Oscar Steens: Art and News on Public Screens

Test_Lab: Urban Screen Savers @ V2_ Rotterdam

Report by Cecilia Guida

Oscar Steens (NL) is the Special Guest of the program, who works for City Media Rotterdam, which is a key facilitator of urban screens in the city. Oscar is the editor-in-chief for those screens. In his presentation he has shown the prospective of the CMR and some success stories in their practice collaborating with various artists. The organization is really active in the city with many and diverse projects, such as the ‘Moving Newspaper’ and the ‘Moving Magazine’. It makes an innovative program that mixes journalistic and artistic practices with modern, digital technology. Video artworks are presented together with news from sport, economics, culture and entertainment. CMR has been broadcasting in the city for two years, 7 days a week, 18 hours per day, from large-scale screens in public spaces to smaller-scale spin-offs such as narrowcasting (for example in metro stations, libraries and city stores). The projects presented by Oscar are interesting for several reasons. First of all, for the fact that every resident of Rotterdam is called to participate in them, from artists, politicians, sportspeople, entrepreneurs to ‘ordinary citizens’ by sending texts and videos via e-mail, SMS and other applications. Secondly, they are very far reaching projects, as they broadcast different contents depending on the the size and the place where the screens are located, the people who watch them and on the moments of the day. One can also appreciate that CMR guarantees the quality and the independence of the public digital screens from financial and commercial purposes.

Mixing artworks and news is certainly creative and challeging, however I noticed a sort of similarity to the MTV’s style…

Green at V2_

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