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Fragmentation and the digital city: An analysis of Vicente Luis Mora's circular 07. Las afueras

  • Author(s): Saum-Pascual, A
  • et al.

This essay juxtaposes three recent publications, Vicente Luis Mora's Circular 07. Las afueras (2007-), Kenneth Goldsmith's Capital: New York, Capital of the 20th Century (2015), and Jorge Carrión's Barcelona. Libro de los pasajes (2016), in order to explore how contemporary digital technologies construct and fragment urban experience on a global scale. Despite their different political intentions, these three works share a common aesthetic of appropriation, unoriginal quotation, and fragmentation, as they are also all modelled after Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project. Just like Benjamin did with Paris, each of these works focuses on a particular Western city-Madrid, New York, and Barcelona-now being proposed as paradigmatic representations of urban experience, which is meant to mimic digital media's modularity and disintegration. Goldsmith's use of appropriation is read as a blank endorsement of digital mediation of everyday life, which sits in opposition to Carrión's and Mora's political projects. Circular 07 and Barcelona mix unoriginal writing techniques, like Goldsmith's conceptual writing, with other experimental methods to warn readers against apolitical adoption of digital technologies. Fragmentation is still proposed as the most important aesthetic form of twenty-first century writing, but these two Spanish works strive for its contextualization as a complex mechanism structured around reader/writer subjectivity. Finally, this essay ponders how to consider new reader/ writer subjectivities within the larger context of global cities in late capitalism.

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