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Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces$
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Nikos Papastergiadis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208920

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208920.001.0001

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Walls, Attractions, and Media

Walls, Attractions, and Media

An Archaeology of Public Visual Displays

(p.31) 2 Walls, Attractions, and Media
Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces

Erkki Huhtamo

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines pre-twentieth precedents for big screen displays in public spaces to demonstrate how media culture has never been segregated from outdoor milieus of distraction. It addresses largely ignored histories of public displays, including trade signs, banners, broadsides, billboards, and early dynamic displays including magic lantern shows. The chapter contextualises outdoor screens within this history to argue that public media culture is a peculiar mode of spectatorship that must be apprehended as element among many that vies for the attention of individuals within public spaces, including aural, physical elements, and other visual elements. It argues that the tendency to characterise large screens as an incursion of the private into the public fails to address the history and context of public displays, which are instead more productively apprehended as sites where the distinction between public and private is renegotiated.

Keywords:   Big screen displays, Public displays, Outdoor screens, Screen histories, Public, Private

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