[ISEA2011] Paper: Cecelia Cmielewski – Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere


The Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere research project explores the exchange of information and interactive content between cities identified as media ‘hubs’, and the impact on the formation of a regional public sphere. This project currently links screens between Federation Square, Melbourne and those managed by Art Center Nabi, Seoul.

Artists’ investigations, the changing role of the curator, interaction with audiences, the overcoming of technological differences and financial imperatives, will be described in the context of the issues faced in trying to generate a ‘sense of belonging’ in many contemporary civic public spaces.

Public screens could be sites that incubate innovative artistic and communication modes, revitalizing public space and public interaction. Networked public screens may also function as a nexus for new forms of cross-cultural exchange.  This potential to transmit artwork on a large screen in two cities with public interactive dimensions involves an innovative approach to curatorial techniques and artistic content, as well as a social and cultural valuing over commercialization of the screens and sites.

The research explores the capabilities of different art practices to inspire and bridge communities across these cities. The curator becomes a participant in the creative production and public interaction processes, requiring an awareness of the cultural and technical parameters of both sites so as to provoke a new transnational civic consciousness.

Research for Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere began in mid 2009 and will continue until mid 2013, developing interactive real-time artistic events between Melbourne and Seoul.  While our questions continue apace, this paper will describe the projects and some of our findings since 2009, and point to our future directions.

Our program of cross-cultural exchange (involving theorists, administrators, technicians, artists and curators) and empirical analysis of public interactions around large screens, aims to inform media, cultural and urban planning policy.

Our culturally and organisationally diverse team members are from the Art Center Nabi, Seoul, South Korea, Australia Council for the Arts, Federation Square PL, University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

  • Cecelia Cmielewski has made significant contributions to the strategic development and capacity building of the Australian creative sector, particularly through policy research, analysis and development for the Australia Council, the Federal Government’s arts funding and advisory agency. She was responsible for the development and implementation of the Arts in a Multicultural Australia 2000 and 2006-09 policies and for managing all the policy areas of Council included in its Cultural Engagement Framework and the Arts and Health Strategy. Cecelia is interested in innovations where social, technological and cultural engagement intersect to encourage a sense of belonging and well-being. She actively maintains a wide network of European, American,  Asian and Australian cultural networks and participates regularly in national and international cultural events including the International Symposia on Electronic Art. A Partner Investigator and one of the three curators for the Australian Research Council Linkage Project, ‘Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere’, her media curating experience also includes for two Adelaide Festival of Arts and several Cinemateque and media festivals in South Australia. She helped establish the Tudawali Award in 1996 to recognise the contribution of Indigenous fimmakers in Australia. Cecelia presents on a regular basis at local, national and international forums on arts and multicultural societies, arts and technology and, at the inaugural World Forum Venice, on the relationship between culture and the environment. She has worked closely with the academic community to further an actively informed and engaged arts sector, providing research and delivery for the Australia Council on a number of international conferences, including Empires Ruins + Networks (2004) at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne and Globalisation + Art + Cultural Difference (2002) at Artspace in Sydney. She was instrumental in the successful programme with the British Council: Making Creative Cities: The Value of Cultural Diversity in the Arts (2008). Cecelia develops and facilitates roundtable industry consultations and has been effective in the establishment of national networks including ArtsPeak, the national arts service peak body and visionary in the establishment of kultour, the national multicultural arts touring organisation. Cecelia holds a Bachelor of Design (University of South Australia), Bachelor of Arts (Flinders University) and a Master of Business Administration (University of Adelaide). She has advised on the design of evaluation processes for multi-year funded arts and non-arts projects with average budgets in excess of a million dollars.

Full text (PDF) p. 449-454 [different title]