PhD Defense in Digital Media: “Migration as movement – repurposing the voice/interface to explore aspects of human migratory movement through artistic research”

Terhi Tuulikki Marttila

Date, Time and place:
June 27, 10:00, Sala de Atos of FEUP


António Fernando Vasconcelos Cunha Castro Coelho, PhD, Associate Professor with Habilitation, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.


Anne Karhio, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of education of Inland Norway, University of Applied Sciences;

Manuel José de Freitas Portela, PhD, Full Professor, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra;

Vitor Manuel Pereira Duarte dos Santos, PhD, Assistant Professor, NOVA IMS da Universidade Nova de Lisboa;

José Miguel Santos Araújo Carvalhais Fonseca, Professor Auxiliar da Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto;

Diamantino Rui da Silva Freitas, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (Supervisor).


In this artistic research we start from the idea that digital works can be utilized for imagining and playing with yet impossible realities, for asking questions, and for portraying aspects of life such that we can explore these from a distance. This dissertation consists of three browser-based artworks programmed by myself in HTML, Javascript and CSS. These art experiences unfold on the screen, asking the person to interact with them in order to complete their meanings. The works incorporate, among other things, voice interaction through synthetic speech and speech input, the uses of which form an essential component of the works meanings. Each work is concerned with very different types of questions around migration, but overall, and as a triptych, the works explore what the movement brought about by migration implies from a human standpoint. The themes encompassed extend from exploring perspectives on language, where movement results in linguistic accent which provokes a notion of the Other through external difference (in We cannot take them all), or exploring the movement induced by the tension between our body and our personal needs and desires, but that is governed by (shifting) borders (in Speak out) and finally, at exploring migratory movement through the ambivalent relationship between the here and the there, the simultaneous processes of (re-)rooting and of living with homesickness (in Transplanted). While this research may not depart from clear research questions, it nevertheless arrives at observations about the artistic strategies that emerge when migration is explored through notions of voice/interaction. The works themselves open up a space of contemplation about the respective themes, inviting participation through voice.

Keywords: migration, voice interaction, electronic literature, digital art, artistic research

Posted in Highlights, News, PhD Defenses.