TubeCrush and the intimacy of public transport, digitized

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Public transport straddles the divide between being deeply intimate, where many people share what are often small, confined spaces, and alienating because of the transient nature of this closeness to others, who are often strangers. The ephemerality of public transport is part of the normal, daily experience of the modern city, which themselves have come to represent anonymity, aloofness and disconnection with others. In this context, we use TubeCrush, a website and social media company which allows people to share images of attractive men on the London Underground. Our data is comprised of website comments and captions, as well as interview material with the TubeCrush founder. Through our data, we consider the role of the mobile phone as a tool that permits non-consensual photography to be unobtrusive. We also use the data to provide a site-specific analysis of the London Underground where for the duration of transit users are disconnected from wifi, and thus also friends, partners, colleagues, and other taken-for-granted intimate interactions that take place through the phone. Taken together, we suggest that TubeCrush harness the (non)intimate space of public transport by moving attraction to digital spaces, making private desires public.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2018
    EventOnline Intimacies, Intimacies Online - Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
    Duration: 30 May 20181 Jun 2018


    ConferenceOnline Intimacies, Intimacies Online


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