The first-year students from the Department of Media kicked off the academic year with the introductory course Understanding Media, Art and Design. Previously one of the course’s goals has been to encourage the students to take up space at the campus and use it in new creative ways. Under the current circumstances recommending remote studying this year, the students used their imagination in occupying Zoom instead.
The examples given for the exercise included the use of Snapchat filters in Zoom, creative uses of backgrounds, conveying contents via videos etc. With this in mind the students formed groups and presented 10-minute lectures on their hopes, wishes and expectations for their studies in the current online situation. Similarly, some of the staff were invited to experiment with the topic and introduce themselves to the students on the first day of the course, using creative ways that embodied the idea of occupying Zoom.
The prevailing themes in the presentations revolved around battling with online fatigue, the overloading of information, breaking the ice and boundaries during calls as well as getting to know other group members through their environments. The class got to experience guided tours from Tehran to Lahti, a cooperative game to warm up the team spirit and a video picturing the process of zooming out Zoom, along with lively music composed of the sounds in Zoom.
Taeyoon Choi from the School for Poetic Computation gave the students a lecture on his practice, drawing inspiring connections between art, technology and Korean food. The students themselves showed interest in the culinary world in the form of nugget avatars and a virtual game with the possibility to learn to mix drinks.
As we know, online learning creates new types of modes of participation, a colorful range between active and passive participation as well as self-awareness and distractions that are related to the technology that facilitates the process. These ideas were cleverly pointed out by one student group that through an online performance categorized the Zoom student architypes.
One of the most striking wake-up calls from the Zoom fatigue finally arrived in the form of Hyber Zoom, a futuristic dimension of the program that featured filters and quirky online identities. Through a performance with strong science fiction connotations, the Hyber Zoom team invited all of the students and staff to join the new alternative reality and take a leap forward in the vast and infinite space that the world online has to offer.