Supermodernity: Non-places

In Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, Marc Augé talks about places and introduces the idea of non-places. These places are unlike conventional anthropological places as they are void of history, relation and identity. Non-places include places which we unknowingly spend an abundant amount of time at, such as airports, roads, or in front of TV’s and cash machines. In these places humans are homogeneously connected: we are all unidentified persons in a place of inorganic social life that we can never call home.

Nevertheless, we are able to find our roots through anthropological places that continue to reconstitute themselves. The abundance of these non-places is staggering and growing larger as the globalization of urbanization continues. In Augé’s argument, it is clear that many non-places of dismemberment occur due to a form of technology. But, is this kind of dismemberment true of all forms of technology? What about technologically produced art? Despite being newer and more modern forms, photography, graphic design, filmmaking and any kind of technologically produced art have all gone through great strides in order to legitimize themselves as art in our society. However, it has always been questioned if the technologically produced art should be valued to the extent of traditional arts.

Looking at this idea of value through Augé’s argument it is unclear whether or not he would say that it should be valued the same way. He might say that due to its technological background, it lacks the same history and relation, but the technologically produced arts do have a history of their own, some of which can be related to traditional art. Additionally, the technologically produced arts do the idea of identity as well as not serve a direct purpose to humanity, unlike non-places. In conclusion, it’s unclear whether, or not the technologically produced arts can be valued in the same way as traditional arts, but it is clear that technologically produced art cannot be grouped together under the definition of a non-place, “for non-places mediate a whole mass of relations, with the self and with others, which are only indirectly connected with their purposes” (Augé 94).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *