Our today’s modern cities are hybrid structures in which technology is invisibly interweaved in the perception layers of our everyday lives. With the curatorial theme of InVISIBLE and VISIBLE Cities we want to develop an awareness on the changes which are hardly visible to the eyes and are underlying our nowadays cities.

Introduction

In 1972 Italo Calvino wrote about his Invisible Cities a romantic love poem to the city, which has the variety and liveliness of overlapping stories and interdependences in it. Our today’s modern cities are hybrid structures in which technology is invisibly interweaved in the perception layers of our everyday lives. These cities produce real-time urban data and introduce control mechanism. In a state of digitalisation, between surveillance and data collection, we look out for a tangible manifestation of immaterial structures.

Curatorial Theme

With the curatorial theme of InVISIBLE and VISIBLE Cities we want to develop an awareness on the changes which are hardly visible to the eyes and are underlying our nowadays cities.

The In/Visible City perspective aims to rethink the debate of visible versus invisible without falling in the trap of focusing on new gimmicks at the expense of content, where drones or QRcodes, VR, phone apps, GPS, Kinect, EEG interfaces, large urban displays, become the core of a discourse, which goes much further beyond its technological surface.

We call for artistic scenarios to visualise invisible, embedded ‘smart’ urban infrastructures and analyse their impact on the technological transformation of our society in a broad and public discourse. Open or hidden data should be provided a visible layer beyond the aesthetics of data visualisation. Different positions frame this discussion of our future cities within the urban challenges i.e. of climate change, energy consumption and transport systems. We want to approach the ‘In/Visible City’ through these three main questions:

Hybrid Cities: How can we read and interact with the urban space and which stories / processes are hidden within?
Digital Citizenship: How can citizen shape their digital urban environment and find new strategies for active / critical data collection processes and citizen’s engagement?
Translocal Connectivity: How can we act physically in one place but mentally / emotionally appear in a different place through interactive urban scenarios and various interfaces?

The aim is not to represent reality, but to make a transformative/critical proposal with the question: Beside enhancing and optimizing (Smart City), empowering and improving (‘open source urbanism’), do we also want to explore other approaches, maybe less “useful” but as meaningful; more poetic, narrative, contemplative or situationist? The call wants to encourage projects that reveal new levels of perception to an invisible layer of our nowadays cities.

Visible City 2015 will take place in Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki, Linz, Liverpool, Madrid, Marseille, Montreal and São Paulo and Zagreb. The Connecting Cities infrastructure to be considered by the artists for this Call for Proposals corresponds to the permanent and temporary urban media infrastructures of these cities (see www.connectingcities.net/infrastructure). Nevertheless we also welcome proposals directed to other partner cities of the Connecting Cities Network. We will forward these proposals to the partner cities who might then decide to join our 2015 Connecting Cities Events.

Please submit your project proposal until 31 October, 2014 here.