This is a paper I wrote with Matt Adams from Blast Theory for the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) on Urban Interfaces. We provide a definition of performative urban interfaces (in contrast to informational urban interfaces) and their importance towards facilitating emergent social and spatial interaction in the city and enabling reflection on the impact of digitally mediated technologies in urban space.
Through case studies on Blast Theory’s A Machine To See With and Rimini Protokoll’s Ciudades Paralelas,we discuss the importance of accounting for the participant’s translation of the artistic narrative, where multiple interpretations enable a diversity of outcomes, and where failure might (at times) turn out to be a positive outcome by providing a meaningful experience for the participant. This potential is not limited to performance art, but also to urban interfaces that—intentionally or not—perform in unexpected ways.
By taking into account the multiple actants in performance art and in the city—citizens, artistic narrative, urban space and digital communication technologies—we highlight the potential for performative urban interfaces to repurpose informational urban interfaces.
The paper is available here (open access): https://www.leoalmanac.org/participating-in-the-city-through-performative-urban-interfaces-marcos-dias-matt-adams/