Thomas Bjørnsten

Assistant Professor

Thomas Bjørnsten
See relations at Aarhus University
I currently work as a postdoc funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research and Aarhus University. My research project is entitled Making sense of data – understanding digital reality through contemporary artistic practices of visualization and sonification. This is a transdisciplinary investigation of how we deal with technological mediation processes and the immense amounts of data and digital formats that constitute our composite analogue/digital life-world. The project partly focuses on artistic and experimental design practices that explore digital formats, big data, protocols, perceptual coding strategies, machine learning, etc. through methods involving data visualization and sonification. One aim of the project is to evaluate whether such strategies can help us to address and make clearer  political, sociological or aesthetic implications of data flows and processes - something which also connects directly to broader societal questions about our still more intimate relationship with data and digital technologies. The various activities related to the project can be followed here: 
Another key aspect of my research project is new developments within emotional and affective data analysis related to both visualization and sonification techniques. Particularly I am interested in how emotive data is currently being explored through new uses of machine and deep learning techniques (including computer vision, voice analytics, biometrics etc.). As part of this research I suggest that different data scientific approaches may benefit from knowledge informed by aesthetics and cultural analysis to understand the complexity of emotional reactions and responses. This research is now developed through EMDAA - The Emotional Data Lab Aarhus
Specific EMDAA-related projects currently include: 
As part of my research in this area I have been a visiting scholar and provided lectures at McGill University, Massachucetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Leuphana University, and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).


In relation to my general research interests I am associated with the following centers and labs:  

  • AU Datalab. My research focus here is current challenges within multimodal data analysis, especially related to visualization and sonification methods, as well as emotional data analysis.

  • AU IDEAS pilot centre Literature between Media / Litteratur mellem medier, where my research is focused on the role and importance of digital formats in relation to texts and literature within a contemporary multimodal and multimedial field.

  • AU Sound Studies Center. My research here will be aimed at developing new methods for sonification and emotional data oriented audio-analysis (Center launches in 2017)
  • The research group Art, Senses, and Technology

Currently (2014- ) I am teaching aesthetic theory and analysis, market communication, design and branding aesthetics in audiovisual digital media. 

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