Today, we are perfectly attuned to the photo-realistic imagery of design presentations; daily experience the ever present moving imagery of the commercialized urban landscape; and still watch the ‘city symphonies’ of a new generation of filmmakers. We are familiar with the digitally laden experience of the contemporary public transport ride, and still see ‘the city’ as a site, subject and protagonist in cinematic productions from California to Mumbai. In this context, urbanists imagine the future of an interconnected ‘smart city’ and the design process itself becomes mediated, as architects simulate user behavior as a form of ‘space syntax’.
As Marshal McLuhan identified as far back as 1964, today’s global village is a place of simultaneous experience; a site for overlapping material and electronic effects; a place not so much altered by the content of a medium, but rather, a space transformed by the very nature of medias themselves.
For some, this is little more than the inevitable evolution of urban space in the digital age. For others, it represents the city’s liberation from the condition of stasis. For scaremongers, it’s a nightmare scenario in which the difference between the virtual and the real, the electronic and the material, the recorded and the lived, becomes impossible to identify. In every case, corporeal engagement is placed at one remove from the physical world.
The Mediated City Research Programme is an on-going set of research, event and publication activities aimed at building up a major resource on the city and its relationship with medias and technologies.
Conferences – a series of international events with varied but related themes
Publications – a series of books, Special issue Journal publications and conference proceedings
Medias and disciplines – an engagement with various formats of presentation and research
Outline and participants – the programme brings together academics, artists and professionals
Through these research components, the Mediated City Programme aims to build up a diverse range of knowledge around this hybrid and contested subject. By positioning the city as a dual physical and mediated phenomenon it seeks to instigate dialogue, engagement and interaction between thinkers, researchers and practitioners from diverse fields.
For architects the city can still be a question of constructed buildings – a physical entity, whilst for human geographers it is a place of human interaction and engagement. Similarly, for filmmakers it may be a site for action and futuristic nightmare, whilst for animators and computer programmers it becomes a virtual world – a second life, a SIMulated city. For sociologists, it is a defining aspect of cultural identity, whilst for political activists and theorists, it is a place to ‘occupy’ and the site of the polis.
Through counter-positioning these discipline centred perspectives, overlaying their research methods, and fomenting opportunities for cross-disciplinary engagement, the ultimate aim of the Mediated City research Programme is to build up a major resource on the contemporary and historical city and its continually evolving relationship with medias and technologies.
Conferences | Publications | Medias and disciplines
Images by: Sonny Abesamis and Glogger