Only after we discussed the prevalence of screens in public life have I actually taken the time to look around and notice them.
Yesterday I visited the Ikea store in Tempe to see the new Spring layouts… as anyone who has been to Ikea can attest, you never just go to look… but that’s a topic for another blog. The masterminds behind the Ikea brand know how to use screens to take advantage of every customer that walks through their giant, automatic doors.
To appease the disgruntled husbands who have been dragged there by their wives, Ikea have set up makeshift lounge areas that act as husband-minding facilities. In this area at least ten men will sit with their eyes transfixed on a plasma screen as an Ikea spokesperson shows how easy their DIY kitchen assembly kits are. The recreation of a lounge room and the use of television makes the men feel like they’re at home rather than somewhere that they don’t want to be, and this form of escapism works well in placating the bored and irritable (Cauley, P.; 2013).
I wondered to myself how many of those men would go on to agree with their wives later that day that “Yes honey, we do need an entirely new kitchen and entertaining area… And yes of course I can assemble it all myself”.
Similarly when I caught the train home, I noticed that the station walls were littered with screens. Some screens were working for the money by advertising banks, movies, and hair products.
Other screens were actually providing vital information to commuters such as train timetables and announcements of scheduled track work.
Down on the platform people would look eagerly back and forth between their smartphone screens up to the Cityrail screens in hopes of seeing the announcement that their train would be the next one arriving. I have been lucky enough to have been trapped on a crowded Town Hall station platform when these information screens have malfunctioned. Commuters were left with no idea which trains were coming in and whether or not they should board … Needless to say complete and utter anarchy unfolded until the screens were fixed.
It’s interesting to see how screens in public places play not only a role in escapism from the daily grind, but also serve a vital purpose in the efficient running of a city.
Cauley, P.; 2013; “The purchasing power of entertainment escapism”; Response Magazine; accessed 20 September 2013: http://www.responsemagazine.com/direct-response-marketing/purchasing-power-entertainment-escapism-5403
How many screens do you think you see in one day? How much do you rely on screens to do the things you need to do?