Digital citizenship is one of the most pressing societal challenges of our times. In the Netherlands, public libraries play a crucial role in training and maintaining people's digital skills. That's why this project examines the technological ecosystem of Utrecht Library. Its visitors and staff members not only use technology to borrow books, but also for working, ensuring safety, and communicating with friends or colleagues.
Reflection on technology use
What’s missing, however, is a reflection on the ways in which technological systems are woven into our daily lives. We do not always ask (the right) questions about our technology use, although it requires a willingness to learn to remain able to navigate in our partly digitised world. This project spurs library visitors and employees who are currently still very digitally able to reflect on their technology use and behaviour, to make them aware that they should not take their digital aptitude for granted.
In ON the LINE, a group of artists, designers, and researchers from HKU, mapped out how visitors and staff members coexist with technological systems in the library. The team regularly stayed at Bibliotheek Neude, organised public tests, and used their research results to develop a series of new artworks. The research culminated in an exhibition in the main hall of the library, from June 29th to July 6th, 2023.
The works, created specifically for this exhibition, challenge you to ask new critical questions about your own use of technology. Explore different perspectives on technology, your own technological transactions, and put yourself in the perspective of a smartphone. The artworks assist a wide audience in engaging with an abstract theme such as 'digital citizenship' by exposing our habits and routines, and questioning the consequences of our technology use on our daily lives and future.