Conference 11-12 Oct 07


The Urban Screens 2007 Conference explores the cultural potential of public displays. It focuses on the development of non-commercial content for urban displays such as LED, media façades & projections onto buildings.

A media world in flux

If you switch on your TV these days, you are most likely to see multiples of urban screens populating the cheerful world of Coca Cola or Telecom spots. As much as advertisers love stereotypes, they are always seeking out new and strong visual signs which associate the product within the right context. In 2007 advertising has eventually discovered urban screens. Since the discovery, models stroll in front of media façades, use fancy phones to interact with huge public screens or stumble across their own YouTube video screened in the heart of the city.

During the upcoming Olympic Games Beijing will play host to 40 freshly installed public screens; more than 60 will turn the London Olympic Games in 2012 into a gigantic public viewing environment. And while this happens, TV broadcasters are slowly but fortunately giving up on dictating within the realms of fixed programming and finally adjusting to the modern viewers’ changed lifestyle. For the young generation the computer has become the primary source of entertainment and information.

A new medium still to explore

The media world we live in is in a permanent flux – new media arise, replace old or change their function at the very least. Urban screens, which in the broader sense includes all media displaying huge moving images in the urban environment, grew to a phenomenon of the information society. And while there is no doubt about this, we hardly understand which medium or media these urban screens are and which new commercial and culturally significant potentials they offer to us. It is notable that the old tradition of public viewing has shifted from the one TV inside the pub to the big screen on the street. Urban screens seemingly works both as advertisement platforms and public billboards. So are these only old, but face-lifted formats? What are the real advantages and what is truly thrilling about these media platforms integrated into and responding to the public space? What kind of new intersocial experiences could they enable? Is their development built on new ways of production and content utilisation? Do they form a new visual and architectural aesthetics which takes its urban context into account?

A cross-discipline phenomenon

Urban screens are a phenomenon crossing various disciplines such as urbanism, media design, architecture, public art, broadcasting, to name only a few. The Urban Screens Manchester Conference therefore is designed to embrace all these disciplines. It aims at analysing and examining the phenomenon from a multitude of perspectives which are necessary to fully understand the not yet seen or used cultural potentials of these media.

A conference enabling debate and thinking into the future

Consequently, the conference is tightly structured and enables attendees to both follow single thematic threads or the entire debate. In the focus sessions core questions are addressed and most relevant concepts of urban screen culture are presented. The panel discussions which follow the papers will result in an even deeper insight into our experts’ thinking into the future. The shorter poster sessions offer a close look at related international academic research projects, developments in screen technology and interfaces and art production for urban screens.


Please visit the website of the next Urban Screens Conference which will happen in Melbourne in autumn 2008.


Writing on facades:LaserpainterProjection on architecture: Lichtpiraten 


The Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena augements public space with projection, thus adding a second dynamic layer to the static architectural environment.Recently he has augemted a public square in Madrid with a piece ...




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Manchester Urban Screens Conference Ltd / Company No: 6054549
Registered Office: c/o Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH / W3C CSS
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