The current resurgence of the Chinese mega city of Shanghai involves a radical restructuring of the urban fabric, infrastructure, economy and media culture. New Shanghai competes to become the information communication hub in the Asia-Pacific, and partly through the display of wide-ranging digitalization at the World exposition of 2010 and in the city, the municipal government has set its mind on once again detaining the future right here. In this paper I probe the question of how one place becomes continually endowed with futurity. Futurity, I argue, is in fact an essential part of a collective memory in the city: it is Shanghai’s genius loci. Moving from the Golden Age of modernity and cosmopolitanism of the 1920s and 30s, through the city under Communism, into the current global/digital city of Shanghai I inquire into they ways in which media and communication have been historically, and are at present, a backbone of the Shanghai imaginary. I further discuss how the future is both obsessively desired in Shanghai of today and at once under seizure since New Shanghai is, as much as it is a place of physical monumentality, an elusive and contradictory space of temporal co-existence as well as of hypermobility and hypermediation.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2006. 93-110 p.