International conference Urban Screens 2005

Chief editor - Vladimir Krylov

Urban Screens 2005

Urban Screens 2005 is an international conference ranging from critical theory to project experiences by researchers and practitioners in the field of art, architecture, urban studies and digital culture. The focus is on understanding how the growing infrastructure of large digital displays influences the visual sphere of our public spaces. How can the commercial use of these screens be broadened and culturally curated to contribute to a lively urban society?

Urban Screens 2005: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society

  • Submission deadline: 1 May 2005
  • Time: Friday, 23 September 2005 (extended to the 24th according to feedback)
  • Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Contacts: Mirjam Struppek -urbanscreens@networkcultures.org


  • Geert Lovink, Sabine Niederer, Institute of Network Cultures, Interactive Media, Hoogeschool van Amsterdam
  • Jeroen Boomgaard, Department of Art and Public Space, Gerrit Rietveld Academy/University of Amsterdam
  • Mirjam Struppek, Urban//ReseARTch, Berlin

The conference will feature three main topics:

  • Shaping the urban media space
  • Addressing the social value and civic culture
  • Experiences from practical case studies

Public space has always been a place for human interaction, a unique arena for exchange of rituals and communication in a constant process of renewal, challenging the development of society. Its architectural dimension, being a storytelling medium itself, has played a changing role of importance in providing a stage for this interaction. The way the space is inhabited can be read as a participatory process of its audience.

The (vanishing) role as space for social and symbolic discourse has been often discussed in urban sociology. Modernization, the growing independence from place and time and the individualization seem to destroy the city rhythm and its social systems. New virtual spaces have been populated instead. Starting with the development of virtual cities within chat rooms and spaces for production of identity, we now face community experiments like collaborative wikis, blogs or mobile phone networks in the growing field of social computing. Parallel to this development an “event culture” has evolved in the real urban space of internationally competing cities, focusing on tourism and consumption. In the context of this rapidly evolving commercial information sphere, developers are bringing new digital display technology into the urban landscape.

Considering the social sustainability of our cities it is necessary to look closer at the livability and openness of public spaces. The experience, made in the new digital communication spheres, might serve as an inspiration for the social enhancement of our urban surroundings. Instead of just showing commercials, could the large outdoor displays function as experimental “visualization zone” of the fusing of the virtual public spaces and our real world? Can screens function as a new mirror reflecting the public sphere, a medium of communication of the city with itself?

The conference wants to launch a discussion about how digital culture can make use of the existing and future screening infrastructure, in terms of art and social or political practices, generating a higher value for its operators and “users”. We want to address the existing commercial predetermination and explore the nuance between art, interventions and entertainment to stimulate a lively culture. Other key issues are: mediated interaction, content, and participation of the local community, restrictions due to technical limits, and the incorporation of the screens in the architecture of our urban landscape. We are happy to announce our special guest speakers Lev Manovich, Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego and Mike Gibbons, Chief Project Manager, Live Events, BBC.

Researchers and practitioners in the field of art, architecture, urban studies and digital culture are invited to submit proposals for papers and presentations on key issues and implemented cutting-edge projects.