Vähän väliä (V/ä/h/ä/n v/ä/l/i/ä) :näyttämön mediaalisuus ja kosketuksen arkkitehtuuri

Translated title of the contribution: Anywhere near (A/n/y/w/h/e/r/e n/e/a/r) : media scenographies and the architectures of touch

Maiju Loukola

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


My artistic doctoral research focuses on the mediality of the performance space, the theatricality of the media, and the experientality of projected image installations. I pose the following questions: how do the mediated practices of contemporary scenography affect our lived, aesthetic experience, and how do they structure our bodily perception in, and as, a performative spatio-temporal event? I contemplate the mediality of theatrical space/place as a media scenographic situation with reference to media theoretical contact points connected to conceptualisations of aesthetic experience, sensable perception and embodied visibility. With reference to my own involvement as a practising scenic artist I consider the experientality of theatrical media installations through analysing the relationship between mediality and touch. My research consists of a written thesis and six artistic projects — three performances and three experimental installations. I approach each artistic part with specific research questions, tackling each project from a slightly different angle, reflecting art practice and theoretical contemplation with and through each other. I consider video projection in all of the performances and installation projects as a transformative and situation-sensitive scenographic medium. My art and research interests are influenced by the tradition and the contemporaneity of spatio-temporally oriented art forms focused on the applications of moving image and image projection. One of the central starting points of my study is intertwined with the notion of expanded (field of ) scenography; I approach scenography in terms of evental space, experientality and scenographic action. I understand scenography in terms of spatial, temporal and visual strategies that activate and transform the spectator’s embodied experience. Also, I argue that the traditional conceptions and practices of scenography do not quite meet the needs of today’s heterogeneous intermedial performative practices, combining the physical and the mediated space in their increasingly divergent, hybrid, socially and technologically affected and infected forms. The fact that our remediated experience is quite evidently configured in-between the actual and the virtual, the visceral and the factual, calls for rearticulation of both the vocabulary and the practices of the performing arts and their scenography. My aim is to contribute to this discussion from a media-sensitive perspective — grounded on the sensability of the body, bodily perception and on the notion of sensuous knowledge. I combine art-sensitive practice-based research with media theoretical discussion. In my study, my theoretical reference points proceed in two main directions: the notion of touch on the one hand, and contemplation of mediality on the other. I aim at making visible a certain in-betweenness that characterizes both touch and mediality – yet emphasizing the peculiar and inherent quality, characteristic of both, that at the same time is determined by a certain tendency towards ineradicable intimacy. I emphasize a media-sensitive point of view, based on which the structure of the mediated experience may be articulated with reference to a profound, even radical, simultaneity of intimacy and distance; this tensional structure defines both touch and mediality, and, within the context of my study, I call term this structural feature the “architecture of touch”. One of the key factors in my research is a phenomenological orientation that positions the body as the focal point of our sense perception. Referring to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s “ontology of vision”, it seems that sensibility and a certain structural “reversibility” inherent to touch build as focal themes in my study. The other theoretical focal point of my study is connected with the notion of “media” and its derivatives. I approach mediality from a perspective where the term “media” is connected to both meaning making and the mediation of senses. Samuel Weber’s notion of “theatricality of media” and his thematizations of Walter Benjamin’s “translation theory” are central to my understanding of mediality in the scenic arts. Thus, the core questions of my study are centred on the relationship between the theatricality of media technologies and the sensable, lived-through experience.
Translated title of the contributionAnywhere near (A/n/y/w/h/e/r/e n/e/a/r) : media scenographies and the architectures of touch
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Helke, Susanna, Supervising Professor
  • Elo, Mika, Thesis Advisor
  • Ikonen, Liisa, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5623-4
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5624-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • scenography
  • performing arts
  • research
  • experientality
  • mediality


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