LASER Talks

Pink organic material and the LASER logo

LASER Talks

Leonardo/ISAST LASER Talks are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of LASER is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building.

Aalto University joined the list of LASER Talks hosts in 2020. During COVID-19 pandemic, we will convene online, and the program will be announced continuously throughout 2021.

LASER Talks: Art, Architecture and Complex Systems

Images: Aalto LASER Community event on September 9th, 2021 co-organised with Aalto Networking Platform. Photos by Aman Askarizadmasouleh. Design Factory, Otaniemi

LASER Hosts 2022

Laura Beloff, Professor of Visual Culture and Artistic Practices
Pia Fricker, Professor of Practice, Computational Methodologies in Landscape Architecture and Urbanism
Aurora Del Rio, Doctoral Candidate, Contemporary Art

Partners: 
Aalto University | https://www.aalto.fi/en 
Leonardo/ISAST | https://leonardo.info/laser-talks 

Image of an artwork by Benjamin Dillenburger, with info text about the event
Original image: Benjamin Dillenburger Graphic: Aurora Del Rio

Art, Architecture and Complex Systems

The world is getting increasingly complex as new developments, systems and even aesthetics are frequently introduced. While design and creative processes are evolving, new tools and methods, which are often adopted from science and technology, are taken into use in art, design and architecture—although strangely not vice-versa. These diverse developments are also impacting manufacturing, industries, urban habitats, design approaches and the arts in the expanded field. While early 1980s science fiction movies showed us how incredibly dangerous the world could become if robots would become intelligent, the big overtake has not happened yet, but instead these technologies are deeply influencing the way we think, see, live and form our values. This leads us to the important questions that the invited speakers aim to address from their own perspectives (architecture, design, biochemistry, robotics): What is our future like co-living with complex, robotic and automated systems? What kinds of politics do these developments present—who is included and excluded? How are our aesthetics and thought processes impacted by the different approaches?

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Beyond Spontaneous generation - advertisement image
Original image: Aurora Del Rio. Graphic design: Eva Tordera Nuño

Beyond Spontaneous Generation

The theory of spontaneous generation understood life as emerging spontaneously from nonliving matter. The idea of spontaneous generation has been re-interpreted throughout history until later scientific discoveries have proved this theory to be wrong. What if the evolution chain, once pictured as a line, was instead a circle, now caught at the moment when reaching its point of origin? With the title Beyond Spontaneous Generation, this LASER Talk presents an investigation into the concepts of evolution and life through the lens of the relationship between bioart and science: biotechnology, biorobotics, explorations and speculations around possible futures.

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LASER Talks Archive

LASER Hosts 2021

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, Visual Culture
Kirsi Peltonen, Senior University Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis
Nitin Sawhney, Professor of Practice in the Department of Computer Science
Koray Tahiroğlu, Academy Research Fellow in the Department of Media

Partners: 
Aalto University | https://www.aalto.fi/en 
Leonardo/ISAST | https://leonardo.info/laser-talks 

Laser Talks banner in pink and red with geometric artwork behind the Laser logo
Graphic design: Aliina Kauranne

LASER in 2021: Adaptation

The cross-cutting theme of 2021 is Adaptation: it is approached in every LASER Talk at Aalto through a new constellation of questions and participants. The presenters that we have so far invited were artists, researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs, working in disciplines like mathematics, visual arts, urban geography, machine learning, robotics, architecture etc. In line with the original idea of the LASER Talks as international and transdisciplinary gatherings, panelists are encouraged to speak to wider audiences, and to be provocative in their 10-15 minute presentations. 

Adaptation and Bodies in Context

January 28th, 2021 | 18:00–20:00 (Finland)
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A poster with a pink background with text stating the three speakers and moderator for Adaptation and Bodies in Context LASER talk
Graphic design: Aliina Kauranne

Critical questions concerning human evolution and the future of the planet were at the center of the first LASER Talk at Aalto: in what ways are we (humans) as a species able to adapt to the changes in our habitat and environment? And what does that imply? How are pandemics affecting societies and changing our relation to bodies; own and others’? Are there ways to devise positive strategies (artistic, scientific or other) to transform the acute “shocks” and chronic “stresses” in the global system to not only adapt, but redirect its trajectory? In which situations adaptation becomes problematic and leads to unexpected consequences?

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Adaptation and Bodies in Context – Speakers

Adaptation and Space

April 29th, 2021 | 18:00–20:00 (Finland)
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Banner for Adaptation and Space, second laser talk. Speakers names are in a black font in front of a geometrical image in pink and red tones
Original image: Sensual Mathematics, final exhibition of the course Crystal Flowers in Halls of Mirrors. Henri Vogt, Aalto University. Graphic design: Aliina Kauranne

What is space - in a time marked by massive environmental, societal, political challenges and technological development? Can we agree on what space is? And what does it mean to adapt? The panelists in this talk discussed different views on the concepts, definitions and interpretations of space and of spatiality, as well as the means to intervene into that world with our day-to-day practices.

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Adaptation and Space – Speakers

Adaptation and Interconnected Agencies

September 9th, 2021 | 17:00–18:30 (Finland)

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LASER Talk
Original image: Laura Beloff. Graphic design: Federico Simeoni

Presentations and an interactive discussion about the transformation of the Arctic imposed by climate change on geopolitical and environmental levels with the artist Kaisu Koivisto, researcher in Arctic identities and politics Ingrid A.Medby, designer and doctoral researcher Emilia Tikka, and Jukka Tuhkuri, professor of ice mechanics at Aalto University.

Part of Garden LEONARDO LASER: [Anti]disciplinary Topographies in Ars Electronica and Designs for Cooler Planet program, Helsinki Design Week

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Adaptation and Interconnected Agencies - Speakers

General information and speaker proposals

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