In our times, the notion of public space appears to be one of the most contradictory concepts. With the rise of network and communication technologies, our experience of public space has changed. Public space is not only characterised by physical space and architecture but also by networks and knowledge distribution.
While public space is mainly being interpreted through urban planning, digital public space is organised through IP locations, URLs and protocols. Their cartographies, as distinct as they may seem, are both informed by network dynamics that add new layers of interpretation. Squares, parks, streets and the Internet are all potential public spaces that are activated through participation and engagement in order to acquire meaning.
The multiple interconnected spaces within which we act have redefined and affected our perception of everyday life as well as our social and cultural imaginaries. On the other hand, real-time data circulation and information exchange have created new patterns of communication allowing communities to surpass their localities and explore new modes of engagement and collaboration.
However, inhabiting at the same time a plethora of spaces that are potentially public the question that arises is: how open and free are these spaces? Have the visions regarding open access to public space and eventually public data been fulfilled?
As the programme director of Athens Digital Arts Festival 2015 (ADAF), I am happy to share this year’s festival catalogue. Under the theme of Public Space_s, the Festival expanded in various public spots in the city of Athens and highlighted the notion of public space, one of the most controversial concepts of our days. With the rise of network and communication technologies, our experience of public space has changed.