Speed and the Cultural Politics of Time
At the scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo, motorized traf-
fic stops in all directions to allow the throngs of pedestrians to pass (see fig-
ures I.1 and I.2). Thousands of people move through the intersection at any
one time. The subway lines below street level service two and a half million
people daily. Underground there is another entirely separate shopping and
business district, at least a mile in scope, called Shibuchinko. Shibuya is to
transportation as Shibuchinko is to trade—its halls filled with high- end
boutiques and trendy goods. The crossing at Shibuya pulses with an inten-
sity incomparable to any other city street in the world.
To say that Shibuya is hypermediated is an understatement. Surveil-
lance cameras hover above the crossing in every corner. The blinding flash
of neon displays, with their constantly changing content, draw the eye up
into an urban panorama of vertical space, where television screens hail the
crowds in every direction. Visual spectacles are mounted and projected to
cover the facades of the high- rises.
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