Urban Screens and Transcultural Consumption between South Korea and Australia

Urban Screens and Transcultural Consumption between South Korea and Australia

Audrey Yue (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Sun Jung (Victoria University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-037-2.ch002


This chapter examines urban screens as sites of media convergence and transcultural consumption. Using two case studies in Melbourne (Australia) and Songdo (Incheon, South Korea), this chapter considers how these screens have emerged through technological innovations led by cultural planning and urban regeneration. Furthermore, using audience reception and cultural participation studies, this chapter critically examines the augmentation of these spaces as sites for cultural citizenship and transcultural consumption. Urban screens, this chapter argues, are new contact zones of mediascapes, social belonging and transcultural identities.
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Urban Screens: Media Convergence And Cultural Revitalisation

From Las Vegas, Berlin to Sao Paulo and Beijing, urban screens are new infrastructures in contemporary cityscapes. Defined as “yard- and perch-scale displays . . . deployed in public spaces in urban contexts” (MacColl and Richardson, 2008, p. 100), they are both public amenities and cinematic screens. As such, they engage multiple stakeholders, from designers, digital art producers, planners, architects, to the cultural histories of places and people, and are usually embedded in the larger project of urban regeneration and economic development. As Auerbach (2006) states, urban screens are made possible when the interests of those who control the exhibition space, technology, potential content streams and potential revenue streams converge.

Urban screens range in size, resolution, use and location. Central to the innovation in public screens, they make use of technological development in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Plasma Display (PDP), Digital Light Processing (DLP), Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Spectacolour High Definition. From projection broads, information terminals to intelligent buildings, they are used for a variety of purposes. The most common is entertainment, exemplified by the world’s largest canopy screen and light show on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. For companies seeking cool branding, the use of such outdoor display advertising is increasingly commonplace, with Prada, Nike and Apple having launched high profile advertising campaigns through these platforms. In the finance sector, they are ubiquitous in central business districts, such as the NASDAQ ticker that wraps around the cylindrical cone of its building in Manhattan. Art and entertainment have also featured on the facades of commercial buildings. In Rotterdam and Seoul, the headquarters of their country’s respective telecommunications company—the KPN building in the Kop van Zuid docklands and the SK telecom building in the art precinct around Insadong—also feature media walls and giant screens that can be seen kilometers afar. In the Millennium Park in Chicago and Federation Square in Melbourne, civic and recreational spaces are built around large screens to further engage the public user.

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