The segregation processes in media environments are nothing but the enhancement of tendencies manifesting themselves in the “real” space with the creation of the urban ghettos and their counterparts, the (suburban) protected social reservoirs for the upper classes.

These access-controlled residential areas can be found today all over the world, in Third World and in western democracies as well as in the east neo-capitalist countries.

They range from heavily protected impenetrable fortresses to retirement towns for well-off pensioners or projects like Walt Disney’s Celebration – an entire residential town (not a theme park).

1 October 1998

@ Lab
für Kunst und Apparate


Parallel to this dismemberment of urban structures into disconnected segregated parts, the public space is imploding into privately controlled and commercially exploited interiors such as shopping malls and atriums. And all these developments have their counterparts in cyberspace: here you need a passport to enter protected residential areas or clubs, there you need a password to access communication.

This loss of function of the urban public space due to privatisation is exacerbated by the withdrawal of activities from (semi) public spheres to private interiors: with the help of modern technology, work can be done in the comfort of your private living room (teleworking) and retailing does not depend on your visit and chat with your local grocer (teleshopping).
With the rationalisation of these activities, social interaction is being reduced to its functional components.

The increase in speed of world-wide information networks and transport systems (digital networks, air transport) creates a distinction between spaces that are local and those that are global (to various degrees). Traditionally, the distinction between a global and a local public space is considered to be identical to the distinction between media space (which would be global) and “real” space (which would be local).