Background

The idea o creating an atelier for exploring urban life, through the design of methodological multimodal artifacts, came as one of the results of my doctoral research about how to grasp and to describe the urban as a sort of structure.

That work, with a strong STS component, aimed to go to the particular, paying special attention to the located and heterogeneous associations that are composing and transforming particular places in specific temporal frames. The urban infrastructures of Times Square after its pedestrianization was the first particular case on this approach.

During the first two years of my doctoral scholarship I focused on going deeper into three specific topics that I started to develop during my master’s research: 1. Place as a particular case; 2. Learning from a specific location; 3. Multimodal and interactive ethnographic strategies.

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The systematic study of those subjects allowed me to think about the idea of creating a methodological proposal (this proposal) to understand urban life as a specific, temporal, situated, and unstable formation that has its own dynamic rules and unstructured infrastructures.

Those rules, infrastructures and, in general terms, all the specificities of located places, are composing particular versions of what we call as urban. In this context, urban is understood as an under-construction virtual place-holder of effervescent heterogeneous associations. Its shape and structure depends on what is happening in a concrete space-time frame.

The experience of working on Times Square allows me to try and to improve this methodology, as a sort of testbed, focusing on a particular case, and decomposing it through a sort of multimodal artifacts. And this is where the story of the Artefaktenatelier begins, aiming to continue doing ethnographic research about urban life, constructing multimodal products for exploring, describing and presenting the world that is there.