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Multimedia and the Hybrid City: Geographies of Techno cultural Spaces in South Korea

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  • Philosophy

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to explore how multimedia technologies such as the Internet, satellite TV, cable TV and mobile phones, combined with people's everyday practices, produce the hybrid city where the boundaries between binary territories are blurred; and to offer implications for understanding our everyday lives and cities. Here, multimedia technologies are crucial triggers by which the boundaries between binary categories such as time/space, actual/virtual, human/machine and so on are blurred. And, cities, where urban locales are connected to electronic networks and human bodies are wired to electronic machines, are locations where such boundary-blurring processes occur intensively. I call such a city the 'hybrid city' where we can observe various geographies of technocultural spaces formed by multimedia technologies. In this epistemological context, I investigate cities in South Korea, a country that is one of the most 'wired' to electronic networks in the world. My argument is that the hybrid city, composed of global-local networks, actual- virtual circuits, centripetal-centrifugal vectors and human-machine hybrids, cannot be explained as a singular and consistent space, but rather as multiple and complex spaces. This is because the hybrid city itself exists in between different categories or territories. That is, the hybrid city does not exist as A or B, but instead in between A and в which are deterritorialised towards each other through a-parallel evolution or co-evolution, and thus it can be seen as fractal and fluid. In this sense, the hybrid city can be defined as not a 'being', but 'becomings' always in motion through the continuous 'dis/appearances' or 'dis/connections' of heterogeneous networks. In Latour's, Deleuze and Guattari's and Haraway's terms, the hybrid city is not only composed of a number of actor-networks, rhizomes or cyborgs, but also a kind of actor-network, rhizome or cyborg itself. That is, the hybrid city is the 'middle kingdom' in Latour's terms.

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