Medialab Prado


Urban Screens and Public Space Seminar

28.09.2009 - 30.09.2009

Place: Medialab Prado · Plaza de las Letras, C/ Alameda, 15 Madrid

Seminar about urban screens and public space directed by architect Nerea Calvillo takes place on September 28, 29 and 30.

With the participation of Mirjam Struppek (Interactionfield), Susa Pop (Public Art Lab), Jeffrey Huang (Media Design Lab), Kim Halskov (Digital Urban Living),  Jan Edler and Tim Edler (Realities United) and  Keri Elmsly and Alexandros Tsolakis (United Visual Artists).

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No more seats available. Registration closed.

> Documentation of the Seminar
> Activity expenses (pdf)

pantallas urbanas

Led Action Screen.


"Venturi & Scott Brown´s dream is here. “Viva the facade as computer screen! (...) the building as a digital sparkling source of information, not as an abstract glowing source of light!”, they yelled in 2004, and for more than a decade urban screens have been colonizing city center´s from all over the world. They have been growing in quantity, size and resolution for commercial purposes, but their target,  to “acknowledge and accomodate the enhanced complexity of cultures” as the american architects proposed, has been generally dismissed.  

The debate about their content has only emerged a few years ago through festivals or temporary art installations, which have parasited the existing commercial screens with video art works or  spectacles projections. But there´s still a lot of questions to be raised regarding the relationship between their content and how it does operate in its context, and how they do affect their physical and mental environment.

At the same time the limits between public and private have been blurred by technology, and the capacity of the open urban space of organizing socially a sphere of mediation of subjectivity, experience and implication as a public space has been questioned. Inhabitants flow through the city with their electronical prosthesis connecting to the virtual world, breaking boundaries of time and space and leaving unclear where an how social experience is organized.

In this context the seminar aims to reflect on the relationships established between urban screens and the public space in which they are immersed, questioning the kinds of space, communities and personal interactions they activate.

For that purpose it is important to rethink urban screens not only as open door wide screens, but as digital facades with blurred limits which may be able to construct  an active and changing threshold between bodies and minds of inhabitants and their surroundings. In this sense, they would become an infrastructural system, a public device which enables other activities to happen and becomes necessary to the organization of the city.

In order to engage urban screens with public space three main fields of action have been identified:

· Social Participation. Urban screens as promoters of social responsibility and civic participation.

· Data visualization. Urban screens as information emitters, constructors of critical thought and collective memory.

· Game and Interaction. Urban screens as interactive devices which promote social interaction and ludic experiences.

Testig these strategies may give us the tools to evaluate whether urban screens can transform audience/consumers into citizens, re-activate the physical space and at the same time enlarge it through a virtual one. Will they become our communal digital prosthesis?" By Nerea Calvillo.

Seminar Schedule:

*Simultaneous translation English/Spanish


Monday, September 28

Evening: Social Participation   [+info]

5 pm: Presentation of the Seminar
5:30 pm: Mirjam Struppek (Interactionfield) and Susa Pop (Public Art Lab)
7 pm: Presentation of Plazanimada and The Artvertiser (presented by Julian Oliver)
7:10 pm: break
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Roundtable and debate


Tuesday, September 29

Morning: Data Visualization  [+info]

11am: Jeffrey Huang (Media Design Lab), Keri Elmsly and Alexandros Tsolakis (UnitedVisualArtists)
12:30 pm: Presentation In The Air (Nerea Calvillo) and Waves to Waves to Waves (Chris Sugrue and Damian Stewart)
12:40 pm: Break
1 pm - 2 pm: Roundtable and debate

Evening: Game and Interaction  [+info]

5:30 pm: Kim Halskov (Digital Urban Living) and Tim Edler (Realities United)
7 pm: Presentation of Asalto (Daniel Canogar) and Entramado de Luz (Pablo Valbuena)
7:10 pm: Break
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Roundtable and debate

Wednesday, September 30

Morning: Work session  [+info]

11 am: Presentation of urban screen projects in Spain:

· Façade of the C4 in Cordoba
· Communication building in the Alcorcon City Council
· Urban screen at Plaza de Las Letras (Medialab-Prado in Madrid)

12 noon: Working groups moderated by Blanca Fernández Quesada and Paloma Blanco.

1:30 pm - 2 pm: Sharing session and conclusions


*Simultaneous translation by AICE Asociación de Intérpretes de Conferencia España 


No more seats available. Registration closed.


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