The poetics of urban media surfaces

Lev Manovich


Although historically built environments were almost always covered with ornament, texts and images, the phenomenon of the dynamic multimedia information in these environments is new. Living your life in the modern city, you constantly interact with multiple urban media interfaces - from the small screen of a mobile phone to a large screen of a public electronic billboard. This essay will discuss how the general dynamic between spatial form and information which has been with us for a long time, functions differently in computer culture of today. What are the most aesthetically daring examples of urban media surface designs so far? How is our experience of a spatial form (i.e. architecture) affected when it is surrounded with dynamic and rich multimedia information? What are the historical precedents of urban media surface phenomena and what can we expect in the future?

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