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Various ideas of ‹the public› have been theorized at least since the Greeks, but whether it is Socrates confronting Callicles about mob rule in Plato’s Gorgias  or Jürgen Habermas’ «public sphere,»  Walter Lippmann’s «big picture»  or Mouffe’s agonistics, this public has almost always been intimately connected with a parallel notion of public space. From the agora to the piazza to the commons to the park, in some
sense robust public discourse can only flourish in public space. In part this is an issue of audience. What makes discourse public is having an audience. With the rise of the printed press, radio, television, and now Internetenabled communications, the potential public expands beyond physical space into the virtual spaces of communications systems.
Dieter Daniels, Inke Arns, and Rudolf Frieling each write extensively in their texts for «Survey of Media Art» about the larger media art history and context in which the redefinition of the public domain has been occurring for a century or more. Josephine Bosma in her essay for «Public Sphere_s,» «Constructing Media Spaces,» focuses on how new capabilities of Net (worked) art for access and engagement have helped (re-)define the public domain in three spheres: performing physical interfaces, collaboration and coauthorship, and software art. Erik Kluitenberg’s «Frequently Asked Questions About the Public Domain» takes up this challenge of understanding «future public spaces in digital media environments»  by outlining a series of interconnected terms – public domain, digital commons, creative commons, free software, open