When we point at the biggest current factors of change in the world’s cities, these not only concern expanding high-rises, urban mobility and other symptoms relating to population growth or decline. Cities today are drastically changing with intelligent technological functionality – implemented in urban surfaces, as infrastructures and as facilitating communicative spheres. So-called smart city visions are racing our cities to the future, making them more efficient, intelligent and predictable, along with continuous advancements in mobile devices enabling new apps, life navigation services and socio-cultural experiences to structure our everyday lives.
How may art, as autonomous manifestation and a domain intimately related to human experience, take part in the technological development of cities today?
Contemporary artists employ the ‘intelligent’ technologies of our times to examine new configurations of science in everyday life. Like art has been intimately connected with science and everyday life up through history, also today there is a role for art in the increasingly scientific environment of everyday life: the intelligent city, at the citizen level – the cultural level – of testing, enlightening, facilitating, ‘mediating’ or in other modes examine and convey the complex experiences in technologically upgraded urban environments; or making a human dimension present to us and felt, one of emotion, creativity, wonder and objection. (…)
This article considers potential current roles for media art in the urban domain of the intelligent city, especially in perspective of the city of Stavanger, which among nine other European ities holds the status as ‘smart city lighthouse’. The articles is published in SCB Journal, Vol. 1 October 2017, an artistic research journal presented by the Screen City Biennial, Stavanger, Norway.
Image: John Craig Freeman, Virtual U.S./Mexico Border (2017), augmented reality work commissioned by Screen City Biennial, Stavanger.