Published Online Publications Volumes

Urban Interfaces

Urban Interfaces: Media, Art and Performance in Public Spaces
Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 22 Issue 4

Description: In this collection of essays, we advance the notion of urban interfaces to explore how situated media, art, and performances (co-)constitute and (co-)construct the public spaces of our mediatized cities. Central is the question how urban interfaces may act as privileged sites to negotiate contemporary frictions in and about these spaces – frictions around such issues as digitization and datafication, privatization and commercialization, individualization, and immigration. This issue investigates how these negotiations take shape and contribute to understandings of the role of art and technology in public space.

Series Editor: Lanfranco Aceti
Editors: Nanna Verhoeff, Sigrid Merx, and Michiel de Lange

Reference this volume: Verhoeff, Nanna, Sigrid Merx, and Michiel de Lange, eds. Urban Interfaces: Media, Art and Performance in Public Spaces. Leonardo Electronic Almanac 22, no. 4 (March 15, 2019).

Published Online: March 15, 2019
Published in Print: To Be Announced
ISBN: edit
ISSN: 1071-4391
DOI: edit
Repository: edit

Acknowledgments:  The Leonardo Electronic Almanac is a collaborative effort supported by MIT Press, Leonardo/ISAST, Goldsmiths, New York University (Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development), OCR (Operational and Curatorial Research), and CAC (Contemporary Arts and Cultures).



by Stephanie DeBoer
Public urban screens are material interfaces for addressing the relations between urban inhabitants and the infrastructures in which they live and pass. This article reflects upon the relations between Shanghai’s state-entrepreneurial context for urban screens and the tactics of adjacency available to media artists and curators (and by extension urban inhabitants) for encountering them, particularly as they are linked to infrastructures of transit and mobility. Mainstream platforms and technological systems generate mobility within the city, as critics of infrastructure have argued, yet this mobility creates the possibility for other new movements to occur. Urban screen infrastructures are thus productively approached in the performative modalities of the interface, as they sit at the razor-thin line between competing articulations of ‘adjacency.’ Indicative of the potentials of expression, experience, and encounter that might emerge in the proximity of otherwise unlike domains – here among layers of urban infrastructure – adjacency is articulated by Out of Home (OOH) screen industries in recombinant innovations that advance us toward new technological and urban futures; media artists and curators, however, have opportunity to take advantage of the layering of urban/screen infrastructures to potentiate other ways of being to be recognized. Here, practices of adjacency can reframe the urban screen to make known the relations, encounters, movements, and sensations that might otherwise sit in the shadows or interstices of the state-entrepreneurial city.