LASER Talks: Adaptation and Space
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.
See below to watch the recorded talks.
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.
In this brief intervention, I discuss practices of infrastructuring as political tools to adapt within ongoing systemic and pandemic-induced crises of precarity. After introducing infrastructuring as a verb, rather than infrastructure as a noun, I propose an analytic of vulnerability as the much-needed political trajectory to be considered in future-oriented discussions about societies, spaces and politics on the move. More information on my thoughts about infrastructures can be found here: Cultural Infrastructures of Vulnerability » Arts of the Working Class and here: CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURES OF VULNERABILITY II » Arts of the Working Class.
Dr. Friederike Landau (*1989) is a political theorist, urban sociologist and cultural geographer. In her dissertation, published with Routledge as Agonistic Articulations in the Creative City - On New Actors and Activism in Berlin's Cultural Politics Agonistic Articulations in the 'Creative' City: On New Actors and Acti (routledge.com), Friederike explored political organization and representation practices of Berlin's independent art scenes. Friederike is interested in spatial and political theories of conflict, art-led activisms, politics of public art (esp. murals, monuments, museums) and the many forms, shapes and mo(ve)ments of 'the political'. More information on www.friederikelandau.com.
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.
Even though space is a highly contextual concept, one way to frame it would be to think of it as a limited resource. Naturally, this framing implies a conflict between space and other goods - a viewpoint that is not too unfamiliar to many people (e.g. space-time tradeoffs in computer science). However, space possesses a tradeoff with itself as well, i.e., trying to secure more space in a certain axis may result in less space in another one. For instance, our demand for more physical space resulted in exposure to pathogens from wildlife, which eventually brought us to lockdowns, i.e., less physical space.
This eccentric property of space (and other similar resources such as privacy) is becoming more and more evident in the age of algorithmic decision making and artificial intelligence. Why is that so? Considering the stance being shifted from "machine learning algorithms are bad at optimizing humane metrics" to "machine learning algorithms are working more or less as designed but we are bad at defining the relevant metrics", does algorithmic decision making have the same self-tradeoff property as well?
Oğuzhan (Ouz) Gencoglu is the Co-founder and Head of AI at Top Data Science, a Helsinki-based AI consultancy. With his team, he delivered more than 70 machine learning solutions in numerous industries for the past 5 years. Before that, he used to conduct machine learning research in several countries including USA, Czech Republic, Turkey, Denmark, and Finland. Oguzhan has given more than 40 talks on machine learning to audiences of various backgrounds.
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.
The places we live in do not only influence us but are also affected by our contact with them. This shared landscape far from being static is, in fact, in a constant state of flux caused by the agents responsible in building, reframing and breaking existing structures. While the streets hold the possibility of being a site where social hegemony is exerted, expressed, reinforced or challenged, they are equally a fertile ground of study–– a space of micropolitics. Being locations of where existing social hierarchies can be viewed as well as experienced, one’s body and its mobility in cities are matters of urgent inquiry within the larger context of how public spaces can be developed or reviewed for gendered and racial inclusivity.
Within the discourse of one’s right to the city, how can we then not only address the historic exclusionary patterns that continue to exist in our everyday but moreover, remedy this imbalance in public spaces that are normalised and reinforced through the policies that we make or plan our public spaces that further affect these shared interactions?
Shubhangi Singh’s practice as an visual artist and filmmaker responds to contemporary politics and the interconnectedness of production and reproduction of popular everyday material. She works across the media, ranging from text to moving image and site-specific installations. Her practice often draws upon empirical as well as existing and recorded knowledge to address movement, identity, bodily autonomy and queries related to gendered body and its relationship with the public sphere.
Singh is 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.
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.
Whichever the context or discipline, notions of space are inevitable
constructs for reasoning with where we are, who we are, and what we could do. At the same time, a common general definition of space that we can all agree with appears hopeless. Space therefore emerges as a species of variations, that we occupy in time through the different realms: the physical, the conceptual, the sensory, the social, the emotional and so on. Borrowing examples from the sciences and the arts, the talk will attempt to unfold space as a qualitative substance, one that we can think through, examine, compare but also play with, construct and get a feeling for.
Constantinos Miltiadis is an architect who works in transdisciplinary practices. His research focuses on architectures that we cannot build in the physical world, but we can still experience. Constantinos studied architecture at NTU-Athens and the Chair for CAAD, ETH Zurich and pursued studies in computer music at IEM, Kunst Uni Graz. He has developed and taught original curricula on creative programming and spatiotemporal design in undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as conferences and festivals. His work has been presented in seminars, exhibitions, published in academic conferences and by international press. Between 2015-2019 he was assistant at the Institute of Architecture and Media of TU Graz. Since 2019 Constantinos is research fellow between the Departments of Design and of Architecture at Aalto ARTS. Most of the past year he spent sitting in a 25m2 room in Helsinki.
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 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.