My research and projects examine urban media aesthetic phenomena and (media) art in engagement with societal and urban change, in a global perspective. Since ancient times, art and the arts have been anchor points of human consciousness and considered fundamental to building up societies. Today, as we race our cities towards increasingly smart, technocratic and rationalized futures, we need to continuously explore how art’s sensibilities, inquiries, and political aesthetics can affect the ecologies from which our innovations and cultures emerge and bring us towards more sustainable, and more critically and ethically conscious, realities. My curatorial and academic work and teaching evolve around this inquiry of examining processes of change in contemporary societies and urban environments at architectural, hybrid, and worldly scales. This is with point of departure in human perceptual-sensory experience and our sensible modes of evolving with immersive environments of technological, spiritual, and natural qualities.
In my doctoral dissertation and upcoming book Contemporary Urban Media Art I examine this inquiry in terms of how media art and media aesthetic phenomena and innovations co-exist with time and temporal experience (hence contemporary) – considering both human and machinic temporalities. I particularly examine how media art interferes with human temporal experience and duration through site-contextual, environmental-relational and future-virtual realms of distributed sensibility today.
My current academic research focus on expanded reality, supported by the Carlsberg Foundation and situated at The New School and the City University of Hong Kong, further examines embodied, emotional change affected by immersive, mediated environments in which we are surrounded by mediated surfaces, networked information structures and soon omnipresent augmented reality interfaces. I examine how our perceptual experiences in virtual, augmented and mixed reality, or, ‘expanded reality’, relate to processes of change in different contexts of the world today, and how artists engage with these technogenetic and habitually shaping mediated experiences.
I am engaged with art in relation to urban change as a curator and head of research of the Screen City Biennial in Stavanger, Norway, through exhibition making, art commissions and public program planning, and leading the biennial’s research program. The research program examines and builds discourse on art as imbricated with urban discourse and transformation, from the expanded moving image to other emerging modes of media art.
While my teaching has particularly explored trajectories, histories and critical aspects of urban media art and aesthetics, in 2017 I initiated the Urban Media Art Academy together with Susa Pop. The academy’s programs depart from media art and aesthetics as potentially critical, ethical and sustainable impulse in the urban domain. This globally networked initiative (in 2017 ad 2018 organized in Bangkok, São Paulo, Durban, and Beijing) develops from an interdisciplinary and temporal-spatial approach to urban media art as artistic material, concept and intervention in urban contexts.
My upcoming edited book titled Digital Dynamics in Nordic Contemporary Art (November 2018, Intellect) examines the contingent relations between digital art and technological or ‘digital dynamics’ in society, and how the digital affects change in artistic practice, agency and political aesthetics in contemporary art, mainly examined in a Nordic contextual perspective. The co-edited book What Urban Media Art Can Do – Why When Where & How (2016, avedition) proposes, through concrete case studies and theoretical articles, urban media art as processual and change-making urban phenomena.
I frequently speak about past, current and emerging forms of urban media aesthetics and their impact on human-perceptual experience, worldly ecosystems and sensibility.
I moderate panels and conversations on this topic with critical perspectives on art, urban images and screens, media architecture, smart cities, technological innovation, hybrid environments; and around notions of memory, Spectacle / spectacularization of behavior, surveillance, invisible media sensibilities, urban urgency, radical temporality, human indifference and impulse, intensity, intelligence and immersion.
I also advise artists and exhibition contexts on sustainable and ethical dimension of media art and media aesthetics in relation to urban change.
Photo by Pablo Bernardo