SkypeLab: The City As Urbaness


The City as Urbaness presents the concept of ‘urbaness’, that is the understanding of oneself as an urban citizen, as the contemporary form of urban consciousness that is redefining perceptions of the city and the urban self within rapid urbanization and digitalization. This is demonstrated through the research project SkypeLab that investigates and maps urban perception mediated through digital screens. Beginning with Denis Cosgove’s position in Carto-City (2006) that the city and its mapping are inseparable and as their relationship changes each is transformed, the paper traces from concepts of city to understandings of urbaness. It is argued that a new urban lexicon is still emerging and this is most visible in visual language. SkypeLab’s contemporary art and design practice employs a methodology shaped by ephemeral and transient urban experience. The process and outcomes enhance understanding of the new cartography of the city as contemporary urban space defined and mediated by digital screens. SkypeLab was initiated by RMIT University, Australia/Reutlingen University, Germany in 2012 as an ever expanding urban network. This Australia/German project expanded to Asia 2014/2015 to include East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. In 2017/2018 SkypeLab includes the Federal University, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and the University of Atlantico, Barranquilla, Colombia. By 2018 there will have been some 70 participants in the SkypeLab urban network. A SkypeLab SympoLab will take place at RMIT Europe in Barcelona in 2018.

Author Information
Maggie McCormick, RMIT University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: CITY2017
Stream: Visual and Performing Arts

This paper is part of the CITY2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon