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Marc Aug on YouTube stills from Non-Places | Are Airports Non-Places

The opposition between places and non-places derives from Michel de Certeaus distinction between place and space.8 However, Aug uses non-place in a slightly different way than de Certeau, and his vision of the opportunities individuals have in non-places is more pessimistic. For de Certeau space is a practiced place, and through the tactics of everyday use, the oppositional practices of everyday life, individuals can give different meaning to and change spaces. Aug could be interpreted as stating that non-places generate a new relationship to the world, but this relationship is not always negative, and although the term non-place does have negative connotations, it could also be seen as a new opportunity. Not only for the users, those who pass through the non-places, but also for researchers trying to make sense of new situations or phenomena. Tim Cresswell notes that Augs arguments force theorists of culture to reconsider the theory and method of their disciplines. While conventionally figured places demand thoughts which reflect assumed boundaries and traditions, non-places demand new mobile ways of thinking. 9 Anthropological place is rooted in history, relationships and identity, and the church may be used as an example of an anthropological place. According to Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney the church embodies the social identity of the people in the same village in their daily social network. It is also a spatial representation of the past, the history of these people and the village. 10 Other similar anthropological places are libraries and archives, places that also embody social identity and history. Non-places, however, are uprooted places marked by mobility and travel; they lack identity, relationships and history. The translation from French to English of the term non-lieu has had consequences for interpretation of the possibilities or dangers of dwelling in non-places, and Ohnuki-Tierney has explained that the term non-lieu in a technical juridical sense means no ground for prosecution, that is, the accused is innocent. Those innocent, needless to say, are deprived of their usual identity as social personae and as individuals. 11 One of the characteristic traits of YouTube is excess. YouTube offers an overabundance of video clips, organized in chaotic ways making precise navigation hard. YouTube is not an anthropological place, defined by identity, relations and history, being closer to a transient non-place, a crossroad where people meet, yet where references are individualized through tags and rating, and where users interpret the information by themselves and for themselves. YouTube is not an asocial place. It is more like a hypersocial place, but the hypersociality of the site is mostly channeled through specific fields or practices, i.e. share a video clip, comment on it, give responses to the uploader, etcetera. As a social process unless used in a specific way by a local community YouTube is characterized by the consumption of information. Commercial clips or references are mixed with all sorts of amateur material, and to a certain degree this changes the status of the non-commercial material. This happens in at least two ways. Firstly, it is done by the commercial context itself. Ending up at a commercial site or viewing a commercial clip characterizes many visits to YouTube, and the lack of context makes it hard to determine what kind of clip or site it is. Few or no distinctions are made between commercial and non-commercial clips, 30 31 Storage