project pages links


Virtual Urban is a web-based project exploring the nature of contemporary urban space. It is a collaboration between Aisling O' Beirn (based in Belfast, Ireland) and Marjetica Potrc (based in Ljubljana, Slovenia).

The web was chosen as a venue for this project as it afforded an opportunity to investigate the navigation of urban space in a virtual space. It was also an ideal format for people based in distant locations to work together over a long period of time using email to correspond.

O' Beirn and Potrc used a selection of their own material in the form of an image and text email dialogue. They have also used material kindly donated by surfers in Autumn '00. All material used deals with space in the contemporary city.



Virtual Urban is both a journey and a dialogue. It aims to document how cities are decoded and read today. Readings are presented using the material and its' sequencing as a metaphor for navigating contemporary space.

The surfer can navigate endlessly, much like visiting a city for the first time. It is easy to get lost in this site and almost impossible to retrace your steps. This makes it organic like the city, perception is different with each visit.

Dialogues also have these qualities. Recounted narrative gains a new layer of meaning with each retelling. The ability of the surfer to approach information on this site from different directions each time gives the experience of the site another dimension..

What evolved is now a seamless narrative that lacks specific geographical and historical locations. Rather here are examples of personalised contemporary space.

Virtual Urban, a reconstructed virtual city would not have been possible without the generous contributions from surfers.


The directional arrows at the top of each page allow the surfer forward and backward through the site.

NON LINEAR LINKS Most images on the site are linked to another image. The mouse is dragged over an image to reveal another and the original image is restored when the mouse is dragged back, otherwise the image can be double clicked on to take the surfer to another page.

Each body of text has a word link which is donated by white text. When this word is double clicked the surfer is taken to another page.

Occasionally there are Bridge Links which are donated by a knot symbol at the top of the page. When double clicked the title and knot link will take the surfer into a different location in the site.


Arthouse (in Dublin, Ireland), a multimedia centre dedicated to the digital arts is hosting this web site project as part of their programed. Aisling O'Beirn built the site as artist in resident in Arthouse with the assistance of Paul Murnaghan. More information on Arthouse and its' activities can be found at
This project is kindly sponsored by The Arts Council and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.