It is pop warfare! #Susamam

“The revolution will not be televised” is a great song by Gil Scott-Heron. It questions the popular culture and its hegemonic form of everyday life and lifestyle. It urges people to step out of the bombardment of mass media icons, while portraying a picture of how spectacle unfolds in the 1970s.

Guy Debord published Society of the Spectacle at the time of the song. The spectacle as Debord puts bluntly is not “a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images”. Both the song and the book are products of an unprecedented mass media explosion in the 1970s.

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Check Hyperallergic for an illustrated guide for Society of Spectacle

Despite how hegemonic it sounds, popular culture has a weak spot or a soft belly. Ta daa, counter-hegemonic art and everyday life! Although it has a subtle and invasive nature, the pop culture is powerful as long as we let it appropriate everyday life and culture.

It is discursive warfare! And yesterday, in the middle of the night, we won a battle in it.

A group of rappers dropped a song in Turkey, which is much more powerful than any article written on what has been happening. The 15-minute song, Susamam (I can’t stay silent), is a summary of social issues, from environmental problems to domestic violence. Beyond portraying what has been happening in the country for some time, it is an outcry screaming “enough is enough”.

Within a day, it has reached out so many people in Turkey and abroad. The coverage is expanding as you read these sentences, with over a million viewings on Youtube only.

The song itself means many things. It is a protest against injustice and cruelty. It is self-criticism of a generation raised (and accused) of being apolitical. It is a counter-hegemonic move. It is an in-your-face act that no one can dare to ignore.

All in all, it shows that Turkey is a diverse country with strong embedded opposition and the future is not as bleak as it portrayed in many superficial analyses.

How Utopia Became a Real Estate Leaflet?

When it comes to gated communities, recurrences of similar everyday life images and spatial representations in mass media form a discourse of the future everyday life. It depicts an ideal living environment that aligns neoliberalization with an idealization of private urban services, commodified forms of housing production, enclave living and exclusiveness, as well as the glorification of consumerism. This aligns with neoliberalism’s “pervasive effects on ways of thought to the point where it has become incorporated into the common-sense way many of us interpret, live in, and understand the world” since the 1970s (Harvey, 2007, p. 3).

Understanding the role of this discourse in the imagining and producing of future everyday life in cities is critical for the production of urban space in the future and for the role of utopian thinking. In this respect, a critical investigation of the representation of future everyday life in housing developments would provide some insight on these issues. This particular case study focuses on mass media representations of the branded housing projects developed in Istanbul, which provide some clues.

To read the full short article on Public Seminar, click here.

 

Visualisation of Airbnb Through the Years

Kor Dwarshuis visualised Airbnb boom in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and New York since the foundation of Airbnb to 2017.

The maps show the striking increase in the numbers as well as the distribution and clustering of the Airbnb flats in these cities.

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The maps also pose a question of the commodification of the couch as well as the scale of the unregulated holiday lets in these major cities.

It is also quite fun to explore 🙂 Click here to see more.

Does Your Street Smell Like Food or Sound Like Nature ?

How do we experience cities, streets, squares?

How they sound? How they smell?

Good City Life creates experience-based maps for the cities, well at least for London, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Seattle, …  Good City Life team wants to challenge “the corporate rhetoric of the smart cities movement”:

To change the corporate rethoric of the smart cities movement, there is the need to study how people psychologically perceive the urban environment, and to capture that in a quantitative fashion. (Good City Life)

There are two maps available online: Chatty Maps and Smelly Maps

Chatty Maps shows how a street sounds. Covent Garden (London) sounds like human or Kingsway (London) sounds like traffic. It is quite a database for soundscape of a city!

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Smelly Maps is the second amazing map the Good City Life team created. Check St Nicolas Avenue (New York) out. It smells 98% food 🙂 Wow, hell of an experience 🙂 Ouch, the Tower Bridge (London) smells like emissions, not so good 🙂

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Thank you the Good City Life team for creating such amazing maps for us 😉

 

Istanbul Urban Layers

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Istanbul Urban Database is an excellent work and amazing database for urban researchers and activist alike.

an accessible, interactive mapping platform for historians, architects, city planners and other researchers to examine and contribute to the collective memory of Istanbul. This project is a sustainable platform that blends a wide range of historical data, and is the most comprehensive online archive of Istanbul’s urban history. (Istanbul Urban Database)

It is an ongoing project developed by Nil Tuzcu, a researcher based at MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Istanbul Urban Database currently has 8 categories: base maps, transportation, photos, major roads, spaces of everyday life, housing, master plans, and growth: Base maps include aerial photos, Jacques Pervititch insurance maps which were drawn between 1921 and 1946, and several Ottoman era maps provided by the Harvard Map Collection.  (Istanbul Urban Database)

 A massive thank you to Nil for developing such a platform for urbanist and urban historians.

Phantasmagoria of Urban Spectacle: Walter Benjamin and Media Theory Today

Jaeho Kang‘s talk about Walter Benjamin, phantasmagoria, spectacle, media and public space..

The talk is based on his book Walter Benjamin and the Media: The Spectacle of Modernity.

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), one of the most original and perceptive thinkers of the twentieth century, offered a unique insight into the profound impact of the media on modern society. Jaeho Kang’s book offers a lucid introduction to Benjamin’s theory of the media and its continuing relevance today.

The book provides a systematic and close reading of Benjamin’s critical and provocative writings on the intersection between media – from print to electronic – and modern experience, with reference to the information industry, the urban spectacle, and the aesthetic politics. Bringing Benjamin’s thought into a critical constellation with contemporary media theorists such as Marshall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard, the book helps students understand the implications of Benjamin’s work for media studies today and how they can apply his distinctive ideas to contemporary media culture.

Kang’s book leads to a fresh appreciation of Benjamin’s work and new insight into critical theoretical approaches to media. The book will be of particular interest to students and researchers not only in media and communication studies but also in cultural studies, film studies and social theory, who are seeking a readable overview of Benjamin’s rich yet complex writings. Polity Books

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The audio file can be downoaded from tripleC.