[urban interfaces] research group at Utrecht University

Mission statement

Urban public life is shaped by, and mediated through a variety of technological and cultural interfaces. Our central question is how media, art and performance as urban interfaces act as productive sites to negotiate contemporary frictions, concerns and debates in and about urban, public spaces. These involve processes of digitization and datafication, and institutionalization and commoning, marginalisation and contestations around identity politics, and concerns about urban ecology and sustainability. Activating the notion of urban interfaces as a lens, the research group investigates how these negotiations take shape and contribute both to understandings of urban public space and of the role of art and technology in such spaces.

The mission of [urban interfaces] is to explore the different ways in which situated media, art, and performances engage in current rapid and radical transformations taking place in our cities, and how, in doing so, they create, intervene in, and transform urban public spaces. 

We aim to a) develop theoretical and conceptual tools necessary for understanding the frictional 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 partners and stakeholders in the wider cultural field. With our research agenda and collaborations it is our mission to contribute to equality, sustainability and justice in our contemporary cities.