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Urban Travel Machines

Urban Travel Machines
European Planetariums and Immersive Poetry Performances

UTM contributes to the renewal of the literary sector in Europe through the adoption of Immersive Technology. UTM enhances transnational mobility, new technology and audience engagement with regards to poetry performance.  

In order to do that, UTM builds upon 
(1) the networks and practices of slam poetry. They have proved themselves a vibrant vector of audience expansion and artistic renewal, in particular when it comes to urban and cultural diversification in the literary sector.
(2) immersive technology that has gained massive traction in the CCI's at large, yet remains strongly underused in the context of literary creation, in spite of significant expertise within European art schools (visual arts). 
(3) tech infrastructure in 4 scientific planetariums, re-defining 3D projection technology as a compelling means of digital storytelling in the context of 4 creative cities (Tartu, Vienna, La Coruna and Brussels) .

UTM comprises 3 art schools and 4 planetariums with a combined experience in 35 relevant EU funded projects since 2018. Together, they will 
(1) build 1 Immersive Website in order to build, exchange and disseminate immersive tools and skills, and make these accessible for literary and visual artists during and beyond the project’s lifespan for an aspired audience of 40,000 viewers
(2) host 4 two-day Immersive Poetry Festivals in the planetariums of Tartu, La Coruña, Vienna and Brussels, tied in with existing literary festivals, for a combined audience of 1500 live visitors;
(3) set up 3 Collaborative Creation Courses at art schools in Antwerp, Helsinki and Warsaw, where 3 x 5 poetry performers co-produce 360° immersive environments for the Festivals mentioned above, together with 3 x15 visual arts students, under supervision of  immersive specialists;
(4) set up 2 Immersive Storytelling Labs (online) for 2 x100 professionals from the CCI’s, 4 Poetry Youth Labs for 4 x 50 creative youths; and 3 Immersive Creator Exchanges for 3 x15 visual artists.

Initiated by Philip Meersman, Janna Beck, Olga Wroniewicz & Tarja Nieminen.

Coordinated by Dr. Ine Vanouveren en drs. Philip Meersman for Maxlab.

In collaboration with several researchers and tutors, among them Kristof Timmerman, Jeroen Cluckers, Antti Hietaniemi and Poetry artists Luulur, Maja Jantar, Giovanni Baudonck, Facciangelica, Elijas, Drumbadour, Iva Damjanovski, Gyenge Veroni, Magdalena Walusiak, Malin Gustavsson, Tswi, Makis Moulos, Tania Haberland, Estíbaliz Espinosa and Pol Guasch.

A collaboration between:
3 Schools of Arts:

  • Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp - AP University College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Antwerp (BE) (project leader and coordinator)
  • School of Arts, Design and Architecture - AALTO University (Aalto Korkeakoulusaatio SR), Helsinki (FI)
  • Polish Japanese Academy of Information Technology (Polsko-Japon ska Akademia Technik Komputerowych), Warschau (PL)

4 European planetaria:

  • Sihtasutus Teaduskeskus AHHAA, Tartu (EST)
  • Die Wiener Volkshochschule GMBH, Vienna (AUST)
  • Ayuntamiento de A Coruña, Coruña (ES)
  • Koninklijke Belgische Sterrenwacht, Brussel (BE)

With the support of the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.


(image: Frietje Wabisabi – Philip Meersman & Janna Beck. Photo: Janna Beck)