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Alternative sprawls, junkcities: Buenos Aires Libre and horizontal urban epistemologies

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The horizontally organized Buenos Aires Libre is a cadre of new media artists, programmers and technophiles building their own autonomous network, apart from the Internet, in Argentina’s capital city. This network uses line-of-sight connections via directional antennae to link members and users throughout the urban landscape. The following article explores ‘junk’ and ‘sprawl’ as conceptual and material terrain activated by the network and its users. Both sprawl and junk help it to construct alternative epistemologies of urban life and to highlight the centrality of urban space to political, economic and informational systems at work in the contemporary city.
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Keywords: Buenos Aires; Latin America; communication; ecology; infrastructure; networks; technology; urban sprawl

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Case Western Reserve University

Publication date: 01 September 2014

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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