MAS Context Spring Talks 2021
Nighttime as a Unique Territory


Architect and researcher Lucía Jalón Oyarzun, Professor of Urban Media Studies Will Straw, and architect Pablo Martínez of 300.000 Km/s lectured as part of MAS Context’s 2021 Spring Talks series.


Nighttime as a Unique Territory


Today, the ability to describe and understand urban environments based on the use of data allows us to develop new perspectives beyond what is visible. It is with this information that we can document and visualize the activity cycles that characterize each city, during daytime and nighttime. The available data is a tool to begin to understand how nighttime in each city is governed, the patterns it generates, and how it defines a unique territory and human experience of our built environment.

During this event, the panelists shared their ongoing research on nighttime conditions, from the policies that shape them to their representation in media. They also discussed cartography as an instrument to define new territories and the different cities that those cartographies reveal.

This event is part of the ongoing Nocturnal Landscapes: Urban Flows of Global Metropolises initiative. The project provides a comprehensive look at global metropolises at night, combining analysis and observation, questioning the correlation of human activity and light, and revealing hidden aspects of our cities.


Barcelona light vs activities, Nocturnal Landscapes: Urban Flows of Global Metropolises. © 300.000 Km/s.


Suggested readings

Will Straw, Luc Gwiazdzinski, and Marco Maggioli, “The emerging field of ‘Night Studies:’ Steps towards a genealogy,” Night Studies: Regards croisés sur les nouveaux visages de la nuit, (Grenoble: Editions Elya, 2020).

Lucia Jalón Oyarzun, “Subjectivity of the Map: Cartographying with the Body,” The Funambulist, February 21, 2014.

Lucia Jalón Oyarzun, “Night as Commons: Minor Architecture and Dayfaring Citizens,” Scapegoat Journal, Night, 2017, 57-70.

Emanuela Barbiroglio, “Architects In Barcelona Use Data To Make Air Pollution Visible,” Forbes, October 12, 2020.

Pablo Martínez and Mar Santamaria, “Atnight: Visions Through Data,” MAS Context, Issue 13, Visibility, Fall 2012, 172-183.


(Detail) Barcelona day and night activities, Nocturnal Landscapes: Urban Flows of Global Metropolises. © 300.000 Km/s.


This event has been supported by the Barcelona City Council – Institut de Cultura de Barcelona.



Lucía Jalón Oyarzun is an architect and researcher. Since 2010 she has been a researcher at the Cultural Landscape Research Group at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and, since 2019, she is a post-doc and Head of Research at ALICE (Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. At ALICE she continues her interdisciplinary research on the conflict between the spatial forms used by politics and the exception, and the commons created by the rebel body. She does so through a historical, political, and philosophical reading of secrecy as spatial compositions under capitalism; the anesthetic effects of the new attentional regimes on the body’s spatial capabilities; landscape as affective image and its media and infrastructural definition; and architectural ethnography and the map as an instrument of (dis)orientation.

Will Straw is Professor of Urban Media Studies at the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. He is also Adjunct Research Professor in the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University. Recently, Dr. Straw’s research has come to focus on the ways in which the nighttime culture of cities is governed, promoted, and represented. On the one hand, this takes the form of an interest in new policy instruments adopted by cities so as to acknowledge the role of nighttime culture within them. On the other hand, this interest takes him into the study of narrative forms (in the cinema, journalism, and fiction) that treat the night as a distinct territory of human experience. | | @wstraw

Mar Santamaría and Pablo Martínez operate 300.000 Km/s, a professional firm based in Barcelona that provides data analysis and consulting on cities. They apply technology to architecture, cities and land, searching for new ways to transform the environment. They work in the field of urban analysis, cartography, urban planning, digital tool development, and digital humanities. Their knowledge stems from architecture, urbanism, geographic data analysis, urban history, restoration, museology, industrial design, project management, and software development. They provide data analysis services and data products to help cities make better decisions based on data. They have collaborated successfully with public entities, international companies, and cultural institutions. | @300000kms

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