episode 2. The Practice of Art for Constructing the Urbanity of Shared Values in the Age of Art and Technology Convergence

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The Practice of Art for Constructing the Urbanity of Shared Values in the Age of Art and Technology Convergence

  • Date: 26th June (wed), 2019
  • Time: 14:30 – 17:00
  • Venue: ACC Conference Hall (BF2, Archive & Research Building)

The increasing convergence of art and technology in the 21st century presents both unprecedented opportunities and burgeoning challenges to the art world as well as urban communities. Opportunities include expansion of international markets and audience engagement, blurring boundaries between artistic genres and disciplines, growth of participatory and collaborative artistic practices and emergence of new cultural forms and identities. Challenges are obviously connected to the very nature of relationship between art and technology and the underlying institutional logics by which artistic and cultural practices are guided, mediated and disciplined. The rise of the “creative industries” and the “creative city” discourses driven by neoliberal governance has led to the endorsement of the significant role of art and artists in the process of urban regeneration. Artists and arts organisations are now seen to be “urban agents par excellence” whose creativity could improve social cohesion and quality of life and develop imaginative and empowered citizens (Landry, 1996). However, regeneration and gentrification are often driven by a logic of “Accumulation By Dispossession” (Harvey, 2008), exacerbating the precarious life of the urban poor, while at the same time rooting out the communal space of the artists and cultural activists. In this context of transformation, the special session will explore and debate the dynamics and consequences of the new creative milieu empowered by the convergence of art and technology. The session will focus on the following questions:

  1. What is the changing role of artists and cultural programmers in the context of urban renewal, considering the intensifying effect of convergence?
  2. In what ways and in what sense could artists and cultural programmers contribute to tackling social problems (social value) in the age of convergence?
  3. To what extent and in what sense is it possible to create meaningful works of art (aesthetic value) with the increasing pressure of instrumentalism?
  4. In what ways could the convergence of art and technology engender civic participation, emotional connectedness and solidarity among citizens?
  5. In what ways could the convergence of art and technology enhance sustainability and resilience of cities?




  • The avant-garde and the construction of identities for cities, spaces and places
  • New media and art accessing the local vs consuming authenticity in the city
  • Art and technology convergence participatory design vs experience design
  • Shared values vs the aestheticization of consumption and surveillance


Issues in Cultural Policy & Urban Development

  • Present Cultural Policy Issues: Intrinsic values of the arts vs. Instrumental values of the arts
  • Future Cultural Policy Issues(adding another dimension): Technology Haves vs. Have nots

British art dealer unveils pioneering robot artist 

Urban Cultural Policy Design

  • Economic Perspective
  • Social Perspective
  • Physical Perspective
  • Environmental Perspective

Questioning current urban policy’s promotion of ‘creativity’ on the convergence and emerging dynamics between technology sectors and artists’ communities.

As art, culture, and technology are often seen as inherently public goods, they make the perfect instrument for developers and local authorities alike to transform urban space….but did it really work that way?


  • The engaged artist as visionary, researcher, agitator and tester. 
  • Presenting the social face to renewal projects and act as creative facilitator of questions and solutions. 
  • With the ability to listen, process and publish, create participation and ownership to build collective statements and co-production.
  • Acknowledge locally relevant technologies that emerge out of a need and use those as tools. The tool does not replace the notion of place but contributes to its understanding and meaning.
  • Ownership goes beyond the physical transformation of a space into developing a culture of a place. 
  • Technological engagement of existing platforms and self-publishing networks provides steps for this reach and awareness.
  • Capturing and production tools, info-sharing and self-organising through technological tools become the foundations for change making agents within neighbourhoods and cities. 
  • Process of harnessing the organic development of networks, tools and resources that are locally relevant and solution-driven to create multi-functional and engaged programs.


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