Digital and/as Public Space

May 25, 2021

COVID has produced the greatest big tech experiment of our time, driving everything – from education to cultural programming, health and wellness to social interaction – online. It seems likely that this newfound dependence on the digital realm is here to stay, and that public life post-COVID will continue to move back and forth between digital and physical platforms.

The Bentway’s new Digital and/as Public Space initiative will explore the interaction between digital and physical space in order to re-examine public space, overcome access barriers, promote civic engagement, and support community resilience in online, offline, and hybrid contexts.

To help steer the development of this initiative, The Bentway has partnered with Toronto-based studio, From Later, a transdisciplinary team whose work focuses on understanding change and building possible futures.

Digital and/as Public Space will also include eight micro-residencies that will explore hybrid public realms that embrace elements from both physical spaces and digital spaces. Together with The Bentway and From Later, they will investigate how hybrid spaces are defined, created, and maintained. Research findings will then be incorporated into The Bentway’s Field Guide to the Digital Real.

The Field Guide to Digital and/as Public Space is a living document, designed to be rearranged, remixed, and expanded. The Field Guide explores the interaction between digital and physical space, providing cues for situating oneself among the possibilities and affordances of digital techniques.

Explore the field guide >>

The Bentway and From Later hosted a set of Digital and/as Public Space Micro-Residencies with artists, designers, developers, and writers whose diversity of projects helped inspire the form of The Field Guide to Digital and/as Public Space.

Check out the projects >>

Photo of a hand holding a phone with the Directions to Nowhere app open

Directions to Nowhere in Particular is a game of chance that alters the ways you sense, make, and navigate public space. Anyone can play. Simply go outside, pick a random prompt, and follow the directions for interacting with your surroundings.

What is Digital and/as Public Space? Want to learn more?
Read the Digital and/as Public Space 101 with From Later!

The Bentway Announces Eight Micro-Residencies as Part of the Digital and/as Public Space Initiative

Meet the Residents >>

Special thanks to the Balsam Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.