7 October 2019

Urban Interfaces: Media, Art and Performance in Public Spaces

On 15 March the Leonardo Electronic Almanac published an issue on Urban Interfaces: Media, Art and Performance in Public Spaces (Volume 22, Issue 4). 

In this collection of essays, we advance the notion of urban interfaces to explore how situated media, art, and performances (co-)constitute and (co-)construct the public spaces of our mediatized cities.

The role of art and technology in public space

Central is the question how urban interfaces may act as privileged sites to negotiate contemporary frictions in and about these spaces – frictions around such issues as digitization and datafication, privatization and commercialization, individualization, and immigration. This issue investigates how these negotiations take shape and contribute to understandings of the role of art and technology in public space.

[urban interfaces]

[urban interfaces] is a platform for a critical investigation of urban interfaces for creative and participatory engagement. Focusing on mobile and situated media, arts, and performances, the initiates critical reflections on these technologies and socio-spatial practices and their shaping and staging of urban culture. [urban interfaces] is an initiative of the Department for Media and Culture Studies (MCW) at Utrecht University and collaborates with an expanding (international) network of academic and cultural partners.

The mission of the research group [urban interfaces] is to explore the different ways in which situated media, art, and performances create, intervene in, and transform urban spaces. This research brings together perspectives on current rapid and radical urban transformations, reflexive cultural practices in and about public spaces, and theoretical approaches from media, art and performance studies, in order to contribute to debates about contemporary, urban culture.

We aim to  a) develop theoretical and conceptual tools necessary for understanding the dynamics of urban transformations; b) contribute to sharpening sensitivity for, and awareness of the elucidating, reflexive and critical potential of practices in media, art and performance, and c) contribute to the development of multi-disciplinary methods for academic research within the creative humanities, seeking manifold collaborations and network activities with cultural partners and stakeholders in the wider cultural field.

In our research we bring together multiple fields, topics and research foci, among which: mobile media studies, scenography and dramaturgy, interface theory, media architecture, urban media art, participatory culture, network theory, game studies, locative media, screen theory, design theory, architecture.

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