Wednesday, July 14, 2010

[Yasmin_discussions] Announcing new discussion topic on the subject of "The hybrid city as an interface"

Dear YASMINers,

A moderated discussion on the subject of "The hybrid city as an interface"
will take place in the YASMIN_discussions mailing list forum
(, starting from today and until the end of July.
The discussion will be moderated by Dimitris Charitos and Prof. Martin
Rieser, along with Daphne Dragona, Haris Rizopoulos and Iouiliani Theona as
respondents. We intend to continue the discussion, if there is interest from
list participants, after the summer.

Below you will find a text with more info on the particular discussion
topic. Also we have attached short CVs of all respondents who will

We are looking forward to you participation and involvement.

Kind regards

Dimitris Charitos
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies
University of Athens

"The hybrid city as an interface"

In the beginning of the 21st century, urban environments, within which
social life evolves, are radically being reordered by technological systems
and networks. Mobile telephony has restructured the way people socialize
within urban space (Plant, 2001). Multi-user virtual environments redefine
the meaning of mediated communication by immersing communicating
participants into a synthetic spatial context. ICTs and new media may also
be used for augmenting physical environments in order to communicate
meaning. The contemporary urban environment already incorporates various
kinds of representations of reality, communicated to us all via various
media and appropriate display systems (most of these representations are
visual, i.e. billboards, video projections, wall paintings, closed circuit
TV, touch screens, etc). These environments may also incorporate systems
that capture visual, auditory, and other types of information regarding
human activity and, consequently, utilize this input to affect the process
of generating digital representations. The most advanced form of such
systems is pervasive and ubiquitous computing systems (Weiser, 1991). It
could then be suggested (Charitos, 2005) that the incorporation of
information and communication technology (ICT) systems results in an
electronic enhancement of the everyday urban environment and that
communication with these environments and with other citizens who exist and
act within them is mediated by these systems.

The convergence of new mobile telecommunication networks, geographical
positioning systems and interactive graphical interfaces on mobile devices,
as they are already being utilized in a series of location-based activities,
have begun to reveal the potential for new forms of interpersonal
communication. These systems may allow groups of people to interact with
each other, while being aware of each other's location at all times via
representations on mobile interfaces, which have a predominantly spatial
character. The synchronous experience of a mobile spatial interface and of
the non-mediated physical environment, ultimately affords a hybrid
(synthetic and physical) spatial experience, in the context of which novel
forms of social interaction and cultural practices may occur.

Hybrid cities could therefore be seen as spatial interfaces affording
experiences which involve both virtual and physical spatial elements and
information and which may synchronously support computer-mediated and
interpersonal communication. Such emerging types of communication may lead
to revolutionary new ways of inhabiting urban space, ultimately transforming
the way we perceive, experience and think about our cities and our everyday
life within them. These developments certainly call for reconsidering the
way in which urban environments are conceived of and designed, by taking
into account the incorporation of these ICT systems, since they are
inseparably woven into the fabric of everyday life within the urban context.
What is even more important, however, is the impact of these phenomena on
everyday life in the city, at a social and cultural level.

The "Hybrid City as an Interface" discussion will attempt to approach a
series of issues relating to the emergence of these phenomena and will
mainly focus on the following topics:
. user generated maps & collective cartographies : issues of
appropriation and expropriation
. the internet and the metropolis: similarities between the virtual
space and the real space as factories of knowledge and information
. the city as a gamespace: tracing the playful features of the new
modes of interactivity and participation
. psychogeographies & the contemporary city: discussing the wide use
of a 60s situationist notion for the definition of digital city
interventions and applications
. Whose city exactly? Reconsidering spatial production processes
through ludic, user inter-actions within the urban context.
. Which side are you on (on the threshold)? Outlining the relations
between the virtual and physical experience of the city, as well as the new
social dynamics of this hybrid urban context for everyday life.

Charitos, D. (2005). Virtual reality: A new kind of human-computer interface
or a new communication medium? Issues of Communication, 2, 83-99, Athens:
Plant, S. (2001). On the mobile: The effects of mobile telephones on social
and individual life. Study commissioned by Motorola. Retrieved August 2,
2007, from
Weiser, M. (1991). The computer for the twenty-first century. Scientific
American, 265(3), 94-104.


Dimitrios Charitos is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Communication
and Media Studies of the University of Athens. He teaches "Human-Computer
Communication", "Art & Technology", "Visual Communication", "Mediated
Environments". He has studied architectural design, computer aided design
and has a PhD on interactive design and virtual environments. He has taught
at an undergraduate and postgraduate level since 1994 in Scotland and
Greece. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications in books,
journals or conference proceedings. His artistic work involves electronic
music, audiovisual, non-interactive or interactive, site-specific
installations and virtual environments. (

Professor M. Rieser is a Media Artist and Theorist based in Bristol.
Professor of Digital Creativity at De Montfort University. 2000-7 Professor
of Digital Arts and Senior Teaching Fellow Bath Spa University , was
Principal Lecturer in Digital Media at Napier University in Edinburgh at the
Department of Photography, Film, and Television 1997-2000. and in post as
Senior Lecturer in Electronic Media at UWE Bristol between 1986 - 1998. He
set up one of the first post-graduate courses in the country in Digital Art
and Imaging at the City of London Polytechnic, now the London Guildhall
University 1980-85. His teaching and practice centres on new types of
interactive art which use non-linear narrative in new media through
Locative, interactive installations, networked art projects and
collaborations with architects. He has acted as consultant to bodies such as
Cardiff Bay Arts Trust , NESTA, Arkive, AHRC the Photographers Gallery
London. External Examiner at UIAH Helsinki, St Martins University of the
Arts and Glamorgan University Professor of Digital Ats at Bath Spa
University 2000-2007. He recently edited: New Screen Media: Cinema/
Art/Narrative (BFI/ZKM,
2002)- which combined a DVD of current research and practice in this area
together with critical essays . He was on AHRB research leave during 2004-5
creating a new locative work for Bath Abbey called Hosts 2006, which used
mobile and positional technologies combined with interactive sound and video
and has just authored a book on Locative Media Arts called The Mobile
Audience shortly to be published by Rodopi.

Daphne Dragona is a media arts curator based in Athens. Her exhibitions and
events the last few years have focused on the notion of play and its merging
with art as a form of networking and resistance. She has worked with Fournos
Center for Digital Culture (Greece) , LABoral Art and Industrial Creation
Centre (Spain), Alta Tegnologia Andina (Peru) and with the National Museum
of Contemporary Art in Athens. She is also a PhD candidate in the Faculty of
Communication & Media Studies of the University of Athens and a member of
the Personal Cinema collective.

Charalampos Rizopoulos is a researcher at the Department of Communication
and Media Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
After graduating from the aforementioned department in 2003, he obtained a
MSc in Interactive Multimedia Production from the University of
Huddersfield, UK. He is currently a doctoral candidate, conducting research
on the communicational aspects of interacting with intelligent environments.
His research interests include human-computer interaction, ubiquitous
computing, virtual reality, multimedia, spatial cognition, adaptive systems,
and computer games.

Iouliani Theona is a practising architect and a researcher. She studied at
the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and
later obtained a Degree from the Inter-Departmental Postgraduate Programme:
Architectural Design - Space - Culture, in the School of Architecture of the
National Technical University of Athens.
She is currently a PhD Candidate in the aforementioned institution, focusing
on subjects such as pervasive games and spatial perception.

Dr. Dimitrios Charitos
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies
National and Kapodistrian University of
e-mail: vedesign at otenet dot gr

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