[urban interfaces] seminar 2020-2021: Interfacing the (In)Formal City

[urban interfaces] seminar 2020-2021: Interfacing the (In)Formal City

Dates: March 4, March 18, April 1, April 15 2021
Time: 15.00 – 17.00 
Where: Online (TBA) 

The [urban interfaces] group at Utrecht University (co-organizer of MAB20) invites you to attend the upcoming seminar on interfacing the (in)formal city! The seminar entails four sessions spread out during March and April 2021.


Urban culture is increasingly shaped by various media technologies. Screens, mobile media, sensing technologies, wireless networks, interactive installations and other urban interfaces become more and more enmeshed with the built environment. These technological systems and algorithmic platforms direct and mediate our behaviour, data, and experiences in the city. On the one hand, informal interactions and unspoken cultural codes are formalized (or ignored) by datasets, protocols and algorithms. On the other hand, with new interfaces new informal and decentralized networks can be developed for the exchange of information and collective action. Ideals for the contemporary city are often founded on open, transformative and contingent qualities, and imagine its public spaces as arenas for encounters, connections and serendipity. What happens when quantification, commodified platforms, formal protocols, gamified nudges and algorithmic culture impact public and (in)formal urban life, and how can media, arts and performance also contribute to ideals of an open (in)formal contemporary city?

The seminar will schedule preparatory readings, (online) meetups, guest speakers and discussions. RMA students who attend all meetings and submit four blog posts, based on the readings and discussions, are eligible for 2 ECTS.


Session 1:
Formalizing the City: technologies, infrastructures, and institutions
Session 2: Informalizing the City: commons, agonisms, interventions
Session 3: Practices of (in)formalization #1: creative methodologies 
Session 4: Practices of (in)formalization #2: interventions

For more detailed information on each of the sessions mentioned above, click here >> 


Credits:3 ECTS via RMeS (for RMa Studentes and PhD Candidates only, MA students who want to obtain ECTS can contact Prof. dr Nanna Verhoeff or Dr Michiel de Lange for more information) .

The seminar series is open to (R)Ma students and PhD candidates


Preparation and requirements:

You are expected to read the texts and write a blog post about each session that can be posted on the website of [urban interfaces]. A blog post includes reflection on the literature, a digest of the discussions we had during the sessions, and a discussion of a contemporary urban project or practice in relation to the week’s theme.


Contact: urbaninterfaces@uu.nl 
Organized by: [urban interfaces]