Art on the left bank of the Aura river.

Turku has two modern art museums on the Aura.
My favourite one is Ars Nova Aboa  Vetus ( http://www.aboavetusarsnova.fi/en).
There Krys and I watched an excellent film by video artist Magdalena Dziurlikowska (My Secret Life: http://youtu.be/HRpltnngM_E). We went back and watched again the next day. Which is a strong suggestion to you dear reader.
Here are some other nice things we saw:

image

image

image

image

Further down the left bank is the Waino Aaltonen Museum. It’s a welcoming airy space. With many inspiring pieces for instigators of change, creativity and innovation.
Here I saw an excellent piece of artwork pictured from prototype to the finished project decorating the side of a building.
image

image

image

There were some other fascinating pieces including this Pieta:
image

Here are a few more snaps to be going along with.
image

image

image

image

image

From TV broadcasting to Video for all: Throwing open the gates of the walled garden

Turku, Finland.
Krys Markowski, our students and myself spent an hour and a half with Petri Kalske the ceo of AXEL Technologies (http://www.axel.fi/about-us/) a company whose fortunes we have been following now over six years now.
Within that time frame the company has completely restructured it’s business model three times! When Axel was founded in 2003 TVs were big heavy boxes which needed two men to carry. In Europe TV content was broadcast from high towers covering hundreds of square kilometres. What people watched was controlled and decided by a handful of programmers. The transmission towers, like the TV stations themselves, were deemed strategic, to be carefully managed by safe hands.TV was seen as the most powerful mass communication tool available by states and governments. It Still is.
In the USA content was delivered mainly through cable companies who offered a large range of content and channels and charged for their services accordingly. It was the perfect walled garden. Users were effectively captive. Axel began as a company mainly sub-contracting to Nokia with the development of middleware products like the setup boxes needed to bring the content providers offering into the homes.
Then the mobile phone industry expanded. Cellphone towers and repeaters spread like wildfire. Coverage became seamless.
Engineers realised that consumers would want to watch TV on their phones and set about making that a reality. They calculated that the avalable cellphone bandwidth would allow individual consumers to watch video easily but that mass video consumption would saturate the system quickly. So they decided to route the video to the phones through the existing TV transmission tower network.
TV receivers were miniaturised and installed in the phones. The content providers ramped up their offers. Axel technologies was part of this chapter. They worked with cellphone manufacturers world wide on hardware solutions. They created a content viewer they called Fuugo.
Content was still seen as a walled garden.
And that was the mistake.
Compression techniques made the videos easier to transmit. Bandwidth increased radically and is still doing so. The TV transmitter solution became irrelevant. Youtube was born. Consumers can watch what they want. Where they want. When they want.
The older generations still watch TV in their living-rooms, for example the evening news, but the younger generation no longer does so. They have all they want and need directly over the internet.
Content can no longer be kept in a walled garden. Cable companies can no longer rely on their walled gardens. Content is everywhere.
Petri tells the story of when he was on a ferry boat in the Finnish archipelago during the 2012 Olympics. The TV was on. The passengers were all watching the Olympics. But not on the TV which was showing cross country running or somesuch. being ignored. . They were watching the sports they wanted to watch directly on their smartphones. The gates of the walled garden had been flung open.
Axel technologies now markets an aggregator application and it’s accompanying services. Go to google play or the app store, type in Fuugo and you’ll find their template.
image

Sparknet. A city-wide WiFi network.

There is free Wi-Fi wherever you go here in Turku, be it in the universities (there are two) and schools, the halls of residence, the startups and research centres, the hostel where we’re staying, the bars and restaurants or the

image

shops

image

The coverage is fantastic, simple and it works. When can’t other places (like Cité Descartes for example) get it together. Groans.

Exploring the Time Trek Trail

The Time Trek is a 13.7  km long astrobiology walk from the Tuorla observatory outside Turku  to the university in the centre of town. A meta history of the universe where each metre represents a million years.  The first nine km are given over to astrophysics, the next three km to geology and final 500 metres to biology. Modern man is worth a  centimetre.
At lunch time Krys Markowski, the students and I went to meet Kirsi Lehto a biologist and her husband Harry an astronomer who were at the origin of the project.

image

The walk begins in a tunnel under the observatory, built in the 1950s to test telescope mirrors, it gives a suitable aura of wine to the walk to come.

image

The tunnel is decorated with excellent pictures of nebulae and galaxies.

image

The trek continues outside where the first of a series of 120 brass plaques fixed to  granite blocks describes the initial moments in the monumental meta-history of our universe.

image

Here 9 km down the trail the plaque tells of the birth of life.
The walk takes a day to complete. There are restaurants and bars along the route for weary travelers to eat and rest.
The trail ends at Turku university on the hill above the economics school with a statue which amplifies the background noise of the universe.
image

image

Since the creation of the Turku time trek a similar project has been completed in Australia and another time trek project is under consideration in France.

An evening in Naantali

I set out into the ever setting sun from Helsinki airport with two if our students. After a long drive we arrived in Turku .
We settled in to the youth hostel and then drove on straight to Naantali for a quiet Finnish evening meal.
Naantali is a small harbour village. It started out as a convent dedicated to Saint Birgitta. Then, after the reformation, it’s inhabitants turned to knitting socks for a living.
In the 1800s it became a spa town. Now it is the home of Moominland and the president of Finland’s summer residence.  It is extraordinarily beautiful. It’s waters peaceful,  boats bobbing at anchor. It’s the first time I’ve seen it ice-free at this time of year.

image

image

In helsinki airport with the ITMPS

I’m in helsinki. On my annual trip to finland. And now i’m benefiting from the airport free wifi and and enjoying Finnish coffee . It’s rather like american coffee but drinkable! Flight with smooth and easy. Luggage came off the carousel as promised. Hire car was waiting. Beautiful beast that never has been driven.
I’m looking forward to the drive to Turku, if we get there in time I’d like to spend the evening in Naantali , a picturesque port nearby. Of this more later.

image