Spaces, Images, Communication: Improving New Urban Models

January - April 2014
Ed. by Simone Arcagni
ISSN 2281-1516

SCJ # 4 edited by Simone Arcagni gathers the proceedings of the symposium "Spaces, Images, Communication: Improving New Urban Models" in the framework of Screen City – Moving Image Festival 2013, which took place from October 25th to October 27th in Stavanger, Norway.

What is hidden behind definitions such as ubiquitous computing, locative media, pervasive computing? What new urban space is defined with screens and new technologies? From the invasion of portable devices connected to the Internet of things to the idea of a smart city, it is a matter of defining a new space, new relations, and experiences bound to objects computerization and architectures, to connections and geo-location.

The Screen City is the city of screens, the city that prompts crossing thresholds and creates a new urban space produced by the deep hybridization between the macro-medium computer-Network and the macro-medium contemporary metropolis that can be called "Citynet".

Connection, vision, information, and participation are the buzzwords not only for the new media system but also for the new usage agreement between citizen and city. The city becomes the macro-medium where various media and devices cross each other to redefine public space and social interaction. A place intersected by cables, antennas, and waves, in which we are able to connect and locate; it is also a place where to view, be informed, and communicate through screens that are interfaces used to access (and manage) digital information flows. The contemporary screens sum up the various functions that they have had throughout time: screens have "screened", meaning they have covered spaces and places in which new images have been loaded. Screens have accommodated projections, as in the cinema, and screens for the video transmission. Screens share moments of shooting and viewing, this is the case for videophones, smart phones, and tablets.

The urban screens comprise a phenomenon that needs to be analysed and studied necessarily using a multidisciplinary approach. The urban screens bring into play the role that the public space carries and may carry, also the type of fruition and therefore the audience's medial experience, that, in this case, are citizens crossing the city, citizens that occupy an urban space, who enter relationships with other people and with the proposal of communication. It is a matter, of understanding the models of information, communication, and entertainment put into play through the posting of a medial window in the city's spaces.

The contemporary city is crossed by images and sounds; on the urban screens, on the media facades, on the media architectures, through architectural projections and on the screens of mobile devices. It is a plot of advertising images, communications and information. As a consequence, here is another fundamental question: what are these screens proposing?

Advertising, institutional communication, entertainment, as it is in the case of games in the public space and also art: video art, live media performance, etc.

The symposium "Spaces, Images, Communication: Improving New Urban Models" proposes to directly address the matter of dialectics between big and small urban screens and urban space; trying to understand the model of the emerging city, what forms of communication, what experiences and what medial model. Furthermore, an additional topic will be the definition of the quality of urban space and screen, and also, of participation and interactivity.

View SCJ #4 special index

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