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Poster Presentation, Fog Screen

This article is originally a short research paper for my graduate school. Pormissed a friend to publish it and here it is:

“Contemporary theatre practice distributes the stage into an open, smooth space, as the stage nests within urban space or global space, curls up in the realm of the senses, cuts across the grid of capital, or captures the territory of play.” Nomadic Theatre (Groot Nibbelink, 2015)

A new method of advertisement in “Hoog Catharijne” is to use fog screen and a video projection. This innovative method to address the audience can also be used as an instrument to demonstrate contemporary art. In fact it can serve as a playful media in the notion of smart city. Concept of smart city, new media, digital culture and mobile locative media are subjects of academic discussions. In regards to the mentioned notions, this paper aims to answer how this particular stage manages the attention of spectator, address audience and is able to serves as an instrument for smart digital city.
The famous shopping mall “Hoog Catharijne” in Utrecht is a very popular destination for citizens of this city and people from all over the Netherlands. The fact that it is located right next to one of the most busy train stations in the country has made it a unique shopping and entertainment centers. To attract more people and remain popular and playful, various activities are carried out in the mall and different programs and events are set for the visitors. Not far away from Mc Donald’s, a small bench invites visitors to seat and watch a new form of advertisement. A machine installed on the ceiling sprays vapored water or fog which makes a curtain or surface and a beamer is used to reflect advertisement on this wall. According to the website of producer, “it produces a thin curtain of dry fog that serves as a translucent projection screen, displaying images that float in the air” (applications, 2015)

In this space, internal focolizers as are mentioned by Bleeker (2008) invite pedestrians to engage and examine. The light, fog, and the fact that it is upside down, address the audience and call for further investigation. This is the reason that the passer wants to go in, pass through, wait inside and feel the flow of air and water that is coming down. This is how the passive individual who is just taking the route to catch a train or shop at neighboring stores, changes mind and steps in to explore and find out. It is not a board on the side of the hall way nor a banner. There is motion and motion catches the eyes. In a way it forces to make an active participation and requires a comprehensive examination of the phenomena. Here the spectator converts to a player. They want to examine the situation (in this case the circulation of fog) they want to touch and breathe the air and pass through it. Audience of all ages and genders want to “play” underneath the fog, stand, pass, and take a picture or a selfie with this amazing machine and read the message through the fog.

The system of “Fogs Screen” in the Hoog Catharijne is now being used for showing advertisements, but it also can be used as a media to demonstrate art and artistic works on a new platform. It can work as a media. “Locative media use a location in public space as a 'canvas' for implementing an art project and have become one of the most active and fast-growing areas in new media art.” (Paul, 2008) In fact digital and smart technologies can provide a very constructive ground for art and artistic works, broadening the concept of public art. (This term is used to demonstrate artistic works which are shown outside a traditionallydesignated frame.) Such devices can enhance performances of art and provide a visual expression for citizens. This location can be an example of what is mentioned by Liesbeth Willemien Groot Nibbelink in Nomadic Theatre as “the physical environment augmented by digitally created spaces.” (2015) this important feature of the fog screen seems to be neglected and the project is only being used for commercial work. This can lead to limit the audience and make the performance boring.

Poster Presentation
In my poster presentation assignment, I have tried to show how an indoor space in the shopping mall is addressing the audience using a new digital instrument for a commercial reason. Also I am showing Spectator`s approaches towards this phenomena. I have also provided an example on how the fog screen can be used as a platform for art and artistic work. Here I have used a Van Gog picture as an example. The idea of demonstrating art work in public urban spaces is socially and academically relevant subject and has been approached by many scholars under the concept of smart and social city. The background picture is a photo of my son who is immersed and absorbed in the performance just like many other people of different ages!
As mentioned above, this space is at the side of a hall way connecting the space in front of Media Markt and the main hallway. Although two single benches are designated for people to sit and relax for some time, but the main motivation to wait here is the fog screen. The fact that this area is still under construction and stores on the left side are closed due to renovation work in Hoog Catharijne, brings les visitors to this space, although the “show” is interesting enough to call people, absorb them, catch their attention and immerse them in the virtually enhanced fog. This space can managed to attract more people by demonstrating more than just advertisement. It can be a platform of art broadcasted through an innovative form of technology. In addition the space provided is small which makes it less attractive. Finally, adding a participatory music which accompany the motion can augment addressing the spectator.

Groot Nibbelink, Liesbeth. Nomadic Theatre. Staging Movment and Mobility in Contemporary Performance. PhD Thesis, Utrecht University 2015
Helen Freshwater, Theatre & Audience (New York: Palgrave Macmillan: 2009)
Jacques Rancière, “The Emancipated Spectator,” in Artforum (2004)
Maaike Bleeker (2008). Visuality in the Theatre. The Locus of Looking. Palgrave Mackmillan Paul, Christiane. 2008. Digital art. World of art. London ; New York: Thames & Hudson


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I hold an MA in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands and a BSc in Persian-English Translations from the University of Payamnour, Tehran, Iran.  My MA thesis concerns the role of Social Media in general and Facebook in particular in education and integration of refugees in the Netherlands.  The title of my thesis is "Ethnographic Study of Facebook Usage among the Persian and Arabic Speaking Refugees and Asylum seekers in Asylum Center in Utrecht"  I have served on the website and social media editorial boards and am a frequent contributor to several journals. Currently, I am holding the position of Editor in Chief at which is a multi-language website focusing on Iranian Tourist attractions.  My research areas include (but not limited to) Social Movements, Fandom, Transmedia, Pedagogy, Social Capital and Ethnic Media.  My most current research focuses on “The Iranian Zoroastrians Representation in New Media”. 

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