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Both Manovich and McQuire insight conversation about the relationship between the physical structures of the urban sphere – streets, windows, public spaces – and media, specifically the representative medium of the screen.
Any conversation about the urban inherently is also a conversation in, the inverse, about the suburban.
At the turn of the century and at the heights of urbanization, globally and especially (to my knowledge) in the US, “urban” media was a hot topic. The music changed, the art changed. Attributed to the fast pace of the city and the multidimensional, multicultural interaction that come with urban life, new media contrasted sharply with the VASTLY different at the time time suburban life.
Urban life was lived on the streets and in the buildings, political spheres, theaters, public and private transportation vehicles, magazines, and museums. The changes in media are said to have reflected these new ways of life, people wanted to see modeled for them what to do in cities (a conversation about advertisement and the role of consumerism in new media, especially in the US), but perhaps also these new mediums eveolved beacuse they were better representations of that life, they were more accurate, and people wanted to show what they were doing, wanted to communicate with the now much greater and more diverse whole in relevant and meaningful ways. You see in any analysis of the development of film, or print magazines, or photography, the evolution of the notion of self and self reflection. Foucault even talks about it.
So, if these developments of the urban sphere’s media representation were closely tied to the life of those who lived in the urban sphere, then what does it say about those individuals in the suburban sphere who looked at those images? And took them to be real with out experiencing them for themselves? In earlier times it was difficult to even get to that media unless you were in the city or knew someone with a magazine or clipping or story or postcard or photograph or film of the city. So if you wanted to be part of it, see it, craved it, you went to the city to get it – sharing then both in the consumption of the media but also the ife from which it came. If you did not want it, you could stay in the suburbs and never have meaningfully encounter the culture of the urban sphere. However, today, with the many advents of mass media the relationship between urban media, and suburbanites has changed distinctavly. Largerly because of the growth of the developments in mass media and digital technology with a similarly expansive growth in the suburbs. Couch potatoes watching television, young children playing video games like Grand Theft Auto, Black Ops, League of Legends and other highly fast paced and communally interactive video games. White people listening to “urban” music made by brown people with whom they share no similar lifestyle. The simulation of the real is acutely felt here. What is does it mean that suburban populations can and do live in an inundation of urban media that is made of a life that they know nothing of in their own experience? How much are the cultural cues that media gives to people in a “do you see what I see” kind of way distorted by the fact that they know that world that they idolize only from its simulation?