LASER Talks: Adaptation and Space

Abstract image of rectangular shapes with a LASER Espoo / Helsinki logo in the centre.
Original image: Sensual Mathematics, final exhibition of the course Crystal Flowers in Halls of Mirrors. Henri Vogt, Aalto University. Graphic design: Aliina Kauranne.

Join us for four interesting presentations and a discussion on the theme of Adaptation and Space: the transformation of the contemporary environment and its challenges: the social, the infrastructural, the technological, the sensory, the virtual, the built and the unbuilt. 

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  • Oguzhan Gencoglu
  • Friederike Landau
  • Constantinos Miltiadis and 
  • Shubhangi Singh.

The event is moderated by Pia Fricker, Professor of Computational Methodologies in Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, and Constantinos Miltiadis, doctoral candidate in Architecture and Design from Aalto University.

Can we agree on what space is? Concepts, definitions and interpretations of space and of spatiality are essentially how we construct the world and by extent how we create means to intervene into that world, with our day-to-day practices. ‘Space’ thus accumulates plural constructs, poetic artifices that we collectively produce and reproduce through time, within our cultures, our sciences, our arts. Through the dimension of time, these are the spaces that serve as vehicles for adaptation and transformation, from the scale of the individual to that of collective societies and of the environment at large.

Under the theme ‘Adaptation and Space’ this LASER Talk at Aalto University will intersect different practices and discourses as heterogeneous but complementary articulations of ‘space’, that address, operate on and contribute, in different ways and capacities, to the transformation of the contemporary environment and its challenges: the social, the infrastructural, the technological, the sensory, the virtual, the built and the unbuilt.


Friederike Landau_portrait
Photo: Marietta Müller

About the speakers

Dr. Friederike Landau, Assistant Professor for (Cultural) Geography, Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Friederike Landau is a political theorist, urban sociologist and cultural geographer.

Her talk addresses practices of infrastructuring as political tools to adapt within ongoing systemic and pandemic-induced crises of precarity.

Oguzhan Gencoglu_portrait by Riku Mäenpää
Photo: Riku Mäenpää

Oguzhan Gencoglu, Co-founder and Head of AI at Top Data Science 

Oguzhan (Ouz) Gencoglu is expert in machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence.

In his presentation, he will talk about trade-offs that we inevitably make while reclaiming or letting go of space, and whether algorithmic decision-making and use of artificial intelligence can have impact on this. 

Shubhangi Singh_portrait by Domas Šleževičius
Photo: Domas Šleževičius

Shubhangi Singh, Visual Artist, Filmmaker

Shubhangi Singh is a visual artist and filmmaker, and co-founder of New City Limits, an initiative to facilitate creative viewing and practice in Navi Mumbai, India. She currently lives and works in Helsinki.

She is going to speak on how as artists and creative practitioners we can raise critical questions about places where we live in, that influence us, and are affected by our contact with them.

Constantinos Miltiades_portrait
Photo: Constantinos Miltiadis

Constantinos Miltiadis, Research Fellow, Department of Design & Department of Architecture, Aalto University 

Constantinos Miltiadis is a transdisciplinary architect; also programmer, media artist, researcher, teacher and occasional curator, with a main focus on real-time, interactive, virtual, augmented reality design, for the purpose of incorporating the spatiotemporal dimensions of contemporary media to expand the scope of architecture.

He tasks himself with exploring various qualitative dimensions of the concept of space in this LASER Talk, and he will also co-moderate the event.

Aalto University joined the list of LASER Talks hosts in 2020. The Aalto LASER-team decided to have a continuous theme of Adaptation throughout the year; this focus-topic is investigated from diverse perspectives within the four LASER Talks in 2021. The first talk Adaptation and Bodies in Context focused on critical questions concerning human evolution, our abilities to adapt to the future conditions and understand models produced by sciences, as well as on the topical questions of changes in our lives, attitudes and expectations impacted by the pandemic. You can watch the recording on YouTube.

During COVID-19, we will convene online, and the programme of the future talks will be announced in 2021. The aim is to organise 2-4 LASER Talks every year at Aalto. If you are interested in giving a LASER Talk at Aalto, please send an abstract to [email protected]i.

LASER Talks series at Aalto University is organised by:

  • Laura Beloff, Professor of Visual Culture and Artistic Practices
  • Pia Fricker, Professor of Practice, Computational Methodologies in Landscape Architecture and Urbanism
  • Ksenia Kaverina, Doctoral Candidate in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture
  • Kirsi Peltonen, Senior University Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis
  • Nitin Sawhney, Professor of Practice in the Department of Computer Science, and
  • Koray Tahiroğlu, Academy Research Fellow in the Department of Media.

The mission of LASER is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 40 cities worldwide.

International LASER Talks series will start January 28, 2021

LASER Talks are an initiative launched by Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Aalto University joined the list of LASER Talks hosts in 2020, and the January event will be the first-ever held in Finland.

Read more
LASER Talks at Espoo/Helsinki. Leonardo Arts Science Evening Rendezvous
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