Publicly Sited

The Mediated City 01: Surfaces, Depths, Fragments, Publics

January 8, 2022

When you move through the city, you move through mediation. This is because what we call media and what we call the city (or the urban) are in a nexus: they are intimately connected. On the one hand, the practices, the rhythms and the motilities of urban living compel certain uses, exposures and desires in relation to media technologies, forms and industries. On the other hand, these media forms, infrastructures, and industries inhabit – and are increasingly ‘built-into’ – urban environments. Many might quite reasonably point out that media represent the city and urban life, in film, television, literature, news, video games and apps. In this opening episode, however, we introduce a focus on the city itself is a mediating environment. We begin to think how, through the urban we can find new ways to think about media, and how, through media, we can find new ways to think about the city. The aim here is modest. Rather than presenting a general framework for understanding the mediated city in the past, now and forever more, we start with four points of reference. These will loosely guide how we’ll think about the mediated city in the episodes to come: surfaces, depths, fragments and publics.

Thinkers discussed: Simon Wreckert (Google Maps Hacks); Scott McQuire (An Archaeology of the Media City: Towards a Critical Cultural History of Mediated Urbanism); Shannon Mattern (Deep Mapping the Media City / Code + Clay … Data + Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media); David Henkin (City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York); Iain Borden (Hoardings); Marshall McLuhan (Understanding Media: The Extension of Man); Friedrich Kittler (The City is a Medium); Georg Simmel (The Metropolis and Mental Life); Erving Goffman (Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings); William Mitchell (E-topia: "Urban Life Jim - But Not as We Know It”) Eric Gordon and Adriana de Souza e Silva ( Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World); Kurt Iveson (Publics and the City); Michael Warner (Publics and Counterpublics)

Music: ‘The Mediated City Theme’ by Scott Rodgers ( License: CC BY-NC (

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