Conference and PhD workshops, 12-14 January 2011, Aarhus University, Denmark.

The conference and Ph.D. workshop brings together researchers from Aarhus University, University of Plymouth, and guests to address the broad theme of Public Interfaces as part of ongoing research in Digital Urban Living. It is organized by Center for Digital Urban Living (DUL)Digital Aesthetics Research Centre (DARC), and Dept. of Aesthetic StudiesAarhus University

Emerging from DUL & DARC’s ongoing research around interface criticism, the aim is to broaden issues to encompass the development of urban interfaces, and the changing concept of the ‘public’.

Prior and following the event participants published and commented on papers.
Also, a PEER-REVIEWED NEWSPAPER was published (also available for download).
Full articles from the newspaper and conference papers are available on this site. Comments are welcome.


The interface as a cultural paradigm
In the case of computers, interfaces mediate between humans and machines, between machines and between humans. Interfaces thus involve an exchange between data and culture. In this sense, the computer interface can be described as a cultural interface combining cultural content (images, text, movies, sound) with machine/media control (buttons, menus, filters, etc.) and networks (World Wide Web). As such, the interface can be seen as a cultural paradigm affecting not only our creative production and presentation of the world but also our perception of the world.

From private to public
In the past decade, interfaces have been expanding from the graphical user interface of a computer to meet the needs of different new technologies, uses, cultures and contexts: they are mobile, networked, ubiquitous, and embedded in the environment and architecture. The purpose of the conference and Ph.D. workshops is to investigate the aesthetic and cultural implications of a situation where interfaces not only appear in public space but are also platforms for both private activities in public spheres and offer public interference in the private sphere. In other words, we aim to investigate these new interfaces that affect relations between public and private realms, and generate new forms of civic communication and creative production.

Across disciplines
The events aim to bring together researchers within diverse fields: across aesthetics, cultural theory, business, architecture and urban studies, united by the need to understand public interfaces and the possible paradigmatic changes they pose to these fields. The event stresses dialogue between fields of study, institutions and individual researchers who are engaged with common issues but not usually in a situation where they are able to openly discuss and reflect interdisciplinary concerns and approaches.

Although our starting point derives from a concept of the public informed by network theory and the social practices around computing, we aim to expand this view in recognition of the ways in which contemporary power and control are structured. The following statements operate as points of departure for the conference:

Research questions
Whilst experimentation and developments in the culture of free software reflects emergent and self-organizing public actions, how does this modify our understanding of public interfaces? Can the public interface be used as a useful concept for understanding changing relations between public and private realms within other fields? Does the public interface offer a way of further examining relational aesthetics, the cultural regeneration agenda and public art? Does the public interface provide new understandings of the relationship between creative production and the free market sphere? How does the possible dissolution of the public and private spheres relate to bio politics and contemporary forms of power? Does the public interface suggest new borders or even the dissolution of borders between the public and private, humans and machines, the centre and periphery?

Three thematic strands
The conference and workshop are organised into three thematic strands.
- The public interface as art
- The public interfaces of urban space
- The public interface and capital.

- Geoff Cox, Post Doc, Digital Urban Living, Dept. of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University
- Jacob Lund, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Aesthetic Studies, Aarhus University
- Christian Ulrik Andersen, Associate Professor & Chair of DARC, Digital Urban Living, Dept. of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University.

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