Affirmatively Reading Post-consumerism Distributed Participatory Creativity and Creative Destruction of the Malled Metropolitan Centres of Auckland, New Zealand, during COVID-19 Lockdown
The impact of the progressive spatial financialisation of contemporary on the centres of public life has involved the privatisation of a relevant portion of their social, cultural, political and economic nodes and their polarisation into the private precincts of integrated shopping and entertainment enclosures. This dispossession and dislocation have increased spatial inequality and atomised the networks of local communities. A recent occurrence of creative destruction presided by the inexorable logics of capital reproduction has hit the paradigm that informed these enclosure. The production of the ultimate model of these centres, here defined as ultra-modern centres with totalising superlative simulated civicness, has intimately combined consumption with production in what Ritzer calls prosumption. I submit that the novel prosumer has become a primary actor of dynamic choral practices of semi-complicit participatory consumption that originate counterspatial associative assemblages by articulating three novel digitally augmented phenomena: networked translocalisation, multiassociative-metastable transduction, and desiring-resistant transgression. To validate this hypothesis I set out an observational analysis of grassroots social networks of digital spatialities emplaced in the malled urban centres of Auckland, New Zealand during COVID-19 lockdown, a period of outright access negation to the physical centres of public relational life. Empirical findings not only provided evidence of the formation, high resilience and independence of the novel emplaced translocal networks, but also documented their explicit redistribution of orders of ownership and belonging, and their assertive reappropriation and reassociation of commoning spatialities. The found effectiveness of these assemblages in breaching of the fundamental rule of non-response of dominant powers controlling the places of superlative abstract civicness, deconstructing the dominant spatial logics of the simulative infrastructure that inhibit the elaboration of sign values that affirm the right to identification, and supplementing the post-consumerist use-exchange value amalgamation that sustains the commodity fetishism mechanism of these civic simulacra underpins my critical affirmative interpretation of the post-consumerist condition.
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