Publicly Sited

The Mediated City 03: Suburban Screens

January 23, 2022

One way or another, you most likely watch television in some form. You might use a device explicitly called a ‘television’, sited in a room in which televisions tend to be, such as a lounge or family room. Or perhaps you use a remediated version of television: via a device such as a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop or even projector. And the content you’re watching may itself be only loosely television: it may be live content (e.g. news, sports, or a a live-to-air programme); or perhaps your taking in programming via an on-demand streaming platform, or even just watching video clips. Regardless of these variations and contingencies, according to some scholars, this mediated situation has important technological and cultural connections with the suburb. Not just the suburb as a location, but as: a historically specific form of urban development; as an archetype for living; and above all, as an emergent configuration of mediation in the modern urbanising world. In this episode, we explore the ways this may have transpired, and may still endure today, from television in the postwar period, to its more recent and ambient urban appearances across urban spaces.

Thinkers discussed: Roger Silverstone (Television and Everyday Life); Raymond Williams (Television: Technology and Cultural Form); Marylin Strathern (Future Kinship and the Study of Culture); Delores Hayden (Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work and Family Life); James Carey (The Telegraph and Ideology); Jürgen Habermas (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere); Anna McCarthy (Ambient Television: Visual Culture and Public Space); Marc Augé (Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity); Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life); Jo Helle-Valle and Dag Slettemeås (ICTs, Domestication and Language-Games: a Wittgensteinian Approach to Media Uses); Lynn Spigel (Welcome to the Dreamhouse: Popular Media and Postwar Suburbs); Roger Keil (Suburban Constellations); Francesco Cassetti (Cinema Lost and Found: Trajectories of Relocation).

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

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