Third Space Walks. Flanerie in virtual and material spaces of cities.
The interaction between technologies and societies shape everyday life in urban spaces as the boundaries between virtual and analog worlds seem to dissolve. A new hybrid space, characterized by mobility and constant networking, has emerged. Still, this space is often thought in dichotomies such as online and offline, which diminish our understanding of cultural and social changes in today’s cities. This paper shows how concepts like “hybridity” applied by Haraway and “Third Space” according to Bhabha create a possibility to overcome these separate imaginations as these concepts work beyond dichotomies and instead bring the newly emerging space into focus. Thinking virtual and physical spaces together permits a new perspective to understand, influence and debate current and future dynamics of digitalization. To walk this new space, this paper presents a new method of flanerie, based on Walter Benjamin and established theories of walking, such as psychogeography or strollology, but including feminist, intersectional and postcolonial perspectives. This method understands flanerie not only as walking, but also as collecting impressions and presenting – even if perhaps fragmented – conclusions. Practicing flanerie with the awareness of moving in a third space makes it possible to walk, while also resisting predetermined logics such as algorithms. It is thereby a walk “off the grid”. Through this method and the focus on the trinity of digital technologies, bodies and spaces, the third space and its current formations of mobile socialities can be analyzed.