Maggie McCormick


‘Skypeography: investigating and mapping the public mind space of urbaness’ is an overview of the public space of Skype. This article discusses how mediation by screens is creating new urban concepts across an emerging new spatial geography and its new sociologies and cartographies. It begins by tracing an overview from perceptions of ‘city’ to experiences of ‘urbaness’ and explores the role of screens in creating a mobile state of being and a conceptualization of urban public space as transient and paradoxical mind space. The paper argues that an appropriate urban lexicon or cartographic recording is yet to be developed in relation to the public space of screens. In an increasingly visualized world, art practice has a significant role to play in exploring and mapping urban transience, movement, rhythm and paradox that forms a state of ‘urbaness’. This article explores the concept of ‘Skypeography’ through the methods and aesthetics of artistic screen research practice undertaken in the fluid space of the SkypeLab research project. Key to the research is the project to identify 100 Questions emerging out of the practice of SkypeLab. Through its experimental approach in digital space, SkypeLab poses and exposes questions arising out of the practice, about urban space itself. Through both answers and questions, SkypeLab and its ‘Skypeography’ method contribute valuable knowledge towards an understanding of new conceptual territory within a profoundly changing urbanscape.


How to Cite
McCormick, M. (2018) “Skypeography. Investigating and mapping the public mind space of urbaness”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 3–12. doi: 10.5204/jps.v3i1.315.
Author Biography

Maggie McCormick, RMIT University

Maggie McCormick is an academic, practicing artist, curator, writer and researcher who has exhibited, curated and undertaken research projects, presentations and publications in Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. McCormick is now Adjunct Professor, formerly the recent Program Manager, Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) at RMIT University and Professor at Reutlingen University, Germany. She established early public space art interventions with the City of Melbourne, beginning with No Vacancy in 1990, extending into cityartpublicspace and finally as urbanart that ran until 2006. The regular program made claim on vacant shops, tram shelters, staircases and other vacant non-art public spaces. Her research focus currently is on how art practice contributes to understandings of the changing nature of urban consciousness and conceptualisation of public space in an urbanized and digitalized century. Together with Henning Eichinger, artist, curator and PProfessor at Reutlingen University, Germany, she initiated and co-curates SkypeLab 2014-2018 (Australia/Germany/China/South America) and its predecessor Skypetrait (Australia/Germany) 2012-2013. www.skypelab.org Recent exhibitions include SkypeLab: transcontinental faces and spaces (2016) group exhibition, Städtische Galerie, Reutlingen, Germany 2016 and Skypescape (overview of SkypeLab and Skypetrait) at Salamanca Art Centre, Hobart, Australia 2018. Recent publications include Carto-City Revisited: unmapping urbaness (2017) in Elizabeth Grierson (ed.) Transformations: Art and the City, Intellect Books, Bristol, UK/Chicago, USA.


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