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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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Defining the Public in Piccadilly Circus

Defining the Public in Piccadilly Circus

(p.81) 5 Defining the Public in Piccadilly Circus
Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces

Sean Cubitt

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the large screens of Piccadilly Circus, London, to extrapolate how digital capitalism produces a depoliticised neoliberal public. From the narrow technological parameters to optimise visibility, to the relentless commercial occupation of these ‘public’ screens, Cubitt demonstrates how the possibility of a political public sphere within the space of Piccadilly Circus is foreclosed by corporations that sell the illusion of control and freedom which they have long since usurped. This is further illustrated by his analysis of a novel artistic installation, performed by Fluxus artist Yoko Ono in 2013, which intervened in the corporate occupation of the Piccadilly Circus screens to foreground the triumph of branding over substance that circumvents the democratic potential of large screens in public spaces.

Keywords:   Piccadilly Circus, Big Screens, Neoliberalism, Depoliticization, Public space, Yoko Ono

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