• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Significant changes are occurring in the social spaces of modern cities and the social functioning of media. This erudite, forceful book argues that the spaces and rhythms of contemporary cities are radically different to those described in classic theories of urbanism. Changes in the city have been paralleled by the transformation of media which has become increasingly mobile, instantaneous and pervasive. The media are no longer separate from the city. Offering social commentary at the deepest levels of historical and critical reference, The Media City links Myspace to Howard Hughes; trams to cinema; security cameras to exploding buildings; reality TV to Marx; and Lenin on privacy to Kracauer on the mass ornament.

Wide-ranging and richly illustrated, it intersects disciplines and connects phenomena which are too often left isolated from each other to propose a new way of understanding public and private space and social life in contemporary cities. It will find a broad readership in media and communications, cultural studies, social theory, urban sociology, architecture, and art history.

The City in Fragments
The city in fragments

The life of a village is narrative […] In a city the visual impressions succeed each other, overlap, over-cross, they are ‘cinematographic’.

(Ezra Pound 1921)

I sensed a new reality in the detail of a machine, in the common object. I tried to find the plastic value in these fragments of modern life. I rediscovered them on the screen in the close-ups of objects which impressed and influenced me.

(Fernand Léger 1923)1
The Shattered City

In Alberto Cavalcanti's remarkable but little seen film Rien que les heures (Nothing but time, France, 1926), the opening shot shows a picturesque Paris street, a remnant of the old city Marville might have photographed prior to Haussmann's onslaught. But the image is immediately torn up, revealed as ...

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