Spectacular / Ordinary / Contested Media City Conference, Finland, May 2013

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I’m one of the keynote speakers for this conference in May. The conference organizers have just released their CFP; I encourage everyone with interest in the “media city” — and anyone eager for a trip to Finland — to apply! CALL FOR PAPERS

The Spectacular/Ordinary/Contested Media City

May 15–17, 2013 Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland In contemporary cities, the effects of advanced telecommunications and  commodified media exist everywhere around us. In both eye-catching and  oblique ways, mass and personalised media forms reshape our spatial  practices and perceptions of specific milieus and the city as a whole. We invite presentations that deal particularly with the following issues:

  • role of media and surveillance technologies in the  spectacularisation of urban public spaces and events
  • the ways in which media technologies and representations become part of the taken-for-granted perceptions and routinised practices and rhythms of urban life
  • the actual and potential contributions of mass and personalised  media forms to the contestation of economic, political and cultural  hegemonies in cities

Throughout the interdisciplinary symposium, the spectacular, ordinary  and contested aspects of the media city will be brainstormed through  questions such as: What is the relationship of materiality of media  and symbolic media representations in the construction of densely  digitalised urban milieus? To what extent and how is media-saturation  steering people’s urban activities towards automated and un-reflected  modes? Or do the “urban media affordances” open room for creative  place-making practices, new amalgamations of technology and  corporeality, and even chances for alternative decoding and political  resistance? In which ways do different forms of art and popular  culture (cinema, literature, theatre, digital games etc.) articulate  and intervene in the media city? What ethical and political issues  lurk behind the pecuniary motifs of the ongoing mediatisation of space? Invited keynote speakers:

  • Anne Cronin, Lancaster University, UK
  • Stephen Graham, Newcastle University, UK
  • Scott McQuire, Melbourne University, Australia
  • Shannon Mattern, The New School, USA

If you would like to present a paper at the  Spectacular/Ordinary/Contested Media City symposium, please send an  abstract (max. 300 words) to by 14 January  2013. A narrative bio (max. 100 words) describing the author’s  background and research interests should also accompany the proposal. For more information, visit: The organising committee: Jani Vuolteenaho & Outi Hakola, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies Seija Ridell & Sami Kolamo, University of Tampere. Contacts / conference secretary: Kirsi L. Reyes-Anastacio / Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies Email:

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