Singapore | Feb-Mar 2019


28 Feb.-1 March @School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2-3 March @National Gallery Singapore

City of Quantified Visions will be the curatorial theme of the Urban Media Art Academy in Singapore. In a 4-days program we will explore Singapore as one of the world’s ‘smartest’ cities today with advanced technologies of surveillance and tracking functionalities implemented across the island city-state. The computational infrastructure of intelligent cameras and sensors is mirrored in intense urban media aesthetics of light and celebration in this competitive urban context, growing fast in size, resolution and computational complexity while contributing to quantifying the quality and spatial feel at a street level. But do the visions of seamless government and celebratory aesthetics behind Singapore’s urban blueprint also stimulate initiative, participation and engagement at the human scale, from the bottom-up?

In a lab+lectures program and field trips we examine the urban visions reflected in Singapore’s urban media aesthetic environments and ask: how can we identify different urban visions in urban art and aesthetics, and how can they co-exist? How do these visions translate into experience at street level, and how do they affect human behavior?

The Academy program will combine learning on urban media art histories, urban theory, curatorial inquiries and criticality as well as ‘knowledge from the field’ via conversations with professionals. It will introduce participants to methods of artistic research, concept development and artwork proposals for creative city making.



28 February | 9:00-16:00 lab + lectures at School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University | 16:00-19:00 field trip
1 March | 9:30-17:00 lab + lectures at School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University | 17:00 field trip
2 March | 9:30-17:00 lab + lectures at National Gallery Singapore | 17:00 field trip
3 March | 9:30-12:30 at Public Panel at National Gallery Singapore



3 March | 15:00-18:00 at National Gallery Singapore



School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University | Nanyang Drive, Level 4, Room 18 Singapore 637458
National Gallery Singapore | 1 St. Andrew’s Road #01-01 Singapore 178957




31 January | participant registration deadline (or until full)
6 February | notification of participation
11 February | online preparation, readings distributed
28 February – 1 March  | lab+lectures program at School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University
2 March | lab+lectures program at National Gallery, Singapore
3 March | afternoon Public Panel at National Gallery, Singapore



Dr. Tanya Toft Ag, Urban Media Art Academy and City University of Hong Kong, School of Creative Media
Susa Pop, Urban Media Art Academy and Public Art Lab



Mark Chavez, creative director of Media Art Nexus / MAN
Sebastian Chun, artist
Associate Prof. Ina Conradi, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University
Dr. Luke Hespanhol, University of Sydney, Member of Media Architecture Institute
Assistant Prof. Kristy H.A. Kang, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University Singapore
Suenne Megan Tan, director of Audience Development and Engagement, National Gallery Singapore
Elliott Woods, artist | Kimchi and Chips
Prof. Audrey Yue, National University of Singapore





Toft, Tanya. “What Urban Media Art Can Do_Introduction.” In What Urban Media Art Can Do – Why When Where & How, eds. Susa Pop, Tanya Toft, Nerea Calvillo and Mark Wright. Stuttgart: Av Edition, 2016.

Shannon Mattern. ”Preface,” in Deep Mapping the Media City. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2o15.

Nikos Papastergiadis, Amelia Barikin, Scott McQuire and Yue Audrey, “Introduction: Screen Cultures and Public Spaces,” in Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces, ed. Nikos Papastergiadis. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2016.

Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel, “Smart Complexity?” in What Urban Media Art Can Do: Why When Where & How. Stuttgart: av edition, 2016.

Further readings:

Mark Shepard, “Predictive Geographies,” in What Urban Media Art Can Do: Why When Where & How. Stuttgart: av edition, 2016.



Scott McQuire, “Performing Public Space,” in The Media City: Media, Architecture and Urban Space. London: SAGE Publications, 2018.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, “Critical Vehicles,” Massachusettes Institute of Technology, 1999.

Erkki Huhtamo, “The Four Practices? Challenges for an Archaeology of the Screen,” in Screens, eds. Dominique Chateau and José Moure. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016.

Adam Greenfield, “Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life.”

Vilém Flusser, “Towards a Philosophy of Photography.”

Movie: Digital Medicine, Arts, + STEAM: Before Us Lies Eternerdy
The awarded movie “Digital Medicine, Arts, and STEAM: BEFORE US LIES ETERNERDY” shows different scales of the human body, from digitized microscopic lymphoma tissue examined with the molecular cytogenetic technique Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to detect abnormal changes in DNA, to 3-D reconstructions of a liver as well as a whole-body MRI. It was produced in 2D for the 15:2 meter video wall Media Art Nexus and simultaneously in stereoscopic 3D for the Deep Space 8k at Ars Electronica Center.
Industry Award for Best Infographic at Raw Science Film Festival 2019

Project: ELMAN, a creative art exchange between two distant urban media displays – the Elbphilharmonie Media Wall (Elphi) in Hamburg and the Media Art Nexus (MAN) at the Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU).

Project: WAVES: Crosscurrents of Art, Technology and Environment
School of Art, Design and Media Nanyang Technological University Singapore + School of Engineering & Digital Arts University of Kent Canterbury, UK Gulbenkian Media Façade

Project: on|off 100101010: Colliding and Surrendering: chaos and freedom where art and technologies meet An International Symposium & Exhibition 2017.
Fourteen international research institutions, media labs, and cultural enterprises will be using Media Art Nexus NTU as a platform to display new media art created by interdisciplinary teams.

Media Art Nexus: website, Vimeo, Facebook

Project: The Emote Project
The Emote Project is ongoing research which tries to establish a more tangible triad between art, learning, and science with the aim to investigate if music/visual art could facilitate learning in an abstract/ambiguous situation.

Experimental Series Animated in Real-Time  
A permanent exhibition of experimental animation on display daily at the Media Art Nexus consists of a series of six experimental pieces  made with audio reactive real-time animation software.


Further readings

Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, New York: Zone Books, 1995 [1968].



Luke Hespanhol, “Making Meaningful Spaces: Strategies for Designing Enduring Digital Placemaking Initiatives”, paper for The 1st International Conference on Design, Innovation, and Creativity (22-23 February 2018) Bangkok, Thailand.

Luke Hespanhol. “Interacting With Laughter: A Case Study On Audio-Based Interactivity of Public Projections.”

Project: LOL (Vivid Sydney 2014)
LOL is an interactive installation that invites you to simply laugh out loud in public, together with everyone else, in a loop of contagious collective joy.

Luke Hespanhol, Martin Tomitsch, Oliver Bown, Miriama Young, “Using Embodied Audio-Visual Interaction to Promote Social Encounters Around Large Media Facades”, DIS 2014, Vancouver, Urban Senes

Project: Solstice LAMP (Vivid Sydney 2013)
Solstice LAMP consisted of an interactive light and sound installation transforming the AMP Building at Sydney Cove into a giant urban musical instrument. The installation built on the notion of transformation: from amorphous existence into life, from silence into melody, from crisis into creativity, from the forecourt of a large financial corporation into a lively stage for collective play.

Project: The Dash Wall (2018)
Part of the Footbridge Gallery at the University of Sydney campus, an ongoing digital placemaking project I am the Curator and Lead Designer of.

Project: Migration Triptychs (2018)
Participatory digital storytelling developed with refugees from Iraq currently living in Liverpool, Sydney. Australia, and exhibited at the urbans screen at the local pedestrian mall.



From the Singapore program you will:

  • Develop familiarity with conceptual and practical dimensions of artistic and curatorial projects with urban media art in the urban (geographical and networked) context of Singapore
  • Be able to characterize and problematize relevant hypotheses relating to artistic thinking and practice with urban media art
  • Develop and test critical reflections and thinking about urban media art in the urban domain
  • Learn about methodologies of Action Research and theoretical and practice-based theories, epistemologies, and approaches of artistic thinking and practice with urban media art – and explore theories ‘at work’ in the concrete urban context
  • Be able to combine viewpoints and methodologies from across disciplines to contextualize, problematize and conceptualize media art in the urban context
  • Learn how to formulate in illustrated writing an artistic or curatorial perspective for urban media art between theory and practice


Deadline 22 March 2019

After the program all participants will submit a text (max 600-800 words) in English, which will present your analysis and perspective on Singapore as a context for urban media art. Your answer to the question posed in the call for this academy: What can urban media art do for Singapore? was an initial exercise for this text, and you may want to build on your reflections submitted here.

Your illustrated text should address the following:

  • A title relating to Singapore as a City of Quantified Visions
  • Introduce your critical perspective on this urban issue (of quantifies visions) in Singapore
  • Present a brief urban/historical contextualization of the issue (e.g. refer to the city’s urban, architectural, political, philosophical, sociocultural, spiritual or other histories of your choice) – from minimum three different disciplinary perspectives – with references where appropriate
  • Reference a concrete urban space or environment in the city in which you locate this issue and can exemplify (briefly describe the character of the space, people in it, its dynamics and fluxes, etc.)
  • Reflection on artistic trajectories, tactics, practices, orientations and interdisciplinary encounters and methodologies that could do something with regards to these issues, perhaps with references to concrete works or artistic movements in Singapore
  • Conclude: what could urban media art do for Singapore – as a city of quantifies visions? Why, when, where, and how?
  • Please include minimum three visual images/illustrations to support your text (this you may gather during our field trips)

After feedback and evaluation (pass/no pass) based on the above guidelines and demonstration of the acquired learning goals, your texts will be edited and combined in an Academy report on Singapore summing up our investigations and findings during this program.



The program is open to students, artists, designers, architects, creatives, city-makers, architects and others with interest in urban media art and what it can do for the city of Singapore. Registered participants will receive a certificate upon completion.



Registration is open until January 31, 2019, or until full (20 participants).

Please submit to

  • Full name and title, 100-word bio, link to website, contact email
  • 100-word short statement: What can urban media art do for Singapore?
  • Image (square, b&w)



The Urban Media Art Academy is supported by the Goethe-Institut Singapore and co-hosted by the School of  Art, Design and Media and the National Gallery Singapore and co-funded in the framework of Future DiverCities and the European Union, Creative Europe Program.