Archive for publications, April 2021

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[Commlist] new book: The Machinic City: Media, Performance and Participation

Tue Apr 27 15:06:07 GMT 2021

New book on performance art and contemporary urban living: The Machinic City: Media, Performance and Participation, by Marcos P. Dias (Manchester University Press, 2021)



As human and machine agency become increasingly intermingled and digital media is overlaid onto the urban landscape, The machinic city argues that performance art can help us to understand contemporary urban living. Dias analyses several performance art interventions from artists such as Blast Theory, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Rimini Protokoll, which draw from a rich history of avant-garde art movements to create spaces for deliberation and reflection on urban life and to speculate on its future.

While cities are increasingly controlled by autonomous processes mediated by technical machines, Dias analyses the performative potential of the aesthetic machine, as it assembles with media, capitalist, human and urban machines. The aesthetic machine of performance art in urban space is examined through its different components - design, city and technology actants. This unveils the unpredictable nature and emerging potential of performance art as it unfolds in the machinic city, which consists of assemblages of efficient and not-so-efficient machines.


'Dias' inspiring study makes clear that cities and machines are not always smart. His fascinating case studies show how performance art is perfectly placed to reveal the unpredictable, uncanny, powerful, playful and dysfunctional aspects of both. Drawing on perspectives ranging from philosophy and machine aesthetics to posthumanism and urban studies, Dias shines new light on our contemporary experience of "the machinic city" in bold and remarkable ways.'
Steve Dixon, Professor at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore, and author of Cybernetic-Existentialism and Digital Performance

Table of Contents:
1 A Machine To See With
2 Probing the machine of performance art
3 Rethinking machines
4 The aesthetic machine
5 Participation in the machinic city
6 Future machines


Marcos P. Dias is Assistant Professor in the School of Communications at Dublin City University

Available for purchase online: <>

Hardcover £80/$120 | Also available in E-book format
ISBN: 9781526135780 | 216 pages

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