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Interdisciplinary Research Concept

Cultural Studies – Media – Urbanism

Since last autumn, the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz has been operating a cross-curricular and interdisciplinary research platform aimed at the focusing and further development of research findings and questions relating to architecture, cultural studies, media studies, media art and urbanism. The objective lies in integrating existing and newly emerging projects, curricula and artistic as well as scientific work methods and techniques in an overarching research venture that paradigmatically incorporates all three constituent pillars of the University’s profile – intermediality, which focuses on the potentials for artistic, scientific and socio-cultural knowledge transfer that are inherent in media as such as well as in the work with media; spatial strategies, which above all mark the interface between the disciplines of architecture, design, urban planning and urban research, ecology and media; and artistic-scientific research, which combines artistic practice and scientific research, concrete application and freelance design and moreover searches for new formats of documenting, analysing and describing such hybrid research processes. For this reason, both theoretical and artistic research projects and approaches are developed; transcending conventional research practice, they aim at transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary research and identify new forms of visualisation. The results of the research platform are to contribute towards the observation, capturing, exploration, modelling and representation of contemporary cities and their medialisation

Urbanism, Urban Planning and Urban Research

Urbanity and Public Space in the Media and in Media Theories

Since the origins of film history, metropolises, urban spaces and architectures have provided an underlying structure for filmic narratives and spectacularly staged virtual spaces. After sociology and literature at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century had already designed the city as a space of “concentrated modernity”' (Georg Simmel), and medicine and psychiatry had formulated a causal connection between the human condition, population density and urbanity, cinema was able to translate this model of metropolitan visualisation into a space for action in which the seemingly unlimited network of social relationships and encounters becomes the starting-point of melodramatic or criminological narratives. Following this cinematographic reading of the city, architecture, flows of traffic and passers-by, time rhythms, population density and the mass dynamics of mega-cities also became subjects of 1970s and 1980s studies of film, which – starting from the theoretical basis of semiology and post-structuralism – began to analyse designative practices and interpretations of the urban as translated into the medium of film.

Current Research Focuses between Urbanism and Media Studies

After the spatial turn in cultural studies, current theories of media studies regarding the nature of urbanity far transcend the first approaches towards analysis and commentary on the filmic or media representation of cities and urbanites, since they describe and analyse the complex discursivities and medialisations of the urban in the context of new media-industrial dispositifs. In this, not only imaginations of the suburban and post-urban are considered (e.g. the musealisation and touristification of historic industrial sites and metropolises), but increasingly also medial/spatial practices in the city (such as geotagging or geocaching) and representations of the city and of urban culture in digital and networked media. Recurring to theories such as e.g. Jay David Bolter’s and Richard Gruisin’s concept of “remediation”, the remediation of the urban has already become an established concept for discussion, being defined as the transfer of conventionalised descriptions, visualisation conventions and user applications (e.g. city guides and city maps) to the new media systematics of Google Maps, mobile guides or soundwalks that have become so popular over the past few years. Through the discussion of the Internet as a panoptic dispositif and the new networked control media, locative media – i.e. all kinds of location-related media and forms of media use – were analysed and researched from the viewpoint of media science as well.

Stated current research focuses include:

  • Visual information and the representation of the city
  • Concepts and narratives of the urban, suburban and post-urban
  • Cartography and mapping as means of abstraction, visualisation, narrativisation and staging of urban spaces and zones
  • Designs and models of the suburban and post-urban
  • Research of mobile, participatory and networked media and practices in urban spaces
  • Locative media
  • The inter-medial and virtual city

Research team
Univ.Prof. Karin Bruns (Media Theories)
Research focuses are: theories of the media (with a focus on digital and online media), theories of format, participatory and mobile media formats and uses, strategies of informal information (in particular through online media), media and gender. Among recent publications, mention should be made of “Reader Neue Medien” (2009, together with R. Reichert) and various publications on such formats as blogs, fanzines, e-zines, video-sharing platforms and computer games. The research platform looks at and analyses media-related forms of use and designative practices in public and urban space (e.g. geocaching, flash mobbing, etc.) and dynamics of informal communication (rumours, urban legends) with specific reference to urban and post-urban spaces and zones. The teaching and research work of the Department of Media Theories is closely linked to the artistic and design curricula and is moreover involved in the scientific master programme Media Culture and Art Theories.

Univ.Prof. Sabine Pollak (Architektur/Urbanistik)
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Head
Univ.Prof. Dr.phil. Gloria Meynen
gloria.meynen@ufg.at

University of Art and Design Linz
Department of Media Theories
Domgasse 1, 4th Floor
4020 Linz | Austria