In every country in the world medium-sized cities out number capital cities in both quantity and gross population. They are however, historically overlooked. In Europe medium-sized have a long history. In China, the history of these places is even older and, in some cases, non-existent – as new urban centres spring up almost overnight. In Australasia and North America, this history lies somewhere in-between. In a digital and interconnected age these cities have the potential to by-pass capitals and challenge the hegemony of central economic and political organisations. They can form networks vastly more complex, intricate and numerous than the now standard group of connected ‘global cities’; can become self-sustained economically and culturally; forge forward with new ideas in their specialist fields; and be test beds for globally applicable innovations.
In the city in which this conference is held, Bristol UK, the industry sector that underwrites its culture and economy is that of the moving image and the digital. It is a medium sized city with a history and an active present at the intersection of the physical conurbation, moving image research, and the cultural, economic and social implications of their coalescence. As with many medium sized cities however, it has an infrastructure from the industrial age. In this context, the present conference and related activities, focus on how the medium sized cities from across the world are adapting to the economies, practices and infrastructures of the digital age; how the interaction and communication of the digital message is reframing life in these cities, whether new or old; and how the digitization of the urban arena is changing the reality of the representation of city life.
Led by the Centre for Moving Image Research, AMPS and its scholarly journal Architecture_MPS, this conference is interested in the exploring the still latent possibilities of the internet in urban, social and cultural contexts; the development of citizen led ‘hybrid cities’ in which new technologies foster new behaviours; new ethnographic interpretations of the city and its peoples; and changing representations of the city in new and old formats: photography, film, animation, augmented and virtual realities.
It welcomes the participation of architects, planners, activists, artists, technologists, animators, filmmakers, cultural studies experts, programmers, gamers and more. It particularly welcomes those engaged in smaller cities or those in larger cities with a view to their own periphery. It welcomes multiple formats of presentation and interaction.