Annet Dekker, “Synchronising Media”

Urban Screens 09: The City as InterfaceAnnet Dekker has been active in the field of media art since the mid 90s. She worked eight years as curator, head of exhibitions and the artist in residence program at the Netherlands Media Art Institute in Amsterdam. At the moment she is an independent curator and programme manager at Virtueel Platform.

According to Dekker, the virtual and the real are currently in dialogue with each other. She began with a lengthy quote from Miriam Struppek,

‘Urban screens can be understood in the context of a reinvention of the public sphere and the urban character of cities, based on a well-balanced mix of functions and the idea of the inhabitant as active citizen instead of properly behaving consumer.’ (2006)

Urban screens focus on the public urban audience, on joint and widespread reception of media content. Levels of locality and globality vary, ranging from the local neighbourhood screens with symbols and signs on a city level to trans-urban networks of screens enabling new glocal interconnectivity.’ (2009)

Dekker believes that a “media space” can be defined with more than “urban screens”, and as one example she suggested the mobile phone. In addition, she highlighted four projects that she believes challenges common notions of what an urban screen can be: Esther Polak’s Nomatic Milk, the work of Yolande Harris, Blast Theory, and Ian bogost’s Persuasive Games.

In closing she added her concern for the future of urban screens, “A new hybrid space has formed, and we use technologies without really questioning them. It’s really problematic that you have very little control.”