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September 19, 2006

PERFORMING PLACES seminar: media and embodiment in the urban environment


Call for participation

Call for participation :: PERFORMING PLACES seminar: media and embodiment in the urban environment :: Helsinki, November 7-9, 2006 :: Submission deadline: October 6, 2006 :: Notification of acceptance: October 12 :: Full papers due: October 31 :: Seminar opening/closing: November 7, 6 pm / November 9, 4 pm.

Seminar theme: The Performing places seminar will bring together researchers, artists and developers whose work touches on the experiential, affective and political aspects of urban and technological life, and who share an interest in inventive artistic and technical practices of the urban environment. The seminar addresses the current urban situation, where lived environments are undergoing major experiential and social changes, driven mainly by technical and economic pressures. Our aim is to create a forum for critical, transdisciplinary exchange by bringing to resonance a set of relevant themes:

1. Urban space, in its current versions, blends embodied and mediated forms, orchestrating everyday actions to an invisible score of signals and software. With ubiquitous computing, devices pervade our physical environments to trace and modulate behaviour, enabling new modes of service, surveillance and intervention.

2. Cities are increasingly shaped by the formation of 'creative clusters', according to innovation strategies which target an evolving experience industry and seek global competitiveness for a particular region or place. These strategies typically neglect embodied, affective or everyday aspects of the production of space - even if they often include programmes to advance citizen participation and social inclusion.

3. Artists and media developers have the possibility of addressing urban space in ways that prioritize its experiential, social and political contexts. Strategies of site-specific, community and performance art are complemented by the activity of media artists and designers, producing interventions and applications that can capture the collective dimensions of our experience and render them palpable.

4. Recent theories in human geography and the cultural study of technology highlight the affective and relational qualities of the urban/technological environment. In their focus on the performative and collective aspects of use and production, these theories challenge dominant views of representation and innovation, proposing more event-based and mobile accounts of inventive agency.


The seminar invites participation from all relevant disciplines, especially from practitioners and researchers in

*media, performance and urban arts
*IT design and and urban planning
*urban and media studies.

The aim is to build conceptual links and exchanges between disciplines, in order to produce a critical framework with real relevance for urban practice, research and policy. For this reason the seminar will take the form of parallel workshops, with short presentations and a collaborative development of issues. Project demonstrations are warmly encouraged - but the main objective is to move beyond presentation and arrive at a problematization of practices. Of special interest are contributions discussing, for example:

*Performativity and performance - embodied, affective and non-representational practices in media, arts and sociality;
*Ubiquitous interaction - collective, participatory agency in urban interactions;
*Affected places - art and media interventions in the physical and virtual environment;
*Urban media experience - audiovisual, mobile and network media in the production, consumption and experience of places;
*In/visibility - techniques and practices of representing and making visible, from infrastructures to surveillance to performance;
*Critical urban practice - critical artistic and technical practice in the urban sphere; perspectives on production, coding, design, planning and development.

How to participate

Submissions should include 1) Title, 2) Keywords 3) 500-word abstract 4) Selected bibliography and 5) 200 word cv of presenter.

They should be sent by October 6, 2006 to informer[at]m-cult.org as pdf or rtf attachments.

Notification of acceptance is October 12 and full papers due October 31, 2006.

For further information, contact Minna Tarkka: minna tarkka [at] m-cult [dot] org

Invited speakers and artists

Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick, Human Geography
Sally Jane Norman, Newcastle University, Culture lab
Adrian Mackenzie, Lancaster University, Institute for Cultural Research
Hille Koskela, University of Helsinki, Department of Geography

Invited artist-researchers

Pia Lindman, performance artist, Fellow, MIT Centre for Advanced Visual Studies
Ari Tenhula, choreographer, researcher, Theatre Academy of Finland
Heidi Tikka, media artist, researcher, Media Lab UIAH / USED


The seminar is organised in context of USED (Urban Spaces and Experience Design), an arts and research interaction project carried out by m-cult and HIIT and funded by the Academy of Finland and the Arts Council of Finland. The co-organising partners are:

m-cult centre for new media culture, Minna Tarkka
HIIT Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Giulio Jacucci
Helsinki University of Technology, Urban and Regional Studies, Panu Lehtovuori
Theatre Academy of Finland, Performance studies, Annette Arlander
University of Art and Design Helsinki, Environmental Art, Alan Prohm
University of Art and Design Helsinki, Media Lab, Lily Diaz

Posted by jo at September 19, 2006 06:48 PM