Entr’acte: Performing Publics, Pervasive Media, and by Jordan Geiger (eds.)

By Jordan Geiger (eds.)

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Its largest factory city in Longhua, Shenzhen, situates an estimated 300,000 employee-residents in a massive live-work complex. It is a megastructure by sheer architectural scale and by social totalization; one could also say that Foxconn is an “island” and therefore prone to both utopian and (as has been more the case) dystopian imaginations. Along the spectrum of platform openness versus closure, Foxconn’s regimented cycle of life passing from one phase to another, perhaps until death, places it at the end of a dotted line leading through Voluntary Prisoners to the present, each the prototype for the other.

As described above, in today’s public space formations, roles of new technologies are both prominent and noticeably time sensitive. Communications media change rapidly, practices of urban space use and uses of technology change rapidly, yet physical construction or urban spaces change relatively slower and with investments of capital from single sources (developers, governments) rather than the distributed, sometimes user-driven development of media networks that so abruptly change the lives of urban spaces.

2). For Whyte, everyday public interactions are literally viewed as performances, loosely staged by elemental physical mediators like warmth, sound, and rest. He analyzes crowd actors as actors, as individuals with collective behaviors; with temporal and spatial patterns subject to manipulation, optimization, suppression, and perhaps emancipation. Control comes to the fore in this mode, a measure of rupture in the life of public spaces relative to their programmed uses, and at the regulation of things like movable chairs, fountains, network outages, and place-based sensors.

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