for your journey
  • Invite your friends to race
  • Answer a few questions used to normalize consumption data

Data Manipulation:

  • Used Helsingin Energia data (50 unit apartment building)
  • Calculated monthly consumption
  • Used January as the baseline month
  • Calculated % change from January
  • Highest reduction = most points
  • Most points = furthers distance travelled

» Presentation slides

CrowdREsourcing (3rd place)


Team: Jyri Salpakari, Juuso Lindgren, Jukka Kajan

CrowdREsourcing gathers consumers that are interested in investing to renewable energy together. Interest and the owned assets are declared on an online-service. The service forms clusters of potential investors according to their matching resources after which an initial proposal for a possible project are presented to the cluster. Possible datasets that could be integrated are Tuuliatlas and electricity network infrastructure.

>> Presentation slides

Other presented concepts/prototypes were:


Team: Jarmo Lundgren, Esa Mäkinen, Charlotta Haglund, Saara-Maria Kauppi, Pekka Pietilä, Lauri Anttila, Vesa Lindqvist

Web solution which connects to avointuntimittaus.fi and gathers electricity usage information for the user (online bank identification to give access). You can compare your consumption to previous week and try to save energy (there’s a leader board). The prototype uses the test interface of avointuntimittaus.fi.

>> Online prototype


A proposal to create a real-time map of available solar energy in Finland.



Team: Sami Niemelä, Julia Kloiber & co

An ‘energy saving piggy bank’ for children.

  • A little bit like a tamagotchi that you feed with energy
  • Get batches, share score, get money ‘back’ from your parents
  • Get a sense of energy usage
  • Watch less tv 😉

» Presentation slides

Energy Radar


A Clock drawing information of ones hourly energy usage. Comparing the on time hourly energy consumption to one’s own longterm average energy consumption, so called ‘normipäivää’, normal day.


  • Winning yourself
  • Understanding your anomalies (peak behavior, anomal weeks, device use)
  • Learning to save, making behavioral changes (figuring out your own patterns)

» Presentation slides


Team: Reko Mäenpää, Ranjit Menon

Ambisocial is an attempt to add the often missing component to any data, leave alone energy. This is the experiential domain. Building energy artefacts, and not just Apps, allow stories to flow, serendipity to happen and creates awareness and curiosity among the new generation of energy enthusiasts, the kids. And when kids ask questions, the parents should know the ‘reliable’ honest answers. This was an attempt to prototype a simple audio-visual experience that brings an emotional aspect to multiple energy sources, in public spaces. By turning discrete events into organic flows one can begin to gather new ideas.


Presentations by our international guests & the final presentations of all the teams can be found here:


Two proposals (Smart saver + CrowdREsourcing) were invited to the Peloton Summer Camp kick-off event (Friday 24 May). We are also discussing about featuring energy as one of the topics of the upcoming Apps4Finland competition.

If you are interested in open energy information, please join the soon-to-be-established Open Sustainability working group of OKF Finland.


Thank you very much to all the participants of Energy Hackathon 2013 for an intense & fruitful event!

Report from the Open Knowledge festival 17.-21.9.2012

Aalto Media Factory has been one of the main co-organizers of the Open
Knowledge Festival 2012, which took place in Helsinki last September, in
the Arabia Campus of the Aalto University.

The 2012 edition of Open Knowledge Festival was the first event of its kind to address open knowledge on such a large scale and its overwhelming success has marked a significant push forward for open knowledge movements both in Finland and abroad.

The Festival has been documented with over 355 hours of recorded video footage from seven simultaneous life stream recordings of OKFestival 2012 sessions, workshops, satellite events and receptions, and hundreds of Flickr photographs.
The After OKFest page contains many more links about videos, photos, press reviews, blog postings. Here you can see some pictures taken by Veikko Kähkönen.

The OKFest 2012 Final Report (pdf, 43 pages) has been published online here.

Here is some data about the OKFest:


1054 registered participants from more than 50 countries
1200 OKFest satellite event participants
Representatives of 442 organisations: 68 universities and educational units, 74 government agencies or public sector institutions, 176 associations and foundations, 124 corporate or private sector employers


134 sessions including 306 individual presentations
67 hours of hackathons and 61 hours of satellite events
Altogether 484 hours of programme designed by 100 Guest Programme Planners


200+ features in mainstream and indie media
12 572 live video stream views
17 951 tweets between 14 June and 1 October

OKFest 2012 was a great boost for the local open knowledge scene and we are right now preparing the OKF Finland Convention (8-9 Feb, http://fi.okfn.org/).
In 2013, the Open Knowledge Foundation will continue the legacy of this event by holding the next Open Knowledge Festival in Geneva with local organisers who produce popular annual LIFT events and the Open Knowledge Foundation Swiss chapter in Switzerland. The event will occur in mid-September 2013, and is already in its initial planning stages.

One of the many legacies of the OKFestival 2012 moment is The Open Book. The Open Book (currently in progress) is a multi-author publication, inspired by OKFestival 2012, which is intended to contextualise the international open knowledge movement in the words of those who are helping to build it today. The book will be published in February 2013 by the Finnish Institute in London in collaboration with the Open Knowledge Foundation in the “Reaktio” book series. More information can be found online here.

We hope to see many of you in Geneva at OKFest 2013, and remember that the city that will host OKFest 2014 can still be proposed!

Media Industry Network

Advisory board (2009-10) and Media Industry Network

Media Factory advisory board acted as an interface with the Finnish media industry and international academics within the field of media during the factory’s early stages of development. The members of the original board are listed here below. As part of the strategic development of the Media Factory under the direct management of the Aalto University Rectorate, since January 2010, the creation of a broader Media Industry Network is now under development. One of the main aims of the forthcoming Industry Network will be the development of Aalto Media Dialogue activities in which open debate and collaboration will be encouraged and facilitated between the university’s leading media experts and leading names in the media sector, as well as with politicians and representatives of various media-related organizations and institutions.

Members of the MF Advisory Board 2009-10

Pirjo Airaksinen
Senior Vice President of Programming

Helene Juhola
Director R&D
Federation of the Finnish Media Industry

Alex Nieminen
Managing Director

Hannu Olkinuora
Editor in Chief

Christa Sommerer
Media artist, Professor
University of Art and Design, Linz, Austria

VIDEO: Media Factory Summer Workshop with the Advisory Board, 5.6.2009

Researchers’ Forum

Media Factory Researchers’ Forum

Video from previous researchers’ forum seminar 12.11.2009

Media Factory aims at facilitating trans-disciplinary approaches in education and research. One of the main agendas for the year 2009 was to establish the preconditions for this aim. During the first year of Media Factory’s development became clear that the synergies in the network were very promising. However, combining the wide scope of competences and approaches in a productive way is a complicated task. Establishing a flow of trans-disciplinary research projects with global relevance presupposes some decisive developmental steps towards an enriching trans-disciplinary research culture.

Media Factory Researchers’ Forum is a networking tool that, in its early phases, enables researchers and doctoral students in Aalto University to get acquainted with each others’ media-related research questions and methodological challenges. On this basis it will be easier to identify and solidify thematic clusters on the level of research challenges and to develop new trans-disciplinary research projects around these.

Besides its role as a trans-disciplinary research generator, the Media Factory Researchers’ Forum functions as a catalyst for media-theoretical, philosophical, political and ethical discussions.

The first Researchers’ Forum seminar was organized in April 2009. It was entitled “Mediating Art, Business, and Technology”. The focus of the seminar was on the question how to develop our network into a substantial research platform that is able to facilitate the emergence of a rich interdisciplinary research culture in Aalto University. Reijo Miettinen’s keynote lecture “Distributed innovation and the challenge of multidisciplinarity” functioned as an introduction into this theme.

The seminar confirmed the general feeling that the competences of the network participants complement each other in a multi-faceted way and that there is a real interest in developing new forms of cooperation. More than 30 researchers got the chance to become acquainted with the research interests of each other.

Now we are in the phase of building up the interdisciplinary research culture. Researchers’ forum functions as a frame for two important aspects of this work: Development of common vocabulary and critical reflection of research objectives in a wider societal context. Further, the Researchers’ Forum intends to offer a frame for discerning thematic clusters based on shared research interests that might lead to new research tracks.

Previous Researchers’ Forum Seminar “Public Space Contested. New Media Technologies, Art and Society”

Time: 12th of November, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Place: University of Art and Design Helsinki, 8th floor, design department, lecture room 885

The previous Researchers’ Forum seminar took place 12 November 2009. It was entitled “Public Space Contested. New Media Technologies, Art and Society”. The theme was developed on the basis of Media Factory’s mission statement and the research abstracts collected from the participants of the Researchers’ Forum seminar in April 2009.

Media Factory network has defined its mission in following terms:

“Media Factory is an ambitious research-driven transdisciplinary collaboration platform with emphasis on creative and human-centric experimentation that bridges art, design, technology and business. The wide scope of Media Factory enables Aalto University to become change agency of future media behaviour, media industry and role of media in society. Through its activities, Media Factory promotes openness, pluralism and societal responsibility.”

The notion “human-centric” is notoriously open to diverging interpretations. What do we mean by “human”? New media technologies have rendered this question more virulent than ever.

Human being is a social being; social bonds are essential to the constitution of subjectivity. Currently, we are witnessing a dramatic shift in the nature of social bonds: various forms of virtual encounters are becoming ever more determining for social life. Media scholars have paid attention to multiple new phenomena and trends (that are contestable): new forms of activism and addiction, age segmentation in media use, generalized irresponsibility, new types of affective intimacy, fragmentation of audiences and user groups… The Finnish philosopher and columnist Tuomas Nevanlinna has aptly nicknamed the Finnish version of ‘global village’ as ‘maailmankorpi’ (‘world-backwoods’) – a place where everybody continuously keep them selves in touch with everybody expect with their neighbours. Social life is rooted in unstable media.

The notion of ‘public space’ offers an entry to research challenges associated with the envisioned ‘human-centrism’ of Media Factory research. The more specific focus is set on new media art in terms of its innovative potential and societal impact.

10.00 Mika Elo: “Introduction: ethics of the in-between”

10.30 Laura Beloff (Univ. of Plymouth): “Wearables As An Artistic Strategy”
11.30 Discussion

13.00 Hille Koskela (HY): “Reality control”
14.00 Discussion

Project presentations/points of views:
14.30 Nuno Correia (TaiK): “Interactive Audiovisual Objects”
14.45 Discussion

15.00 Petri Saarikko (HIIT): “Designing touch in between two worlds Case study: CityWall”
15.15 Discussion

15.30 Annukka Jyrämä (HSE): “Contemporary art markets and new media art”
15.45 Discussion

16.00 Closure

Questions for discussion (proposed by the speakers):

• How to tackle the societal challenges associated with the liminal spaces ‘in-between’ the material and the virtual?
• How to conceive of the societal impact of ‘digital tools’, ‘social-engagement’, ‘participatory arts’, ‘sustainable economics’ and ‘urban sustainability’?
• What aspects of the rise of the user-generated content should our research focus on?
• Can public multi-touch imaging significantly extend the reach of individual expression? And if so, how?
• What is the relationship between power and watching/being watched?
How has it changed lately?
• What is the role of the art/artist for our future, and what its role possibly could be in the future?
• What relevance has this kind of practice for the research and development of (wearable) technology?
• What is or could be the role of artistic creativity in society or in innovation processes?
• Has the market a role in supporting societal role for artistic creativity?
• How can traditional media be transformed and remediated by the web and networked devices?
• Where lies the distinction between digital tools for creating art and new media art?

Additional readings (proposed by the speakers):

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: ‘Eye and Mind’ trans. by Carleton Dallery in The Primacy of Perception ed. by James Edie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964), 159-190. Revised translation by Michael Smith in The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader (1993), 121-149.

Fallman, D. (2008) “The Interaction Design Research Triangle of Design Practice, Design Exploration, and Design Studies”. Design Issues, Vol. 24, No. 3, p. 4-18, MIT Press. http://daniel.fallman.org/publications.html#books

Lev Manovich: “The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?” Critical Inquiry, Winter 2009. 319-331.

Koskela, Hille (2004). “Webcams, TV shows and mobile phones. Empowering exhibitionism”. Surveillance and Society, 2:2/3, 199–215.

Device Art by Machiko Kusahara

“From cyber to hybrid: Mobile technologies as interfaces of hybrid spaces” by Adriana de Souza e Silva http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/publications/handle/1840.2/80

Bolter, Jay David and Grusin, Richard (2000), Remediation: Understanding New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Doing Crossmedia

In 2009 – 2010, Media Factory had two research tracks.

Track 2: Doing Cross-media. Technology, production and consumption

The Doing Cross Media research group takes as its guiding ethos the exploration, problematization and advancement of the ongoing evolution of media by focusing on the interdependent and co-constitutive relationships between producers and consumers especially from the cross-media perspective. Cross-media is understood as production and consumption of content products and services which integrate multiple media types, delivery channels and user interfaces.

In particular, this will involve studying how the design and management of digital assets can be informed through in-depth understandings of users’ media experience and consumers’ media practices, and vice versa, how emerging (and existing) media technologies might produce new forms of agency relating both to the producers and users of media.

This research proposal concentrates on how digital media innovations change the media landscape and its products as well as its production and consumption. It focuses on the design, management, analysis and development of media concepts. The term “media concepts” is understood here in a wide sense, including brands, organizational models, products, new formats, technological innovations, new audiences and their changing media habits.

New technological frames for interaction (mobile and ubiquitous technologies, social media, etc.) call for new theories of media interaction that should be intimately connected with multiple questions concerning the user/consumer/agent. The scope of our research includes technological, organizational, (socio-)psychological, (socio-)political, ethical, aesthetic, economic, ecological aspects of interaction, interaction design and agency in user/consumer/producer behavior.

We approach the field of media as an interactive system of meanings that is part of a larger and more complex network of global flows and activities. This involves defining

(a) the production of media technologies and content in an increasingly competitive environment in print and digital media

(b) the management of digital assets (text, visuality and usage data) for cross-media publishing

(c) the appropriating experiences and practices of the consumer as interdependent and mutually constitutive From a systemic perspective none of the above dimensions takes a determining role – rather, they are interdependent and co-constitutive, conditioning and constructing one another at both the everyday and global level.

We also develop ways to inject the knowledge gained in the research project back into the domains of media producers and ‘asset’ managers in developmental interventions. Our investigations are based on what has loosely been coined as a ‘practice-approach’ in organization studies and use-inspired basic research in studies of science and innovation. With the increasing demand for research that is relevant to society but also for business, this strategy entails shifting from a logic of building media practice merely from theory to one of building media theory also from practice. We develop accounts of practices and treat the field of practices as the place to study the nature and transformation of their subject matter.

Our approach is also trans-disciplinary. We will study cross-media production and consumption by combining theoretical knowledge and expertise from such diverse fields as management and marketing research, cultural studies, media studies, organizational research, audience studies and technological innovation. We engage in a dialogical and multi-perspective conversation between researchers, organizations and audiences through an ethical research design of ethnography, interviews and developmental interventions.

During 2010 the Doing Cross Media research is expected to occur as part of a new integrated project subject to funding through the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, TEKES via its Strategic Centre for Excellence (SHOK) funded activities.

Enactive Social Media and Gaming

In 2009 – 2010 Media Factory had two research tracks.

<div class=”subpagecontenttext”>
<h3>Track 1: Enactive Social Media and Gaming</h3>
Social media can be described as media created and used by many, and that allows people to experience and interact with others. On the other hand social media is a process where technology, content and social interaction are integrated. With social media people can share and create together texts, pictures, videos and audio. While people are sharing and creating media they are participating in complex social networks and systems. This way social media can be defined also as a process, rather than only a technology or tool.

Enactive social media is media where meaning comes through the actual social action. The action is often manipulation of objects in a social context. Playing and games are examples of enactive media. When people create media together it is always a social play or game. People agree on the rules while working with it or are following the rules of the game. The level of freedom in terms of rules and a way of creating them can vary depending on the social media.

From a technological point of view media technology provides ways to 1) augment physical reality as opposed to merely connecting remote participants, making social media important in collocated (shoulder-to-shoulder) interaction; 2) artificial sensing and processing can provide new cues for social media that are not present in face-to-face.

For these reasons we propose to research social media stressing three aspects:

Active perspective on social media users for better understanding how media is and can be tied to action;
Multidisciplinary approach to the “social” drawing from anthropology and design, supported by studies of cognition and emotion of people managing their everyday lives;
Consideration of latest advances in technology, in particular multiuser mixed reality, multiuser tangible media, and multiuser sensing solutions.
To do this we draw inspiration from the concept of enaction. The first definition of enaction has been introduced by Bruner (1966, 1968). He defines three overlapping forms of knowing: enactive (knowledge based on action or knowing how to do things), iconic (knowledge based on representations through visual imagery), and symbolic (knowledge based on language and transmitted through culture). Focus on enaction stresses interaction with the world, multimodality, the knowledge that comes through action and information gained through perception-action with the environment. Enactive Social Media stresses beyond the mediating capacity how applications affect our doings in non divisible perception-action processes.

Objectives of this track of research are:

identify new cues and affordances for “sociality”
devise new techniques for realising cues and enactive loops
demonstrate the benefits of enactive loops and of the active users paradigm
develop a new generation (and formats) of social media and gaming applications that support active users
In all of these areas the Media Factory already has state-of-the-art ongoing research often already including cooperation across the university departments (TKK, HIIT, CKIR, TAIK). The aim of the research initiative is to bring together the expertise of different researchers of the Aalto University to enrich basic research, applied research and experimental product design.

The aim of the research project is to strengthen research collaboration and cross-laboratory work among the existing departments of the Aalto Unviersity, faculty, researchers and students. The project will act as a forum and platform to create foundation for an international Media Factory Doctoral School.
<h3>➜ <a href=”https://www.taik.fi/onni_new/index.php?page=group&amp;groupid=21370″>Enactive Social Media and Gaming – Onni group</a></h3>