Week 4 – Mediation: Space

by

Moores, Shaun. “The Doubling of Place: Electronic Media, Time – Space Arrangements and Social Relationships.” In Couldry, Nick. And McCarthey, Anna., Eds. MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age. London: Routledge, 2004, 21-37. 

Shawn Moores’ article, “The Doubling of Place: Electronic Media, Time – Space Arrangements and Social Relationships”, applies Scannell’s concept on the ‘doubling of place’ in broadcasting, to a more general analysis of electronic media. The internet and telephone, Moores argues, should be considered alongside radio and television in a single field of investigation “precisely because of the common potential that all these media have for constructing experiences of simultaneity, liveness and ‘immediacy’ in…. ‘non-localized’ spaces and encounters”.

I found Moores’ example of Princess Diana’s funeral was a particularly interesting example of how public events can interrupt both the ‘normal flow’ of television broadcasting as well as the routines of daily life. In this instance, doubling of space occurs through the liveness of the television broadcast for the viewers in their private, domestic settings as well as the physical act of attending the event itself. Lori Kendall’s account of her internet usage is an engaging example of the “pluralizing of space and relationships”. Whilst ‘hanging out’ at BlueSky, a virtual pub, Kendall’s internet usage ranged from being completely engaged with the online content, to moments “when she ceases to be interested in the ongoing ‘conversation’ between participants”. Kendall’s account makes the crucial point that whilst ‘mudding’ in virtual internet spaces “provides for me a feeling of being in a place, that place in some sense over lays the physical place in which my body resides”. Moores elaborates on this, suggesting that virtual spaces should be viewed ‘as part of everyday life’. Computer mediated communication should take into account both the “ ‘presencing’ of places on the screen” as well as “those places in which the screen is viewed and interacted with, including public locales such as Internet cafes”. This is particularly clear when regarding Schegloff’s description of a telephone conversation on a train ride to New York. The level of irony in the statement, “Do you mind?! This is a private conversation!”, again demonstrates the complexities of doubling space. As Moores notes, the young woman on the phone is in two places (“theres”) at once. She is in the railway carriage but also ‘on’ the telephone. This example made it particularly clear to me that virtual space is not a separate entity to the physical, ‘real’ world – the two spaces overlap and are constantly interacting. Indeed, as Moores concludes, “place, and experiences of being-in-place, can be pluralized in and by electrically mediated communication”.

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