A transnational project about urban media facades and their potential for our future cities

Aarhus – Berlin – Brussels – Helsinki – Istanbul – Linz – Liverpool – Marseille – Madrid – Montréal – Riga – Vienna – Zagreb


The European Urban Media Network for Connecting Cities is a project initiated by Public Art Lab in co-operation with Ars Electronica GmbH Linz, BIS Body Process Arts Association Istanbul, FACT Liverpool, iMAL Brussels, m-cult Helsinki, Medialab Prado Madrid, Media Architecture Institute Wien, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Riga 2014, Videospread Marseille, in association with University of Aarhus, Marseille-Provence 2013, MUTEK Montréal and the Quartier des spectacles Montréal and funded by the European Union.

Our aim is to create a networked infrastructure of urban media facades to circulate artistic and socio-cultural content throughout the whole of Europe. Media facades and digital big screens provide new opportunities for communication in the public space. Through modern Information and communication technologies (ICT), they are membranes between the digital and the urban spaces. All over the world we can evidence an increase of urban screens, media facades and media technologies like mobile phones: 5,9 of 7 billion people have meanwhile access to the internet. What is the potential of urban media besides the commercial usage for advertisement? How can they catalyse communication and awareness of our environments and contribute to a lively society? How can we create an exchange between local scenes and neighbourhoods thus giving a voice to the public audience? Which impact will they have for our global communities?

We will investigate these questions and issues within our 4-years artistic research programme ‘Urban Media Network for Connecting Cities’ in which we pursue the vision of setting up an urban media network to contribute in a sustainable way to the digital future urban media development in our European cities. We approach this vision of the Connecting Cities through three scenarios: Networked City 2013 – Participatory City 2014  – Visible City 2015. None of them can actually be researched isolated, but every year will have a particular focus:

- open-up real-time windows between the cities
- connect the local scenes and neighbourhoods

- include the public audience in artistic processes
- use the urban media facades as digital stages

- data visualisation of sensor networks
- real-time open data processing


In 2013 the Connecting Cities Network will discuss the question of how urban media facades can become a catalyst for shared encounters in an identity-building temporary field of interaction across the borders of time and distance. How can art projects be used to connect the local public virtually with remote places? What are the expectations and visions of our European neighbours? The Networked City 2013 intends to connect local neighbourhoods through participatory processes.

Mission: Human Futures of CONNECTING CITIES

The Urban Media Network for Connecting Cities is challenging a new level of leadership: Policy makers, economists and urban planners have failed to value the innovation factors of artist’s interventions and experiments, yet we all struggle with the rate of social and technological change. The projects shown within the Connecting Cities Network will maximise the value of Urban Media activities, making accessible content of high relevance to broader sets of communities, including public audiences and thereby building stronger links with policy makers on issues of sustainability, transport, cultural identity and diversity, education, urban informatics and society than thus so far. Smart Cities and Open Source Innovation are main issues within the Network’s aim of reinforcing a social, cultural and collaborative power of technologies.


Creating in the people’s mind not only awareness but also understanding for the current evolution of our urban environments, the Connecting Cities scenarios support the idea of the public space as space for creativity, visibility and exchange of culture where a connected public sphere is created.



The projects should include and explore the following issues:

1. the affection of technological innovation on: Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?
in terms of self-awareness and human experience

2. open-up a mainly commercially used urban screens and media facades infrastructure as a lab for the public audience and creative people to be actively engaged in socio-political environments and interconnecting hyper-local communities through participation and visualisation of site-specific processes

3. the role of art and creative technology in shaping human futures in terms of migration and transformation processes across places towards reconciliation and encouragement of dialogue among conflicting factions within our future societies

4. stimulate a public discourse about the changing relation and the future of our urban development through the information and communication technologies (ICT) and sharing expertise and knowledge.


To produce a sustainable urban media network and communication model for the 21st Century, converging the boundaries between art/technology, practice/research and public/professional development that empowers the people to actively create their environments and contribute to human futures beyond the arts world.


Connecting Cities – Joint Broadcasting Events

The Connecting Cities Events allow artists to communicate and present their projects virtually to a great number of European public in ‚Joint Broadcasting Events’ which are real-time city-to-city interventions that aspire to share demands of the different cities and report about local issues and exchange peoples’ stories and ideas.

The media facades will be transformed into local stages and open a global window for the public audience to create a dialogue and connect the local public virtually with the other places throughout Europe and beyond.

The Connecting Cities Events within May and October 2013 will present simultaneously especially developed artists’ projects in all partner cities. The artists’ work will circulate within in the network and connect different cities with each other. All Connecting Cities Events will be followed by a research of audience and community development.


Building an urban screens & media facades infrastructure

The main technological objective is to set up a networked infrastructure of different urban screens and media facades that differ in regards of resolution, size, daylight compatibility, content management systems, internet connectivity and site specificity. By actively involving the citizens in a real-time city-to-city communication through socially relevant projects we will not only engage the local community but also bring European cities closer together. By linking existing urban media facades of the Connecting Cities Network, we will envision creating an infrastructure for creative people and European citizens within mainly commercially used digital big screens.

Open Source Activism

The artists’ work should carry the approach of an open technology to create a shared platform for experimentation and new developments of A to B software, motion tracking, data visualisation processing, semantic web, mobile and embodied interaction interfaces and streaming technologies.

Create your own screens

Driven by an interest in DIY we encourage projects that are conceived for new technologies like mobile screens, ambient performance projections and particularly such using alternative resources for their operation. By operating on and creating open source innovations we will set a stage for all kind of do-it-yourself-activism.


The works should

be conceived of one (or more) of the above mentioned technology media
operate on open source / mobile / simple systems
come with an outline of its technical specifications in order to allow it’s easy Europe-wide adaptation
be quickly to build up and remove – adaption time should be efficient (compared to the time the installation is running)
use alternative resources such as solar / human energy (bicycles driven energy)


Selection of the artists work
The curators of the Connecting Cities Network will select 9 artist projects for the ‘Networked City 2013’. These projects will be presented on the urban media facades of the participating cities and open live windows to the cities. The main challenge of Networked City will be to identify contents with relevance on an international level and to develop technology standards by comparing the different local and national circumstances and production conditions.

Curators of the Connecting Cities Network
Susa Pop (Public Art Lab, Berlin), Céline Jouenne (videospread, Marseille), Mike Stubbs (FACT, Liverpool), Christopher Lindinger & Roland Haring (Ars Electronica, Linz), Yves Bernard (iMal, Brussels), Özlem Alkis (BIS, Istanbul), Nerea Calvillo (Medialab-Prado), Minna Tarkka (m-cult, Helsinki), Diana Civle (Riga 2014), Tihomir Milovac (MSU Zagreb), Alain Mongeau (MUTEK, Montréal), Ina Studenroth (Marseille-Provence 2013), Martin Brynskov (University of Aarhus), Pascal Lefebvre (Quartier des spectacles Montréal)

Fees and production budget
1 Arists’ fee: 1500Euro
1 production costs: 2000Euro

Conditions of participation
Your proposal should include the following:
- CV (200 words)
- description of the project idea (500 words)
- possible locations of presentation (200 words)

Use the format: .pdf, .doc., .ppt, .mpeg, .mov, .jpeg, .tiff

Timing and Deadline:

Selected artist’s work will be shown within live events between May and November 2013 of the Connecting Cities Network in 2013. Each one of the nine participating partners in 2013 will select one artist work, which will be shown and circulated within the whole Network between May and November 2013.

The first ‘Joint Broadcasting Event’ will take place in the beginning of May 2013. Further events will follow.

The artist work production will finish by April 2013.

Application deadline:
Please submit your work until 2nd November 2012


Curators’ selection deadline:
17 November 2012


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