The public screen, once used almost exclusively for advertising, today is both a continuous backdrop in the ongoing visual flow of urban life, and a medium that attracts attention, riveting the public’s gaze when a major event interrupts the flow. This three-year study investigated how local and transnational events are mediated through public space, focusing on the screen practices that come into play as large format and handheld screens are used in arenas of public life.
The project had a double focus, where the first involved fieldwork in public viewing areas (PVAs) established for pre-planned mega events, including the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the Summer Olympics in 2012, and two royal weddings, and revealed the attractive power of these spaces, for participants and media alike. The second focus was on a collaborative design process between Stockholm-based artists from ’Performing Pictures’ and Talleres Communitarios, an artisan workshop in rural Mexico. Merging media technology with a tradition of venerative artefacts, the artists created an interactive video shrine to the local patron saint, intertwining secular and sacred rituals in a mediatization of public space.