Enter the Surface-Interface: An Exploration of Urban Surfaces as Sites of Spatial Production and Regulation

Article


Andron, S. 2019. Enter the Surface-Interface: An Exploration of Urban Surfaces as Sites of Spatial Production and Regulation. Leonardo Electronic Almanac. 22 (4).
AuthorsAndron, S.
Abstract

This article uses the concept of interface to discuss the vertical surfaces of the built environment as interactive locations of spatial production and regulation. I use interface as a verb and a noun to define the capacity of urban surfaces to display the multiple making of urban space and various claims to citizenship, in the form of material surface inscriptions.

Using examples from my investigations of surfaces in London, UK, I examine their occupation by inscriptions such as graffiti and street art, to demonstrate how these articulate the interfacing capacity of surfaces. The objective is to develop a discourse around urban surfaces as loci of spatial production and governance, by exploring the theoretical and analytical affordances of the interface. I therefore propose the concept of surface-interface, which I define as a site of spatial production which enables both the regulation and subversion of the image of the city, through a visualization of the power regimes that aim to control it.

The essay proposes an activation and enrichment of the space of the surface through a conceptual alignment with that of the interface, to show how urban surfaces act as portals between public and private property, and between regimes of governance and their visual and material contestations. The paper aims to contribute to conversations about spatial articulations of power and citizenship and add to a growing body of research on urban walls and surfaces as key political spaces of contemporary cities.

KeywordsSurface-interface, urban surfaces, urban inscriptions, urban media, graffiti, visibility, spatial production, image of the city
JournalLeonardo Electronic Almanac
Journal citation22 (4)
ISSN1071-4391
Year2019
PublisherMIT Press
Web address (URL)https://www.leoalmanac.org/enter-the-surface-interface-an-exploration-of-urban-surfaces-as-sites-of-spatial-production-and-regulation-sabina-andron/
Publication dates
Online15 Mar 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Sep 2019
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/87162

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