Media Lab Helsinki

Turing Machine


The Turing Machine Cross media concept is based on the life of Alan Turing (1912-1954), who was a wartime code-breaker and pioneer of computer science – often considered the father of modern computing. He made a significant and provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think.

Alan01 and AlanOnline

The multimedia art work Alan01 / AlanOnline – co-created by Teemu Korpilahti, Merja Nieminen and Jaakko Pesonen – wakes up the in 1952 criminally convicted Alan Turing as a piece of code within the art work – thus fulfilling Turing’s own vision of preserving human consciousness in a computer.
onlinekuvitusIt is made up of two interactive art works, one an online interface, the other a physical installation, which use image searching as the method of driving the interaction between users and the installations, and the narrative possibilities enabled by the systems. In both works, users can interact by drawing and sketching, generating a visual stimulus which is fed into an image retrieval system. The results generated by the image retrieval system then results in a cascade of other actions in the works themselves, allowing users to interact with the multimedia installations in a visual manner.

Project website


Turing Impact

The Turing Machine project also contains a non-linear narrative HD documentary workshop. The workshop investigates Procedural Storytelling Structures for making documentaries on the theme ”Impact of Alan Turing and the digital computer”. Outcomes of this Turing Impact workshop are four short HD movies, which can be viewed in connection with the Alan01 installation or over the internet on Alan online from June 2009.


Turing Machine was awarded the Europrix 09 Quality Seal at the EUROPRIX Multimedia Awards 09, for a highly innovative and creative project.

Finalised in 2008:

Turing Machine Opera and Turing Enigma bot

Crucible Studio and Helsinki Skaala Opera ( collaborate to produce a “Trilogy of Turing”; Turing Machine is a multimedia opera performance at Korjaamo, “the Helsinki Cultural Factory”, Turing Enigma is both a spatial installation and a chatting experience on the Internet and mobile web.

Each approach also works independently and provides new points of view to the fascinating life of Alan Turing (1912-1954), a heroic wartime code-breaker and pioneer of computer science. He made a provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. As a person he was “an ordinary English homosexual atheist mathematician”, which led him, tragically, to commit suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

The Turing Enigma and the 3D scenography for Helsinki Skaala Opera’s Turing Machine are realized by the Crucible Studio team as an experimental production for the EU Commission funded research project, SALERO (

Turing Enigma

turing_bot_smallIn Turing Enigma Alan Turing’s spirit has infiltrated the World War II encrypting device Enigma, which Turing devised to successfully crack an “unbreakable” German code. The user can play the role of the cryptologist and engage in discussions with Alan Turing’s spirit. The artificial character can recognize words and sentences from text typed-in by users and then reply accordingly with text and by “spitting out” various 3D-animated objects and operatic sounds out of the Enigma machine. During the Turing Machine multimedia performances by Opera Skaala The Turing Enigma will also be present as an installation in the performance venue.

Turing Enigma is on-line at

Turing Machine

Helsinki Skaala Opera’s Turing Machine opera, composed by Eeppi Ursin and Visa-Pekka Mertanen, is comprised mainly of new electronic music and realtime sampling of old and new material. The libretto is based on the play “Turing” by Miko Jaakkola, which tells the strange life story of this exceptionally talented and complex person. The 3D visualization and digital scenography is by Merja Nieminen and the Crucible Studio team. The opera premieres in Helsinki at Korjaamo 28.3.2008.