Epistemological Implications of Media Saturation
The city provides a cultural text where media saturation is most heightened. In urban space the omnipresence of posters, billboards, digital signs, loudspeakers and TV screens comprise the backdrop of day-to-day experience, and people routinely engage with a growing number of personal electronic devices. Given the pervasiveness of ever-growing and converging media across the contemporary urban landscape and within everyday lived experience, critical analysis with respect to the character of information we are exposed to and the impact this has on the construction of knowledge is of critical importance. Drawing on ideas from the Toronto School of Communication (particularly Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan), the emerging literature surrounding the attention economy, and the existing research pertaining to information overload, this paper explores the paradoxical relationship between information and knowledge. It examines the character and prevalence of noise, fragmentation and superfluous information as epistemological by-products of media saturation and a significant part of daily urban experience.
Keywords: Media Saturation and Urban Space, Information Communication Technologies, Information-Knowledge Paradox, Noise, Fragmentary Information, Epistemology
Ph.D. student, Joint Program in Communication and Culture, York University