Understanding Practice:

Yael Eylat van Essen in dialogue with Katja Schechtner

Museums have undergone significant changes in the last decades as many have shifted their focus from institutions representing the past to functioning as platforms for transformation and as sites for civic engagement. In her research, Yael Eylat Van Essen explores how museums can better connect past heritage to the present reality, speculate, and even impact the future.

As the current reality relies on intensive processes of datafication and technological sensing, she explores the possibilities of contextualizing heritage by designing heritage sites as smart and dynamic platforms. These platforms operate in real-time while being integrated within a broader interconnected technological ecosystem. Using this approach as a curatorial strategy aims to identify concealed patterns within real and virtual spaces. Based on the ability of new technologies to connect data from different ontological fields, this methodology enables exploring culture by connecting human and non-human agents in new ways and thus offering new perspectives.

Friday, 26 May, 10:00-12:30

Workshop: Contextualizing Heritage in the Prater Neighborhood

The workshop, conducted jointly by museum researcher and curator Yael Eylat Van Essen, and urban scientist Katja Schechtne, will explore the possibility of converging rhizomatic curatorial strategies relating to the multi-faceted history of the Prater Neighborhood with practices originating from smart cities systems.

Dr Yael Eylat Van Essen
is a researcher and curator specializing in the interface between art, design, science and technology and museology. She curated numerous exhibitions in Israel and abroad, among them for the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for Architecture. Her research interests include digital heritage and museology, digital culture theory, new-media art, post-photography, resilience studies and speculative design. She is a senior lecturer in the Design Faculty at HIT Holon Institute of Technology and teaches at Tel Aviv University, and she is currently on a research residency at MUSeum+ in the Czech Republic.

Katja Schechtner is an urban scientist who develops new technologies and shapes innovative policies to keep cities on the move. In her research she currently focuses on a reassessment of the rights of nature within urban governance with MIT LCAU and at the same time, tackles questions of urban policymaking with a particular emphasis on understanding the human perception of – and interaction with – the built environment with MIT senseable city lab. Previously, she negotiated international technology and innovation policy  and implemented smart city projects and strategies with global institutions  e.g. OECD, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, EU Commission etc. – all the while holding visiting professorships, research fellowships and lecturer positions globally, e.g. at MIT Media Lab, Paris-Saclay, dieAngewandte, TU Vienna, or HDM Stuttgart. Her work has been exhibited globally, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Seoul Biennale for Architecture and Urbanism, MAK, and ars electronica. Her current exhibition and latest book: „Frauen Bauen Stadt – The City Through a Female Lens“ together with Wojciech Czaja has been featured in international media, from Al Jazeera to El Pais, Fuji TV to Le Monde, and is currently traveling internationally with the next stop being Shenzhen, China.

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