[spectre] first monday special issue on urban screens

Franck ANCEL franck.ancel at wanadoo.fr
Wed Feb 8 12:26:57 CET 2006

Now, the only city in the world currently open on the screens is Shanghai.

See u soon in China e-by FA


> Message du 08/02/06 12:03
> De : "Geert Lovink" <geert at xs4all.nl>
> A : spectre at mikrolisten.de
> Copie à : 
> Objet : [spectre] first monday special issue on urban screens
> http://firstmonday.org/issues/special11_2/
> Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban 
> society
> By Pieter Boeder and Mirjam Struppek
> Introduction to First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: 
> Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society 
> (February 2006)
> Welcome, gentle reader, to this First Monday Urban Screens special 
> issue, the first publication of its kind. With the advent of digital 
> media, the global communication environment has changed dramatically. 
> In the context of the rapidly evolving commercial information sphere of 
> our cities, especially since the 1990s, a number of novel digital 
> display technologies have been introduced into the urban landscape. 
> This transformation has intersected with other major transformations of 
> media technology and culture over the last two decades: the formation 
> of distributed global networks and the emergence of mobile media 
> platforms such as mobile phones. Their cumulative and synergistic 
> impact has been profound. Convergence of screen technologies with 
> digital communication technologies such as GSM, RFID, Internet and 
> database technologies has lead to the emergence of a new, interactive 
> and increasingly pervasive medium: Urban Screens.
> Urban Screens can be defined as interactive, dynamic digital 
> information displays in urban environments. Their genesis is the 
> consequence of two parallel technological developments: evolution and 
> subsequent growth in magnitude of the traditional display screen, and 
> its subsequent convergence with other digital media technologies. Forms 
> and appearances range from large daylight compatible LED billboards, 
> plasma or SED screens, information displays in public transportation 
> systems and electronic city information terminals to dynamic, 
> intelligent surfaces that may be fully integrated into architectural 
> façade structures. Their introduction in the urban environment poses 
> new, unparalleled challenges and opportunities, which we will explore 
> and document in this issue.
> Currently, the primary purpose of this new infrastructure appears to be 
> the management and control of consumer behaviour through advertising. 
> Commercial companies are starting to realise that digital billboards 
> are a powerful medium to communicate their goals and missions, in line 
> with the new paradigms of the digital economy. Interconnected Urban 
> Screens have tremendous potential to serve as a platform for 
> information exchange. Such large networks are already being developed 
> Russia, China, USA and South America, where Urban Screens are rapidly 
> becoming a key element in commercial and government informational 
> infrastructure. The implications for the public sphere are profound. 
> Information density per square metre is increasing, yet at the same 
> time individuals have less control than ever over the actual format and 
> content of that information.
> Public space has always been a place for human interaction, a unique 
> arena for the exchange of rituals and communication. Its architecture, 
> being a storytelling medium itself, plays an important role in 
> providing a stage for this interaction. The ways in which public space 
> is inhabited can be read as a participatory process of its audience. 
> Its (vanishing) role as a space for social and symbolic discourse has 
> often been discussed in urban sociology. Modernisation, the growing 
> independence of place and time and individualisation seem to devastate 
> traditional city life and its social rhythm. The Urban Screens project 
> explores the opportunities for opening this steadily growing 
> infrastructure of digital screens, currently dominated by market 
> forces, for cultural content, along with its potential for revitalising 
> of the public sphere.
> Urban Screens 2005 was the first international conference that was 
> solely dedicated to the emerging Urban Screens phenomenon. 
> Presentations covered a broad spectrum of topics and issues, ranging 
> from critical theory to project experiences by researchers and 
> practitioners in the field of art, architecture, urban studies and 
> digital culture. It addressed the growing infrastructure of large 
> digital moving displays, which increasingly influence and structure the 
> visual sphere of our public spaces. Urban Screens 2005 investigated how 
> the currently dominating commercial use of these screens can be 
> broadened and culturally curated: can these screens become a tool to 
> contribute to a lively urban society, involving its audience 
> interactively?
> A new medium that is digital, interactive and pervasive
> What we are seeing is the emergence of a new medium that is digital, 
> global and local, interactive and pervasive at the same time. What 
> happens if the convergence of new technologies such as Internet, 
> database and mobile technologies suddenly enable interactive access to 
> the visual streaming of these digital surfaces? Can it revitalise the 
> public sphere by creating an information-dense urban environment or is 
> it a major threat? How does the growing infrastructure of digital 
> displays influence the perception of the visual sphere of our public 
> spaces? Metaphorically speaking, can or do Urban Screens already 
> function as a mirror, reflecting the public sphere?
> The Urban Screens project aims to address these questions in a 
> transdisciplinary debate and present new approaches to answering the 
> most pushing urgent questions, exchange experiences and create and 
> maintain a thematical network around the subject for initiating future 
> collaborations. The Urban Screens 2005 conference in Amsterdam 
> addressed the existing commercial predetermination and explored the 
> nuance between art, interventions and entertainment to stimulate a 
> lively culture. Other key issues were mediated interaction, content, 
> participation of the local community, possible restrictions due to 
> technical limits, and the incorporation of screens in the architecture 
> of our urban landscape.
> Urban Screens 2006: Demonstrating the potential of public screens for
> interaction
> Building upon the results of Urban Screens 2005, the 2006 Urban Screens 
> 2006 conference (Berlin, October 5-6) will elaborate on the discussion 
> and develop the broad spectrum of possible formats and usage of this 
> emerging new media infrastructure. Urban Screens 2006 will be a 
> platform for demonstrating the potential of public screens for 
> interaction in a trinity of infrastructure, content and cooperation 
> models. Interconnected topics will be the politics of public space, 
> multimedia content as a service for an array of portable devices, urban 
> neighbourhood reactivation, interaction design of urban screens, 
> standardisation and integration in the urban landscape. Using existing 
> screens infrastructure as well as future 'Urban Screens furniture' in 
> the urban space of Berlin, we will demonstrate the impact of Urban 
> Screens, their contextualisation and situatedness. This unique 
> accumulation of projects will serve as a playground and research field 
> for practical observations on the interplay of screen technology, 
> content, location and format.
> Urban Screens 2007: Expanding the potential of content for community 
> screens
> Urban Screens 2007 is currently under preparation in collaboration with 
> BBC Public Space Broadcasting. While Urban Screens 2006 will have 
> 'brick & mortar' accents, Urban Screens 2007 will have a distinct focus 
> on the potential of journalistic content: issues surrounding the 
> production and display of media content for Urban Screens, as well as 
> adaptive reuse of 'old' content for new media will be explored in 
> detail. Key issues and topics will include Public Space Broadcasting 
> (PSB), the politics of public space, mediated interaction and 
> participation, as well as experiments with new participatory formats. 
> PSB can energise the hearts of cities by bringing together communities 
> to share events and broadcasts, creating public news and information 
> points that double as local meeting places. Largely due to the 
> innovative work of the BBC, PSB is starting to prove its potential to 
> provide an outlet for community and educational activities, public 
> service information, visual arts, digital innovation and local content 
> production, revitalising the public sphere.
> We hope that you will share our excitement.
> ---
> Table of Content:
> Introduction: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban 
> society
> by Pieter Boeder and Mirjam Struppek
> Urban screens: The beginning of a universal visual culture
> by Paul Martin Lester
> The politics of public space in the media city
> by Scott McQuire
> The poetics of urban media surfaces
> by Lev Manovich
> Interpreting urban screens
> by Anthony Auerbach
> Story space: A theoretical grounding for the new urban annotation
> by Rekha Murthy
> The urban incubator: (De)constructive (re)presentation of heterotopian 
> spatiality and virtual image(ries)
> by Wael Salah Fahmi
> Urban screens: Towards the convergence of architecture and audiovisual 
> media
> by Tore Slaatta
> Towards an integrated architectural media space
> by Ava Fatah gen. Schieck
> Art and social displays in the branding of the city: Token screens or 
> opportunities for difference?
> Julia Nevárez
> Hijacking the urban screen: Trends in outdoor advertising and 
> predictions for the use of video art and urban screens
> by Raina Kumra
> For an aesthetics of transmission
> by Giselle Beiguelman
> Intelligent skin: Real virtual
> by Vera Bühlmann
> Programming video art for urban screens in public space
> by Kate Taylor
> Augmenting the City with Urban Screens
> by Florian Resatsch, Daniel Michelis, Corina Weber, and Thomas 
> Schildhauer
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