Department of Media - Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture (FIN)


Lily Díaz-Kommonen (Lily Díaz) is Professor in New Media at Aalto University, School of Design, Art and Architecture in Finland. Since 1998, she has led the Systems of Representation research group that works in visualization and virtual reality for culture and heritage. She has published over 90 articles in selected peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and four books: Art, Fact, and Artifact Production. Design Research and Multidisciplinary Collaboration, Ilmari Publications, (2002), Digital Culture and E-Tourism: Technologies, Applications and Management Approaches (2010), Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture, (2016), and Adaptation and Convergence of Media High Culture Intermediality versus Low Culture Intermediality (2018). She is currently on the editorial board of Journal of Visual Arts Practices and associate editor for She-Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation. She is an active researcher and artist-designer. Among the artistic research and design projects she has realized are the Digital Facsimile of the Map of Mexico 1550, the interactive virtual reality installation and film documentary of the Finnish Pavilion at the 1900 World Fair in Paris, the Vrouw Maria Interactive 3D Virtual Simulation, and the Interactive Diorama – Rembrandt, 1632, shown at Ars Electronica in 2017 and in Helsinki Public Library in 2019. For her work with cultural heritage, she was made First Class Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2017.



Performance-Oriented Research to Promote Community Engagement in Museum Activities

It has already been half a century that researchers working in anthropology, archaeology, art, computer science, and the humanities, among others fields, have been proposing and making use of immersive media as a way to augment knowledge-building processes. This is not surprising, given the deep penetration of digital infrastructures into our epistemic practices. Nowadays, interaction with our digital devices occupies a fair amount of our attention span during customary human activities. In the case of specialists working in museums and other heritage institutions (such as galleries, libraries and archives), digital artefacts have acquired the status of liberally-used components in the exhibition repertoire. Noted once for their potential for expressive multimodality and audience engagement, the digital models that come into being through the process of immersive media design and production are now also being explored as an intrinsic element to knowledge preservation. This is the case with our current project Beyond Matter: Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality, funded by the European Union Creative Europe programme.

During my presentation, I would like to consider how the multi-dimensional aspects of human presence impact the digital evolution through immersive media. Drawing from work samples ranging from the artistic to the scientific, I would like to challenge notions of human adaptation to new modes of existence among the digitally-born artefacts and question how is it that the digital comes to the human, and how is the human brought into the digital?

I will also use this opportunity to introduce aspects of our Performance-Oriented Research methods to be deployed as part of the audience and community engagement initiatives in the project. These methods, which combine autoethnographic and duoethnographic narratives with artefactual analysis of material culture, will be used in our project to gauge audiences’ responses to our reconstructions of the Les Immateriaux (Centre Pompidou, 1985) and the Iconoclash (Centre for Arts and Media ZKM, 2002) exhibitions.


The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.


HyMEx is organized within the Beyond Matter project-frame.


Partners of Beyond Matter