Digital (mobile) technologies pose new challenges to understanding the city as well as offer new research methodologies to make sense of virtual urban life. This seminar presents a case study on digitally mediated engagement with urban public art and discusses at both theoretical and empirical levels how the widening of digital tools has deepened both participation and co-production within hybrid, online-offline augmented realities of urban public art practice. This case will especially deconstruct conventional binaries of material/digital, public/private, permanent/temporary, artist/amateur, expert/novice, production/consumption, hardware/software, representation/non-representation, corporeality/sociality and human/non-human. Critiques of flattening e-communications (especially through user-created and self-curated contents over social media) will be juxtaposed with online conflicting dialogues that occasionally have critical outcomes in ‘real life’. This seminar will conclude with conceptual and methodological implications to wider research on the digital urban condition.
Dr Martin Zebracki (BScHons, MSc, PhD in Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning, Utrecht University; graduate research in Geography and Methods of Art History, University of Florida) is Lecturer in Critical Human Geography in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. His urban-based and mixed-methods work sits at the intersection of issues of public art engagement, citizenship and belonging and particularly aims to understand urban life through aspects of social inclusion/exclusion and sexual identity. Zebracki has published widely and is actively involved in international collaborative projects on these topics. He is the author of Public Artopia: Art in Public Space in Question (Amsterdam University Press, 2012), The Everyday Practice of Public Art: Art, Space, and Social Inclusion (Routledge, 2015; co-edited with Dr Cameron Cartiere) and is currently preparing Public Art Encounters: Art, Space and Identity (Routledge; co-edited with Dr Joni Palmer). His recent area of concern is the proliferation of virtually mediated urban environments in public creative engagement and identity performance.
Zebracki serves on the Editorial Board of Art & the Public Sphere and Geo: Geography and Environment, new journal of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). He is Secretary of the Space, Sexualities & Queer Research Group of the RGS (with IBG) and is the Equality and Inclusion Coordinator in the School of Geography, University of Leeds.