The material geographies of advertising: Concrete objects, affective affordance and urban space

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14 Citations (SciVal)


This paper contributes to an expanding concern with the urban geographies of advertising. The paper outlines the need to investigate the difference the material logics of advertising technology (hardware, software and code) make to the bodies and spaces of urban life. Through an intensified capacity to selectively open up to and interact with urban space, I argue, technological advancements in outdoor advertising launch the advertising object into a more compatible relation with urban space. I exemplify this by pulling out and detailing the recent development of image-recognition technology, anti-hacking features and thermal management systems, each of which are becoming central to the contemporary material conditions of outdoor advertising. Through the lens of Gilbert Simondon's notion of ‘concretisation', these technological advancements are conceptualised as resolving particular commercial incompatibilities in the relation between advertising object and excessive environments. Taken together, they leverage the outdoor advertising object’s control over its capacities to affect and be affected, that is, over its affective affordance. I suggest this has significant implications for how we engage and intervene into the politics of advertising geographies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1442
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number7
Early online date13 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Gilbert Simondon
  • digital geographies
  • geographies of advertising
  • outdoor advertising


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