MediaCity 4: MediaCities
International Conference, Workshops and Exhibition
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
May 3-5, 2013

DEADLINE: 19 November, 2012

The fourth MediaCity conference reflects on pluralities and globalities, on 
MediaCities everywhere. 

What new lines of inquiry and emergent relations between urbanity and digital 
media are found in non-Western cities, in post-Capitalist cities, in cities 
hosting civic turbulence or crossing international boundaries? What 
urban-medial relations are taking shape differently in urban milieux that may 
have been heretofore overlooked? These cities are deserving of more attention 
than ever before, as sites of population growth, of new cultural and social 
formations, of new entanglements between urban life and contemporary media, 
communications and information technologies, and more. MediaCities promises to 
expand our understanding of both media and the city today, and to articulate 
new sites of practice and working methods for an expanding field. 

This fourth MediaCity conference inaugurates its transition to a roving event 
taking place every two years in different cities around the world. Additional 
calls will follow for proposals to host the next event as well as for workshops 
and media art and architecture projects.

Areas of interest may fall broadly into several themes, with the assumption 
that others will appear in the process of proposals and discussion leading up 
to the event, always expanding our lexicon and mental maps of MediaCities 
globally. These themes are: Other Urbans, Uncommons, Zero Growth Cities, Media 
Geographies and Bordervilles.

Other Urbans

MediaCities are typically associated with post-industrial societies, Western 
and Asian cultures, and urban centers whose economic bases are rooted in 
technology. But many nonwestern cities around the world are rapidly evolving 
under the aegis of ubiquitous computing, and urban living in these places 
appears differently as well. Now is the time to recognize and identify the new 
models, problems and lives of nonwestern and other MediaCities as relevant to 
all cities. Other Urbans concerns the non-Western MediaCity, but also the 
marginalized Western (Detroit, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Belfast, Leipzig) as well 
as the experimental (Songdo, Masdar).


What novel shifts are found now at the nexus of protest and public space in 
cities, and what roles are digital media playing? How are we to understand the 
enduring implications for events of 2010-2011 and after, from the Arab Spring 
to Occupy Wall Street to whatever unfolds up until the conference itself, as 
each suggest diverse mutations in urban, medial and participatory formations? 
Lately we are seeing new catalytic reactions between these three elements. 
While the cases are familiar (WikiLeaks, Tahrir Square’s life on Twitter, OWS’s 
“human microphones”), their potentials to intertwine matters of economic, 
cultural and other representation suggest the start of enduring changes to how 
public space and public discourse appear within and between global cities. Each 
holds potential to recognize and reform our thinking of public space and public 
discourse irrevocably as an “uncommons.” No longer modeled on a rural pasture 
and no longer only a problematic of shared resources and individual interests, 
uncommons describe novel formations located in contested shared urban events.

Zero Growth Cities

This theme regards relations between growth, economy and MediaCities in diverse 
cases where urban landscapes and populations once considered dead or dying are 
rejuvenating themselves: an urban afterlife of sorts, often with clever 
mixtures of new and old technologies. How are MediaCities being newly inhabited 
and opportunistically developed in response to market conditions, and what 
creative and theoretical responses can we make to these developments? And what 
of those cities experiencing no growth (or even shrinkage)? Do wireless 
networks perform similarly in these cities as elsewhere? How do sensate and 
sentient landscapes affect life in cities whose populations don’t otherwise 
change? What vibrant new urban events and situations are appearing in these 
sometimes overlooked places?

Media Geographies

Today we recognize terms like "landscape" and "urban" to be non-oppositional - 
instead, we embrace the view that environment, social relations and even human 
subjectivity must be seen as interrelated ecologies. What roles do digital 
media play in this shift, and what new practices under a rubric of “Media 
Geographies” can it all suggest? For example, how are we to operate across 
scales, as critics, scholars, artists, designers? From bodies to landscapes 
that are at once local and global in scale, media geographies ask how this 
trans-scalar subject constitutes a form of urbanism. This theme critically 
engages spatial, social, ecological and philosophical implications as it mines 
the media cities we know for urbanities that we have overlooked.


How are urban conditions around national borders inflected by ubiquitous 
computing? What mediated forms of citizenship are emerging at these border 
zones, and how do they differ around the world? Bordervilles are often 
unofficially twinned cities that share common conditions (ecological, 
micro-economic, climatic) but not others (lingual, macro-economic), all of 
which can be affected by digital media that transcend physical boundaries and 
sometimes skirt national regulation. What new mediated bordervilles are to be 
seen, and what urban conditions do they propose? These MediaCities are diverse 
and ripe for study. Some include an expanded border region, (San Diego/Tijuana, 
Buffalo/Toronto) while others are cities divided across nations (Istanbul, 
Jerusalem, Shenhzhen / Hong Kong).

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Architecture, Art, Computer Science, Interaction Design, Geography, Media, 
Sociology, Urban Planning

Conference Chairs
Jordan Geiger, Omar Khan, Mark Shepard

Submission Requirements
Paper abstracts Due 12 November, 2012 by 11:59pm GMT, uploaded to the 
conference’s EasyChair website @
Abstracts should address global pluralities of MediaCities as the focus in this 
year's conference, whether that corresponds to one of the sample topics 
described herein or one of your own interest. The proposed presentation may 
relate academic research, a creative project or other subject matter but should 
not exceed 500 words. Abstracts will be double blind peer-reviewed by 
representatives of a wide range of expertise in relations between media and 
urban issues today. Send questions to chairs [at] media cities [dot] net

Important Dates

October 8, 2012         Call for Paper Abstracts

November 12, 2012       Abstracts Due

Dec 31,  2012           Acceptances Issued

March 1, 2013          Final Papers Due

May 3-5 2013            MediaCity 4: MediaCities

For more information, visit:

MediaCity Project -
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MediaCity 2008 -
MediaCity 2006 -
SPECTRE list for media culture in Deep Europe
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