Political Contestation in Hyrbid Urban Space – Eric Kluitenberg

10th nov – 6PM – Regional Museum of Natural Science


The concept of Hybrid Space, originally proposed by the architects Frans Vogelaar and Elisabeth Sikiaridi designates the inextricable fusion of physical and media space into a new hybrid unity. Under conditions of intense proliferation of wireless media technologies around the globe, lived physical spaces, in particular especially urban public spaces, achieve a new “thickness” in which local, international and translocal communication flows melt together.

In this new constellation political affects flow in almost real-time from one locality to another, spawning new forms of almost instantaneous solidarity but also conflict, creating an increasingly unpredictable and intensely “densified” social field that operates in many localities at the same time.

Hybrid Space is discontinuous. It ruptures continuously, not just from place to place, but also from moment to moment. Signals are established and lost in milliseconds. Both confrontational forces as well as strategic power have to adjust themselves to a new complexity. The rapid proliferation of street protests, square occupations and tactical encampments around the world in 2011 have testified to these new dynamics – as has their sudden disappearance into an as yet unknown future.

The energies that fuelled this remarkable outburst of social and political dissent in public urban space have not simply dissipated with the last encampments swept out of our urban squares, but we have no idea where and how these energies will next manifest themselves. This is the new condition of densified uncertainty that pervades our local hybrid spaces that protestors and keepers of public order alike have to come to terms with.

free entry