Lecture by Nanna Verhoeff on Urban Screens and Media Art for urban data
Nanna Verhoeff will be part of a panel at the 2017 SCMS conference in Chicago, which asks what media art can do – what terms and practices are potentiated – with regards to urban screens. Its formation implicitly argues for the significance of comparative methods in delineating the potentials and problems of the public screens that have become so central to many urban centers of the globe, as well as to how we both conceive of and practice the interfaces between media screens and urban space. As it addresses media arts’ intersection with screens across a range of urban contexts located in Europe, North America, East and Southeast Asia, this panel asks us to consider how the interface between media art and urban screens might be located (and thus compared) not simply with regards to their geographic locations, but also with regards to their setting within particular concerns that both emerge from these locations as well as link them to adjacent practices at play within other urban contexts.
The panel thus begins with Nanna Verhoeff’s investigation of the use of media architecture and urban screens as interfaces for accessing and making visible archival and digital collections on location and in real time, called “Situating Urban Data: Urban Media Art as Performative Archaeology for the Emergent Present.” Locating her observations in European based installations, Verhoeff zoom in on the principles of (data) visualization in these contexts. Kristy Kang’s paper focuses on urban media art practices in Singapore, and centers on contestations over public space and cultural heritage, as the city becomes a screen onto which aspirations of technological advancement and global belonging are projected. In her address of North American large-scale data visualization projects, Holly Willis invites us to consider not simply urban screens and the proliferation of screens throughout cities , but a form of “screened urbanism,” which designates a sense of the cinematic imbued by the imaginary of the city. Screened urbanism, for her, is cinema as it enacts new forms of public space and invites divergent practices of identity formation, participation and shared imagination. Finally, Stephanie DeBoer addresses a number of media art projects in Shanghai that have made newly visible or experienced the infrastructures that dominantly form urban screens in the city. Working through tactics of adjacency, these projects re-perform and re-frame the urban screen within adjacent infrastructures. In so doing, they often enable other, more speculative affects and dispositions to be realized.