Themes

Equity & Access

The toppling of colonial and racist monuments, such as the statue of Egerton Ryerson, are stark reminders of ongoing systemic issues of underrepresentation and inequity in spaces of public communication and engagement. This prompts us to ask: who is involved in the development, implementation, and management of digital spaces of public communication – of media architecture? Who (or what) is excluded? Are the risks and benefits associated with the practices of and engagements with media architecture equitably distributed? How can (and does) media architecture both support and undermine struggles for equity, social, and environmental justice?

 

Some areas that this theme might explore include:

Placemaking and placekeeping with media architecture

Decolonization, reconciliation, and media architecture

Shifting practices and principles of commemoration, naming, refusal, memorialization, and monumentality

Media architecture and the climate crisis

Commoning and collaboration

Accessibility and media architecture

Infrastructures of inclusivity and exclusivity

Educational and institutional reform

DIY media architecture

Digital divide(s)

Media architecture as a speculative practice

Suburban and exurban media architecture

 

(Dis)engagement

In 2017, Google tried but, after facing strong local resistance, failed to convince Toronto of its plan to make urban living more “efficient” and “enjoyable” through a suite of interconnected embedded urban sensors, platforms, protocols, and displays. How is media architecture situated and mobilized within the proliferation of “smart city” plans and platforms of data representation and capture? How and why is it being resisted, reworked, or rejected in theory or in practice? What can we learn from lingering on media architectural “failure” as a countermovement to the drive towards urban expedience and endless growth? On the other hand, what roles might media architecture play in addressing issues of safety, trust, and consent within urban interaction design and digitally mediated urbanism?

 

Some areas that this theme might explore include:

Surveillance

AI, Machine Learning, and Public Space

Audience/gaze/attention tracking (computer vision, machine learning, analysis)

Public health and public safety

Censorship and freedom of expression

De-globalization and de-growth

Data extractivism

Data governance

Anticipatory governance

Ownership/stewardship

Blockchain and digital ledger technologies

The right to disconnect

Resisting or rejecting media architecture (ie. digital culture jamming, guerilla projection)

Civic technology procurement policies and practices

 

Civic/Creative/Commercial

Toronto’s digital billboard laden Yonge and Dundas Square is owned by the city but managed through a public-private partnership. While primarily hosting commercial content and activities, the spaces and screens of the square are often used for cultural events and artistic content. As cities, arts organizations, governments, and corporations increasingly seek to engage people in public spaces through combinations of media and architecture, what are some of the possibilities and pitfalls associated with their approaches individually and in concert with one another? How does media architecture modulate civic, creative, and commercial interests and impacts?

 

Some areas that this theme might explore include:

Programmatic and Digital Out of Home (DOOH) Advertising

Digital wayfinding (tactile, sonic, and visual)

Civic Screens and Spaces

Commercial Screens and Spaces

Museum and Gallery Screens and Spaces

Measuring impact and effects

Governance, policy, and business models

Gentrification and digital spatial capital

Media architecture and nighttime culture and policies

 

Intermedial Media Architecture

The Empire State Building is one of the most photographed buildings in the world due in no small part to its frequently changing lighting programs. The ease in which images can be captured and circulated, constituting new on-screen and off-screen spaces, illustrates the complexity of the cultural, commercial, and ideological goals that drive image circulation more generally. The Empire State Building and other examples of media architecture also feature prominently in videos promoting tourism and migration, music videos, and films. What are the historical, contemporary, and future relationships between media architecture and its related images, and what is at stake in these processes? What are the mechanics and politics of media architectural remediation?

 

Some areas that this theme might explore include:

Media architectural superimposition (eg. rephotography, projection mapping)

Documenting and archiving Media Architecture

Social Media and Media Architecture

Film, and Television as Media Architecture

Media Architecture in Film and Television

Media Architecture in Architectural Illustrations

Media Architecture in City Branding and Promotion

Aesthetics and Temporality of Media Architectural Representations

NFTs in public spaces

Digital Twins in Media Architecture and the Metaverse