Public Space would have first been defined for me at a very young age, with my mother having to tell me to stop misbehaving because we were “in public”. I like to think that I wasn’t the only person this happened to, and I’m willing to bet that a large number of us had our perceptions of what constitutes a public spaced shaped in this manner during our early years. A lot of our bad behaviour as youngsters would simply be because we got tired of waiting – We all know how patient toddlers are. So what if there was something that caught the little young eyes of those children who are causing such a ruckus?
As media has become more and more a part of our daily lives, we’ve seen an increase of technology in public areas, with things such as television screens becoming common place in supermarkets, take away stores, pubs, gyms and doctors waiting rooms. A perfect example of this is the front desk area of the pizza store in which I work.
A TV, placed in the corner playing V Hits for all hours of store operation – The amount of night I have heard the same Katy Perry song three or more times borders on unhealthy (simply because of my dance moves). But every time I work, I see exactly why it’s there. It’s like a fish tank of sorts in that it is something to stare at and listen to, but it’s also always playing something that is popular and well known. It doesn’t make the customers think while they wait, but instead just lets them almost forget about what is going on around them. Before they know it their pizza is ready and they are out the door.That’s the task of TV’s in this situation; they serve as a distraction until something else happens. They make your appointment that was late feel like it was on time and they make a common focal point in the more social places like pubs and fast food outlets.
Public Space then has changed in such a way that we need entertainment to be there for a long period of time. In the past you would sit there, wait, maybe chat to someone and go about your business but in the modern day we seem to require entertainment almost as much as we need food. So, my task for you is, next time you’re in a waiting room, a bank or at the gym, see how long it takes you to become distracted by the TV in the room.