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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. This response to Sean Cubitt’s “Large Screens, Third Screens, Virtuality, and Innovation”looks at urban screens in relation to two key developments in the history of urban modernity. One of these is the expansion of electric lighting in cities from the nineteenth century onward.In what historians have called “nocturnalization,” cities have seen an expansion of the cultural and social uses of the urban night. Another development is the growth of urban transportation systems, wherein screens work both to distract travellers from the physical experience of travel and to offer forms of information, entertainment, or advertising. As media from newspapers to public screens books and digital tabloids have come to fill the social space of cities, they have engaged the look of viewer-citizens in a variety of novel and culturally significant ways.

Keywords: cities, night, screens, media, electrification, signage, urban, gaze, subways, commuters

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